Dear Jeanne:

I'd love to try these dumplings, but the 1/2 cup of butter is too much fat for me. Can you lighten this recipe (below)? - Elizabeth Donohoe, Van Nuys, Calif.Dear Elizabeth:

This Bulgarian supper dish is a bit of work, but the results and its decidedly different nature are worth it. In answer to your request to reduce the fat, I found that I could do this by toasting the crumbs instead of frying them. This revision (see recipe above) lacks the oiliness of the original and the buttery flavor, but they are still delicious.

- EACH SERVING CONTAINS approximately: Original Recipe: 487 calories; 91 mg cholesterol; 33 gm fat; 883 mg sodium. Revised Recipe: 315 calories; 18 mg cholesterol; 13 gm fat; 729 mg sodium.- Jeanne Jones is a consultant on menu planning, recipes and new-product development for major hotels and spas. She is also the author of 18 cookbooks.

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Cook It Light

(Deseret News)

P.O. Box 1212

La Jolla, CA 92038

1991 by King Features Syndicate Inc.

Light Bulgarian Spinach Dumplings

6 ounces day-old bread or rolls

11/2 cups non-fat or skim milk

1 pound fresh spinach, washed and chopped, or 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and liquid squeezed out

2 tablespoons corn-oil margarine

11/2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup soft bread crumbs, toasted

2 ounces grated hard cheese (such as Gruyere or Cheddar) Crumble bread and soak in 1/2 cup milk. Melt 1 tablespoon margarine and stir in flour. Add remaining 1 cup milk, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thick.

Meanwhile, squeeze liquid out of bread and chop up raw spinach. Mix thickened sauce with bread and spinach, work together well, and add salt and pepper. Put dough aside to rest 5 to 10 minutes.

Bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Turn down to a simmer. Scoop out dumpling balls about 11/2 inches in diameter and drop into simmering water, 6 to 8 dumplings at a time. (The water should not be allowed to stop boiling or the dumplings will be heavy.) If dumpling collapses into water, add a little more prepared bread to dough. If dumpling is too heavy and hard, add a little more milk to dough.

4. Poach dumplings 5 to 6 minutes then pass them through a bowl of cold water to prevent them from sticking to one another. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon margarine in a skillet and keep on low heat. Turn dumplings briefly in margarine as they come out of cold water. Place them on a plate and keep warm. When all dumplings are cooked, combine toasted bread crumbs with grated cheese and scatter evenly over dumplings. Makes 4 servings.

Spinach Dumplings Ingredients: 6 ounces day-old bread or rolls; 11/2 cups milk; 1 pound fresh spinach, or 10-ounce package frozen, thawed; 1/2 cup butter; 1 rounded tablespoon flour; salt and pepper; water; 1/4 cup bread crumbs; 2 ounces grated hard cheese (such as Gruyere or Cheddar)

Preparation: Crumble bread and soak in 1/2 cup milk. Pick over spinach and remove tough stems. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and stir in flour. Add remaining 1 cup milk, bring to a boil, reduce heat; simmer 4 to 5 minutes until thick.

Meanwhile, squeeze liquid out of bread and chop up raw spinach. Mix thickened sauce with bread and spinach, work all well together, add salt and pepper to taste. Put dough aside to rest 5 to 10 minutes.

Bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Turn down to a simmer. Using a spoon dipped into hot water, scoop out dumpling balls and drop into simmering water. Don't put too many in at once - the water must not be allowed to stop boiling or the dumplings will be heavy. Poach one test dumpling first, and taste it to see if the mix is all right. If dumpling collapses into water, add a little more prepared bread to dough. If dumpling is too heavy and hard, add a little more milk to dough.

Poach dumplings 5 to 6 minutes and pass them through a bowl of cold water as you take them out - this stops them from sticking to one another. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet, keep on low heat. Add dumplings as they come out of cold water and turn dumplings in butter. Put on a plate and keep warm. When dumplings are cooked, fry bread crumbs in remaining 4 tablespoons butter, mix in grated cheese and scatter mixture over dumplings. Pass more grated cheese separately. Makes 4 servings.