Take the fat out of Fat Tuesday: Healthy Mardi Gras tips and recipes
By Brittany Anas
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Translation: Let the good times roll.
It’s Mardi Gras time, y’all, and whether you’re down in New Orleans for the debauchery or you’re celebrating remotely, we all know the festival can be, well, indulgent in every sense of the word. Take the menu: The hurricanes. The buttery, fried seafood. Let’s not forget the sugary King Cake.
While we love a good party, here’s a few ways that you can draw inspiration from southern cooking while majorly trimming down the calories.
- Give Bobby Deen’s recipes a try. Son of Paula Deen, Bobby Deen, is making a name for himself by coming up with healtheir twists on traditional southern recipes. He’s got a new show on the Cooking Channel called “Not My Mama’s Meals.” Bobby Deen reinterprets his mother’s famous dishes — which have never gone light on the butter — and comes up with lighter renditions. That way, he says, you can enjoy Southern cooking throughout the week, rather than just splurging on a big Sunday supper. He also has a new recipe book: — Bobby Deen’s Everyday Eats from Walmart, where you’ll get 3 percent Cash Back on your purchases. It includes 120 recipes that are all under 350 calories and can be fixed in 30 minutes or less. You can find some free, sample recipes here, including Chimichurri Steaks and Stir Fried Chicken with Green Beans and Cashews. But our favorite is the Veggie Mac and Cheese Casserole (pictured), which is loaded up with veggies like broccoli and cauliflower. By using Gruyere and Parmesean, very flavorful cheeses, you won’t even notice the cheese is slashed by more than half of the usual amount. A serving is 341 calories with just 4 grams of fat.
- Visit a local spice shop and get a cajun salt or cajun rub. It’s great on poultry and fish and even can be springled on sauteed vegetables. You’ll get a great flavor — without pulling out the frying pan. Since you can buy spices by the ounce at most spice shops, you’ll find that it can be easier on the budget than buying in bulk — especially when you only need a few pinches.
- Cut calories from your Hurricane. The sugary rum drink is a staple on Bourbon Street, sure. While there are hundreds of versions of Hurricanes, it’s typically made with light rum, dark rum, cranberry juice, orange juice and grenadine. Cut the grenadine and use a light cranberry juice (there are plenty that are just 5 calories per serving). Another trick is to mix in tonic or soda water for a fizz — without the calories.
(P.S. ShopAtHome.com is celebrating Mardi Gras with a Fat Savings event now through March 9. Find out here how to get crazy-good Cash Back deals at stores like Bloomingdale’s, Bed Bath and Beyond and Kohl’s).
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