A Mother's Day brunch is a lovely tradition, and a popular one, too — just try to get a restaurant table without a reservation Sunday and you'll see what we mean.
Brunch food is delicious, but it can be full of dietary pitfalls — all those gooey, cheesy omelets, the crispy bacon, the many-layered casseroles, the bagels, the coffee cake. We're hungry just thinking about it.
If your mom is watching her diet, and really doesn't want to splurge, consider celebrating her day with a simple and healthy homemade feast. Your own family's favorites often can be lightened. Try substituting egg whites for some whole eggs, using low-fat cheeses, serving Canadian bacon and whole-grain breads, and using a big fruit platter as your centerpiece.
Or get more creative and try one of these healthy recipes, which cater to several popular eating plans. From the American Heart Association's Healthy Soul Food Recipes cookbook, there's a quiche that combines down-home ham and greens with a clever couscous crust. Weight Watchers in 20 Minutes offers a low-points take on stuffed French toast, while Low-Carb Meals in Minutes takes the salmon and cream cheese off the bagel.
To conclude: the Heart Association's pretty Fresh Berry Trifle. No one will miss the coffee cake.
ham and greens quiche
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup uncooked whole-wheat couscous
2 tablespoons egg white or egg substitute
10 ounces frozen chopped turnip greens
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 ounces sliced lower-sodium, low-fat ham, diced
2 tablespoons shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Crust: Lightly spray a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.
In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the couscous. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed.
Stir the egg white into the couscous. Spoon into the pie pan. Form a crust by spreading the mixture over the bottom and up the side, pressing to flatten. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn off the oven. Transfer the pie pan to a cooling rack and let the crust cool completely, about 30 minutes. After about 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Meanwhile, prepare the turnip greens using the package directions. Drain well in a colander; transfer to a medium bowl.
In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the onion for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring occasionally. Stir the onion mixture and half the ham into the turnip greens. Spoon into the crust. Sprinkle with the remaining ham and Parmesan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg substitute, half-and-half and nutmeg. Pour into the pie pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Nutritional information per serving: 152 calories, 2.5g fat (0.5 saturated), 9mg cholesterol, 283mg sodium, 22g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 13g protein.
SOURCE: Healthy Soul Food Recipes, American Heart Association, Publications International
smoked salmon pinwheels
3/4 pound smoked salmon (use good-quality smoked salmon rather than lox, which can be very salty)
1/4 cup low-fat cream cheese
1 tablespoon skim milk
1 medium cucumber, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Place salmon on a cutting board. Soften cream cheese with skim milk and mix until smooth. Spread on salmon. Roll up, slice crosswise into 1/2-inch pinwheels, and place on two plates. Season the cucumber and tomato slices with salt and pepper, and divide between the plates.
Nutritional information per serving: 324 calories, 37g protein, 11g carbohydrates, 14g fat (6g saturated), 61mg cholesterol, 1468mg sodium, 1g fiber.
SOURCE: Low-Carb Meals in Minutes by Linda Gassenheimer, Bay Books.
fruit and cheese-stuffed french toast
2 tablespoons light cream cheese (Neufchatel), softened
4 slices whole wheat bread
2 tablespoons strawberry or raspberry all-fruit spread
1 large egg
2 egg whites
3 tablespoons skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup hulled and sliced fresh strawberries
Spread the cream cheese evenly on 2 slices of the bread, leaving a 1/8-inch border. Spread the strawberry spread on the remaining slices of bread, leaving a 1/8-inch border. Put the slices of bread together to make 2 cream cheese-fruit sandwiches. Cut each sandwich in half on the diagonal; set aside.
Beat the egg and egg whites in a large bowl or pie plate; whisk in the milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add 2 sandwich halves to the egg mixture; let stand until evenly soaked, about 20 seconds on each side. Repeat with remaining 2 halves. Spray a nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the sandwiches to the skillet and cook until browned, 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve with berries.
Nutritional information per serving (2 sandwich halves and 1/2 cup strawberries): 321 calories, 9g fat (4g saturated), 118mg cholesterol, 427mg sodium, 44g carbohydrates, 7g fiber, 17g protein. Weight Watchers Points: 6.
SOURCE: Weight Watchers in 20 Minutes, Wiley Publishing
fresh berry trifle
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups fat-free milk
1 large egg
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups cubed angel food cake (about 1/2 cake)
1/2 cup strawberry all-fruit spread, warmed
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
4 cups (about 20 ounces) strawberries, halved
2 cups (about 11 ounces) blueberries
1 (8-ounce) container fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed in refrigerator
10 whole strawberries (optional)
Fresh mint sprigs (optional)
In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar and flour. Stir in the milk, egg and lemon zest. Cook over medium heat for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and coats a metal spoon, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let pudding cool to room temperature.
To assemble, arrange half the cake cubes in a 1 1/2- or 2-quart trifle dish or clear glass bowl. Drizzle with half the fruit spread and half the orange juice. Around the side of the dish, arrange about half the halved strawberries with the cut side facing out and the tips pointing up. Sprinkle half the blueberries over the cake. Spoon half the pudding over the blueberries. Repeat. Spread the whipped topping over the top. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 4 hours. (Can be made up to one day ahead.)
To serve, reach the spoon into the layers to get all the different flavors and textures. Place each serving in a bowl or on a dessert plate and garnish with a whole strawberry and fresh mint sprig.
Nutritional information per serving: 207 calories, 1g fat, 22mg cholesterol, 172mg sodium, 45g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 4g protein.
SOURCE: Go Red For Women Recipe Collection, American Heart Association, Publications International