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Old recipes prompt a Homer Simpson moment: “Mmmm sausage”

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

- OR- Old recipes and a new way of eating

Having abandoned my old fast-food ways, I find myself cooking more and more, which is a good thing; however, I’ve discovered that some of the old recipes that I’ve known and loved for so many years seem to sodium disasters.


I’m watching my salt and when I think I’m digging out a relatively easy to make-over recipe, I still find the sodium count out of control.


Of course it won’t be so bad, because I’m going to make sure that I rinse those canned beans, the main culprit in my sodium disaster at the moment, but I’ve found myself switching out canned ingredients for fresh ones when I can.

I wonder how it will all taste in the end. Healthier for sure, but my chili will probably be a little bland compared to my usual chili.

I wonder though, just how much salt am I washing off when I rinse those kidney beans? I hope a lot of it.

That syrupy stuff in the can, it’s probably where most of the sodium is stored. I hope the beans don’t absorb it, but then again, they might and I might find myself out of luck in that department.

It wasn’t so long ago that I made another old recipe. It was an easy one – Spanish rice – pretty much the easiest thing a person can make.

I wanted a little protein, and so instead of swapping out the protein on the recipe for a different protein, I swapped it out for a lower-sodium version. The problem is, lower sodium or not, ham-like canned meat is not low sodium! At least not the variety I bought.

Anyway, that was a sodium disaster. I guess that’s where I’m bidding farewell to that particular variety of canned meat. It’s not like I ate that particular canned meat more than a few times in my life anyway, because we usually just left it out of the recipe. I had to want protein that day. Figures.

Next time I make that stuff, I think I’ll sub in some chicken or something like that.

That should take care of most of the problem.

But getting back to my chili, I’m torn. Minus the sodium, it’s not all that unhealthy if made with lean meat. But I just don’t know about those beans. They’re an unknown quantity. If only someone could tell me what the sodium content would be after I rinsed those beans.

Oh well. I’ll find out the day after I eat them and either my fingers are swollen like little water balloons or they will be fine. I’m hoping they’re fine.

At least the days I’m planning on having chili, I’m also having a good deal of potassium, more than I usually get, so maybe it will help me get a rid of that salt.

I hate to retire old family favorites when it comes to recipes, but I’m starting to think that maybe I should start weeding through those recipe cards.

Some can be made over just fine. Others don’t need making over, but then there are those that do need it and need it badly.

What’s a girl to do?

I love the food I grew up on.

Some of the recipes we ate often, others not so much, but we enjoyed them a lot when we had them.

Chiles rellenos for instance – mmmmm – yum!

The problem is that my chiles rellenos recipe is not so healthy like some of the other recipes I’ve seen for it. Mine for instance is not vegetarian. It’s got sausage in it.

Mmmm. Sausage.

I’ve had vegetarian chiles rellenos and frankly, it’s not my cup of tea.

It’s missing sausage.

Mmmm. Sausage.

Okay, so now I all of a sudden feel like Homer Simpson for some reason. Only my line isn’t “mmmm, donuts” or “mmmm beer.” It’s “mmmm sausage.”

Okay. I’ve got to get that out of my system!

Don’t worry, I’m not going to buy any sausage today.

I’ll skip that.

But I am salivating a little bit.

Uh. … I guess that’s bad. Oh well. I’m human. And I like sausage.

Of course that’s no mystery by now.

But that aside, maybe I should start a new collection of recipes. Some old, some new and some tweaked.

On one side of my family there’s been a tradition where the matriarch of the family would clip recipes and attach them to pages of a notebook. The notebook I have has my great grandmother’s name on the cover. There are really old recipes and other household tips from the local newspaper inside.

It’s kind of fascinating really.

I only discovered that this was something of a tradition only a couple of years ago.

I started my own notebook. I didn’t get very far yet, but maybe it’s time I pick up that notebook and continue adding to it.

I’ll be eating healthier food that way and I’ll be continuing a tradition.

I think that’s the thing to do.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Hello dear, I laughed out loud at your mmmmm sausage. I used to feel like that about sausage too, lol. But then I became vegetarian. I still cheat with fake sausage patties from MOrningstar. I think depriving myself of anything has always the same effect. I get so hungry for it, that I blow all my best efforts out the window and MUST HAVE IT. So I buy healthier versions of things, use half and freeze the rest. Or make a dish and portion it out and divide it into lunches that I freeze. I truly cannot cut out the foods I love. I just gotta be smarter about them. I now buy lower sodium beans and rinse them well too. So they are bound to be lower in sodium. No matter what. (fingers like little water balloons? Hahahhahahha, you are just too much!!)

    Hugs to you from NY.
    1953 days ago
    I think the beans do absorb some sodium, but you get rid of most of t when you rinse them.

    I've done a few recipe makeovers, some turned out good, others not so good. I make my mom's hamburger rice hotdish with 97/3 ground beef instead of ground chuck and brown rice instead of white rice. I add some extra tomato juice since it is a little more dry without all of the extra fat from the meat, and I like the nutty flavor of the brown rice much better.

    I tried to makeover a recipe for Chicken Fricassee. My brother-in-law calls it Frickin' Chickassee. I don't need to say any more about how that one turned out.

    It's an adventure making healthier lower calorie versions of favorite recipes and finding new things that I like. I love using Spark People's recipe calculator. It is so much easier to figure out calories per serving for my recipe makeovers.

    I don't have to worry about sodium. I'm sure that adds more of a challenge to making over recipes. I feel depraved if I think that I can't have something. Hillshire Farms has a ham with 42% less sodium then the regular kind. It has 460mg of sodium per serving. I don't know if that's still too high if your are watching your sodium intake. I hope you can find something that works for you so you can still have ham and sausage occasionally.

    Good luck with your recipe makeovers. I hope you find lots of things that you like.

    1955 days ago
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    1955 days ago
    Sausages.. I love them too, so in order to stil get that flavour in my chili, I'll use a hot Italian sausage, take off the casing the break it up in the fry pan like burger and it adds alot of flavour with little bits of sausage bites.. It sure works for me.

    Another great blog.. emoticon
    1957 days ago
    I miss sausage too.... I tried a chicken sausage one day and once I got it home I found that it had more fat and sodium than regular sausage. I do like the jennio turkey italian sausage. My husband's favorite comfort meal is sausage and beans. So I have been trying lots of sausages. Now I take my little weight watchers calculator with me to try to find something "doable". So far, I just plan for the sausage and have a good huge salad for lunch, then go ahead and have one sausage. I cut slice it the long way to make me feel like I have two pieces. Maybe you could use half lean ground turkey and regular sausage. I am doing that with meatloaf and it cuts the calories and the half regular meat still gives it the flavor.

    Have fun remaking recipes. It can be lots of fun!
    1957 days ago
    It can be tough to build new and healthier favorites. I always point some of the blame to all the money food corporations pour into marketing unhealthy stuff. If broccoli had the same advertising campaign & company backing it up as McDonald's we'd all be salivating for that next floret! :-)

    1957 days ago
  • MOM4407BECKY
    Keep experimenting on your favorites. You are right about the sodium. If you really want to get out the sodium you can use dried beans and soak them overnight. Then you will really know the salt contains.

    Keep going.
    1957 days ago
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