“Lighten” the Helium Balloon Up!!

I came across a recipe in my newly-acquired pressure cooker cookbook that I wanted to try… I’m not a huge soupy person since I’m lactosely challenged and/or liquidy challenged, so when I do make soup it has to be a special recipe… and by special I really mean loaded down with lard sauce!  The recipe?  Creamy Cheddar Vegetable Chowder.  COME ON… you can’t tell me that don’t sound lardy saucey.  Creamy and Cheddar are not allowed to be in the same sentence as vegetable… EVER!!!!  I dutifully typed the recipe in my MFP recipe majigger… which might be the coolest thing in the universal universe because you can make anything and find out how many calories are in it by plugging in the ingredients into that sucker.  So, I plugged them in and lo and behold, a light shone down upon me and I was sore afraid… 800 and some odd freaking calories PER SERVING… for SOUP!!!  SOUP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Yes, I realize that many exclamation points in a row is slightly serial killerish… work with me here, people!

I decided it would be a mega dumb idea to eat more than half of my daily calorie alottment on one meal… especially since I’ve adopted the 4 or 5 smaller meals a day rule… except on weekends when I adopt the 8 billion LARGER meals a day rule (good laws Whitney… you gotta fix that one up… and stat!!)  Then, I looked over at the sodium content which was some gross number in the thousands… also more than half my daily alottment of sodium grams.  I was about to bag it when I thought it might be worth a shot to see if I could rewrite the recipe… reinvent it, if you will.  I began playing around with it, dropping ingredients and adding other ingredients.  The original recipe called for 1 cup of heavy cream, 3 cups of whole milk, 1 cup of full fat sour cream, and 2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese.  And that is why it makes it a small heart attack waiting to happen.  I substituted skim milk for the whole milk, light sour cream for the sour cream, fat free cheddar for the cheese, and completely cut out the heavy cream.  By the time I was done with it, I ended up cutting the calories by more than half and the sodium content by half… BINGO… I can now eat you creamy and cheddar with vegetables!    I ended up making it in ye ole pressure cooker tonight and being somewhat disappointed.   I must have put the pressure cooker on the wrong setting and cooked the vegetables to mush… there used to be chunks of broccoli and celery and carrots and onions and potatoes… now it’s a pile of mush.  The fat free cheddar (which I eat on a regular basis) does not melt like the full fat version… it’s more stringy and mucousy looking… but I didn’t think it would matter much thrown into a soup.  The soup is not bad tasting, per se… I’m just not going to save the recipe for future makings.  Maybe I’ll wrangle up some calories to throw in a few saltines… saltines cover up everything!!!

Ye pot of stringy mush!

Question of the Day:  What’s the last recipe you “lightened” up? 

Oh, by the by… you can now officially reach me in my new padded room at the behavioral health unit!  When I was grocery shopping on Saturday at Wally World (Wally World for goodness sakes), I came across a stuffed Yoda doll thinger in the bread aisle.  Being that the aisle was empty and I was in the mood to do my best Yoda impersonation (this, considering the fact that I have never seen a Star Wars movie all the way through), I propped the Yoda up by some wheatish bread and started talking to it… Yoda like bread.. Yoda you say eat bread… I’m sure the impersonation was SPOT ON… While I was doing this, I failed to notice the group of people who had entered my aisle and were looking at me like I was some dagnabbed freak show!!  Nothing to see here fellars… field trip day at the BHU!





Filed under Calorizing, Food

12 responses to ““Lighten” the Helium Balloon Up!!

  1. Jen

    Good job lightening up that recipe. I’ve never used a pressure cooker, but my friend is going to give me a recipe for crock pot potato soup this week. I will let you know if it turns out.

  2. cl2

    I don’t cook all that much so I don’t ever alter recipes anymore, although I used to–back in the days when I started dieting–some MANY POUNDS ago. My recipe books still have my writing in them with how I altered them. I applaud you for all your efforts in cooking. I’d be SOOOOO disappointed if it didn’t work after I’d put all the work into it. Also–I usually don’t like my own cooking the first day. My kids love my cooking–but I can’t eat it until the next day. I used to make brownies when I was a teenager all the time and I couldn’t eat them after making them–and by the time I wanted some–the next day, they were gone. I don’t know why that is.

    • That is weird, Colleen! I wonder why you can’t eat it the day you make it but don’t mind the leftovers! I’d like to do that if I make desserty items… but sadly I have no problem eating it the same day it’s made! 😛

  3. Avster

    ha ha ha! Another reason why it’s a good thing that we can’t go shopping together! ~laughs~

    I have a problem with cheese melting in soup as well. It just doesn’t cooperate!

    Lighten a recipe? hrmm… I’m not sure… I talked about lightening a cheesecake recipe. (Seriously, five eight ounce packages of cream cheese!)

  4. Natalie

    hmph on the mush. Can you use the mush (blended more) for a stock for some freshly steamed veggies? Then you got the right consistancy chunks, with the extra healthy base?

  5. Natalie

    I have a thing about creamy or cheesy soups. It is worse than mushy vegetables for me! All in my mind, but makes me not want to make them!

  6. Louisa a.k.a. ProudMomOfTwo

    I have learned that most ‘creamy’ or ‘cheesy’ recipes mean higher calories & fat.
    Yes, you can lighten them some but cheddar is not a good one to try and get to melt. A good melting cheese is the Velveeta type cheese. Pretty darn tasty too.

    Too bad your soup turned out mushy and not so great, Whitney.
    Maybe add the veggies after you have made the creamy cheesy sauce and its bubbly… so they don’t get as soft
    Even in my vegetable beef soup, the veggies are usually the last thing I add.

    Funny about the Yoda doll. Totally something I would have done too. I would have probably put something in those lil creepy hands of his though – like a box of doughnuts…lol.

    Yes, I lightened up a box mix of fudge brownies the other day. We all wanted a sweet treat but I didn’t want all the fat & calories so I used the natural unsweetened applesauce in place of the oil in the recipe.
    They turned out great and promptly disappeared.

    • That’s what I get for following the recipe exactly as is… don’t always trust them recipes, I tell you what! Those brownies sound yummy! I’m going to have to make some with applesauce sometime!

      • Louisa a.k.a. ProudMomOfTwo

        I thought about you last night as I was making the spice cake & pumpkin muffins.
        Instead of just those two ingredients, I mixed in some chocolate chips and about a 1/4 cup of the natural unsweetened applesauce.
        WOW they sure turned out good. They are rich with the chocolate chips in there but lighter than before.
        You will have to try and let me know how you like it…

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