RecipesDuke Diet Chef Spices It Up
Body-conscious dishes for the good life


By Debra Simon


If your diet drill centers on a pale plate of broiled, skinless chicken breast with a dry baked potato and a stalk of naked broccoli, it’s time to wake up and smell the spices. Just because this is your year to eat better doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste or style.

Durham is known as the Diet Capital of the World. So Carolina Woman went directly to the Bull City to find resolution-friendly recipes. Our goal: To dress up your plate with dishes so delish you’ll wonder why you ever subjected yourself to plain broccoli.

The Duke Diet & Fitness Center is among the most highly respected treatment centers for those who are overweight. Every year since 1969, thousands of people have flocked to the program to turn their lives around, and from exercise to behavioral and physical health to nutrition, they’ve learned what they needed to do it. Cate Smith is the executive chef at the Duke Diet & Fitness Center. She orchestrates all on-site culinary functions, from management to menus to ingredients, and provides cooking instruction for program participants.

“The coolest part about my position is that I get to help people discover that healthy food can have great flavor and be as exciting as a gourmet meal,” says Smith, who’s officially employed by Meriwether Godsey, a dining management company.

“‘Keep it fresh and simple’ is my first motto in cooking. Ingredients in season need little added to them to enhance their already incredible flavor.”

From savory breakfast to sweet dessert (yes — you don’t have to skip dessert to lose weight!), these recipes, created by Smith and served at the Duke Diet & Fitness Center, prove that eating well can be a gastronomic experience.





recipesCocoa Date Oatmeal

1/4 cup chopped pitted dates (10-12 dates)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons cocoa
Pinch of salt
2 cups water
4 tablespoons toasted chopped walnuts

Combine dates, oats, cocoa and salt in a 1-quart, microwavable container. Slowly stir in the water. Partially cover with plastic wrap.
Microwave on medium for 4 to 5 minutes, then stir. Microwave on medium again for 3 or 4 minutes, then stir. Continue cooking and stirring until the cereal is creamy.

Top with walnuts just before serving.
Nutrition analysis per serving: Calories: 150, Fat: 7 g, Carbohydrate: 23 g, Protein: 4 g, Sodium: 40 mg
Makes 4 servings
Serving size: 1/2 cup

Cranberry Orange Muffins With Spiced "Butter"
For muffins:recipes
2-3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
Pinch of salt
3 eggs
1/3 cup applesauce
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup dried cranberries, packed
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For spiced "butter":
3/4 teaspoon orange zest, finely grated
3/4 teaspoon fresh orange juice

For muffins:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, flax and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Add the applesauce to the eggs. Then add milk, honey and orange zest.
Mix the wet and dry ingredients together briefly. (The secret to light muffins is to stir the batter as little as possible.) Gently fold in the cranberries and walnuts.
Spoon batter into a sprayed or lightly oiled muffin tin, filling cups to the brim, and bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
Muffins are done when center peaks are firm to the touch. If muffins don't peak, either the oven temperature is too low or the batter is too runny.
For spiced “butter”:
Once Smart Balance is softened, mix all ingredients together until well blended. Refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving.
Let sit at room temperature to soften.

Nutrition analysis per serving: Muffins only: Calories: 190, Fat: 4 g, Carbohydrates: 35 g, Protein: 6 g, Sodium: 190 mg
Spiced “butter”: Calories: 30, Fat: 3 g, Carbohydrates: 0 g, Protein: 0 g, Sodium: 30 mg
Makes 12 servings
Serving Size: 1 muffin and 1 teaspoon spiced “butter”


Veggie Sides

recipesOrange Scented Sugar Snap Peas
1/2 peel orange, julienned
2-1/4 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
3/4 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon Smart Balance
Pinch of salt
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh chives, snipped
Pepper, to taste

Fill a frying pan with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil.
Add orange peel and snap peas, cook for 5 to 6 minutes — peas should remain bright green with a snap to them.
Drain peas, remove orange peel and return peas to pan. Toss with olive oil, Smart Balance, salt, pepper and chives.

Nutrition analysis per serving: Calories: 30, Fat: 1.5 g, Carbohydrate: 3 g, Protein: 1 g, Sodium: 35 mg
Makes 4 servings
Serving size: 1/2 cup

recipesPan Roasted Turnips
1-1/2 pounds turnips, cleaned & quartered
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Season turnips with salt and pepper.
In a large sauté pan, heat butter until starting to brown. Add turnips and toss to coat well. Sauté until golden brown, about 8 to 9 minutes.
Add paprika and toss to coat.
Add vinegar and cook until evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Nutrition analysis per serving: Calories: 45, Fat: 2 g, Carbohydrate: 6 g, Protein: 1 g, Sodium: 80 mg
Makes 6 servings
Serving size: 1/2 cup

Tarragon Green Beans & Mushrooms

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup shallot, finely chopped
2 cups green beans, trimmed and slightly steamed
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper, or to taste

Steam green beans for 3 to 4 minutes. (They should remain bright green and crisp.)
Heat olive oil in a large skillet; add shallots and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms start to soften.
Add green beans and white wine. Cook until beans are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Add tarragon, salt and pepper. Serve.

Nutrition analysis per serving: Calories: 45, Fat: 2 g, Carbohydrate: 5 g, Protein: 1 g, Sodium: 65 mg (15 mg without salt)
Makes 4 servings
Serving size: 1/2 cup

recipesYellow Squash & Sweet Onion Sauté
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Smart Balance
1/2 cup yellow sweet onion, julienned
4 cups yellow squash, sliced ½-inch thick
1/8 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste

Place olive oil and Smart Balance in large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes until they begin to soften.
Add squash, and stir frequently for 7 to 10 minutes. (Cook only until it just begins to soften.)
Add salt and pepper.

Nutrition analysis per serving: Calories: 35, Fat: 2 g, Carbohydrate: 3 g, Protein: 1 g, Sodium: 45 mg
Makes 6 servings
Serving size: 1/2 cup

Main Dishes

recipesHorseradish Crusted Fish
8 ounces raw tilapia fillet (or other white fish)
1 tablespoon ground corn flakes
1/4 teaspoon grated prepared horseradish
1/8 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley
1 drop of lemon juice, plus additional for brushing fish
Black pepper as needed

Mix corn flakes, horseradish, mustard, parsley and drop of lemon juice in a bowl until a paste forms.
Brush fish with lemon juice and sprinkle with pepper.
Top fish with crust mixture, then spray with pan spray and bake until fish is done and crust is golden.

Nutrition analysis per serving: Calories: 240, Fat: 4.5 g, Carbohydrate: 5 g, Protein: 45 g, Sodium: 150 mg
Makes 1 serving
Serving size: 6-ounce cooked fillet

recipesCheesy Cauliflower Casserole

1/2 cup broccoli
3/4 cup small florets cauliflower
4 ounces uncooked rainbow shell pasta
1 tablespoon flour
1-1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 cup reduced-fat, shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped cooked spinach (if frozen, thaw and drain well)
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup mashed cannellini beans
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
6 tablespoons slivered almonds
2-1/4 teaspoons trans-free margarine, such as Smart Balance or Promise

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Steam cauliflower and broccoli until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
Cook, rinse and drain pasta.
Combine flour and milk in a saucepan. Stir and whisk until smooth.
Stir in thyme and garlic. Cook until thick. Remove from heat.
Stir in cheeses, spinach, beans, green onions, mustard and pepper. Add salt to taste. Combine cauliflower and broccoli, cheese mixture and pasta in a bowl. Spoon into a sprayed baking pan.
Combine bread crumbs, almonds and melted margarine. Sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until bubbly.

Nutrition analysis per serving: Calories: 240, Fat: 9g, Carbohydrate: 28 g, Protein: 14g, Sodium: 250mg
Makes 6 servings
Serving size: 1/6 of pan

recipesSalmon Patties With Mustard Herb Sauce
For fish:
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
3/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced
14 ounces cooked salmon fillets, flaked into bite-size pieces
(may substitute same amount of canned salmon)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons canola oil

For sauce:
2 tablespoons fat-free ranch dressing
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon light sour cream
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

For fish:
Combine all ingredients up to and including the green onions.
Add salmon, flour and cornmeal, and mix well. If needed, continue adding equal parts of flour and cornmeal until mixture is thick enough to hold together. Form balls and flatten out to patties at 2/3 cup each.
Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat and add canola oil. (Spread oil with a pastry brush if needed.) When the skillet is hot, add patties and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side until browned and warm on the inside.
Mix sauce ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

Nutrition analysis per serving: Salmon patty: Calories 250, Fat: 9 g, Carbohydrate: 14 g, Protein: 27 g, Sodium: 330 mg
Sauce: Calories: 20, Fat: 0.5 g, Carbohydrate: 4 g, Protein: 0 g, Sodium: 150 mg
Makes 4 servings
Serving size: 1 patty and 1 tablespoon sauce


recipesBerry Crumble
For berry mixture:
7 cups frozen mixed berries
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Juice from 2 lemons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place berries in a large mixing bowl and toss with sugars, lemon juice, flour and cinnamon. Pour into a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray and spread out into an even layer.
In another mixing bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the topping except butter. Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to work in the cold butter until pea-sized lumps are formed.
Top berries with mixture; bake until berries are bubbly and topping is golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes. Rotate once halfway through cooking.

Note: You can also place 1/2 cup berry mixture with 1 tablespoon toping in individual ramekins before baking for easier portion control or serving later. Bake ramekins all together on a cookie sheet.
Nutrition analysis per serving: Calories: 100, Fat: 3 g, Carbohydrate: 20 g, Protein: 1 g, Sodium: 0 mg
Makes 12 servings
Serving size: 1/2 cup berry mixture and 1 tablespoon topping