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Traditional Hot and Sour Soup

Several Asian culinary traditions include hot and sour soups, so ingredients vary widely. One common feature, however, is red peppers or white pepper for heat, and vinegar for sour. Our simpler version (serves 4) is long on flavor and promises to become one of your own family’s traditions. (And expect guests to think you purchased it from a restaurant!)

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ small onion, cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices
  • 2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper or chili garlic sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 large whole egg, beaten
  • 2 large scallions, trimmed and cut crosswise into ¼ inch-thick slices
  • 6 ounces firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and onion, cover and stir occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté about 4 minutes.
  2. Add broth, carrots, ginger, black pepper and cayenne; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Place cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk in soy sauce and vinegar. Slowly whisk cornstarch mixture into soup. Simmer until soup has thickened and clear, 2 minutes. Turn off heat.
  4. While stirring in one direction, pour in beaten egg. Add tofu, cover soup, and let stand 1 minute. Remove the cover and add scallions. Serve hot.

Per serving: 152 calories, 12g protein, 14g carbohydrate, 7g fat, 1g sat fat, 4g mono fat, 53mg cholesterol, 2g fiber, 410mg sodium

The Seasoned Cook For some heft as well as extra protein, add 4 ounces of cooked chicken, shrimp or pork. Additional vinegar will increase sourness. To keep tofu fresh for a week, cover with water and refrigerate, changing water daily. Chili garlic sauce is found in the Asian foods aisle of most grocery stores.

Oven Fried Chicken

At the next picnic, you don’t have to give up your beloved fried chicken; just bake it instead using this recipe and enjoy! Serves 4.

Try this with: Green beans and mashed sweet potato.

Ingredients

  • 4 4-oz chicken breasts, boneless, skin removed
  • ⅔ cup low-fat buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon thyme

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Pour buttermilk into bowl.
  3. Mix together crumbs and spices in a second bowl.
  4. Dip chicken in buttermilk, dredge in mixture and place on lightly oil sprayed cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Per serving: 363 calories, 30 gm protein, 22 gm carbohydrate, 16 gm fat, 1 gm saturated fat, 58 mg cholesterol, 1 gm fiber, 633 mg sodium

THE SEASONED COOK For kids, try cutting the chicken into bite-size pieces and serving as nuggets. Prepare separate low-fat dipping sauces for a fun party idea.

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