February 10, 2011

How To: Recipe Makeovers

One way to continue eating some foods that we love, but maybe aren't so healthy, is to modify recipes. This can sometimes seem very complicated but it's really not.

Another skill that everyone needs to have is the ability to figure out per-serving nutritional information, for these recipes. Although I am really bad at math, I think I have a handle on how to do this and thought I would share.



I am converting a soup recipe for a FP4H gathering tomorrow night. I've never made this one before but I love to eat it at Olive Garden--the Zuppa Toscana Soup. It's the one with sausage and potatoes, yum! I found the "original recipe" online and it seems pretty legit.

Original Ingredients

*1 lb ground Italian sausage
1½ tsp crushed red peppers
1 large diced white onion
4 Tbsp bacon pieces
2 tsp garlic puree
10 cups water
5 cubes of chicken bouillon
*1 cup heavy cream
*1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
*¼ of a bunch of kale

Okay, so what I did was first go down the list and highlighted in pink the items that I know are on my "junk list" so that I could come up with a suitable replacement. Full fat pork sausage is not really something that any of us need. Neither is heavy cream. *sniff, sniff* Second I went down the list and highlighted in blue the things that I needed to and/or could alter the amounts. I want a LOT of that kale and don't need quite as many potatoes to get the effect I am going for. So now we have:

Made-over Ingredients

[700] *1 lb Butterball Sweet Italian sausage links (remove casings)
[none] 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
[none] 1 large diced white onion
[100] 4 Tbsp bacon pieces (Hormel Real Bacon Bits)
[none] 2 tsp garlic puree
[none] 10 cups water
[50] 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
[152] *1 cup fat free half &half (Did you know that was even a thing!?)

[300] *1/2 lb chopped Russet potatoes, or about 2 small potatoes (chop smaller for better distribution)
[100] *1 whole bunch of kale
(doesn't just mean a lot, you know--it grows in "a Bunch" ;)

Directions:
1.Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.
2.In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.
3.Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.
4.Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
5.Add the half &half and just cook until thoroughly heated.
6.Stir in the sausage and the kale, let all heat through and serve. Delicious!
*Serves 8

Now, for the calorie part...you might have noticed that I added a number inside brackets beside each ingredient on the made-over list. That is the number of calories in the entire called-for amount of each ingredient. You can figure that by looking at the labels or using a website such as Calorie King, like I did. Then you add the total number of calories in the ENTIRE recipe (yes it will be a lot) and divide by the number it serves, which in this case is 8.

So I took the total number of calories in this recipe [1250], divided by the number of servings [8] which = [apx. 155 calories]

So this amazing soup is going to be 155 calories per serving. The trickiest part is figuring out how much an actual serving is. Casseroles, etc. will be easy because you can cut them into pieces and know exactly the right amount. For instance, if this soup could be cut up, I would just cut it into 8 equal pieces and know that is one serving. Since this is a liquid with solids in it, I will have to make the recipe and divide it equally into 8 bowls. Then I will measure the amount from one of the bowls to know the serving size.

I know that seems very complicated, but once it's done the first time it never has to be done again. Just make sure to write it down somewhere!

**Update**Thanks to a very helpful comment, we have a less messy way to do this ( I knew there had to be one!)

From Tina: To figure out how much a portion is on pot meals...with less dishes (ha ha)...is take my 4 cup measurer and 1 extra large bowl...scoop out until I know how many cups are total. I make that total of portions...so 1 cup is always a portion for me, and easy to scoop with a measuring cup to serve.

***Note, the calories I figured for this soup with 8 servings will probably not be accurate using the 1 c. serving method:

Okay. I think that covers it. I know some of you are thinking--DUH. Sorry. Some people probably haven't figured this out yet, though. It was a good review for me anyway...

Please feel free to share links to your posts of recipe make-overs! I will be sure to let you know how this Zuppa Toscana turns out.

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P.S. Just went back and figured up calories in the original recipe--this modifications saves us about 150 calories per serving!!! It's worth it!

13 comments:

Trista said...

i use turkey sausage, completely leave out the bacon (instead i use a little evoo to sautee the onions and garlic) and use 1/2 and 1/2....still tastes amazing!! also, i only use 2 potatoes and add more kale...yummy!! hope this helps!!!

Keelie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trista said...

keelie...didnt look at your recipe...the one i follow asks for 4 pieces of bacon...never thought of using bacon bits...Huge Difference =)

Tina said...

Nice! To figure out how much a portion is on pot meals...with less dishes (ha ha)...is take my 4 cup measurer and 1 extra large bowl...scoop out until I know how many cups are total. I make that total of portions...so 1 cup is always a portion for me, and easy to scoop with a measuring cup to serve.

Keelie said...

hahaha! TIna!!! Thank you. As I was typing up how to do that I was thinking "there has got to be a better way to do this!!!" It was mixing me up with the recipe already telling me the number of servings...but we don't necessarily have to go by that. Thanks again!

Heather said...

I lovee that olive garden soup!! I found the orignal recipe also and have made it a few times but havent since I have changed my lifestyle soo Iam soo excited to try your verison!!! I will be making it this weekend for sure! I let you know how it turns out thanks for sharing the recipe!!

Tina said...

Your welcome!

Tiff said...

No joke- this is my FAVORITE soup in the world!!! I can't wait to see how it turns out for you- and if it's an A+, WELL I'll try it then as well :)

Diet Chic ~ Jury said...

That soups looks delicious! I could seriously live off soups forever but of course my fave are the heavy cream-bases haha. I'll def have to try this option.
Thanks!

Raegun said...

I'm going to have to try this. I love a good, hearty soup in the winter. :)

Donna said...

That sounds just delicious!! Thanks for showing how to make this over. I've done that too but I love how you did this one for us. You know, the fat free cream isn't that bad. Never thought I'd try it until I started on Southbeach. :o)

You look so good..inspiring!

Donna @ Comin' Home

mollymariephoto said...

YUM! I'm so going to try some of these :)

http://www.mollymariegetshealthy.com

Kate said...

I also use fat free evaporated milk in place of cream sometimes. It's a little more "creamy" texture than the ff 1/2 and 1/2.