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10 Tricks to Lighten Up Your Favorite Treats

The 'Recipe Doctor' shares her top light cooking secrets

5. Egg Substitute

Egg Beaters and similar egg substitutes are made up mostly of egg whites, and they come in handy when lightening egg dishes like quiche or omelets. For most egg dishes, you can use half real eggs and half egg substitute without a noticeable difference in taste or texture. Keep in mind that 1/4 cup of egg substitute is equal to 1 large egg.

6. Fat-Free Sour Cream

Fat-free sour cream is the bomb in light recipes for two reasons: it's an easy replacement for real sour cream called for in recipes, and you can also use it as a substitute for some of the fat you've cut from baking recipes like brownies, cake, or muffins.

7. Less, or Lighter, Cheese

You have two light choices when it comes to recipes using one of my favorite food ingredients -- cheese. You can use half as much of the full-fat cheese called for, or you can use the same amount called for but switch to a light or reduced-fat cheese. Recipes often call for more cheese than is truly needed, so if you stick with full-fat cheese, you can usually get by quite well with less.

8. Light Cream Cheese

It looks like cream cheese, it tastes like cream cheese ... but it's light cream cheese, with 1/3 to 1/2 less fat, depending on the brand. For recipes calling for cream cheese -- cheesecakes, cookies, muffins, casserole, spreads, or sauces -- you can usually use light cream cheese without a noticeable difference. If you want to cut calories and fat even more, use half light cream cheese and half fat-free cream cheese. (I don't use fat-free cream cheese for the full amount called for in recipes because I think its taste and texture is just too far from the real thing.)

9. Lean and Trimmed Meats

Buying lean or lower-fat meat (like skinless chicken, light sausage, the leanest cuts of beef or pork) for your recipes can crank the calories and fat down a few notches without really changing the taste of the dish. And don't forget to trim any visible white fat from the meat before adding it to your recipes.

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