Sunday, May 7, 2017
Lemonade Budget Cooking
My melancholiness from Friday is over or at least pushed aside. Sometimes talking or in this case writing out angst, is enough to get the "ish" out of my system. On to other things. I learned a new term the other day from the Frugal Queen, called Lemonade Budget. Apparently it is the same as I've always referred to as the beer budget, as in champagne tastes on a beer budget. I guess that might say something of me that I didn't know the nonalcoholic version. Anyway, check out the link to FQ's favorite budget meal. As I try and not only keep my grocery budget in line, I also am challenged now with thinking through healthier options than my simple carb loaded hotdishes and pastas. I've been wondering about my favorite lemonade budget meal, and how I can make it healthier.
I make a killer macaroni and cheese. The trick is to get the creamiest bechamel sauce first, at least 1/3 more than you need to cover the pasta, and then use a good mellow cheddar, and amply coat the macaroni. I've been experimenting with substitutions for the calorie laden cheese,
Neufchatel cheese has 74 calories per ounce to 110 per ounce cheddar. In my recipe, I use at least four ounces or one cup of shredded cheese, but by using 2 ounces of neufchatel cream cheese plus only 2 of sharp cheddar, more punch per bite, and the recipe drops 13 calories per hearty serving, with no sacrifice in taste. Using olive oil instead of butter adds a healthy fat in the sauce and using whole wheat pasta ups the staying power. As I already use skim milk, the sauce is not that high in those calories, but even reducing 1/2 the skim milk with 1/2 cup of broth, drops another 10 calories a serving. While 23 calories isn't huge, if this is done on 14 meals per week, a pound of excess weight is gone without really doing a thing, not even factoring the health boosts of the oil and pasta, after 11 weeks, or 4.5 pounds in a year.
Long game, right? If someone said I could be 22 pound slighter in five years without dieting, I'd want to hear what they have to say. Now I need to listen to myself and reinvent how I cook. I know about food, what can substitute for what; time to apply this and not just to my spurge meals. As I challenge myself to reinvent the humblest meals in my home, I'll share my successes and failures with you all.