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Enjoy these low-cal festive recipes!

Last updated on: December 23, 2009 16:03 IST

Enjoy these low-cal festive recipes!

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Here's how to whip up four tasty treats for the festive season without packing in the calories -- or packing on the pounds!

Chocolate Chip Pudding

This easy to make homemade chocolate pudding is especially for the chocolate lover. Serve chilled, and top this chocolate pudding with fresh strawberries or sliced bananas for a tasty and a healthy dessert.

Chocolate is made from plants, which means it contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables. These benefits are from flavonoids, which act as good antioxidants and help relax blood pressure. Cocoa powder, which is used in making dark chocolate, has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent, which in turn keeps your heart healthy. Eating dark chocolate boosts one's appetite, but does not cause weight gain. Fat-free milk used for this preparation helps in maintaining strong bones and lowers the risk of developing breast cancer.

Good for: Cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, weight loss, healthy bones, women's health

Health factor: Low fat, low salt, low cholesterol, high calcium, high protein

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Ingredients: (makes 4 puddings)

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsps corn starch
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups non-fat milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsps chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Combine cornstarch, sugar and cocoa powder in a medium-sized saucepan. Gradually whisk in the milk until well-blended.
  • Cook the pudding over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it starts to become thick and small bubbles begin to break the surface, for about 4 minutes.
  • Have the egg beaten in a medium-sized bowl. Gradually add the pudding mixture into the egg, and whisk until well-blended.
  • Return pudding to the saucepan, over medium-high heat, and stir in the chocolate chips until they are melted and the pudding is smooth.
  • Remove the pudding from the heat, and stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Divide pudding among 4 small pudding bowls, cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • The milk can be replaced with soy or rice milk (unsweetened) or even just plain water if you are lactose-intolerant.


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Grilled Chicken with Chili Sauce

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This recipe is absolutely delicious! Seasoned chicken with a savory sauce and veggies on top!

People who are meat-eaters, but are looking for ways to reduce the amount of fat in their meals, can try eating more chicken. The leanest part of the chicken is the breast. And as we all know, chicken is a good source of protein, which protects against bone loss in older people. Niacin (a B vitamin) and Selenium (a mineral) have shown cancer-preventive activities. Niacin also helps in normal insulin activity. Vitamin B6 present in it plays a vital role in cardiovascular health.

Good for: Cancer, heart disease, healthy bones, post-menopausal health

Health factor: High protein, high vitamins, high minerals

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients: (makes 4 servings)

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsps lime juice
  • 2.5 tbsps chillie powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions:

  • Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 tbsp of chillie powder, salt and pepper.
  • Grill the chicken until both sides are browned (cooked thoroughly).
  • Boil corn and set aside.
  • Alongside, in a pan, heat chicken stock, remaining chillie powder, boiled corn, sugar, lime juice, green pepper, red pepper and green onions and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Top the chicken with this prepared sauce.
  • Serve it hot.


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Chili Paneer

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Of all the paneer recipes, Chili Paneer is a spicy oriental dish which is very popular in Indian cuisine.

Paneer or cottage cheese, prepared in the most simple method, is a treasure of nutrition. It is a good source of protein and calcium. The high protein content of paneer helps the body with growth and renewal. Calcium helps in building strong bones and teeth. It also has the health benefit of preventing osteoporosis, which is one of the most common problems seen in old age. It is very interesting to know that many studies have shown that it helps in preventing cancer as well as prevent stomach disorders in people as they grow older.

Good for: Cancer, diabetes, weight loss, healthy bones, gastrointestinal health

Health factor: High calcium, high protein, high vitamins, high minerals

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients: (makes 4-6 servings)

  • 400 gms low-fat paneer
  • 8 tbsps corn flour
  • 2 tbsps oil
  • 4 onions
  • 6-8 garlic (lahsun) cloves
  • 6-8 green chillies
  • 2 large capsicums
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp white pepper powder
  • 4 tbsps soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ajinomoto (Chinese salt)
  • 2 tbsps chillie sauce
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

  • Drain paneer properly and chop down into medium-sized pieces.
  • Heat sufficient oil in a pan, roll the paneer pieces in corn flour and shallow-fry the on medium heat, till the edges turn brown. Thereafter set the fried paneer pieces aside.
  • Blend remaining corn flour in quarter cup of water and set aside. Chop the onions into thick slices and crush the garlic cloves.
  • Chop green chillies and cut capsicum into thick strips and set them aside.
  • After this, heat one tbsp of oil in a pan, add crushed garlic and then stir-fry for some time.
  • Add sliced green chillies, onion as well as capsicum and saute for some time.
  • After this add fried paneer pieces and stir in the vegetable stock.
  • Add salt, pepper powder, soy sauce, chilly sauce, ajinomoto and the blended corn flour and keep stirring, while cooking on high heat until the sauce thickens to coat the paneer.
  • Serve hot with fried rice.


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Carrot Kheer

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This is one yummy and easy to make kheer that can be completely enjoyed by hypertensive as well as diabetic people.

Carrots are an excellent source of antioxidants and the richest vegetable source of pro-vitamin A carotenes. Carrots' antioxidant compounds help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer and also promote good vision, especially night vision. Studies have shown that carotenoids may be inversely associated with insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels. The beta-carotene present in carrot also helps maintain normal blood pressure by regulating heart and kidney functions.

Good for: Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, weight loss

Health factor: Low fat, high vitamins

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients: (makes 2 servings)

  • 1 medium-sized carrot, grated
  • 2-3 tbsps sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 cashew nuts (kaju)
  • 2 cardamom pods (elaichi)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp ghee

Instructions:

  • Fry the cashews in ghee and set aside.
  • Saute the grated carrots in ghee for 5 minutes.
  • Add sugar, 1/2 cup water and cook until the carrots become soft.
  • Add milk and boil. Once boiled, remove from fire and add cardamom and fried cashews.
  • Serve chilled.


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