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Hy-Vee Dietitian: Cheese

Everyone loves cheese! The flavor cheese pairs well with so many foods & cheese is a favorite on just about every holiday buffet. Incorporate these lower-fat cheeses into your holiday menus, smile and say "cheese" knowing you're doing your health, and your palate, a healthy favor.

The Skinny on Saturated Fat

Cheese, followed by pizza, are the number one and number two contributors of saturated fat in the American diet. Saturated fats are the type of fat that raises blood cholesterol, so we are well-advised to reduce our intake of this type of fat. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to 7-10% of our total calorie consumption. At your average holiday buffet, it's easy to exceed this limit when enjoying cheese.

To keep the flavor yet reduce this type of fat, your Hy-Vee dietitian highlights reduced-fat cheeses, such as Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Made from 1.5% milk, this sharp cheese melts just like full-fat cheeses and tastes great. Use it in any recipe that calls for cheese and save fat and calories without sacrificing flavor.

Cheesy Ways to Enjoy Lower-fat Appetizers

Your neighborhood Hy-Vee store offers some reduced fat cheeses with excellent flavor. Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese can be used in many ways and enjoyed during the holiday entertaining season. Try any of the following options from your Hy-Vee dietitian:

• Cube it as part of a meat-and-cheese tray, combined with fresh veggies
• Melt it on canapés or on top of pizzas
• Mix it in dips and casseroles
• Sprinkle it on soups and salads
• Skewer it on appetizer kabobs with fresh vegetables and a lean cooked meat

Apple, Cheddar & Walnut Toasts

Featuring Cabot 50% Reduced-fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese
This recipe highlights the excellent melting qualities of this reduced-fat cheese.

All you need:
24 thin slices demi-loaf Hy-Vee Baking Stone Bread
2 apples, variety of your choice, cored and thinly sliced
8 ounces grated Cabot 50% Reduced-Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese (about 2 cups)
1 cup walnut pieces

All you do:
1. Preheat broiler. Arrange bread on baking sheet and toast lightly on both sides under broiler.
2. Remove from broiler and place about two apple slices on each toast.
3. Mound cheese on top.
4. Press walnut pieces into cheese.
5. Return to broiler until cheese melts and is lightly browned.

Makes 24 toasts.

Cabot Cheese Chicken Sausage Kabobs

All you need:
2 links Al Fresco Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage, sliced into 1inch chunks
1/2 (8 ounce) pkg. Cabot 50% Reduced-Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese, cut into 1inch chunks
1 small jar roasted red peppers
Fresh rosemary or toothpicks

All you do:
1. In a medium skillet, brown chicken sausage to caramelize & enhance flavor. Cool slightly.
2. Thread chicken sausage, cheese chunk and piece of roasted red pepper onto skewer; either rosemary sprig or toothpick.
3. Serve.


Christmas Package Cream Cheese Appetizer

The herbs in this appetizer bump up the flavor and the creaminess of cream cheese makes this a great application for fat-free cream cheese. Save 9 grams of fat and 70 calories per ounce. Serve with whole grain crackers for a festive appetizer.

All you need:
½ teaspoon dried dill
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 ounces Hy-Vee fat-free cream cheese, softened
Scallion and red bell pepper, for garnish

All you do:
4. Mix the dried dill, garlic powder and salt into the softened cream cheese.
5. Pack the mixture into a rectangular container lined with plastic wrap (you can reuse the cream cheese box).
6. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Before serving time, set the unwrapped block of cheese on a platter and decorate it with a scallion bow and red pepper polka dots and gift tag.

Source: Family Fun Magazine

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