EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 1, 2013

Diet restrictions limit what to serve at party

Diet restrictions limit what to serve at party

Pat's Kitchen
Patricia Altomare

---- — Hi Pat,

I enjoy reading your recipes and weekly column in the newspaper very much. At this time in my life (a senior), I cannot eat and make a lot of your delicious recipes, so I just sigh and say, “remember when.” Nevertheless, I still enjoy reading your tips and recipes.

I have a real dilemma facing me. I am hosting a dinner for six people soon and thought it would be an easy thing to do. However, after I inquired if there were any allergies or foods someone cannot eat, I wasn’t expecting to have more than one person to accommodate! Two guests are diabetic, so I will have to be selective about the starches, sugars, and carbs.

One guest is pregnant and there are several foods she cannot have!

I thought a nice baked salmon would be fine to accommodate everyone, but the pregnant guest cannot have any type of fish.

Two guests are on a “healthy” eating program, and are limiting their intake of fats, sugars, non-whole grains, and red meat. And last but not least, one person is allergic to onions and mushrooms! I don’t know what to serve except a roast chicken!

Pat, do you have any ideas on what I can do for a menu? If it is chicken, do you have a really good recipe that does not involve creams, lots of cheese, canned soups, white potatoes and high carbohydrate side dishes?

I gave up on making an apple pie, or a nice dessert, because even if I added Splenda for the diabetics, the pregnant guest says she cannot have artificial sweeteners. Other than a fruit salad, have you got any ideas for me?

Hellllllllp Pat!”

Dede, Hampstead N.H.


After talking it over with Dede, my suggestions were pork tenderloin or Cornish game hens, and a dessert of poached pears with a ginger, walnut, and honey topping.

Dede’s final dinner menu:

Boneless roast pork loin served with a red wine, balsamic vinegar and cherry reduction.

Whole grain, brown and wild rice medley.

String beans and carrots roasted in garlic oil

Sugar-free, fat-free cappuccino pudding with lite Cool Whip sprinkled with a cinnamon and chocolate curls garnish.

I believe that Dede came up with a very good menu; the boneless pork loin really is “the other white meat” these days, as it is very lean. The rice medley was also a very good idea, and the cappuccino pudding sounds delicious.

I would say that Dede kept the carbohydrates and sugar to a minimum, while maintaining a lot of flavor.

What do you think? Write in any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Here is another way to use boneless pork, using the more economical sirloin cut (or substitute chicken breast).

One thing that I like about a stir fry is that you can control the amount of meat you put in. I like to prepare it with more vegetables than meat, so I probably use a quarter meat, and three-quarters vegetables. It can be served over rice or egg noodles, or with neither.

Most children love stir-fry meals so it’s a good way to get them to eat vegetables, just use more of the types they like. If the sauce is tasty, they might even try vegetables that have not been favorites.

Pork can be an economical meat to buy at this time of year, so watch for the sales. One pound of meat goes a long way in a stir fry.

This is fun to do in a wok, otherwise use a large skillet.

Gingered Pork Stir Fry

Serves 6

3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons peeled, minced gingerroot (leftover gingerroot keeps well in a Ziploc bag in the freezer)

1 to 11/4 pounds boneless pork sirloin cutlets

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 large cloves garlic, crushed

1 cup thinly sliced celery

1/2 cup each thinly sliced zucchini, small broccoli flowerets, and green or red pepper strips

3 green onions cut in 2-inch pieces

1, 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained

1, 6-ounce package frozen snow pea pods, thawed. (Use fresh if you can get them, cook until crisp-tender).

Combine first six ingredients in a small bowl; stir well and set aside.

Cut meat into 1/2-inch strips.

Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil around top of preheated wok, coating sides; heat wok to medium high for 2 minutes. Add pork and garlic and stir-fry just a few minutes. Remove from wok and set aside.

Pour remaining oil into wok. Add celery and remaining vegetables except for snow peas, and stir-fry 3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

Last, add reserved broth mixture, pork, and snow peas; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and hot.

Patricia Altomare invites feedback. Email her at patakitchen@yahoo.com.