Southern Gone Light

Don't wait for a special occasion to indulge in your favorite down-home dishes.
Joy Zacharia, R.D., and Kate Nicholson

Lightened Classic Southern Menu:
1. Fried Pork Chops With Cream Gravy
2. Chicken and Dumplings
3. Sweet Potato Casserole
4. Banana Pudding
5. Buttermilk Biscuits

Some may argue that truly Southern recipes can't be lightened without giving up their rich flavor. It's true some can't, but these featured here definitely can. By using less oil, butter, and salt and choosing reduced-fat substitutes, you can create comforting dishes that are distinctly Southern and delicious.

We're betting our versions of these classics will become family favorites at your house. And as an added bonus, most of the recipes are ready in 35 minutes or less.

Lightening Tips

  • Reduce fat content in meat and poultry:
  • Cook chicken and turkey with the skin on to keep it more moister and flavorful. Remove the skin after cooking.
  • Replace stuffings and breaded toppings or coatings with herbs and spices.
  • Broil, roast or bake meat or meat loaf on a rack inside a broiling pan to catch the fat.
  • Baste meats with juice, wine, or broth instead of butter.
  • Cook stews and soups ahead, then refrigerate and skim the fat off the top before reheating.
  • Replace a portion of the meat in a recipe with beans, grains, or vegetables.

Other tips:

  • Use low-fat 1% or 2% milk when a recipe calls for milk.
  • Try low-fat or nonfat sour cream, yogurts, cream cheese, and cottage cheese in recipes calling for regular versions.
  • If a recipe calls for cream, try replacing all or part of it with evaporated skim milk or fat-free half-and-half.
  • Use reduced-fat cheeses in casseroles, omelets, sandwiches, and lasagna.