Recipe Makeovers

If you’re pondering a New Year’s resolution and it involves how food affects your wellness, here are a few healthy alternatives that may make a difference without sacrificing what you (still) want to enjoy at mealtime. 


This recipe brings together all kinds of fruits and vegetables in an earthy muffin that tastes very good indeed. These alternative options are a good idea whether you’re making muffins or any baked goods. 

2 c. all-purpose flour 1c. all-purpose flour
1c. whole-wheat flour
whole-wheat flour increases the fiber content
1 1/2 c. sugar 3/4 c. sugar reduce calories
2 t. baking soda 2 t. baking soda baking soda keeps the muffins light and fluffy
1 t. cinnamon 2 t. cinnamon enhances perception of sweetness
1/2 teaspoon salt no salt baking soda provides sodium for leavening
3 large eggs 3/4 cup egg substitute reduces saturated fat
and cholesterol
1 c. vegetable oil 1/2 c. vegetable oil and 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce reduces fat and helps retain
1/2 c. sweetened coconut no coconut reduces saturated fat, sugar, and calories
1 t. vanilla extract 2 t. vanilla extract enhances perception of sweetness
2 c. peeled and chopped apple 2 c. chopped with peel increases fiber
1/2 c. raisins 1/2 c. raisins no increase; raisins have plenty of calories
1/2 c. grated carrots 3/4 c. grated carrots increases vitamin A and fiber • helps
replace lost volume from omitting coconut
1/2 c. chopped pecans 2 T chopped pecans reduces fat and calories

Original preparation: 

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin,
    or line it with papers and spray the insides of the papers.
  • In a small bowl, cover raisins with hot water, and set them aside
    to soak while you assemble the rest of the recipe.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda,
    spices, and salt.
  • Stir in the carrots, apple, coconut, nuts.
  • In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil, vanilla.
  • Add to the flour mixture, and stir until evenly moistened.
  • Drain the raisins and stir them in.
  • Divide the batter among the wells of the prepared pan 
  • Bake 25 to 28 minutes, until nicely domed
  • Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes in their pan on a rack, then turn out of pans to finish cooling. Wrap any leftovers airtight, and store at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.


This healthy take on a classic recipe slashes calories, fat, and sodium so you can keep all the bacon! They freeze nicely too. 


  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • Dash pepper
  • 2 packages (1.9 ounces each) frozen miniature phyllo tart shells

In a small bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Place tart shells on an ungreased baking sheet; fill each with 2 teaspoons mixture.

Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until filling is set and shells are lightly browned. Serve warm.

54 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated fat), 13mg cholesterol, 77mg sodium, 3g carb (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 3g protein.


Yes—it is possible to lighten up this quintessential southern favorite. 


  • 1 beef top round steak (1 pound) 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, divided 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 c plus 4-1/2 t all-purpose flour, divided 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons butter 1 cup 2% milk

Cut steak into four serving-size pieces; pound to 1/4-in. thickness. Combine the salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and onion powder; sprinkle over steaks.

Place buttermilk and 3/4 cup flour in separate shallow bowls. Dip steaks in buttermilk, then flour.

In a large skillet, cook steaks in oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until meat is no longer pink. Remove and keep warm.

In a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in remaining flour until smooth; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Stir in remaining garlic powder and pepper. Serve with steak.

318 calories, 13g fat (5g saturated fat), 80mg cholesterol, 410mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 1g fiber), 30g protein.

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