Wednesday, April 10, 2002

No need to trim cheese from 5 fat-gram 'pillows'

Recipe Rehab

        Rita Curtis of Sharonville requested a rehab of her recipe for “Cheese Pillows” — melt-in-your-mouth appetizers made of cubed bread dipped in a rich mixture of whipping cream, butter, cheddar cheese and seasonings. The pillows are then frozen and baked as needed. These are perfect for entertaining because they're made in advance. Too bad each itty bitty pillow contains 5 grams of fat.

        For this recipe, we:

        • Replaced the whipping cream with fat-free half-and-half.

        • Replaced the butter with margarine and reduced the amount by half.

        • Used the full amount of regular cheddar cheese.

        We struggled with this recipe and almost gave up the challenge. The primary ingredients were all high in fat, and our attempts to duplicate the richness wasn't easy. The lower-fat cheeses failed to hold their own when we stripped the other high-fat dairy products.

        But we discovered using regular cheddar allowed us to significantly reduce the total fat and still produce a “pillow” that closely resembles the original.

        Tip of the week: The percent of calories from fat is still high in this recipe due to the nature of the ingredients. Enjoy your pillows in limited amounts.

        Contact Karen Weber, Pat Streicher and Ellen Illig of Jewish Hospital's Cholesterol Center by phone: 585-7946; fax: 585-6107; e-mail:

Cheese Pillows

        1 loaf unsliced bread
        1/4 cup margarine
       1 cup fat-free half-and-half
       8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
       1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
       1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
        1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
       1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill
       1 teaspoon onion powder
       1 teaspoon Beau Monde seasoning

        Line baking sheets with wax paper. Remove crust from bread; cut into 1-inch cubes. In microwave, in medium bowl, melt margarine into half-and—half, just until it bubbles. Stir in cheese until melted. Stir in Tabasco, Worcestershire, pepper, dill, onion powder, and Beau Monde.

        Use fork to quickly dip bread cubes into cheese mixture; let excess drip back into bowl. Place cubes on wax paper; freeze. Once frozen, remove to sealable plastic bags for longer storage.

        Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. Place frozen cubes on prepared tray; bake 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot. Makes 54 pillows.

       Before and After

        Values based on 1 pillow (1/54 of recipe)
       Cheese Pillow....Adapted
       Fat....... 5 g... 2 g
       Carbohydrate .. 2 g... 2 g
       Sodium...... 66 mg .. 60 mg
       Cholesterol...15 mg ... 5 mg
       Fiber........0 g.... 0 g
       from fat.....76%...58%

       Nutritionists recommend those on a daily 2,000 calorie diet limit their fat consumption to 65 g or less, cholesterol to 300 mg or less and sodium to 2,400 mg or less per day.


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