October 17, 2011

Did you say, "No Fat!"

The family was running the estate sale in Claremont three days ago. I thought most of the good stuff might be gone by the time we got there this third day of the sale. It had. It had been a trip to just give our old truck some freeway time. An estate sale is a good excuse.

I always look for cookbooks. This time, the family kept all but a few of the volumes. Only as we were leaving did I spot two of those archetypical three by five metal boxes on the kitchen counter. One had little in it, but the other had all the recipes this lively square dancer had collected since the seventies. Opening the box, I saw the cards were jammed into the little metal space as tight as they could be.

Pulling a good pinch of the 3x5 cards out, I spotted “Broccoli Casserole.” That sounded good.

One can of cream of mushroom soup, it began. Oh, dear. One cup of cheese. One half cup of Mayonnaise. Triple oh, dear. I remember wonderful fattening dishes very well, but we don’t eat that way anymore.

Pulling out more cards, I see that most seem to fall into the same category: High fat, high carbs, too much cholesterol, and high salt. I can taste all that good stuff now, and my mouth waters. Online I find, the eternally young Paula Deem offers us the traditional 1950’s Broccoli Casserole. Her’s has even more mayo. I won’t let her suck me in.

Can I make any of these old favorites better for me in these days of calorie counting, no salt, or few carbohydrates. It seems an adventure to discover the Italians make a béchamel, the old white sauce, using olive oil. That sound like a better alternative than a ersatz béchamel with cornstarch.

If the mushrooms were minced and gently sautéed in an olive oil - broth combo, they could be added to the low fat béchamel and equal something with only a few grams of fat. Over the broccoli the sauce goes to be topped by one of the new no fat cheeses that really melts or even better for the taste buds, less of a really sharp cheddar. Then again, you can use that awful fat free mayo as suggested in Cooking Light.

Ah, the delights of modern cooking. I’m laughing and sure Kay would be laughing too.


  1. Congrats on your healthier eating. I cannot eat low or no fat ice cream or salad dressing but I do eat less of both and watch my intake of carbs. and I try hard to keep to an exercise schedule, although that is out the window for a week or so!

  2. I have to tell you: I have decided that I do better eating fats in smaller portions than trying not to eat them at all. A little fat slows down the speed of absorption, so that eating a piece of bread or some potatoes doesn't give me a sugar rush.

    Eating a little real ice cream makes me feel pampered, and my glucose meter does not go through the roof. Or having some berries with real sour cream. Or a teaspoon of butter on my bagel.

  3. Egads! I used to cook with mushroom soup too. Mac n' cheese with mushroom soup and peas. I considered it a delicacy.

  4. I remember that great casserole and cream of mushroom soup...yummy!

    I'm sorry that you have lost your dear friend and sponsor, Kay. I'm sure you have so many great memories of her.

  5. I am always amazed at the similarities in our lives.

    I have the exact same recipe box. I have some great recipes in it too. I don't cook much anymore, but when I do, I adapt the recipes to "healthier" ingredients. They don't always come out well, but experimenting is half the fun. Great post. Dianne

  6. Maybe you could look on this find as an artifact from a time when HDL and LDL didn't mean anything?

    PS I love that casserole!

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  8. Sorry I goofed up that comment.
    I meant to say:
    Those recipes sound wonderful! I do make a broccoli casserole but it doesn't have mayonnaise in it. It does have Cream of Mushroom, shredded cheddar cheese, evaporate milk with French fried onion rings on top.

  9. It seems as if I should give you the link to my "gourmet" casserole:
    as it evolved

  10. Your post is just the opposite of mine. Come on by and read about cooking with a cube of butter!

  11. I would like to appreciate you the way you have shared the post with us. It is really hard to find the quality post, but you have done this job nicely man.Cheap Postcards


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Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home to see the latest installation.   Abstract flat ...