Mock Nachos May Fill You Up, Not Out
Mock crab has plenty of takers who want to save money, but what if saving calories is your goal? Perhaps you could create your own mock-ups of favorite foods. I've done it with nachos, and such action can expand your culinary skills without expanding your waistline.
The key with any mock maneuver is to recreate the parts, even when the ingredients are different than the original. In regard to nifty nachos, that means a foundation to replace the chips and tempters to stand in for the cheese and toppings.
Following are a few of my favorites and make terrific autumn appetizers and snacks. All ingredients are to taste and arranged on baking sheets before broiling.
ONIONS ARE AWESOME
Divide red and white onions into pieces that resemble a base of chips. Top with minced scallions, chives, red chili pepper flakes, curry powder and chopped black and green pitted olives.
THE GIFT OF WHOLE GRAINS
Use multigrain baked chips as the foundation. Top with minced cooked chicken sausage, Mexican seasoning blend, chopped cilantro, diced tomatoes, spicy mustard and a drizzle of maple syrup.
HOW SWEET IT IS
Bake sweet potatoes and, when cool, slit and scoop out filling, leaving about one quarter inch on the skin. (Reserve the filling to make an additional dish like mashed sweet potatoes.) Cut the sweet potato skins into sixths and top with ground cinnamon, freshly ground black pepper, golden raisins and chopped pecans.
LEAF OF FAITH
Chop layers of radicchio into the size of chips. Drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Top with finely minced kale and roasted red peppers. Top with crumbled fried onions.
Seed green, red and yellow bell peppers and cut into the size of chips. Brush with barbecue sauce and top with cooked corn kernels and red chili pepper flakes.
TRY THESE APPS
Core red and green apples, slice into wide wedges, leaving about one quarter inch of flesh on the skin. Brush with mint jelly and top with minced fresh mint and Chinese Five Spice powder, found in the spice aisle of most supermarkets.
AFTER-WORK GOURMET COOKBOOK SHELF
If you're too busy to be creating whole foods all day long, don't fret: Jessica Nadel has done it for you in "Superfoods 24/7: More than 100 Easy & Inspired Recipes to Enjoy the World's Most Nutritious Foods at Every Meal, Every Day." This means Adzuki beans will be hiding in your brownies and tahini in your truffles and, yes, you can guiltlessly enjoy brownies and truffles along with entire inspiring menus from the acclaimed author of "Greens 24/7."
Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the author of seven food books, including "Mrs. Cubbison's Best Stuffing Cookbook" and "The Sourdough Bread Bowl Cookbook." To find out more about Lisa Messinger and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.