Biotest

Healthed-Up Alfredo


#1

[center] Healthed-Up Alfredo[/center]
The more you cook, the better you look.

That’s what I’ve noticed over the last few years, and that’s the motto of my food-related writings.

Here’s one thing I’ve found since I’ve been flexing my culinary muscles. For some reason, if you buy a prepared food item at the store, you’re getting a bottle or box chocked full of… well, crap.

Seriously, once you learn how to cook you’ll look at ingredient lists on most grocery store foods and wonder aloud, “Why the hell did they put that in there?” I mean, most recipes and dishes contain 4 or 5 ingredients. But when you buy that same food at the grocery store it contains, oh, about 56 ingredients… most of them the aforementioned excrement.

Here’s a way to test this out: Go to the store and find a favorite “bad” food and check out the ingredient list. Remember, whatever is listed first is the most prevalent ingredient in the product. Whatever is listed second is the second most prevalent, etc. Got it?

Now that you’ve scanned your favorite cheat food’s nutrition label, go home and look up a homemade recipe for it. Just Google “oatmeal cookie recipe” or whatever. Read through a couple of the recipes that pop up.

What will you find?

Well, you’ll probably find that the store-bought stuff contains a whole lot of crap ingredients. I mean, have you ever seen a recipe call for high fructose corn syrup? Extra trans-fats? MSG? Chemicals with names that contain 32 syllables? It doesn’t happen. Food manufacturers stick a whole lot of junk in there to make it last longer on the shelf, plus junkie ingredients are usually cheaper to mass produce.

Even some restaurants are using these shelf-stable, poo-filled foods and passing them off as if a chef is actually prepping them in the back kitchen. Nope, if you paid less than $20 for your meal in a chain restaurant, then most likely a big portion of it was just re-heated, not cooked.

Now, what can you do with this info? I’ll tell ya.

You can use some basic ingredient substitutions and make your own “cheat” food that isn’t really a cheat at all. You can cut the calories in half, increase the protein and fiber, lower the carbs, and replace the bad fat dietary fats with good ones. In other words, you can have your favorite foods without totally wrecking your health or waistline.

Here’s an example: My daughter loves alfredo sauce. Take a look at the bottled stuff at the grocery store: soybean oil, sugar, and a bunch of chemicals I can’t even pronounce… not to mention shockingly high calories.

Now, all alfredo sauce is supposed to contain is: butter, cream, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, pepper and garlic.

Simple ingredients, right? No industrial chemicals needed it seems. Hmm…

Now, homemade alfredo sauce is still pretty dense in calories due to the fat content, but we can health that up and lighten the load quite a bit without losing any flavor. It may not be food for a bodybuilder or Figure athlete two weeks out from a show, but it’s low carb and we can cut out about half the calories along with adding in some nutritional good stuff.

And you can’t taste the difference… well, expect that this lightened-up alfredo tastes better than anything you can get in the jar at the grocery store. My daughter says it’s better than Olive Garden’s, and that little gal loves her OG. So, score one for single dads who cook.

I pour this stuff over the top of grilled chicken breasts and stir it into green beans myself. Good eats. Here’s the recipe:

Healthed-Up Alfredo

Ingredients:

1/2 cup omega-3 enriched butter (1 stick)
8 ounces fat-free cream cheese (room temp or cubed)
8 ounces half-n-half cream
1/3 cup ground parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1-2 cloves finely diced

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in sauce pan
  2. Add cream cheese
  3. Whisk in half-n-half
  4. Add parm, garlic, and pepper
  5. Simmer until heated through
  6. Chow down

Half the calories, no Olive Garden or bottled chemicals required.


#2

Thanks for the recipe, Chris! So does this mean pasta is not the devil? I shunned the stuff like plague.


#3

[quote]Therizza wrote:
Thanks for the recipe Chris! So does this mean pasta is not the devil? I shunned the stuff like plague.[/quote]

Pasta is best avoided when dieting for fast fat loss. I keep intake very low even when not, but that’s part of the whole FFB thing. Pasta grew in popularity when everyone thought “fat free” meant “eat all ya want” but really it’s in the same category as bread: best avoided.

If you do eat pasta, find that new kind that’s whole grain with added fiber, omega-3 and flax. Barilla makes a good one in various styles.


#4

good idea for a sauce. article is less angry-rant-like than i thought it would be based on the title.


#5

[quote]E99_Curt wrote:
good idea for a sauce. article is less angry-rant-like than i thought it would be based on the title.[/quote]

It was a more productive article that had a sweet recipe.

Chris - do you have a database full of recipes or what? How do you organize all this shit?


#6

[quote]usctrojansfan wrote:
Chris - do you have a database full of recipes or what? How do you organize all this shit?[/quote]

I’m totally disorganized. Big shoebox full of notes, printouts and clippings, plus a bookshelf full of food references and cookbooks.

I’m blogging about twice per week now, and recently at least one entry per week has been food-related. Not exactly “hardcore” I know, but I have this crazy idea that regardless of physique goals, everyone has one thing in common: they all eat. Therefore, food-related topics should be interesting… at least to those who don’t want to have to use cartoon characters with tiny waists in their avatars.


#7

I once saw a “no-carb” pasta which I believe was made from (primarily) glucomannan. I never tried it, in fact, I haven’t seen it since, but I can’t imagine it tasted too good. Anybody had any experience?


#8

Glad to see this, love alfredo, and I have most of those ingredients in my fridge already except the half and half.


#9

Even what you can’t remotely think of can have an evil twist on it! You’re right Chris!

When I used to cook my own roasted chicken, well… I’d have, let’s see: the chunky bird, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and if I wanted to be really, really naughty, I’d spread some butter under the skin. Then, right into the oven, pour the juices over the top of the chicken every 20 min. or so… And ready!

One day, however, at a family party (I was cutting), my parents brought the same -apparent- bird from Costco. Ok, I said, I can have some skinless breast. At worst, what could this poultry have, MSG? Well, it didn’t. But among other strange chemicals it had hydrolyzed SOY protein and… WTF, SUGAR??? On a roasted chiken??? F**ck, and I was low-carbing!

I’ve seen so many packed or pre-cooked goods where I ask myself “since when did this ingredient was part of the recipe?” And I spent three years at a French culinary institute.

Cook, cook, cook! Congrats, Chris, for that recipe and your daughter’s seal of approval.


#10

Yeah but can you make a healthy version of their bread sticks!!

Keen to try this Alfredo out though.


#11

Speaking of oatmeal cookies…I picked up a recipe card at Starbucks the other day for their oatmeal cookies and decided to make them healthy tonight. My result? Hockey pucks. But I’m not giving up. Take 2 tomorrow.


#12

My only question is, when is the Chris Shugart Cookbook coming out? Thanks for the recipe!


#13

i actually find french style green beans an awesome alternative to pasta. alfredo, low sugar marinara, pesto…all goes great with green beans.

and i tried a low carb pasta (shiritaki noodles) not sure if thats what you were talking about but its mostly made from yam fiber or something. its about 3 g carb a serving 2 of that fiber. Its not bad if you get past the odd smell, it tastes enough like pasta to me and i actually enjoyed it. I just try to rarely eat it due to the fact that its also made of tofu and i try to stay away from soy.


#14

[quote]Chris Shugart wrote:
usctrojansfan wrote:
Chris - do you have a database full of recipes or what? How do you organize all this shit?

I’m totally disorganized. Big shoebox full of notes, printouts and clippings, plus a bookshelf full of food references and cookbooks.

I’m blogging about twice per week now, and recently at least one entry per week has been food-related. Not exactly “hardcore” I know, but I have this crazy idea that regardless of physique goals, everyone has one thing in common: they all eat. Therefore, food-related topics should be interesting… at least to those who don’t want to have to use cartoon characters with tiny waists in their avatars.

[/quote]
Chris - I don’t care about the fact that at least one entry per week is food related. Physique work is largely impacted by diet so keep the food related blogs coming!! I love it. More recipes included!


#15

[quote]ghost87 wrote:
Chris - I don’t care about the fact that at least one entry per week is food related. Physique work is largely impacted by diet so keep the food related blogs coming!! I love it. More recipes included!

[/quote]

Cool. Maybe next week I’ll post something about my “better bad” meal theory and include my summer recipe for grilled banana splits.


#16

Great article/post! Keep em coming (food related stuff)!


#17

Shug-

Nice post. I work in the food industry, and its not on the restaurant side. Nothing you said is incorrect. It is actually even a little deeper than you let on. That is all I will say about that…

Cooking at home is MUCH better. I really like oatmeal pancakes with some smart start omega-3 butter on the weekends. Wife is from Quebec and we have a ton of pure maple syrup with hardly any refining to it. Tablespoon of that stuff and we’re good 2 go!


#18

[quote]babygotback wrote:
Speaking of oatmeal cookies…I picked up a recipe card at Starbucks the other day for their oatmeal cookies and decided to make them healthy tonight. My result? Hockey pucks. But I’m not giving up. Take 2 tomorrow.

[/quote]

Speaking of Cookies…My GF is an addict and I came up with a great trick to help her keep the cravings at bay and actually increase the yumminess of the cookies.

After you make the dough roll them into balls (easier with Chocolate chip than oatmeal) and pack them into a frezer bag. When you want a cookie just pull one out and while it is still frozen bake it. I have found that they take about 20 minutes at a temperature about 25 degrees less than what the recipe called for. (toaster ovens are good for this)

What the freezing does is allow the outer part of the cookie to form a golden crisp shell during baking while the inside of the cookie remains gooey. Also, if you bake one at a time you aren’t tempted to eat a dozen cookies in one sitting–a little forced portion control.


#19

Nice stuff Chris.

I have found the “Classico” brands of sauce at the grocery store to be better than most when it comes to added crap.

Not to discount the idea of making your own sauce, thats a great idea as well.

But for those pinched for time, and simply cooking basic things is as far as we have gone (hey, cut me some slack here, at least I cook, which is more than I can say for the rest of the sheeple), Classico works.

Heck, you probably know of an even better brand…Any ideas anyone?


#20

[quote]Wise Guy wrote:
Nice stuff Chris.

I have found the “Classico” brands of sauce at the grocery store to be better than most when it comes to added crap.

Not to discount the idea of making your own sauce, thats a great idea as well.

But for those pinched for time, and simply cooking basic things is as far as we have gone (hey, cut me some slack here, at least I cook, which is more than I can say for the rest of the sheeple), Classico works.

Heck, you probably know of an even better brand…Any ideas anyone?[/quote]

Classico is my go-to brand for a quick, low-sugar spaghetti sauce. Certain varieties of it are lower in calories and sugar than so-called “light” sauces.