Monday, January 29, 2007

Super Bowl is coming Sunday, which means the party food will start piling up, too.
Did you know it's the second biggest day for food consumption in the U.S. after Thanksgiving? Do you have any clue how many calories will be in some of that food and how much work it's going to take to trim them off?
Nutrition advocate Charles Stuart Platkin, author of "The Diet Detective’s Count Down," offers "exercise equivalents" (using football activities) to demonstrate how much you would need to do to burn off typical “Big Game” snacks. For instance, you would have to run 49 football fields to burn off just two handfuls of potato chips, or do "the wave" 3,220 times to burn off two pieces of fried chicken.
Here's a look at the foods and what it will take to get off the pounds, with exercise equivalents based on a 155-pound person. We've also included lower-calorie ways to snack on the big day.

Two slices of stuffed pizza with the works = 197 minutes cleaning the STADIUM after the game
Having two slices of Pizza Hut’s Large Stuffed Crust Pizza means you’re looking at more than 800 calories. That word “stuffed” should give you a clue.
Tip: Get thin-crust pizza with veggies and eat it for lunch, instead of a halftime snack.

A handful of Doritos = 43 touchdown dances in the end zone
Chips are pretty expensive, calorically. A handful of Cooler Ranch Doritos: 140 calories.
Tip: Eat one at a time, and don’t put out huge bowls of them – make it so you have to get up each time you want more than six chips.

Five pretzels = 15 Minutes Looking for Your Car After the Game
Yes, five regular pretzels out of a bag are about 60 calories. For some reason people think pretzels are healthful. They don’t have fat, but they also have no nutritional value.
Tip: Avoid pretzels loaded with cheese — wow, are they high in calories.

Yes, beer has calories: about 150 for 12 ounces.
Tip: There are some great light beers out there. Do a taste test before the game.

Part of a giant Italian sub = 138½ MINUTES PERFORMING IN A MARCHING BAND
A 6-inch sub with salami, pepperoni, ham, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise is about 650 calories. Tip: Go for low-fat cheese and skip the mayo.

Five Buffalo chicken wings = 102 minutes of refereeing the game
The wings are fried, and that blue cheese dressing can be caloric suicide. Just five wings with 3 tablespoons of blue cheese dressing: 599 calories.
Tip: Use hot sauce instead of the blue cheese. Make the wings yourself. Go skinless, and bake them instead of frying. With all that football action, you won't notice the difference.

Half order of baby back ribs = 73 MINUTES OF CHEERLEADING
Ribs are good, but they’re packed with calories. They’re fatty, and the sauce is sugary. And don’t kid yourself, cheerleading is serious, hard work.
Tip: Make them yourself. Trim all fat before and after cooking, and – instead of coating with an excessive amount of sauce beforehand – partially cook them loaded with seasonings, brush them lightly with sauce and then finishing cooking.

Eight Potato chips with dip = biking to the game from your South Beach hotel
It’s about 18 miles to Dolphin Stadium, which is what it would take to burn off the chips and dip. Each chip is 14-15 calories. For each dip of Ruffles French Onion Dip add another 55 to 60 calories. Grand total: 600 calories.
Tip: Try a low-calorie dip (2 tablespoons: 44 calories) or make your own with nonfat yogurt or mayo.

A few Nachos = 97 minutes BEING THE TEAM MASCOT
Each chip has about 14 calories. Now add cheese, beans and ground beef, and just six nachos are about 569 calories — not to mention the sour cream and guacamole for another 150 calories.
Tip: Make the nachos with low-fat cheese and black beans, not refried. Use salsa and baked chips and you’ll be even better off.

At 280 calories, 1 ounce of this mix is still high in calories even though it’s lower in fat than chips. Tip: Don’t eat it by the handful, or skip it and go for some low-cal microwave popcorn instead. Even better, make it air-popped and use a margarine spray.

This is basically pasta with lots of cheese and sauce. It’s the cheese that makes it so high in calories: 420 calories for 6 ounces.
Tip: Have it as a meal, not just a snack. Try making it with low-fat mozzarella and lower-calorie sauce.

Two pieces of fried chicken = DOING "THE WAVE” 3,220 TIMES
One deep-fried chicken breast and one thigh are about 660 calories.
Tip: Make your own chicken with breading. Go skinless and bake it instead of frying.

A bowl of chili = RUNNING 100 FOOTBALL FIELDS
A 16-ounce bowl of chili packed with beef and beans comes to about 500 calories. A few tablespoons of sour cream and some shredded cheese add 150 calories more, for a grand total of 650 calories.
Tip: Use ground sirloin or white-meat turkey, or make it vegetarian. Skip the sour cream and cheese, or go for no- or low-fat versions.

Three tortilla chips topped with 7-layer dip = 15.5 MINUTES CLIMBING THE STADIUM STAIRS
This is a serious dip with refried beans, olives, guacamole, sour cream and cheese, and it costs about 90 to 105 calories (30 to 35 calories per tablespoon) with an additional 42 calories for three chips. The grand total: 147 calories.
Tip: If you make the dip, use low-fat cheese and sour cream and black beans, not refried. Or you could switch to salsa: 2 tablespoons have only about 15 calories. Also, go for light or baked chips instead of fried.

Two handfuls of potato chips = RUNNING 45 FOOTBALL FIELDS
Each handful is about an ounce, so two handfuls of chips have about 300 calories. Oh, and if you add just 2 tablespoons of onion dip (60 calories), you'll be running another nine football fields.
Tip: Make homemade pita chips with margarine spray, or try Low Fat Kettle Chips and save more than a few football fields. Use non-fat yogurt instead of sour cream to mix up the dip.
With Dungeness crab season in full swing, Scoma's, a San Francisco's restaurant, shows us how to select the freshest crabs for use in their Lazy Man's Cioppino. Cioppino -- a seafood stew -- is a San Francisco tradition that started on Fisherman's Wharf where leftover seafood from the day's catch was "chipped into" a simmering pot of stew to share with family and friends at supper. Today, it's one of Scoma's most requested dishes, and anyone can make it at home with some tips.
Go to and click on "Scoma's Cooking Demos," where you'll find a link to the new Lazy Man's Cioppino video cooking demo. Allow a moment for the clip to load and enjoy a demonstration by Chef Scarabosio that takes the mystery out of preparing and sharing this hearty seafood stew. Serve in a large bowl with fresh sourdough bread to sop up the flavorful broth.

Here's the recipe.
Scoma's Lazy Man's Cioppino
(Serves 4 - 6)
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
6 cups of store-bought tomato pasta sauce
1 pound rock cod cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 pounds clams
12 ounces prawns (deveined and peeled)
1 pound cooked crab meat
8 ounces shrimp
12 ounces scallops
2 cups clam juice
Salt and pepper
Heat olive oil over medium heat and cook garlic for one minute. Add the onions and let them cook for two or three minutes. Turn heat to high and add the wine to deglaze. Cook for 2-3 minutes (or until reduced in half) then reduce heat to medium. Add fresh oregano and basil. Add the tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Slowly add fish, shellfish and shrimp. Bring cioppino back to a boil and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until all the seafood is cooked.
Add cooked crab meat. Thin the cioppino to your liking with clam juice. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The beauty of the online world is that space is virtually unlimited, while we an only squeeze so much into our printed Food section. We're taking advantage of this today by sharing a bunch of slow-cooker recipes that came across our wire today. They're from a Los Angeles Daily News story on how these handy appliances just keeping getting better and better, and busy cooks love them.

If you have a great slow-cooker recipe to share, post it in our comments section; we'll award a cookbook to one of you.

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (8- to 12-ounce) container French onion dip
1 pound ground beef
½ of an envelope dry taco seasoning mix
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Green pepper, diced (optional)
Mushrooms, sliced (optional)
Combine cream cheese and onion dip. Spread in 2- to 3-quart slow cooker. Brown ground beef in a skillet. Drain off excess fat. Stir taco seasoning into meat. Place seasoned meat on top of cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle Cheddar cheese on top of meat. Top with peppers and mushrooms, if desired.Cover and cook on the low heat setting 1 ½ to 2 hours. Serve with white corn chips.
Makes 8 to 10 servings
Shared by Arlene Snyder, Millerstown, Pa., from “Fix-It and Forget-It: 5-Ingredient Favorites, Comforting Slow-Cooker Recipes,” by Phyllis Pellman Good

Pulled pork with barbecue sauce is a southern classic — true comfort food. It’s delicious in sloppy Joe sandwiches or all by itself over rice. For a lighter version, use half a turkey breast instead of pork.
2 pounds pork roast (any cut)
2 cups ketchup
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Place pork in a 4 -or 5-quart slow cooker. In a bowl, combine ketchup, vinegar, water, onion, garlic, chili powder and Worcestershire sauce and stir well. Pour sauce over roast. Cover and cook on the low heat setting 8 to 10 hours, until meat falls apart. Remove pork from cooker and allow to cool slightly. Remove and discard any bones. Pull meat into shreds using your fingers or two forks. Return meat to cooker and stir into sauce. Serve warm in buns for sandwiches or over rice, as desired.
Makes 4 servings
From “The Gourmet Slow Cooker, Volume II, Regional Comfort-Food Classics,” by Lynn Alley

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 ½ pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken breast
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 cups chopped, peeled tomatoes, including juice if canned
½ cup chicken stock OR broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped pitted black olives
2 tablespoons drained capers (optional)
In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat 30 seconds. Add chicken in batches and brown on all sides. Transfer to a 5-quart slow cooker stoneware insert. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions to pan and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, salt, peppercorns and thyme and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomatoes, stock and balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Pour mixture over chicken. Cover and cook on the low heat setting 5 hours, or on the high heat setting 2 ½ hours, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork. Add olives and capers and stir well. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings
From “175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics,” by Judith Finlayson

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
In a large bowl, mix together whole wheat and all-purpose flours, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center, pour buttermilk into well and mix just until blended. Spread into a lightly greased 8x4-inch loaf pan or a 6-cup souffle or baking dish (that will fit into slow cooker insert).Cover pan (or dish) tightly with foil and secure with string. Place pan in a 5-quart (or larger if necessary) oval slow cooker stoneware and pour in enough boiling water to come 1 inch up sides of dish. Cover and cook on the high heat setting 2 ½ to 3 hours, until bread springs back when touched lightly in the center. Unmold and serve warm.
Makes 1 loaf, 8 servings
From “175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics,” by Judith Finlayson

4 to 5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 thinly sliced yellow onions
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1 (14 ½-ounce) can diced plum (Roma) tomatoes
1 (12-ounce) bottle ale OR dark beer
3 tablespoons flour

Brown short ribs: Preheat broiler or grill. Generously season ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. Working in batches if necessary, arrange ribs on a broiler pan and place under the broiler. Broil (grill) ribs, turning once, until well-browned, about 3 minutes on each side.
Transfer ribs to an oval 7-quart slow cooker. Scatter onions and garlic over ribs. Add squash. Pour in tomatoes with their juice and ale. Cover and cook on the high heat setting 5 to 6 hours, or on the low heat setting 7 to 8 hours. The meat should be separating form the bones, and squash should be tender.Using a slotted spoon, transfer ribs and squash to a shallow bowl or platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Skim off excess fat from surface of sauce. Put slow cooker on high heat setting. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and ¼ cup water. Whisk flour mixture into sauce and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over ribs and squash and serve.
Makes 6 servings
From “Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast: Slow Cooker,” recipes by Norman Kolpas

3 ½ pounds beef brisket
Salt and ground black pepper
1 large sweet onion, sliced
1 jalapeno chile pepper, diced
1 (1-ounce) packet onion soup mix
1 (14-ounce) bottle barbecue sauce
Trim fat from brisket. Sprinkle brisket with salt and black pepper; set aside. In a 5-quart slow cooker, arrange onion slices. Place brisket on top. Add jalapeno pepper and onion soup mix. Pour barbecue sauce over all.Cover and cook on the high heat setting for 1 hour. Turn to the low heat setting; cook 8 to 10 hours more.
Makes 6 servings
From “Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Slow Cooker Recipes”

Serve this with whole-berry cranberry sauce, or applesauce and creamed horseradish. If you want to make this like szekely goulash, a Hungarian specialty, simply remove the pork chops when done, then stir 1/3 cup sour cream mixed with 2 tablespoons buttermilk into the sauerkraut and potatoes.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 (1-inch-thick) boneless center-cut pork chops OR shoulder chops
4 red OR white new potatoes, thickly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Paprika to taste (use sweet, hot OR smoked)
1 shallot OR white boiling onion, minced
1 (16-ounce) bag OR jar fresh sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon dry white wine OR champagne
In a heavy skillet over high heat, heat olive oil and quickly sear and brown pork chops on both sides. Place potatoes in bottom of a 1 ½- to 3-quart slow cooker. Place pork chops on bed of potatoes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika and shallot. Arrange sauerkraut over pork chops, then sprinkle with wine. Cover and cook on the low heat setting 6 to 7 hours, until meat is tender. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings
From “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker: Recipes for Two,” by Beth Hensperger