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February 13, 2013
Yogurt, 20 Ways
By Tamara Duker Freuman, MS, RD, CDN (www.TamaraDuker.com), Feb. 2013
An NYC-based registered dietitian who specializes in digestive disorders and food intolerances
If you've resolved to get more culture this year (that is, cultured dairy products) but struggle with
how to incorporate probiotic rich foods like yogurt and kefir into your daily diet beyond the obvious, then perhaps some inspiration is in order.
Although yogurt tends to be relegated to a limited role at breakfast (with fruit or granola) or snacks (on its own) it need not be. In my home, yogurt and kefir are fridge staples that are called upon around the clock to round out breakfasts, lunches, dinners AND desserts. These versatile and healthful foods can pinch-hit for a variety of less-virtuous ingredients; this helps streamline an already crowded refrigerator inventory, ensure a steady flow of calcium and protein into the diet, and add tangy flavor and creamy texture to a host of dishes.
Once you see the list below, you'll appreciate why I always keep plain Green Valley Organics
Lactose Free and Redwood Hill Farm yogurt and kefir close at hand!
Breakfast & Brunch
- Use plain kefir in lieu of buttermilk in your favorite pancake or waffle recipe (I use Green Valley Organics plain kefir for my family's favorite gluten-free, lactose-free Carrot Cake Pancakes)
- Do you have breakfast on the run? Fill your stainless steel travel thermos with a different smoothie each day of the week using this ingenious Smoothie Chart. All you need is plain kefir in the fridge and a pantry stocked with your favorite assortment of superfoods. (My favorite combo is the Pumpkin Pie in the Sky!)
- No time to assemble breakfast in the morning and too tired to cook at night? Make Overnight Oatmeal with kefir. Just combine 1 cup plain rolled oats (not instant or quick cooking) with 1 cup plain lowfat kefir in a large bowl. Add ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract, 1 TBSP agave nectar and ½ tsp lemon zest. (Or use one packet Stevia natural herb sweetener instead of agave mixed with a ½ tsp cinnamon in place of lemon zest.) Soak overnight in fridge and serve the next morning with fresh berries, walnuts or sliced fruit. (No need to re-heat, but you can warm it in microwave if you prefer). Makes 2 healthy servings.
- Use plain lowfat kefir in lieu of milk or cream – cup for cup – when making your favorite egg dishes: quiches, frittatas and stratas.
- Baking biscuits? Elevate those buttermilk biscuits into golden, airy kefir biscuits instead!
- In lieu of hummus as a veggie/pita dip, falafel accompaniment or sandwich spread, try my easy recipe for protein-rich Goat's Milk Labneh – a Middle Eastern yogurt dip – instead.
- Use plain kefir in a salad dressing, like this superfood Quinoa Kale Salad with Kefir-Cumin dressing.
- Wean your little chicken finger addicts onto a healthier, family-friendly alternative: Oven "Fried" Chicken Strips with Ranch Dipping Sauce.
- Dress summer slaws with lowfat plain yogurt in lieu of heavy, high-fat, high-cholesterol mayo.
- Need inspiration? How about this, Carrot-Celery Slaw with Yogurt Dressing.
- Soup and sandwich is an easy and comforting cool weather lunch. Use plain, Green Valley Organics Lactose Free lowfat kefir in lieu of heavy cream to make a creamy, low calorie, comforting Cauliflower soup that can be enjoyed by everyone in the family. Just combine 1 large head cauliflower, chopped into florets with a chopped medium onion and 2 cups broth in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Add 2 cups plain kefir and puree in the pot using an immersion blender. Continue cooking uncovered for 10-15 minutes. Season as desired with salt, thyme and/or freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
- Use leftover cauliflower soup from lunch in lieu of béchamel ("white sauce") in a Spinach Mushroom White Lasagna for dinner the next night.
- Use plain yogurt for a tandoori marinade for chicken kebabs. For this, a thick whole milk yogurt works best; I like Redwood Hill Farm plain goat's milk yogurt. If you don't have exotic spices in your cabinet, take a shortcut: look for a pre-mixed Tandoori spice blend in your grocer's ethnic foods aisle and just combine with yogurt as directed.
- Prefer plain yogurt with minced chives in lieu of Sour Cream to top off baked potatoes or chili.
- Speaking of chili, if you pair yours with cornbread, you can use kefir in lieu of buttermilk to produce this ethereally tender-crumbed Skillet Cornbread made with healthy whole grains!
- Lighten up your Creamed Spinach with plain, Green Valley Organics Lactose Free lowfat kefir while making it lactose-friendly for digestively sensitive dinner guests.
Treats and Sweets
- Swap heavy cream with lowfat kefir in your Pumpkin Pie to save 100 calories per slice. Easy as pie!
- Treat yourself to Pumpkin Pie on a Stick AND squeeze in a serving of orange veggies painlessly!
- My frozen Pumpkin Paletas have only 60 calorie per pop, thanks to lowfat Green Valley Organics Lactose Free kefir.
- Goat's Yogurt Cheesecake is a sophisticated take on the familiar classic. A happy compromise between a French-style cheese course and a cloying sweet American-style dessert, this recipe is certain to impress worldly foodies and sweet-toothed hedonists alike.
- Looking for a brilliant high-protein, high-calcium snack in the under 200 calorie range? Love peanut butter and chocolate? Whip up my favorite, pudding-like Peanut Butter Chocolate Parfait with plain, lowfat Green Valley Organics Yogurt; it tastes far naughtier than it is!
- Tangy yogurt and Sour Cream "Ice Creams" are unique ways to enjoy a creamy treat when warm weather arrives; Green Valley Organics products can help you make a lactose-free version that everyone can enjoy. I've swapped 1 cup GVO sour cream and 1 cup plain GVO kefir (in lieu of heavy cream) into David Lebovitz's Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream recipe (as seen on page 90 of his book The Perfect Scoop). It's divine!