Posts Tagged weight loss

The Fat Free Gourmet’s Zucchini and Corn Flakes — or How big is too big?

Fat Free Zucchini and Corn Flakes with Fat-Free Ranch Dressing

Fat Free Zucchini and Corn Flakes with Fat-Free Ranch Dressing

A fat-free recipe for medium garden grown zucchini, 
or other vegetable of your heart’s desire!

Ahhh zucchini.

You can stuff them, steam them, sauté them, even eat them raw! They are a low-calorie vegetable that will take on the flavor, be it sweet or savory, of whatever you choose to mix with them.

Garden grown zucchini present a special challenge…size – it really does matter.

Young tender 6 to 7-inch zucchini squash are perfect for steaming or sauté, 8 to 10-inch are great for stuffing. If you allow them to grow  larger, they become a problem: the skin is tough, the flavor is strong, and they tend to be a little bitter. Typically, zucchini larger than 10 inches go to what I call, “grated recipe” status; I use them in breads, fritters, cookies, salads. But, oh those seeds, what to do with them, they definitely must go!

This year’s garden provided an overabundance of larger zucchini nearing the end of the growing season due to my waning  attention. With a glass of Moscato wine in one hand, and a 14-inch long zucchini in the other, I decided to do something daring…

I laid it on the counter. There it was, in front me, about 2 inches in diameter. What to do with it? I grabbed my knife and hesitantly sliced it in half. (Now, here is where it gets tricky: how big are the darn seeds?!) Hmmm, I inspected. This one had smallish seeds, and so I finished the slicing of it.  I continued into ½ inch thick round slices. Not holding anything back, I spontaneously moved forward with a recipe I had been flirting with for quite some time!

You don’t really need a certain sized zucchini for this recipe, not a giant, smaller is better. Suffice it to say, my 14-incher turned out cravingly well even though it was a slightly larger sized zucchini than I would have normally chosen to use.

Here comes the fun part of this recipe: the tweaks! Those fun creative touches that will make this recipe your own. I am all about experimenting and trying new things! Looking forward to hearing what tweaks you did and the results. Try some of these and create a cravable new favorite!

  • Use any sized zucchini except a giant, and cut it into any shape you like, you may have to adjust cooking time for smaller or larger sized pieces.
  • Use any vegetable you like, simply adjust the cooking time for the density of the vegetable. For instance, potatoes and cauliflower may take a little longer cooking time to achieve the desired tenderness.
  • Serve as an appetizer, a side to your favorite main dish, or as a main dish if you are doing vegetarian.
  • Change up the ethnicity! Add different spices to the egg or the breading mix, your choice, let you imagination go wild! (I like to season both mixtures to give ‘two layers of flavor”.)
  • Serve with a sauce and garnish! Fat-Free Ginger Sesame Dressing (Lighthouse Sesame Ginger Dressing is one of my favorite!) or a few dashes of soy sauce for Asian; with fat-free pasta sauce for Italian, with traditional fat-free Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing for game day festivities, or make up your own low-fat or fat-free sauce! You can even top them with a few sprinkles of fat-free cheese for the last minute of baking in the oven. Pictured are Mae Ploy Sweet Chilli Sauce, a dollop of spicy mustard, and sprinkle of cilantro; also pictured with fat-free ranch or blue cheese dressing.
  • Marinate the zucchini before you bread them for another layer of flavor. A 20 minute soak in your favorite marinade would do the trick. How about soy sauce mixed with seasoned rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, or perhaps balsamic vinegar with a dash of garlic. Dill pickle juice for that “fried pickle” flavor!

Here’s the basic recipe:

1 14-inch long by 2 inch in diameter zucchini, cut ½ inch in thickness, or equivalent vegetable, cut accordingly

1 ½ cups fat-free egg substitute
1 teaspoon onion powder

1 ½ cups Kellogg’s Corn Flake Crumbs or finely crushed (see photos) corn flakes
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
Salt to taste
(add 1 tablespoon of grated low-fat parmesan topping to this mixture if desired)

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, then spray with a light coating of fat-free cooking spray. Set aside.
Cut vegetables, set aside.
In a shallow bowl mix together egg substitute and onion powder, set aside.

Egg wash for Fat-Free Baked Zucchini and Corn Flakes

Beaten egg and onion powder. Add other spices to the wash for an extra layer of flavor!

In another shallow bowl mix together the last four ingredients, set aside.

Corn flake dredge

Corn flake breading mixture…yum!

Set up your breading prep area; from right to left or left to right whichever is most comfortable for you. Set up in a line with vegetables first, egg mixture second, corn flake crumb mixture, then baking pan. First dip vegetables into the egg mix using only your left or right hand, next into the corn flakes using the opposite hand, then place onto baking sheet. This method is the best way to keep your hands from getting “breaded”!

Prep area set up

Set up for prep area, start from the side most comfortable for you.

Zucchini in pan ready to bake.

Ready to bake!

Bake for 30 minutes or until desired color is reached, and vegetables are fork tender. Serve warm. Serves 6.

Baked corn flake encrusted zucchini fresh out of the oven!

Fresh out of the oven!

Can be made ahead and reheated in the microwave.

(Yum, I just devoured some of the photo shoot left-overs from yesterday!)

Serve with the sauce and garnish of your choice.


Nutritional Data
6 servings, zucchini only, no garnish or sauce
Amount per serving:

Calories 127.8
Total Fat 0.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 282.9 mg
Potassium 321.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 24.1 g
Dietary Fiber 1.9 g
Sugars 3.5 g
Protein 8.6 g


Fat-Free baked corn flake encrusted zucchini with Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce and hot mustard.

Fat-free baked corn flake encrusted zucchini with Mae Ploy Sweet Chili sauce and spicy mustard.

Let me know how your “tweaks” turned out! Leave your comments below or on any of my social media haunts! I welcome everyone to share their ideas and results!

Hope you and yours are looking forward to a loving holiday season! I will be publishing the “Pumpkin Spice Latte Gelato” recipe soon, so be on the lookout!



Epicuriously yours,

Eliminate the excess – eat to live! ❤


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The Fat Free Gourmet – Who Is She?


What is a gourmet? Webster’s dictionary defines the noun gourmet as someone who enjoys fine food and drink, an epicure; the adjective gourmet as characteristic of high quality or skilled preparation…okay, I’ll take that! Now let us add in parameters: low-fat or fat-free, incredible tastes and flavors. Throw in a 100% Italian family background of chefs and bakers, and there you have it: The Fat Free Gourmet and that would be me, Melinda!

Now that you know who I am, you should know why. it might be good to throw in some personal passion for this endeavor, to, as Emeril L. would say,  “take it up a notch”. High-cholesterol, high blood pressure and two strokes killed my father at the age of 64. He wouldn’t change his eating habits. I was 20, changed mine, and have always eaten a low-fat diet ever since. I suffered a heart attack and subsequent quadruple by-pass surgery at the age of 55, that was eight months ago.. My Cardiologist said that nasty ol’ heart attack would have visited me 10 to 15 years earlier and the outcome may have been completely different had I not practiced  a healthy lifestyle. I’ll take that too!

Why the heart attack if I was eating healthy and exercising? Well, genetics played a part in it too.  I was exercising and had cut the fat but forgot to cut something else: stress. I re-wrote that recipe, and cut more stress out of my life. I’m all good now, no heart damage by the way, my healthy habits got me through the ordeal with flying colors! As an added bonus, I did not have to re-learn eating or exercise habits, I was on the correct road with that, and I am almost as good as new again – a happy-ending to a probable sad story!

Do I eat absolutely zero fat?  Not quite, but I do keep it very low. Do I use my recipes to control the amount of fat that I consume? Absolutely. Do I crave fat? No, the food is fabulous! I can cook anything from fat filled to fat-free, but why should I when both recipes turn out just as epicuriously delicious?! That my friends, is a rhetorical statement of fact.

Give me two hours in the kitchen with you and I will show you how to prepare reduced fat gourmet dishes that will have even your children asking for seconds! Understand that cooking is an art and a science –  cooking with little or no fat is learned. It is not solely a matter of switching out ingredients,  that is where the disillusionment of low-fat and fat-free comes into play. You need the right recipes, some new cooking techniques and you will be good to go! Trust me on this one – would an Italian girl lead you astray when it comes to good food? Not likely!!

So grab a glass of good red wine, Cabernet is my favorite, and a serving of dark chocolate, then let’s visit on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or check out some of my recipes at:

Epicuriously yours,


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Hello from 2011!!

My New Year’s resolutions are always many but this year’s are bigger and more exciting than last. I am thankful that my goals broaden but my waistline stays relatively the same!

My daughter and I put on approximately seven pounds between the two of us. Ughhh…too many ‘goody gifts’ tempted us this year so she and I gave ourselves permission to enjoy some of them IF afterwards we ‘got back to reality’ quickly. We are both back in ‘reality’ now…I believe we are each down a pound from there so five to go! No problem, we will do it. It is sometimes easier if you can share your weight loss goals with someone who will help to keep you motivated.

One resolution down, I am on to the next: to do more blogging and get my cookbook to you as soon as possible! We are hoping to have the e-book edition finished soon so that we can quickly help our followers that have one of the most popular of the New Year’s resolutions: loosing weight.

I am always excited about connecting with you that have made the decision to ‘cut the fat’, I know that your reasons are as many and varied as there are numbers of you. I truly enjoy being able to share ideas and recipes that will help you attain your personal goals. My life is better because of it and I know that my daughter and son’s life will be better from my example of living the fat-free lifestyle.

Hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday season and that your new year is amazing!!

Remember: Cook fat free, eat fat free, live fat free, be fat free!

Epicuriously yours,

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