Tag: recipes

Make Your Favorite Recipes healthier – A Substitutions Guide

For many Junior League members, cooking has been a passion for years and hosting dinner parties has been an easy way to stay in touch with friends and to catch up over good food, wine and conversation.  It’s also a great way to relax at the end of a long day and to try fresh local ingredients.

So many amazing family recipes from our grandmothers and mothers are filled with yummy ingredients like butter, heavy cream, cheese, and did I mention butter? Although these recipes are delicious, when cooking for my friends and family, simple ingredient substitutions can help to make the meals just a little bit healthier without sacrificing the flavor or spirit of the dish.

There are a lot of great websites and resources to help us succeed at making these substitutions. The Mayo Clinic is a favorite resources. They have 5 quick tips on healthy substitutions, and an entire section of their site that focuses on Nutrition and Healthy Eating. Eat Better America is another site that has some great tips and tools and good education on overall health and nutrition.

If you don’t have a lot of time to do research on these sites – here are some key items from the Mayo Clinic that they recommend as substitutions you can make in your meals.

Your guide to ingredient substitutions for healthy recipes
If your recipe calls for this ingredient: Try substituting this ingredient:
Bacon Canadian bacon, turkey bacon, smoked turkey or lean prosciutto (Italian ham)
Bread, white Whole-grain bread
Bread crumbs, dry Rolled oats or crushed bran cereal
Butter, margarine, shortening or oil in baked goods Applesauce or prune puree for half of the called-for butter, shortening or oil; butter spreads or shortenings specially formulated for baking that don’t have trans fats

Note: To avoid dense, soggy or flat baked goods, don’t substitute oil for butter or shortening. Also don’t substitute diet, whipped or tub-style margarine for regular margarine.

Butter, margarine, shortening or oil to prevent sticking Cooking spray or nonstick pans
Cream Fat-free half-and-half, evaporated skim milk
Cream cheese, full fat Fat-free or low-fat cream cheese, Neufchatel, or low-fat cottage cheese pureed until smooth
Eggs Two egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute for each whole egg
Flour, all-purpose (plain) Whole-wheat flour for half of the called-for all-purpose flour in baked goods

Note: Whole-wheat pastry flour is less dense and works well in softer products like cakes and muffins.

Fruit canned in heavy syrup Fruit canned in its own juices or in water, or fresh fruit
Ground beef Extra-lean or lean ground beef, chicken or turkey breast (make sure no poultry skin has been added to the product)
Lettuce, iceberg Arugula, chicory, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach or watercress
Mayonnaise Reduced-calorie mayonnaise-type salad dressing or reduced-calorie, reduced-fat mayonnaise
Meat as the main ingredient Three times as many vegetables as the meat on pizzas or in casseroles, soups and stews
Milk, evaporated Evaporated skim milk
Milk, whole Reduced-fat or fat-free milk
Oil-based marinades Wine, balsamic vinegar, fruit juice or fat-free broth
Pasta, enriched (white) Whole-wheat pasta
Rice, white Brown rice, wild rice, bulgur or pearl barley
Salad dressing Fat-free or reduced-calorie dressing or flavored vinegars
Seasoning salt, such as garlic salt, celery salt or onion salt Herb-only seasonings, such as garlic powder, celery seed or onion flakes, or use finely chopped herbs or garlic, celery or onions
Soups, creamed Fat-free milk-based soups, mashed potato flakes, or pureed carrots, potatoes or tofu for thickening agents
Soups, sauces, dressings, crackers, or canned meat, fish or vegetables Low-sodium or reduced-sodium versions
Sour cream, full fat Fat-free or low-fat sour cream, plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt
Soy sauce Sweet-and-sour sauce, hot mustard sauce or low-sodium soy sauce
Sugar In most baked goods you can reduce the amount of sugar by one-half; intensify sweetness by adding vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon
Syrup Pureed fruit, such as applesauce, or low-calorie, sugar-free syrup
Table salt Herbs, spices, citrus juices (lemon, lime, orange), rice vinegar, salt-free seasoning mixes or herb blends
Yogurt, fruit-flavored Plain yogurt with fresh fruit slices




Blast from the Past – Lemon Fluff Pie

The Junior League of Seattle has recently re-released (due to popular demand) our Seattle Classic Cookbook. Originally printed in 1983, this cookbook is fun to peruse and sure to bring back fond memories of classic ‘80s dishes. Of course, no ‘80s cookbook would be complete with Jell-O, or in this case, gelatin.

Whether you’re interested in bringing back the ‘80s or looking to experience them for the first time, you’ve got to try this fantastic Lemon Fluff Pie. To make it you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon grated zest of lemon
  • ½ cup of heavy cream, whipped
  • 1 baked 9” pie crust
  • Heavy cream, whipped, and grated zest of lemon for garnish

In a saucepan, thoroughly mix gelatin, ½ cup sugar, and salt. Beat together egg yolks, lemon juice, and water and stir into gelatin mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until just boiling. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest. Chill mixture, stirring occasionally, until partially set.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add remaining sugar and beat again until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves. Fold into gelatin mixture. Fold in whipped cream, pour into crust and chill. Just before serving, frost with a thin layer of whipped cream and sprinkle with lemon zest.

Serves 8. Bon appetit!

Mother’s Day Brunch recipes!

Hosting a Mother’s Day brunch this year and stumped for recipe ideas? The Junior League of Seattle’s Celebrate the Rain cookbook has many great ideas to treat the best women in your lives.

Junior League member, Stacy Loya Harris, has shared a few of her favorite recipes and tips for getting this all done! Hopefully her tips and photos will help inspire you with your own brunch.

Stacy writes, “For the past few years I have been hosting a Mother’s day brunch for my Mom, Mother-in-Law and family.  This year I wanted to mix it up with a few new recipes. When I purchased Celebrate the Rain a few months ago, I was excited to see so many great brunch recipes and decided to try a few this year.  With so many recipes to choose from, I managed to narrow my list down to the Tomato Cobbler with Gruyere Crust, the Best Bacon and the Herbed Prosciutto and Gruyere Croque Monsieur.

Tomato Cobbler with Gruyere Crust (Page 41 – Celebrate the Rain)

This recipe appealed to me because I love the combination of fresh tomatoes and basil. Also, I love cheese, so the gruyere crust sounded really appealing. This recipe is not very complicated, but it is time consuming.  It takes about 3 hours from start to finish including the chilling time for the dough, baking time and cooling time.  If you are going to make it for brunch and don’t want to get up super early, it can be made the night before.

The method of making the crust in the food processor is really simple; the dough came together nicely after 8-10 seconds, as the recipe states.

While the dough was chilling, I prepared the tomato filling.  The recipe calls for 2lbs of cherry tomatoes but I substitued with 2lbs of roma tomatoes since romas were on sale that week.   I seeded and chopped the tomatoes into about 1 inch pieces.

After about an hour, I took the dough from the fridge and rolled it out on a floured surface.  I had plenty of dough to cover my 9inch pie dish.  I brushed the dough with an egg wash and sprinkled a little shredded gruyere on top, and it was ready for the oven.

The end result was fantastic!  It came out of the oven a perfect golden brown.  (See image above right.) The onions, garlic, tomatoes, basil and gruyere crust smelled delicious and tasted even better. My family gave it rave reviews.  This recipe is definitely a keeper.

The Best Bacon (Page 38 – Celebrate the Rain)

The Best Bacon really is the BEST bacon. The combination of sweet, salty and a bit of spice makes for an amazing combination.   Besides the amazing taste, the best part about this bacon recipe is how simple it is.  All you do is spread the bacon out on a rack on a foiled lined sheet pan, sprinkle with brown sugar and a little bit of pepper and cayenne then throw it in the oven for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. Viola! The BEST Bacon! In fact, I was told that this bacon and only this bacon should be made in our house from now on.

Herbed Prosciutto and Gruyere Croque Monsieur (Page 42 – Celebrate the Rain)

The final recipe I tried for my brunch is the Herbed Prosciutto and Gruyere Croque Monsieur. When I think of Croque Monsieur, I think of fancy french restaurants, so when I looked at this recipe I was surprised at how easy it sounded. It is basically a grilled cheese, except the bread gets dipped in an egg mixture and sprinkled with herbs prior to grilling it. The egg mixture with the herbs makes the bread nice and crisp and adds a layer of flavor that compliments the salty gruyere and prosciutto. So don’t be intimidated by the name of this dish, try it!

Overall, my brunch was a success! I was very happy with how all the recipes turned out and I am looking forward to trying many of the other recipes from Celebrate the Rain.”

Interested in preparing this meal for the special woman in your life this Mother’s Day, but don’t have a copy of Celebrate the Rain? Click on the title of the book and visit our webpage to order your copy by Friday, May 4, 2012, and you can get one in time to show your appreciation for all she contributes to your life this Mother’s Day.

Modified Greek Quinoa Salad

The Junior League of Seattle is not the only League that produces excellent cookbooks. In fact, cookbooks are a major source of revenue for Junior Leagues throughout the country. Peace Meals, by the Junior League of Houston, is another popular cookbook. Peace Meals was released in September 2008 and is the Junior League of Houston’s fourth cookbook; the organization’s first in over 10 years. This recipe has been adapted from their Greek Quinoa Salad.

Quinoa is the grain du jour lately, but there are a wide variety of protein rich grains. A lesser known, but equally tasty grain, is farro, which has been swapped for quinoa in this recipe in addition to a few other modifications as seen in the recipe below.


  • 1 1/2 cups farro
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 cup champagne vinegar
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon zested lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted and sliced kalamata olives
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup red onion diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine the farro and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the faro is fluffy, or about 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, garlic, lemon juice and rind, oregano, and olive oil.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except s&p. Fold in the farro and dressing, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately at room temperature.

Modified Dark and White Brownies

When looking for new and interesting sweets to bake, both Simply Classic and Celebrate the Rain, two cookbooks from the Junior League of Seattle, have a wide range of treats to choose from. The Simply Classic Cookbook has a fantastic recipe for Dark and White Chocolate Brownies. If you’re not a fan of white chocolate, it is easy to adapt this recipe to suit a variety of taste buds!

Instead of white chocolate, try swapping peanut butter chips or peanut butter M&Ms for the white chocolate. Who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter?


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 8 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips, M&Ms, or other favorite candy


Preheat oven to 350.

Butter bottom and sides of 8″ square pan.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat; add half semi-sweet chips and do not stir.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until mixture is thickened (about 6 minutes). Add chocolate mixture, flour, vanilla, and salt. Mix until just combined.

Stir in remaining semi-sweet chips and peanut butter chips.

Spoon mixture into pan, smooth top with spatula.

Bake until tester inserted in center comes out almost clean, about 30 minutes.

Cool brownies in a pan on a wire rack; cut into squares when cool.

These brownies will have much more chocolate flavor than the original recipe, so be prepared!