6 Tips for Cooking With Cheese continued...
2. Sometimes real cheese counts. There are situations in which a particular type of cheese is needed for a recipe, and there's no reduced-fat version available -- as with Parmesan or Brie. In these recipes, I tend to use the "real" cheese. But sometimes I use less, and I try to cut back on fat and saturated fat in other steps and ingredients of the recipe.
3. High-flavor cheese to the rescue! When you switch to a high-flavor cheese, you can use less. I follow this strategy when I can't use a reduced-fat cheese in a particular recipe. Some high-flavor cheeses that come to mind are:
- Parmesan and Romano
- Any smoked cheese
- Bleu cheese, gorgonzola, or other pungent cheeses
- Extra-sharp cheddar
- Goat or feta cheese
4. Sprinkle, don't smother. Often, recipes for casseroles or other mixed dishes call for a blanket of cheese over the top. Yet a sprinkling is enough to do the trick. I'm talking about a cup and a half of shredded cheese to cover a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, instead of 3 cups.
5. Pair cheese with healthy partners. Since cheese is a source of saturated fat, pair it with lower-fat and higher-fiber foods. Think pears, pasta, whole grains, beans, and vegetables instead of butter, high-fat crackers and pastries, and high-fat meats like salami or sausage.
6. Fat-free cheese may not please. I've personally never tasted a fat-free cheese I've liked, so if you're looking to find one, proceed with caution. It isn't going to melt like real cheese or taste like real cheese -- it just isn't. I've learned that manufacturers sometimes go too far when taking the fat out of food ingredients. When that happens, the fat-free food has very little in common -- chemically or aesthetically -- with the original food. Fat-free margarine, anyone?
There are lots of types of cheese out there in supermarket-land. You can even buy cheese made from soy milk or goats' milk. And if your grocery store has a deli cheese section, you'll find all sorts of imported and domestic cheese, from feta and farmers to Gouda and Gruyere.
Here are how a few of the more common options measure up nutritionally:
(% Daily Value)
|Kraft 2% Sharp Cheddar|
|Borden 2% American Slices|