In the kitchen with Henny: Low-fat recipes

Here are some low-fat, healthy yet appetizing options that are great for a BBQ or picnic.

Henny Shor. (photo credit: HENNY SHOR)
Henny Shor.
(photo credit: HENNY SHOR)
 Now that the weather is nice and people are getting together more to socialize outdoors, we are in full swing of the BBQ season!
Here are some low-fat, healthy yet appetizing options that are great for a BBQ or picnic. 
Years ago I was put on a very low-fat diet for two months, and I decided I would take this as a challenge and learn to make delicious low-fat foods. I went through my recipes and pulled together what was already low-fat and what recipes I needed to alter, so I could have my cake and eat it, too! I was amazed, as were others who got to sample these foods, that taste was not compromised.
(Photo Credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)(Photo Credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Potato salad

“Alef, bet, gimel, daled! I love potato salad!” I still remember this song from day camp when I was a kid in the bungalow colony in upstate New York where my father was the head counselor. He would lead the entire camp to do jumping jacks to this jingle every day at lineup on that very sunny basketball court.
Truth is, in those days when I was only six or seven years old, some of us would change the words to “I hate potato salad.” But luckily we’ve enhanced our culinary palate since then.
This recipe was my grandmother’s, and on a hot day it was a welcome treat. She used to make it with onions, but I enjoy it more with scallions (green onions). Either way, it’s refreshing and adds to any get-together.
Yields a large salad, 6-8 servings.
6-8 potatoes
3-4 Tbsp. low-fat mayonnaise
3-4 scallions or 1 onion
Fresh parsley (about a handful of leaves)
2 tsp. salt 
Dash black pepper
Fill a large pot halfway with water and place it on the stove to heat up. Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks and add them to the pot. Cover the pot, leaving it open just a bit, and bring the potatoes to a boil, then lower the flame and let cook for about 30-40 minutes. Drain out the water and let cool for 15 minutes.
While it is cooling, you can dice the scallions or onion and finely chop the parsley leaves.
In a large bowl cut the potatoes down to even smaller chunks, and it’s okay if some of them get a bit mushy. Add the low-fat mayonnaise, scallions, parsley, salt and pepper (feel free to taste it and see if it needs more salt or pepper, as potatoes vary in size).
Keep refrigerated in a container with a lid. Serve chilled. This keeps well in the fridge for up to five days.
(Photo Credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)(Photo Credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Lemon basil grilled chicken salad

Four years ago we attended our friends’ Independence Day BBQ, where they served lots of delectable grilled meats and chicken, including this juicy grilled lemon chicken, and I was hooked.
The next day, as I was deciding what to make for Shabbat lunch, I called our gracious hosts for the recipe, got out my grill pan, and was impressed how easy it was to prepare.
The next day I made a big garden salad, cut the grilled chicken into strips, made a simple dressing and – presto! – a great grilled chicken salad that has it all!
Yields a large salad, 6-8 servings.
1 kilo of schnitzel/chicken breast
Marinade:
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice; 1-2 lemons
2 Tbsp. chopped basil leaves or flakes
4 cloves of crushed garlic, about 2 Tbsp.
1 tsp. olive oil
Pinch black pepper
Salad:
This part I am leaving up to you. Prepare any garden salad the way you like it, but I’ll share with you what we put in our salad when we serve this amazing dish: lettuce, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, shredded cabbage, scallions, sprouts, and toasted seeds for a crunch.
Dressing:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar 
1 Tbsp. crushed garlic
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
You want to use chicken breasts that were already cut into schnitzel-type pieces, meaning they are thinner than a whole boneless chicken breast (do not use small chicken nugget-sized pieces, as those are harder to grill).
Put the chicken in a large bowl or ziplock bag, add all the marinade ingredients and mix very well, making sure to coat all the pieces of chicken. Let this marinade sit for at least an hour in the fridge.
Prepare the grill for cooking (or use a grill pan). Grill for about 3-4 minutes on each side until cooked through. Remove from the fire and let cool before slicing into strips. Alternatively, grill the chicken the day before and cut into strips before adding them to the salad.
Prepare the salad the way you like it, in a large serving bowl.
Mix all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, cover and shake well. Add the dressing to the salad right before serving, or keep the dressing separate and place a spoon in it so everyone can dress their own salad to their liking. Keep this dressing refrigerated until use. The dressing stays fresh for up to five days.
(Photo Credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)(Photo Credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Low-Fat chocolate cake

I had a chocolate cake recipe that was always my easy go-to, almost brownie-like, decadent chocolate cake. But when it comes to low fat – this was not it, or so I thought.
Then I decided to try to make it low fat, and I was willing to accept it wouldn’t be as good. I replaced three of the eggs with egg whites, keeping only one egg whole with yolk, and most of the oil was replaced with natural unsweetened applesauce, as applesauce in baking terms is a good substitute for oil. I was also able to decrease the amount of sugar, since applesauce is naturally sweet.
No one, myself included, was able to tell the difference between my usual chocolate cake and the new low-fat version! And for all you gluten-free cake lovers, this works great if you substitute GF flour or potato starch for the amount of flour listed.
Enjoy your cake and eat it, too!
Yields a 9x13 pan, or a 10-inch round pan.
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1½ cup sugar
3 egg whites
1 whole egg
1 Tbsp. coffee dissolved in less than 1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour (or gluten-free flour)
3/4 cup cocoa
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Optional: Top with chocolate syrup
Preheat the oven to 170° C.
Using a mixing bowl, add in the oil, applesauce, sugar, egg whites, egg and dissolved coffee. Mix well until smooth, then add in the remaining ingredients. Mix well for about 2-3 minutes until there are not clumps.
Pour into a greased baking pan. Bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes until the center of the cake bounces back when touched gently.
Remove and let cool. Slice the cake and add chocolate syrup, fresh berries, or powdered sugar for decoration. 
The writer is a kitchen coach inspiring confidence and creativity in the kitchen. She runs online kitchen workshops, does private events for organizations and is available for one-on-one coaching to bring the best out of your kitchen. www.inthekitchenwithhenny.com