Skip to content

    The 'Recipe Doctor' shares her top light cooking secrets

    While children everywhere are thinking of knocking on doors and screaming "Trick or treat!" with visions of mini candy bars dancing in their heads, grown-ups are enjoying other aspects of fall. 'Tis the season of comfort foods, after all!

    In honor of Halloween and all things fall, here are 10 of my "tricks" you can use to lighten up your favorite fall "treats":

    1. Canola Cooking Spray

    Often, it works well to disperse a small amount of olive oil or canola oil onto the surface of a pan or a food instead of drenching or submerging the food in fat. You're still using oil this way -- just a lot less. Using spray leaves just enough oil on the surface of the food so it can brown and crisp as it cooks.

    2. Lemon, Lime, or Orange Zest

    The zest, or outermost layer, of a citrus fruit is full of aromatic oils and flavor, and is an easy way to boost the flavor of low-fat dough and batters. When I lighten up recipes, I try to zip up the flavor to compensate for taking out fat. I use zest in all sorts of recipes, from muffins, cakes, and bars to pies and pancakes. It adds that punch of flavor without adding any calories or fat.

    3. Nonstick Frying Pans, Saucepans, and Baking Dishes

    Using nonstick pans and dishes means you need less fat to keep food from sticking. They make light cooking and baking a lot easier! I just bought a nonstick, spring-form pan on sale, and I can't wait to try it out on my new fall light cheesecake (I create one almost every year).

    4. Wine

    When I take some of the fat out of recipes, I usually need to add another ingredient to replace the lost moisture/liquid from the fat. Wine works well in recipes where its flavor complements the flavors of the dish -- for sautéing veggies, making a marinade or sauce, and even baking certain breads or desserts. Instead of wine you can also use broth or alcohol-free beer for sautéing veggies, fruit juice or puree for marinades and salad dressing, or fruit juice, yogurt, sour cream, or liqueur for muffins, cakes, etc.

    Healthy Recipe Finder

    Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

    Top searches: Chicken, Chocolate, Salad, Desserts, Soup

    Heart Rate Calculator

    Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

    While you are exercising, you should count between...