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Frozen Meals Made Healthy

Timeless Nutrition Tips...

Are you often in a hurry and find yourself serving frozen dinners?

Frozen Meals Made Healthy

If you are, don't fret! You can make them healthier on the fly.

Here are a few tips to help maximize the nutrition from frozen meals made healthy.

  • Read the nutrition labels on frozen dinners and seek out dinners that have fewer than 15 grams of fat, 400 calories and 800 milligrams of sodium.
  • For Entrees, check the nutrition label for fewer than 300 calories and 10 grams of fat.
  • If the entree or dinner doesn't seem like enough to satisfy, add a salad or vegetable, or both. More often than not these dinners and entrees provide less than one serving of vegetables.
  • For a beverage drink a cup of skim milk or if that doesn't appeal to you, eat yogurt for dessert. Frozen dinners and entrees are also often lacking in calcium.

Healthy Frozen Dinner Components

Easy Elegant Frozen Waffles

Waffles needn't be just for breakfast! Create simple, quick and easy "dessert waffles" that are elegant, appealing and versatile to top off your frozen meals made healthy.

If you take an ordinary waffle and top it with a scoop of ice cream (preferably low or non-fat) and a yummy sauce, you have a sundae of sorts that surprises and satisfies. You can make this an incredibly low-fat, low calorie dessert with fat-free waffles and ice cream or even fat-free whipped topping. The possibilities are endless!

Waffles: Past to Present

International Waffle Day originated in Sweden where it is called Vaffeldagen (aka "Our Lady's Day", the day the archangel came to Mary to tell her she was to bear a son...the Son of God). It occurs nine months to the day before Christmas. The holiday started when the local dialect mispronounced the name for Annunciation Day according to the Swedish Embassy:

The Waffle day is an old tradition with its roots in the agricultural Sweden. Back then, Sweden was a poor country and food was not always granted for the day. The ingredients for waffles were simple, common, and inexpensive; water and some flour, for more luxury waffles eggs were added to the batter. Still not much was needed in order to make a dinner into a feast. Since the day is celebrated in spring time when the hens just start to lay eggs, fresh eggs were available again after a long winter.

As the holiday progressed, it also began to commemorate the first day of spring. On March 25th the women of Sweden would set aside their winter tasks like chopping wood and knitting, and began their spring tasks... the most notable of which was preparing waffles.

Technically, Vaffeldagen is the Feast of Annunciation. In the Bible, the Annunciation is narrated in the book of Luke, Chapter 1, verses 26-38.

Across the globe (on March 25), waffles are enjoyed with a drizzle of lemon juice, cottage cheese, cinnamon, powdered sugar, whipped cream, stewed fruits, syrup, or a combination of any these ingredients. Some folks refer to March 25 as International Waffle Day. International Waffle Day was started in Sweden where it is known as Vaffeldagen. This day shouldn't be confused with the U.S. National Waffle Day, which commemorates the Aug. 24, 1869 issuance to New York resident Cornelius Swarthout of the very first U.S. patent for a waffle iron.

Signature Waffles Today

For a signature touch, try the Butterscotch Glaze (recipe below) as a topping. You can also select from the vast array of ready-to-eat sauces from the supermarket. Choose from fruit to chocolate to caramel. You could also top your waffles with canned pie filling, orange-cranberry sauce from a jar, fruit preserves, standard ice cream sundae toppings or various "gourmet" fruit concoctions available from the specialty foods section.

Follow this method: Toast one standard-size frozen waffle per person. If you need to toast a large batch, you could do so under the broiler on a baking sheet.

Top each waffle with a scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt, flavor of your choice. Drizzle with the Butterscotch Glaze below or your favorite topping to taste. Add a squirt of whipped cream and chopped nuts, if desired.

Waffle Folklore

Waffle topped with molasses and butter The waffle as we know it today originally came from what was called the "obleios" (Greek for wafers), a flat cake cooked between two hot plates and stamped with a crucifix. For religious celebrations, vendors were allowed to sell their waffles at church door exits. (Two heated plates were used to speed the cooking process). The dish was used in the celebration of the Eucharist.

In the Middle Ages, the word "obleios" evolved to "oublies". These were served flat or rolled into filled coronets (cones).

Sometime in the 13th century, a craftsman forged the plates used for the oublie into the pattern of a honeycomb. (Wafla means "a piece of honeybee hive."). In Holland, the name "wafel" was given to the resulting cake. The word appeared in America in 1744, when a lady wrote to a friend, after a supper party:

"I was not a little grieved that so luxurious a feast should have come under the name of a wafel frolic."

In 1735, the word "waffle" (with two 'fs') appeared for the first time in English. When Thomas Jefferson returned to the United States in 1789 from his position as Minister to France, he brought along a long-handled waffle iron, which enclosed the waffle batter to make it crispy and give it shape. Thus a trend began called "waffle frolics", or waffle parties. Guests would enjoy waffles sweetened with maple syrup or molasses. Slaves were allowed to eat the leftovers as a treat.

Today we are lucky to have waffle irons that make easy work of waffle creations!

Waffle Topper

Butterscotch Glaze
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream or whipping cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Waffle with syrup In 4-cup glass measure, combine butter, brown sugar, cream and corn syrup. Cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap and cut a small hole in center of wrap to vent. Microwave two minutes on high or until mixture boils.

Remove sauce from microwave, uncover it and stir until brown sugar has dissolved. (If it does not dissolve, microwave 30 seconds to one minute more). Stir in vanilla extract. Serve sauce warm over dessert waffles or ice cream. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Notes: Store any leftover sauce in a covered container in refrigerator for up to two weeks. Reheat in microwave, uncovered on high, until warm throughout, about 30 seconds to one minute. Sauce also can be frozen for up to two months. (To thaw, place it in refrigerator for 24 hours, then reheat in microwave).

Nutrition information per tablespoon:
Calories: 91; Carbohydrates: 11g; Protein: trace; Total fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 17mg; Fiber: 0; Sodium: 8mg

Makeover Waffles

Dust off your waffle iron, because these breakfast sensations are nothing short of wonderful! Lower in fat, too. These freeze beautifully.

1-3/4 cup all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1-3/4 cup fat free milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, milk, oil and applesauce. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

In another small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter. Bake in a preheated waffle iron acording to manufacturer's instructions until golden brown.

Nutrition information per 2 waffles: 321 calories, 13g fat (2g saturated), 84mg cholesterol, 538mg sodium, 39g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 10g protein.

Waffles Florentine Quick Recipe

Prepare two whole grain waffles and spread with two tablespoons black olive tapenade. Top with 1/2 cup egg whites, scrambled in cooking spray,

Did you know?

The first week of September is National Waffle Week.