Getting Stuffed The Low-fat Way

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - November 16, 2005
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Long before most people think of the holidays, Jim Nabors is hard at work planning for A Merry Christmas with Friends and Nabors, his annual production at the Hawaii Theatre.

We in Honolulu have been blessed for decades with Jim’s presence. He gives back to the community ever year with this show. But what many people don’t know about this ever-humble man, recognized around the globe from his years as “Gomer Pyle” on television, is that he’s a sophisticated entertainer who has recorded 28 albums, garnering five gold and one platinum awards.


That’s quite an accomplishment in anyone’s book, but most especially for this Alabama-born son of a local police officer who started singing in his high school glee club. He majored in business administration at the University of Alabama and had many jobs on his way “up,” including answering telephones at the United Nations (where people had trouble understanding his Southern drawl) and working as a film cutter for a local television station in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Jim’s roots are deep here in Hawaii. His show is filled with hula and Hawaiiana, keiki and kahuna. Jim invites his friends - Karen Keawehawaii, Jimmy Borges, Emma Veary and Philip Huber and his marionettes - to headline with him.

This will be the ninth year for this spectacular extravaganza, which runs Dec. 2-4. Tickets are sure to go early, so make your plans to see the show.

It’s holiday go-off-the-diet season, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

Try these lower fat substitutions to trim the fat from your Thanksgiving meal.

* Substitute low fat margarine such as Smart Balance without trans fats, for butter in recipes.

* Use vegetable broth instead of chicken or turkey broth, and look for low sodium on the label.

* Use egg substitute or egg white for whole eggs. As a general rule, 2 egg whites=1 whole egg in most recipes

* Use low-fat, skim or evaporated milk instead of whole milk or cream. Whole milk contains 8 grams of fat per 1 cup serving, skim contains 0 grams.

* Use low-fat or nonfat sour cream for dips instead of regular sour cream.

* Try low-fat or nonfat cheese instead of regular cheese for toppings or in recipes calling for cheese.

For a lower-fat stuffing, add apples or dried fruit instead of sausage or fatty meat products, and bake in a separate pan to avoid the fat from the turkey dripping into the stuffing.

Here’s one of my favorite stuffing recipes.


TANGY SPICED STUFFING

* 2 1/2 cups low-fat, low-sodium vegetable broth
* 1/2 cup celery, fine dice
* 2 Maui onions, fine dice
* 3 cups diced whole-grain bread
* 3 cups cornbread (made from scratch or store-bought)
* 1 cup diced Granny Smith apples
* 1 cup dried cranberries
* 1/2 cup golden raisins
* 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
* 4 egg whites, beaten until frothy

In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1/2 cup of the chicken broth. Add the celery and onions and cook for 10 minutes until they have softened. In a large bowl, combine the cooked onions, remaining broth, breads, fruit, spices and egg whites. Mix well, making sure to incorporate spices evenly into mixture. Place mixture inside the cavity of a turkey or place it in a greased casserole dish. If stuffing is to be baked separately from the turkey, cover casserole dish with foil and place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Bake for 45 minutes and uncover. Continue baking for about 15 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

Makes 12 1/2-cup servings. Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 115

Fat: 3 grams (if cornbread is made from scratch with low-fat ingredients)

Sodium: 190 milligrams Cholesterol: 1 milligram

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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