Community Message Boards
Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: Substitutes for cream in a pasta dish?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Rockville, Maryland
    Posts
    141

    Lightbulb Substitutes for cream in a pasta dish?

    Hello all,

    I am hoping some savvy chef can help me out here. My husband and I are addicted to cream sauces... on pasta, beef, you name it and we eat it. Because we are both now trying to lose weight - I have turned to cooking light to help us start preparing more nutritious meals.

    However, I need some help in converting some of our favorites to more healthy versions - that keep the majority of the taste.

    Are there any substitutions for heavy cream/half and half, etc. that work well for sauces (can't really tell)? Or is it better just to use milk and a decent amount of corn starch to thicken it up?

    Thanks for any tips/ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    1,450
    I think you can use Land o' Lakes fat-free half and half. Or maybe evaporated skim milk that comes in a can in the baking aisle.

  3. #3
    2 things comes in mind. You can do a bechamel sauce (only a tbs or 2 of butter plus flour plus part skim milk)

    Another one, use milk (part skim) with a tbs or 2 of corn starch. That
    will make the milk more dense, and the just add salt/pepper etc

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Dorval (suburb of Montreal), Quebec
    Posts
    629
    I have also replaced cream with lowfat sour cream in soups..........

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Rockville, Maryland
    Posts
    141

    Cornstarch Vs Flour?

    What is the difference between using cornstarch or flour with cream sauces? Any taste difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by cookinginItaly
    2 things comes in mind. You can do a bechamel sauce (only a tbs or 2 of butter plus flour plus part skim milk)

    Another one, use milk (part skim) with a tbs or 2 of corn starch. That
    will make the milk more dense, and the just add salt/pepper etc

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    525
    I've successfully subbed evaporated milk.
    Julie

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    NashVegas, baby!
    Posts
    5,894
    IMO, if you are looking for a sub where you "can't really tell" you're going to be disappointed. However, after eating a less fatty version for a while, you'll grow to like it just fine, and the full-fat version will taste ... fatty. LOL

    If I'm cooking for company for a special occasion, I either do the full version or perhaps will sub 1/2 and 1/2 for cream. If I'm cooking for informal company or just me, I'll sub whole milk for the cream or 1/2and/12. Then again, I have no problem using just my usual 1% milk for "creamy" sauces or soups, either, when it's just me. If it's a case where I'm just using a little to finish a dish, I'll use the fat-free 1/2and1/2. While that stuff is lower in calories and fat, it's also very high in sugar, and maybe even HF corn syrup, if I'm not mistaken, so I don't use it would be a major ingredient. So, it's a case of pick your poison.

    Keep in mind if you use some of the butter-and-starch-with-milk subs, you're just trading one type of calorie for another, and adding fat back in. You can certainly reduce the fat that way, but be careful that you don't simply end up in the same place with different ingredients.

    You can also experiment with things like low-fat plain yogurt, low-fat or non-fat sour cream, light cream cheese, etc. depending on the recipe. You'll change the character of the dish somewhat, but you may find the result tasty nonetheless.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    24,226
    I've used this recipe in the past and it's a fairly good sub for whole fat sauces. These days I tend to do the full fat version but use a lot less sauce since fat helps with feeling saited longer.

    Low-Fat Alfredo Sauce

    INGREDIENTS:

    1/4 cup light cream cheese
    1/4 cup low-fat milk
    1 tablespoon flour
    1 cup low-fat milk
    2 tablespoons butter
    1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    Salt and freshly grated pepper to taste (optional)

    PREPARATION:

    Combine cream cheese, 1/4 cup milk, and flour in a small mixing bowl. Beat until well blended. Slowly pour in remaining 1 cup milk and beat until smooth.
    Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large, nonstick sauce pan over medium heat.
    Add the milk mixture and continue to heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened (about 4 minutes).
    Stir in grated Parmesan cheese, adding salt and pepper to taste if desired.
    Serves 6.
    This recipe makes 2 cups of sauce.

    Notes: Sautéing some onion and garlic in the butter before adding the other ingredients is great. The cheese is optional.


    What is the difference between using cornstarch or flour with cream sauces? Any taste difference?
    You'll use less cornstarch and so add fewer calories to the sauce. The flour should be cooked longer to eliminate the floury taste and the cornstarch shouldn't be boiled long after it's addition or it will break down.

    You should also be very careful with fat free dairy products as they will quickly curdle if brought to a boil too fast or in some cases just being brought to a boil will curdle it.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Rockville, Maryland
    Posts
    141
    This looks tasty - I would have never thought cream cheese.. but perhaps light cream cheese would def work.

    Quote Originally Posted by sneezles
    I've used this recipe in the past and it's a fairly good sub for whole fat sauces. These days I tend to do the full fat version but use a lot less sauce since fat helps with feeling saited longer.

    Low-Fat Alfredo Sauce

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Dorval (suburb of Montreal), Quebec
    Posts
    629
    [QUOTE=sneezles]I've used this recipe in the past and it's a fairly good sub for whole fat sauces. These days I tend to do the full fat version but use a lot less sauce since fat helps with feeling saited longer.

    Low-Fat Alfredo Sauce

    Sneezles, did you ever try freezing this sauce?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    5,143
    Quote Originally Posted by crispywafers
    Are there any substitutions for heavy cream/half and half, etc. that work well for sauces (can't really tell)?
    Tofu.

    Yums.
    --Mary Kate--

    "In all our woods there is not a tree so hard to kill as the buckeye. The deepest girdling does not deaden it, and even after it is cut down and worked up into the side of a cabin it will send out young branches, denoting to all the world that Buckeyes are not easily conquered, and could with difficulty be destroyed." - Daniel Drake, 1833

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    24,226
    [QUOTE=mmbedard]
    Quote Originally Posted by sneezles
    Low-Fat Alfredo Sauce

    Sneezles, did you ever try freezing this sauce?

    I don't recall ever freezing it but since it's a cooked sauce it should do OK though you may have to use a double boiler to reheat.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Dorval (suburb of Montreal), Quebec
    Posts
    629
    [QUOTE=sneezles]
    Quote Originally Posted by mmbedard


    I don't recall ever freezing it but since it's a cooked sauce it should do OK though you may have to use a double boiler to reheat.
    Thanks, I'll let you know.

  14. #14
    I recently made a tortellini dish with ff cream of mushroom soup and a soup can of skim milk. Because the cheese tortellini was tossed with peas and ham, I actually liked it better than the full fat version.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Rockville, Maryland
    Posts
    141
    Would you mind posting this recipe? This dish just seems like something my husband and I would love... peas...ham...tortellini..mushrooms...

    Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by TXtransplant
    I recently made a tortellini dish with ff cream of mushroom soup and a soup can of skim milk. Because the cheese tortellini was tossed with peas and ham, I actually liked it better than the full fat version.

  16. #16
    I agree that once you get used to the lower fat versions you'll prefer them.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    2,352
    I have successfully subbed chicken broth for part of the milk/cream in recipes.
    Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.

  18. #18

    Tortellini with Mushrooms

    1 T olive oil
    1/2 - 1 lb ham cut into strips (I just used honey ham thick sliced from the deli)
    1/2 c chopped onion
    2 cloves garlic
    1 t basil (crushed)
    1 can cream of mushroom soup (I used 98% ff)
    1 c frozen peas
    1 soup can milk (I used skim)
    1 T fresh parsley
    1/8 t pepper
    3 c hot cooked cheese tortellini
    Parmesan Cheese

    In a 2 qt saucepan over med. heat in hot oil, cook ham, onion, garlic & basil for 2 min. Stir in soup & peas. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cover & simmer 5 minutes. Stir in milk, parsley & pepper. Heath through. In a large bowl, pour soup mixture over tortellini. Toss lightly. Serve with cheese.

    I tossed 1/4 - 1/3 c of parmesan cheese with the tortellini. You can use it to taste. This was super fast and super yummy. DH said this was a "keeper"

    Enjoy!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Charleston, SC
    Posts
    1,020
    I use the reduced fat cream cheese and the evaporated skim milk---I like the cream cheese better---often I pump up the flavor with veggie broth/boullion to thin any sauce that needs it, along with pasta water. We eat a creamy vodka tomato sauce on ravioli all the time with the cream cheese (add it after you've removed the pan from the heat and just whisk until smooth) and it's really yummy.

    Good luck.
    Feeling lucky in this life.....

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •