Gastronomized: Heinz One Carb Ketchup

March 18, 2009

heinz-reduced-sugar2So sue me, I love ketchup.  When someone asks “do you want fries with that?”, they’re not really referring to a burger or a hot dog, they’re referring to the massive amounts of ketchup I dip the potato-y wonders in.  Not to say that there’s much of anything in ketchup, but when I saw Heinz One Carb Reduced Sugar Ketchup, I thought I’d give it a try.  Nutritionally, the only difference between this ketchup and Heinz’s regular ketchup is that this is 5 calories per tablespoon and 1g carbs, and regular is 15 calories and 4g carbs.  It also contains sucralose instead of high fructose corn syrup.   If you’re only eating a tablespoon or so, there’s really no difference.  If you’re like me and eat your meal with your ketchup, this is a potential carb and calorie saver.

So in true oxymoronic fashion, I brought a bottle to McDick’s with me, ordered some fries and sat down to do a taste test between the original Heinz and the One Carb Heinz.  Let me tell you, there’s nothing like sitting down to eat McDonald’s fries with a bottle of reduced-carb ketchup.  The verdict?  Not much of a difference!  One Carb Heinz is still nice and thick, and despite being slightly less sweet and a little more salty it essentially tastes just like the original stuff.  If you want to add the sweetness back in it’s an easy fix: just add a packet of Splenda or something similar and you’re set (which I tried.  It worked pretty well!).

The next test: I sat down with a massive plate of Hungry Girl’s Butternut Squash Fries and dug in.  In one sentence: Best Gastronomized Swap Ever.  Completely guilt-free in every aspect and I felt like I was eating fries with real ketchup!

Stars: 5/5

Nutrition Facts:  Serving Size: 1 tbsp.  5 Calories.  0g Fat.  0g Cholesterol.  190mg Sodium.  1g Carbohydrates.  0g Protein. 0 WW Points.

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Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

March 15, 2009

sweet-potato-fries1So while winter seems to be taking a break for tonight, it wasn’t because suddenly the weather is more spring-like. If anything, it felt (and smelled) like full blown autumn. So what else was I to do than make myself some pork chops with a maple-apple glaze and some spiced sweet potato fries for dinner?

While my invented pork chops were less than stellar (honestly, a complete disaster.  They both looked and tasted like dog food), I feel the need to pass along the Sweet Potato Fries recipe, because it was incredible. I took Ina Garten’s basic recipe and made a few changes, although I think that next time I will change it again. Her recipe is incredibly versatile and you can cater it to complement almost any main dish you’re cooking. Here was my variation:

Spiced Sweet Potato Fries:

2 medium peeled sweet potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp granulated light brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp plus more to taste fresh ground black pepper
nutmeg, sprinkled
cinnamon, sprinkled

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Cut potatos into medium-sized wedges
3. Place wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over potatoes and toss to cover wedges evenly.
4. Sprinkle brown sugar, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon over wedges. Place in over and bake for about 30 minutes, turning once.
5. Remove from oven and add more salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Ina’s original recipe is essentially the same as above minus the nutmeg and cinnamon. While what I ended up with was incredible-tasting, I would make some changes. First, I would toss the fries in the olive oil in a bowl before placing them on a pre-oiled baking sheet. The excess oil seemed to pool on the cookie sheet and I had to blot some off the fries. I would also have cut my potatoes much thinner to make them more crispy and less potato-y.

Here’s some variations I would try:
Sprinkle the wedges with McCormick Seasoned Salt (my favorite store-brand seasoned salt).
Sprinkle with a different spice such as paprika (hungarian) or cayenne.
Toss with minced garlic before spreading out on the baking sheet.
Drizzle with maple syrup, honey or brown sugar before baking.

In a nutshell, you can do anything with these babies! Not to mention they’re relatively fast cooking for a potato side and massively easy to do. Enjoy!

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