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Thread: Substitute for heavy cream??

  1. #1
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    Question Substitute for heavy cream??

    I plan to make this recipe tonight. What is a good substitute for heavy cream? Thanks and have a great weekend. The sun is finally out here in the Baltimore area.

    Skillet Baked Ziti
    America�s Test Kitchen Episode: Easy Skillet Suppers


    To complete this recipe in 30 minutes, preheat your oven before assembling your ingredients. If your skillet is not ovensafe, transfer the pasta mixture into a shallow 2-quart casserole dish before sprinkling with the cheese and baking. Packaged pre-shredded mozzarella is a real time-saver here. Penne can also be used here.

    Serves 4

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    6 garlic cloves , minced
    1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    Table salt and ground black pepper
    1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (we used Muir Glen fw/basil)
    3 cups water
    12 ounces ziti (3 3/4 cups)
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
    1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
    1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

    Making the Minutes Count: Measure the water and the pasta before you begin cooking. Prep the Parmesan and basil while the pasta cooks.


    1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees.

    2. Combine oil, garlic, pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in 12-inch, ovensafe nonstick skillet and saut� over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes, water, ziti, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat as needed to maintain vigorous simmer, until ziti is almost tender, 15 to 18 minutes.

    3. Stir in cream, parmesan, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over ziti. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until cheese has melted and browned, about 10 minutes. Serve.
    __________________
    Lynne

  2. #2
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    Lynne, are you looking for a lighter alternative? If, so I'd use fat-free half & half. The amount you need for the recipe is pretty small so it wouldn't be too sweet.
    Sue

    I'm here with my best friend... my fork!! ~ Paula Deen

    If you always keep your head up, you'll never find that lucky penny on the sidewalk.

  3. #3
    Is there a reason why you don't want to use the cream? As this dish serves 4, each person would only get 2 tbsp cream per serving. (And possibly less if they don't take a full serving)

    Having said that, pretty much any dairy would work. It just wouldn't have that nice rich mouthfeel and the sauce might seem a bit "thin".

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammster View Post
    Is there a reason why you don't want to use the cream? As this dish serves 4, each person would only get 2 tbsp cream per serving. (And possibly less if they don't take a full serving)
    2 tablespoons of heavy cream contains 10g total fat, 6g saturated. With the parm and mozzarella cheeses also in this recipe, any way to cut back the fat would be a good thing (every little bit helps, and all that...)!

    I use lowfat half & half because I find that I like the taste better than the nonfat. But remember that you cannot bring either nonfat or lowfat half & half to a boil or it will separate. It will still taste good, but look a bit odd.

    You may also want to consider using part-skim mozzarella cheese to lessen the total and saturated fat numbers even more.
    Vicci


    Can't you just eat what I put in front of you? Do you have to know what it is?
    Ria Parkinson, Butterflies (BBC, 1978-83)

  5. #5
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    I've had good luck using evaporated skim milk in place of heavy cream in cooked recipes. I don't think it tastes as good (of course!) but the texture is good.

  6. #6
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    I love this recipe, and so do my kids. I routinely drop the 1/2 cup heavy cream to 1/3 cup with no ill effects. I also use part-skim mozzarella if possible. I am suspicious of no-fat versions of typically high-fat foods b/c some of them turn into Frankenfoods, with who knows what sorts of gums and fillers in there, and lots of HFCS to add sweetness (and, I assume, to help with that creamy mouthfeel you're missing by cutting out the fat). Maybe try it with the 1/3 cup and the part-skim, and see how you like those nutritional stats?
    If you're afraid of butter, use cream. ~~ Julia Child

    As you cook, you enjoy omniscience about food that no amount of label reading can match. Having retaken control of the meal from the food scientists, you know exactly what is in it. (Unless you start w/cream of mushroom soup, in which case all bets are off.) To reclaim control over one's food, to take it back from industry & science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time, cooking from scratch qualifies as subversive. ~~ Michael Pollan

  7. #7
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    Although the fat-free half & half contains corn syrup, the lowfat version does not (I'm talking about the Land o Lakes brand).

    That creamy mouthfeel in both versions of half & half is due, in part, to the addition of carrageenan (a thickener/ stabilizer derived from seaweed).

    Tonight I made a pasta sauce for tomorrow which contains olive oil, garlic, chopped tomatoes, fresh basil, lowfat half and half, and parmagiano reggiano (sp???). It is every bit as good as the heavy cream version I made over the holidays (when I was splurging, and I certainly paid for it over the next few months as I struggled to lose that Holiday Weight!).

    I feel that it's absolutely worth the hassle of watching the pan very closely to make certain that the lowfat half & half doesn't come to a boil and separate.
    Vicci


    Can't you just eat what I put in front of you? Do you have to know what it is?
    Ria Parkinson, Butterflies (BBC, 1978-83)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by VictoriaL View Post
    Although the fat-free half & half contains corn syrup, the lowfat version does not (I'm talking about the Land o Lakes brand).

    That creamy mouthfeel in both versions of half & half is due, in part, to the addition of carrageenan (a thickener/ stabilizer derived from seaweed).

    Tonight I made a pasta sauce for tomorrow which contains olive oil, garlic, chopped tomatoes, fresh basil, lowfat half and half, and parmagiano reggiano (sp???). It is every bit as good as the heavy cream version I made over the holidays (when I was splurging, and I certainly paid for it over the next few months as I struggled to lose that Holiday Weight!).

    I feel that it's absolutely worth the hassle of watching the pan very closely to make certain that the lowfat half & half doesn't come to a boil and separate.
    Thanks for posting the info & recommendation; I'll try it. If it does separate, is there a way to fix it, or is the dish ruined? Or is it still edible (for family, obviously not for guests) but just ugly if it separates?
    If you're afraid of butter, use cream. ~~ Julia Child

    As you cook, you enjoy omniscience about food that no amount of label reading can match. Having retaken control of the meal from the food scientists, you know exactly what is in it. (Unless you start w/cream of mushroom soup, in which case all bets are off.) To reclaim control over one's food, to take it back from industry & science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time, cooking from scratch qualifies as subversive. ~~ Michael Pollan

  9. Evaporated milk

    In a recipe like this where it's not a ganache or something sweet, I would definitely use evaporated milk. You could even use low fat or skim evaporated milk. That will give you the thick consistency you want.

    The fat-free half and half works too, but the only downside is that it's got some chemicals in it.
    Stephanie
    Cooking for Kids Guide at About.com
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  10. #10
    I've never seen Low Fat 1/2 and 1/2........all I find is the FF and regular. Where do you find the low fat?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidscooking View Post
    In a recipe like this where it's not a ganache or something sweet, I would definitely use evaporated milk. You could even use low fat or skim evaporated milk. That will give you the thick consistency you want.
    I'm thinking that you wouldn't have to worry about it separating?
    If you're afraid of butter, use cream. ~~ Julia Child

    As you cook, you enjoy omniscience about food that no amount of label reading can match. Having retaken control of the meal from the food scientists, you know exactly what is in it. (Unless you start w/cream of mushroom soup, in which case all bets are off.) To reclaim control over one's food, to take it back from industry & science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time, cooking from scratch qualifies as subversive. ~~ Michael Pollan

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by testkitchen45 View Post
    Thanks for posting the info & recommendation; I'll try it. If it does separate, is there a way to fix it, or is the dish ruined? Or is it still edible (for family, obviously not for guests) but just ugly if it separates?
    TK, I wouldn't say ugly, but it isn't very pretty. That being said, the times I have made the mistake of bringing it to a boil, we ate it anyway. The flavor doesn't seem to be affected. For guests... maybe not, but I've forced myself to pay attention to the cooking so far, and haven't had the problem.

    Tutalady, some stores around here carry both lowfat and nonfat, some carry only the nonfat. They're both made by Land o Lakes, you could probably ask your local store to order it for you.

    And I should add that I used the pasta sauce, which I mentioned making last evening, on lobster ravioli today. DH commented afterward on how good it was ("nice and creamy", were his exact words) and when I said that this time I used the lowfat half & half, he was surprised that it wasn't cream-based like the previous times.

    I don't know if I would have used evaporated milk in something like this sauce, though, since evaporated milk tends to have a flavor which I'm not too fond of (uh, except in fudge).
    Vicci


    Can't you just eat what I put in front of you? Do you have to know what it is?
    Ria Parkinson, Butterflies (BBC, 1978-83)

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