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Low cholesterol doesn't have to mean low flavor

Thursday, April 24, 2003

By Nancy Anderson, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Some recipes are born of necessity. For Marianne Miller, whose husband, Donald, 50, had a serious heart attack three weeks ago, today's recipe signaled the start of a new lifestyle.


"My husband's now on a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, which prompted me to begin experimenting to come up with something healthful and tasty at the same time," she said.

Mainly, Marianne wanted to adapt some of his favorite dishes to meet the new diet restrictions, and that's how today's Countdown to Dinner recipe for Chicken Stroganoff came to be.

Original recipes are the McCandless resident's hobby.

"I'm a nurse at Mercy Hospital [Trauma Outcomes Manager in the trauma department] with a passion for cooking and creating recipes," she said, "So this is just another challenge for me."

She's off to a good start. This version of the old standby Beef Stroganoff has lots of flavor and none of the cholesterol. She adds two sliced green onions to the mix but didn't include them in the recipe because it went over six ingredients.

A green salad with balsamic vinaigrette was all we needed to complete the meal.

A self-taught cook, the 50-year-old picked up her kitchen skills by watching television cooking shows.

Last spring she participated in a work/study program at Crate in Scott, assisting with the prep and cleanup for cooking classes.

Today's recipe makes her a four-time Countdown winner; other inventive entrees that made the grade were Chicken Quesadilla Pizza, Roasted Red Pepper & Portobello Focaccia Sandwiches and Tilapia in Teriyaki Sauce.

Although Donald "wouldn't know what pot to cook hot dogs in," Marianne's two sons are following in Mom's culinary footsteps.

Ryan, out of graduate school and working in Manhattan, and Adam,who graduates this year from Virginia Tech, both cook and call her for advice.

"One thing, at least, that they got from me -- they got their brains from their dad -- was their love of cooking," she said.

Donald, who works in network support services at Mellon Bank, is healing rapidly and returned to the office this week for short days.

What's in the food he eats interests him now. He and Marianne look at recipes together.

Chicken Stroganoff

  • 1 pound chicken tenderloins
  • 1 sliced baby portobello mushroom
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons paprika, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram or oregano or tarragon
  • 1 1/4 cups fat-free, low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 2 green onions, white part only, chopped (optional)

Spray saute pan with nonfat cooking spray. Sprinkle flour on both sides of chicken (cut into serving bite-size pieces if you wish) and saute with mushrooms (we also added green onions).

When lightly browned, add chicken broth and spices (we used tarragon with 1 generous teaspoon paprika), bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in sour cream and simmer until slightly thickened.

Serve over half a bag of no-yolk noodles, cooked, or noodle of choice. Serves 2 to 3 generously.

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes, and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number.

Or send e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com Questions? Call 412-263-3549.

Nancy Anderson can be reached at nanderson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3549.

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