Land of Leftovers

I grew up viewing yogurt as the creamy stuff that came packaged in plastic tubs. It was that stuff that Mom would spoon into a bowl and sprinkle with whatever fruit happened to be ready to be harvested from the garden. It was great stuff.

But I never thought about using it in cooking.

That's all changed today. In addition to enjoying it with fruit for old time's sake, yogurt finds itself added to baking mixes to keep cookies, cakes and muffins moist, stews to impart a special creaminess and smoothies to boost flavor and calcium content.

In addition to using yogurt in your cooking, try it as a condiment in the same way you'd use sour cream. A dollop on your favorite bowl of chili or paired with salsa for tacos adds extra flair.

To start out, buy a 16 ounce tub of plain lowfat or nonfat yogurt and try the recipes below. You should have just enough leftover for that bowl of chili!

  • Pick-Me-Up AM Smoothie
  • Cucumber Yogurt Salad
  • Beef Tenderloin with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

As always, I look forward to hearing from you about your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . And now, on to the recipes ...

Pick-Me-Up AM Smoothie

Adding lowfat or fat free yogurt to a fruity smoothie is a great way to add calcium to your diet.
  • 1 banana, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 c. frozen sliced peaches
  • 1 c. plain lowfat yogurt
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 1/2 c. orange juice

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Process the mixture until smooth. Pour into tall glasses and enjoy.

  • Yields: 3 servings
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cucumber Yogurt Salad

This refreshing salad is great served with pita wedges or spooned onto your favorite sandwich.
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 c. diced red onion
  • 1/4 c. chopped tomato
  • 2/3 c. lowfat yogurt
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Mix to combine. Serve with pita wedges.

  • Yields: 3 servings
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Beef Tenderloin with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

This hearty meal takes a tender cut of beef and cooks it in a creamy sauce.
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 12 oz. beef tenderloin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 c. sliced mushrooms
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 2 T. water
  • 2/3 c. sliced green onions
  • 1/2 c. plain lowfat yogurt

In a 10-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef tenderloin, garlic and mushrooms and cook until the meat is browned and the mushrooms are tender, but not browned.

Add the milk and pepper to the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer -- covered -- for 15-20 minutes or until the meat registers 145 degrees on a meat thermometer.

Remove the meat to a cutting board and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices against the grain. Set aside.

Meanwhile, increase the heat on the stove to medium-high and bring the milk to a boil. Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and add to the skillet -- stirring constantly -- until the sauce thickens.

Return the meat to the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Add the green onions and yogurt and mix to evenly distribute them. Heat the mixture until evenly warmed. Serve over pasta or couscous.

  • Yields: 3 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes