Fall is here and we’re ready for sweater weather and comfort food. And while we may crave foods that are high in saturated fats (we’re looking at you, pizza and buttery cakes), experts recommend enjoying them sparingly in order to help reduce blood cholesterol levels, in an effort to avoid heart diseases.
It’s not about depriving ourselves from rich flavor and fulfilling meals. It’s about being mindful about our ingredients and looking for alternatives to butter, such as lower saturated fat oils (wink wink).
What foods can you cook with oil you ask? That’s easy: tons.
Check out 5 of our favorite comfort foods you can cook with oil:
CHICKEN SOUP WITH TOMATILLO AND AVOCADO
There’s a reason the book is called “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” isn’t it? There’s nothing like chicken soup to soothe our hearts while filling up our bellies.
You’ll just need: 2 tablespoons of heart healthy* Mazola® Corn Oil, 1 medium yellow onion, chopped, 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced, 11/2 pounds of tomatillos, husked and pureed, 11/2 pounds of chicken breast (about 3 large chicken breasts), 4 cups of chicken stock, 1 can of hominy, 1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped (plus whole leaves for garnish). For the garnish: 1 cup of red cabbage, thinly sliced, 2 radishes, thinly sliced, 1 avocado, sliced, 1 lime, cut into wedges, 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced, and salt to taste.
In a medium pot, heat heart healthy* Mazola® Corn Oil over medium. Add the onions and garlic, then cook, covered, until softened. Mazola® Corn Oil’s neutral taste, uniform color and high smoke point make it great for sautéing. Then add the pureed tomatillos, chicken, chicken broth, drained hominy and salt. Bring it to a simmer, then cook, covered, until the chicken breast is cooked through and tender.
Cut the chicken breasts in thin slices on a cutting board, return the chicken to the pot and cook uncovered for 10 more minutes. Then just remove from heat and stir in the chopped cilantro and serve the soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro, cabbage, radishes, avocado, lime, sour cream, tortilla chips and jalapeños.
RICE WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS, ALMONDS AND HERBS
Does anything compare to the smell of cooking with herbs floating around your kitchen on a fall evening?
For this recipe you’ll need: 3 tablespoons of heart healthy* Mazola® Corn Oil, 1 large onion, peeled and sliced, ½ teaspoon baharat (peppercorns, coriander, cumin, allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, paprika, and nutmeg), a handful of raisins or dried cherries, a handful of herbs such as cilantro, parsley or basil chopped, a handful of almonds, toasted and chopped, 3-4 cups of cooked rice, lemon zest from 1 lemon and salt to taste.
Warm heart healthy* Mazola® Corn Oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, spices and salt and mix. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the raisins and cook until the onion is caramelized (about 5 minutes).
Meanwhile toast the almonds at 350°F/200°C preheated oven or toaster oven for 5 minutes. Chop them and set them aside. Chop the herbs and also set them aside.
If the rice is cold, warm it up a bit and then put it in a salad bowl. Add the onions and herbs, drizzle heart healthy* Mazola® Corn Oil and zest the lemon in. Toss and taste, and voilá!
You may wonder: is it unhealthy to cook with oil? According to the American Heart Association, “replacing bad fats (saturated and trans) with healthier fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) is good for your heart.” And one way of doing this is by cooking with vegetable oils, such as heart healthy* Mazola® Corn Oil.
According to the USDA, one cup (100g) of green beans contains 1.83 gr of protein and 2.7 g of fiber. And you will love these green beans with almonds as a side dish or even as a very green snack.
Take 2 lbs. of fresh green beans and put them in a bowl, drizzle them with a tablespoon of heart healthy* Mazola® Corn Oil and 1 teaspoon of salt and mix. Grab a baking sheet, cover it with baking paper and spread your green beans over it. Bake them for 10 minutes at 300°F. Take them out and add the zest and juice of one lemon. Finally, chop ½ cup of blanched almonds and add them to this delicious and satisfying green mix!
What happens to oil when you cook it? When any kind of oil is overheated, it starts to form aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, dienes, and acids. This affects the food’s flavors. Corn Oil has a higher smoking point than olive oil (400-450°F versus 325-375°F).**
This is one of our top faves! Baking cookies (and eating them, obviously) is what fall is all about.
You’ll need: 4 cups of spelt or unbleached white flour, 1 ½ tsp. of baking powder, 1 ½ tsp. Salt, ½ cup Cane Sugar, ½ cup heart healthy* Mazola® Corn Oil, 2 Eggs, 2 tbsp. Sesame Seeds (optional), ½ tbsp. Dried Rosemary, ¾ – 1 cup Orange or Clementine juice (preferably freshly squeezed but pre-packed will work too if you don’t have oranges, nor the time to squeeze).
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, heart healthy* Mazola® Corn Oil, eggs, sesame and rosemary. Add the orange juice little by little with one hand, while mixing the ingredients with the other. Knead the dough for a minute or two until the ingredients are well combined and the dough is soft and a little sticky. If the dough is too dry, add a little bit more orange juice, if it’s too sticky add a little bit of flour. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 10-20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 330°F. Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Divide the dough into three chunks. Put each chunk on a baking paper sheet and sprinkle some flour on top. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a thin as possible rectangle in the size of your baking sheets.
This part is really important! Use a fork (or a dough prickler) to poke holes all over the dough. You can use a pizza cutter to cut the edges to make straight lines and to cut the dough into little squares or use a sharp knife.
Transfer the dough onto the baking sheets and bake for 25 minutes or until cookies are golden brown on top and bottom. Let them cool completely on a rack.
If you’re feeling nostalgic for some of your childhood memories and flavors, this Ropa Vieja recipe will take you back!
You’ll need: 3 pounds of chuck roast, brisket, or flank steak, 4 tablespoons of heart healthy* Mazola® Corn Oil, 2 large onions, chopped, 2 red bell peppers, chopped, 2 tablespoons of salt, 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped, ½ cup of white wine, 4 teaspoons of sweet paprika, 1 tablespoon of dried Mexican oregano, 2 teaspoons of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1 can of whole peeled tomatoes, 2 bay leaves, ¾ cup of green olives. And chopped cilantro, white rice, maduros, and black beans for serving.
For this recipe, preheat the oven to 250º F. Heat 2 tablespoons of heart healthy* Mazola® Corn Oil in a pot over high. Cook the meat, turning occasionally, until browned on both sides, 5–7 minutes per side, and set aside.
Then cook the onions, bell peppers, and salt, in 2 Tbsp. of heart healthy* Mazola® Corn Oil, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the vegetables are golden brown (3–5 minutes).
Add wine to the mix and cook, stirring occasionally, until evaporated. Add the paprika, oregano, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne until the vegetables are coated; continue to cook, stirring, until the spices are fragrant, for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and coarsely break up with a spoon (they’ll continue to break down as they cook).
Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by half, for about 5 minutes. Add the meat into the tomato mixture and add bay leaves on either side. Then cover and transfer it to the oven.
Braise the roast and vegetables until the meat is very tender and shreds easily (approximately 2½–3 hours). Let it cool for 15 minutes. Using 2 forks, tear the meat into sauce until it’s shredded and incorporated into the sauce. Stir in the olives. You can serve it in plates topping it with cilantro, accompanied by rice, maduros, and beans on the side.
*Very limited and preliminary scientific evidence suggests that eating about 1 tablespoon (16 grams) of corn oil daily may reduce the risk of heart disease due to the unsaturated fat content in corn oil. FDA concludes that there is little scientific evidence supporting this claim. To achieve this possible benefit, corn oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day. One serving of this product contains 14 grams of corn oil.
** Maki K, Lawless A, Kelley K, Kaden V, Geiger C, Dicklin M. Corn oil improves the plasma lipoprotein lipid profile compared with extra-virgin olive oil consumption in men and women with elevated cholesterol; results from a randomized feeding trial. J Clin Lipidol. Article in press. Accessed December 10, 2014. Study sponsored in part by ACH Food Companies, Inc.