To tweak the fictional Gordon Gecko’s favorite line, “grease is good,” as in when you use some elbow grease to get something really clean. Or when you grease the skids to make something easier for someone else. Or when you use it to calm a squeaky wheel. And boy can greasy foods taste good! October 25th is National Greasy Food Day. Who among us doesn’t have a favorite guilty, greasy pleasure? Not me!
Some of my favorite foods are grease-laden no-no’s for the health conscious. And although I avoid them on most occasions, I have to admit to sneaking a few once in awhile for a little treat. I justify my indulgences with Ben Franklin’s advice to keep “all things in moderation, including moderation.”
What are your favorite greasy foods? I hope you enjoy the real McCoy now and then! But when you want the flavor to satisfy a craving, and want to avoid their “bad fats” and calories try to think of a less-fatty way of preparing them. Here are my favorite greasy foods, and how I make them to keep the greasy factor low.
My most favorite greasy food is French fries—the kind with lots of crunch on the outside and a soft inside. Five Guys makes my ideal fries. Passing one of their restaurants can be a real challenge for me. But when I don’t scratch that itch I achieve a similar effect on potato and even zucchini slices that I bake. I use just a little bit of olive oil and bake them at high heat to get the crunchy exterior.
Fried Chicken is next on my list. Chicken can be baked without using any cooking fats. One recipe I’ve used, which is pictured here, calls for dipping the chicken in a mixture of plain yogurt and a little Dijon mustard, and then rolling it in a mixture of flour and spices. Sometimes I like to change it up a little by using crushed up pretzel sticks, or even crushed saltines. (The pretzel coating is perfect for National Pretzel Day, which is October 26th.) I then bake the coated chicken in a 350° oven for about an hour. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be used with this treatment, and take less than an hour to cook, especially if you cut them in halves or quarters. But if you’re amenable to a little grease from olive oil, check out my post on fried chicken.
I make Fish and Chips in a similar way. I always bake the potato pieces, but often fry the fish in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil. The secret to a big crunchy crust is to be sure to use enough baking powder in the breading mix. Find good recipes for Fish and Chips in an Easy Weekly Meals e-cookbook for busy people.
Rivers of Gravy fell off of my cooking list when I used my mom’s recipe with the pan drippings from whichever meat I’d roasted. But nowadays I get even more robust flavor and leave the fat behind by using a heavily herbed, low-fat meat stock as the gravy base. My Christmas Dinner recipe in Complete Christmas Cooking calls for my luscious, low-fat gravy. Find a picture of it, and other foods mentioned in this post, here.
And finally, flavorful Sausage can really make my day. I confess to loving Polish, Bratwurst, and other pork sausages, including breakfast links. But the flavors found in those sausages can be added to ground turkey, shaped into patties, and cooked in a skillet or frying pan coated with just a little bit of olive oil cooking spray. For breakfast sausage, add onion powder, garlic powder, ginger herb blend, ground thyme, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, salt, and pepper. For bratwurst flavor try using some nutmeg, ginger, salt, and pepper. Bratwurst enthusiasts: I know this won’t satisfy lovers of real Sheboygan brats, but it will get those on special diets close!
Enjoy your guilty greasy pleasures for National Greasy Food Day, and let us know how you kept your grease factor low.
Photos Courtesy of Easy Weekly Meals