Just in time for New Year’s Resolutions! If you don’t have “eating well” on your New Years Resolution list then this post is for you, because when I say “diet” I don’t mean the self-deprivation kind. I just mean the everyday part of your daily food intake. Plain Fat Free Greek Yogurt is a mainstay of my diet, and do I LOOK deprived of life’s food luxuries? 🙄
You pretty much have to be living under a rock to not know that Greek Yogurt is all the rage these days. But still, that doesn’t mean that you know how or when to use it and that’s where I come in. I really am a self-dubbed Greek Yogurt Guru. Plain (unflavored) Fat Free Greek Yogurt is an everyday occurrence at my house; whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, it seems like I add it to almost everything I can! Sure, I do it because it’s good for me, healthy, low fat, and full of good protein. But I also do it because it is yummy and versatile and perfect for so many things!
Because I know some readers prefer brevity, I’m going to cut to the chase and give you the list first. Then I’ll discuss each idea in a little more detail. That way if you aren’t into the nitty gritty, you don’t have to read any further! 🙂
10 Yummy Ways to Add Fat Free Greek Yogurt to Your Everyday Diet:
1. As a breakfast entree, shake or midday snack
2. In dips like my Guiltless Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip
3. In scrambled eggs or whites to make them fluffy and gorgeous!
4. As a substitute for sour cream on potatoes or Mexican food
5. As a last minute thickener for soups like my Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup
6. In baking as a substitute for milk, oil or as a partial replacement for butter—Try my Blueberry White Chocolate Scones
7. Microwave it to make homemade cheese for ethnic dishes like Indian Palak/Saag paneer (recipe coming soon)
8. As an emulsifier in salad dressing as in my Creamy Balsamic Dressing
9. As a replacement for mayo in many recipes—Experiment for yourself!
10. As a replacement for heavy cream in white and cream sauces like Alfredo—this requires a bit of trial and error but produces great results! (Gorgonzola Cream Sauce recipe coming soon)
How Do You Use Your Greek Yogurt? Tell me in the Comments Section below!
10 Yummy Ways to Add Fat Free Greek Yogurt to Your Diet—EXPLAINED
1) As a Breakfast entree, shake or midday snack
It never occurred to me that what I eat for breakfast most days would be something that y’all would be interested in until a recent conversation with my financial advisor. He shared with me that after an executive physical he was trying to eat healthier but was challenged to do so at work. He works in a busy office and has many client meetings out at restaurants so he wants to balance out the rest of his daily eating. It can be tough find easy, healthy things to bring with to work—especially breakfast. And who has time to waste each morning in the company kitchen nuking breakfast? I think many of us can relate to Mike. My corporate breakfasts were usually grab and go or expensive take out, and that gets old.
So I shared with Mike how I eat Greek yogurt almost every morning for breakfast and how I “pack” Double Portions (DP) giant-sized lunch box with it as well. Aren’t I the happy homemaker? The trick is knowing what to add to make a great, filling and healthy breakfast that will stay with you until lunch. And with a DP in your life, that is HARD to do! So here are a few things you can add to make your Fat Free Greek Yogurt pack a powerful punch for breakfast!
Don’t have time for the yogurt parfait? That’s ok! Throw your favorite fruit in a blender with the Greek Yogurt a little skim milk and honey plus a handful of spinach for an awesome energy shake!
Greek Yogurt Breakfast Topping Options
We start with about 1/2 c. fat free Greek Yogurt and add any of the following toppings:
• Drizzle of Local honey – great for seasonal allergies
• Fresh fruit like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, banana, etc.
• Thawed frozen fruit like pineapple or mango – read the label to ensure no sugar or syrup is added to your frozen fruit this defeats the purpose of your healthy breakfast!
• A sprinkle of granola—We look for granola’s without a ton of added sugar and we especially like Nature Valley Protein Granola with Oats and Honey (lowest sugar of all their varieties)
• Ground flaxseed. My favorite is Bob’s Redmill Golden Flaxseed Meal
Oh and the best thing we’ve found for “packing” this breakfast off to the office is this awesome little hot/cold Corningware On-The-Go Pop-Ins Crock! LOVE IT!
2) In dips
Instead of sour cream, I use fat free Greek Yogurt in dips! Try it with any dry dip packet that calls for sour cream and you will have yourself a guilt free snack to die for! Try Hidden Valley Ranch, Knorr Onion or Vegetable Soup Mix! Everyone will want your recipe! Between this and my Legendary Salsa, I pretty much always have dips at the ready for unexpected company or just an impromptu lunch spread!
3) In scrambled eggs or whites
This is a secret of mine from way back! A few years ago I was at a hotel restaurant in Minneapolis and I asked the server how they get the eggs so fluffy and he told me that the chef’s always add a dollop of sour cream before whisking. I then set out to find a lower fat equivalent to the sour cream and I discovered fat free Greek yogurt does the trick! These days I use a lot of egg whites and find that the addition of a generous dollop of greek yogurt not only makes the eggs fluffier but also tastier and gives a little bulk to otherwise boring and thin scrambled egg whites! SCORE!
4) As a substitute for sour cream on potatoes or Mexican food
I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought sour cream. Once I discovered that fat free Greek Yogurt tastes just as good without the guilt, I never looked back! I use it on anything and everything that sour cream can go in or on and with excellent results!
5) As a last minute thickener for soups
This one took a little figuring out because if you add the Greek Yogurt to a boiling pot of soup it the results will not be good! It separates and can even curdle. After a few attempts and some experimentation, I realized you can simply add a dollop of Greek Yogurt to the bowl of soup once served and stir it in. Voila! Creamy soup!
6) In baking as a substitute for milk, oil or as a partial replacement for butter
I got this idea from a package of No Pudge Fudge Brownie Mix (Darn good, try em!), which calls for Greek yogurt and that’s it! Once I realized I could use Greek Yogurt for baking applications, I went off all half-baked! I now use it in scones, brownies, pancakes, my famous fruit tart (recipe coming soon) and the other day I even used it in a cornbread recipe (also coming soon). This may require a bit of testing on your part but hey, Playing With Your Food is half the fun of cooking it! I will caution that most recipes like scones for instance, still need a bit of a binding agent that comes from some egg or oil as well as the moisture those ingredients add. Try adding yogurt for one ingredient at a time in a recipe until you find a mix that works well for you.
7) Microwave it to make homemade cheese for ethnic dishes like Indian Palak/Saag paneer
I discovered this trick completely by accident! One day I forgot to thaw the mango for my breakfast yogurt and I realized after a brain freeze that I needed to thaw it but it was already on the yogurt. I intended to warm it up a few seconds at a time, hit the ADD MINUTE button on the nuker thinking I would be right there to stop it and then… As is my usual, I had an A.D.D. moment, got distracted and forgot about it in the microwave. When I remembered 20 minutes later, I found my Greek Yogurt had turned to cottage cheese. Accident is surely the mother of invention because I had just paid handsomely for a block of Indian Paneer (cheese) and now I was able to make my own! WOOHOO! When I tried this process again (on purpose this time) I used a microwave steamer. I put the whole container of yogurt in the steamer basket and microwaved it 30 seconds at a time until it was a cottage-cheese/tofu like consistency. All the water, which I discarded, drained into the bottom of the steamer. You will want to use it within a day or so. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge. A word of caution, careful not to over nuke it or it will get like rubber!
8) As an emulsifier in salad dressing
As you read in my Creamy Balsamic Dressing Goes Greek post, I learned the emulsifier trick on an episode of America’s Test Kitchen. Except they used mayonnaise. I pretty much always use Greek Yogurt instead now. This is great for making dressings that are considered “vinaigrettes” (oil, vinegar, sometimes a sweetener like honey & spices). You just add a small dollop about the size of a quarter in the bowl with your other ingredients and whisk. I am now also experimenting with using it in creamier applications like Caesar dressing! I’ll let you know how it turns out. 😉
9) As a replacement for mayo in many recipes
Experiment for yourself with this one! What have you got to lose? Any recipe that is not boiled or baked, try replacing the mayo with Fat Free Greek Yogurt and see how well it can turn out! Chicken, potato or tuna salad, salad dressing, etc. Get creative and be sure to let me know your great ideas in the Comments Section below!
10) As a replacement for heavy cream in white and cream sauces like Alfredo
This requires a bit of trial and error but produces great results! Someday soon I’ll be posting a Gorgonzola Cream Sauce recipe using this technique but until then, I’ll give you some tips to try this on your own. Cook up your favorite pasta and drain it. While it’s still hot (but not steaming) transfer it to bowl and add a tablespoon of olive oil plus one toe of minced garlic to the pasta and toss. Add some shredded parmesan, Romano or other hard cheese – about a 1/2 c. for 4 servings and enough Fat Free Greek Yogurt to coat the pasta. Salt and pepper to taste and toss well. Serve while it’s still warm and pair with a salad and nice wine. The trick with this is that if the pasta is too hot, the cheese will melt too much and coagulate into globs along with the Greek Yogurt—Not a huge deal because it will still taste excellent it just won’t look pretty! If the pasta is too cold, then aside from eating a cold dinner you will also find the “sauce” will have a lot of texture because of unmelted cheese. Also be aware that this kind of white sauce has a little more tang than Alfredo sauce loaded with butter and cream. But we love it!
About Greek Yogurt:
Clearly I’m YOG-Obsessed! If you look in my fridge you will often see up to 6 large tubs of Greek yogurt at any given time! I can’t get enough of the stuff! Greek specifically because it is loaded with good protein, it’s creamier and tastes great! Fat Free because I’ve not found it works well in all of my applications and for difference in calories, you can’t beat it! And plain (flavor) because it’s lower in sugar and is more versatile.
This post doesn’t endorse a specific greek yogurt brand. You can do your own taste test and decide which one you like best. Or you can be like me and buy the one that is available at the store you happen to be shopping at that day! One thing I do pay attention to is the sugar content on the container. DP and I both have diabetes in our lineage so it never hurts to be aware of your shug intake. I have found that 9 grams is about average and the lowest I’ve ever found is 6 grams of sugar.
The following are the brands of Plain Fat Free Greek Yogurt that we have tried and like. All of these are Fat Free or 0% fat and are shown in no particular order though lately since I’ve been using *Walmart To Go’s grocery delivery/pickup service (SO AWESOME) I’ve been using a lot of their store brand (Great Value).
- Great Value (Wal-Mart Store Brand)
- Fage 0%
- Costco’s Kirkland Brand
- Simple Truth Organic
- Open Nature (Safeway store brand)
- Trader Joe’s Non-Organic
I’ve been testing out Walmart To Go for a pending review but since I’ve mentioned it in this post, I am including a link that will allow you to get $15 off of your first grocery order! Please be aware that this service may not be available in your area and if you sign up using this link, I will also get $15 off of my next order.
Click here to get $15 off of your first Walmart To Go Delivery or Pickup Order! Sadly, It’s not available in all areas. 🙁