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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column:‘Tis the Month After Christmas — How About Those Resolutions?

By Sherrie Norris

Most everyone with whom I’ve talked “resolutions” during the last couple of weeks have agreed that “it ain’t easy” to stick to those especially related to exercising, dieting, cutting out the sugar, the carbs, etc. Whew. It’s been anything but easy for this old gal who loves to cook —and eat — and mostly when there’s snow falling and all the chores are done. 

On a cold winter’s day, nothing beats a pot of chicken and dumplings, or a pot of spaghetti with garlic bread, or chili or soup with a grilled cheese with two kinds of gourmet cheese, mayonnaise on the inside and butter slathered all over the outside. How about all those sweets that are still laying around on the counter, even when you froze most of them, but decided to get out a few at a time, so you wouldn’t be too tempted all at once? Yeah, I know. 

And then, there’s all those ingredients in the pantry from the baking you didn’t get around to doing. Just how long will those peanut butter morsels last? What about that cream cheese pound cake recipe you saw in the latest magazine that keeps knocking on your mind’s revolving door? Yeah, the struggle is real, folks. And I bet I’m not the only one who knows all about it.

I ran across a poem, years ago, that pretty well sums up how I see it. I think a few of you might identify, as well:

‘Twas the month after Christmas, and all through the house, 

nothing would fit me, not even a blouse. 

The cookies I’d nibbled, the eggnog I’d taste 

at the holiday parties had gone to my waist. 

When I got on the scales there arose such a number! 

When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber),

 I’d remember the marvelous meals I’d prepared,

The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared, 

The punch and the fudge, the bread and the cheese —

And the way I’d never said, “No thank you, please.” 

I finally decided, away with the last of the dip,

Get rid of the fruitcake, every cracker and chip! 

Every last bit of junk food must be banished, 

‘til all the additional ounces have vanished. 

I won’t have a cookie — not even a lick. 

I’ll chew only on a long celery stick. 

I won’t have hot biscuits or cornbread, or pie,

I’ll munch on a carrot and quietly cry. 

I’m hungry, I’m lonesome, and life is a bore,

But isn’t that what January is for? 

It’s still a new year and I can’t fight it,

So to all  of you —I wish you  a good diet!” 

How about we get back on track? It’s not too late to try again


Low-Fat Stroganoff

1 lb. ground turkey

2 cans low-fat mushroom soup

1 pkg. low-fat Hidden Valley Ranch dry dressing mix

1 (16-oz.) carton low-fat sour cream

Egg noodles

Brown turkey and drain. Stir in soup and dressing mix. Heat over low heat for 15 minutes. Just before serving, stir in sour cream. Serve over prepared egg noodles.

Fresh Fruit Tart

½ cup nonfat or low-fat sour cream

2 Tbsp. powdered sugar

1 tsp. chopped fresh mint or ¼ tsp. dried mint, crushed

4-oz. pkg. (six-small) single-serve graham cracker crusts 

1 cup assorted cut-up fresh fruit

1/3 cup nonfat or low-fat lemon yogurt

In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, powdered sugar and mint. Spoon into graham cracker crusts. Arrange fruit over sour cream mixture. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until serving time.
Just before serving, stir yogurt and drizzle over fruit

Herbed Lemon Chicken Breasts

6 (4 oz.) boneless skinless chicken breast halves

1/3 cup all-purpose flour 

2 Tbsp. Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper Seasoning Blend

1 Tbsp. unsalted margarine

1 medium fresh lemon, zested and juiced

1 cup low sodium chicken stock

1 Tbsp. brown sugar 

Pat chicken breasts dry. Place flour and Mrs. Dash in a plate and mix thoroughly. Dredge chicken breasts in flour mixture. Heat margarine in a large skillet and add chicken. Brown chicken on both sides but do not cook through. Transfer chicken to large casserole dish. In a bowl, mix zest and juice from one lemon, chicken stock and brown sugar. Pour over chicken. Bake for 30-35 minutes in 375°F preheated oven or until chicken breasts are cooked through.

Vegetable Stir-Fry

1 lb. fresh broccoli

1 Tbs. (Smart Balance) margarine/butter 

1 tsp. peanut or olive oil

1 lb. carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

¾ lb. mushrooms, thinly sliced

5 med. green onions, thinly sliced

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

2 Tbs. cooking sherry (optional)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. thyme

Rinse and trim broccoli. Separate florets, cut into uniform pieces. Peel stems and cut into 2-inch lengths. Set aside.

In a large skillet or wok, heat margarine and oil over medium heat. Add broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and onions. Cook and stir 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp. Stir in lemon juice, sherry and other seasonings. Serve immediately.