5 Fabulous Film-Inspired Recipes

Delicious ways to pay homage to Oscar nominees

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column

This is a fun time of year if you're an avid moviegoer -- it's Oscar time! If you're like me, you don't get out to the movies much (unless it's a PG-rated movie you see with your pre-teens), but you at least try to pay attention to the movies nominated for best picture.

The subjects of this year's nominees range from taking flight to finding Neverland, from a pre-wedding trip between friends in the Santa Barbara wine country to a young woman in search of boxing glory to a musical legend whose life and work continue to inspire the world.

In honor of these five fine Academy Award contenders, here are five fun recipes to get you in that Oscar night mood!

Aviator 3-Cheese Fondue

Journal as: 1 ounce regular cheese + 1/2 cup low-fat milk or skim milk

The Aviator is about the life of famed flier (and movie mogul) Howard Hughes between the 1920s and 1940s. From the clips I've seen of the movie, Howard takes a lot of dips and dives in his various flying machines. And what better way to demonstrate dipping and diving than with a fondue fork?

1 tablespoon no-trans-fat margarine (with 8 grams of fat per tablespoon)
2 tablespoons fat-free or light sour cream
2 1/2 tablespoons Wondra quick-mixing flour
3/4 cup fat-free half-and-half
3/4 cup low-fat milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch ground nutmeg or cayenne red pepper
3/4 cup shredded light Jarlsberg cheese (or reduced-fat Swiss)
1/2 cup reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

  • In medium saucepan, melt the butter. Remove from heat; blend in the sour cream and flour to make a paste. Whisk in the milk and half-and-half and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to simmer, stir in salt, pepper, and cayenne, and stir frequently until the sauce thickens (about 5 minutes). Whisk in an additional tablespoon of Wondra flour, if needed, for desired thickness.
  • Remove from heat, add in shredded cheeses and stir well. Pour cheese into fondue pot or slow cooker set on HIGH. Serve with cubes of sourdough or French bread, or lightly cooked vegetables (broccoli or cauliflower florets work well).

Yield: 4-6 servings

Per serving of fondue (if 4 per recipe): 185 calories, 15 g protein, 10.5 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 25 mg cholesterol, 0.2 g fiber, 278 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 44%.

Restaurant-Style Marinated Sirloin Steaks

Million Dollar Baby is about a young woman trying to make it big in the world of boxing. When people think of training food for an athlete trying to bulk up, they often think steak. Here's a marinade that adds flavor and tenderness to lean top sirloin.

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup very finely chopped onion (add coarsely chopped onion to small food processor, if you have one, and pulse until almost pureed)
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
Pinch of cayenne red pepper
4 or 5 top sirloin individual steaks (about 5 ounces each), trimmed of visible fat

  • In an 8-cup measure, whisk together balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, honey, olive oil, pepper, Worcestershire, onion, salt (if desired), and cayenne.
  • Place steaks in a shallow glass dish and cover with the marinade. Turn to coat both sides well. Cover and marinate in refrigerator, for a couple of hours up to two days.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Lightly coat the grill grate with canola cooking spray or oil. Add steaks and grill 5-7 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the steak and the desired doneness. Throw away any leftover marinade (because it has raw meat juices in it).

Yield: 4-5 servings

Per serving (if 5 servings per recipe; assuming half of the marinade is absorbed into the steak): 245 calories, 32 g protein, 7.5 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat (2.8 g saturated fat), 87 mg cholesterol, 0.2 g fiber, 273 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 34%.

Sing the Blues Flapjacks

Journal as: 2 pieces of "pancakes French toast, waffle" + 1/2 cup fresh fruit

Another Oscar nominee is Ray, about the life of singer Ray Charles. I wish I knew some of Ray Charles' favorite foods. I searched high and low on various biographical web sites, and while they were filled with wonderful life stories told by Ray himself, not a mention of food was to be found. So, in honor of his love for rhythm and blues, here's a recipe for Sing the Blues Flapjacks.

1 cup cake flour or unbleached white flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs (or 1 egg plus 1/4 cup egg substitute, or 2 egg whites)
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup reduced-calorie pancake syrup
1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh unsweetened blueberries

  • Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in medium bowl and blend well with fork.
  • Beat eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla in mixing bowl on medium-low speed until smooth.
  • Add canola oil, pancake syrup, and dry ingredients to egg mixture in mixing bowl and beat on lowest speed, scraping with rubber spatula, just until blended. Gently fold in blueberries. Do not overmix.
  • Let batter rest for 20 minutes. Spray griddle lightly with canola cooking spray. Preheat griddle until a drop of water skittles across the surface.
  • Pour 1/4 cup batter onto griddle. Cook over medium heat until bubbles form (30-60 seconds). Turn over with spatula and cook another 30-60 seconds or until golden brown. Serve pancakes with your preferred toppings.

Yield 5 servings (3-4 pancakes each)

Per serving: 314 calories, 11 g protein, 54 g carbohydrate, 6.5 g fat (1.3 g saturated fat), 46 mg cholesterol, 4.5 g fiber, 840 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 19%.

Peter Pan Chocolate Mousse

Journal as: 1/2 cup low-fat milk + 1 tablespoon sugar OR 1/2 cup regular yogurt, sweetened

Finding Neverland is about a transforming period in the life of the author who ends up writing the beloved story of Peter Pan. A favorite food from youth is chocolate pudding, so here's an adult version that has an extra-light texture, courtesy of light Cool Whip and is light in sugar calories, thanks to Sugar Free Jell-O pudding mix.

1 package (2.1 ounces) Instant Sugar-Free, Fat-Free Jell-O Chocolate Pudding mix
2 cups low-fat milk (or use skim milk)
2 cups Light Cool Whip (or use Fat-Free Cool Whip)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, if desired

  • Beat pudding mix into 2 cups cold milk in a bowl, using wire whisk or electric mixer, for about 2 minutes.
  • Fold in the Cool Whip, vanilla extract, and cinnamon (if desired). Stir until well blended.
  • Pour into individual serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap, and keep chilled until ready to serve.

Yield: 6 servings

Per serving: 122 calories, 3 g, 17 g carbohydrate, 3.5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 3 mg cholesterol, <1 g fiber, 351 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 26%.

Sideways Santa Barbara Chicken Salad

The movie Sideways takes place in the Santa Barbara wine country. I thought a pasta and fruit chicken salad, perfect for a picnic in the wine country, would be a great way to celebrate this movie.

2 cups cooked whole-wheat blend pasta (or use regular pasta)
1 cup roasted skinless chicken breast meat, cubed
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 cup seedless grapes, halved
6 ounce can (in juice) pineapple tidbits, drained
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
3 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
1 tablespoon fat-free half-and-half or low-fat milk
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 pinch ground nutmeg

  • Chill pasta and chicken thoroughly.
  • Mix chicken, celery, apples, grapes, pineapple, mandarin oranges, and pasta in large bowl.
  • Mix the light mayonnaise, fat-free sour cream, fat-free half-and-half or low-fat milk, sugar, salt (if desired), pepper and nutmeg.
  • Combine mayonnaise and chicken mixtures and toss. Store in the refrigerator.

    Yield: 4 side-dish servings (or 2 entree servings)

    Per side-dish serving: 272 calories, 16 g protein, 41 g carbohydrate, 5.8 g fat (1.3 g saturated fat), 30 mg cholesterol, 4.4 g fiber, 148 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 19%.

©1996-2005 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors