Paula Deen is back in the public eye and doing her best to stay light on her feet. We talked to the “Dancing With the Stars” contestant/celebrity chef before she comes to town for the Taste Philadelphia Festival about a simple, healthy ingredient swap from her new cookbook, “Paula Deen Cuts the Fat: 250 Recipes All Lightened Up” — and her “DWTS” secret weapon. 

We don’t usually think of Southern cooking as being light. Can you really keep all the flavor while cutting calories?

You definitely can. Once people can get past the fried chicken, we eat so many vegetables in the South!


Do you believe in “cheat days,” where you can eat whatever you want?

Absolutely! Everyone deserves one cheat day a week.


Is there an ingredient swap that you use in a lot of your recipes, to lighten them up from traditional Southern dishes?

In some of my “Lightened Up” recipes, I substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream. My son Bobby introduced this to me and I certainly now realize the value.


“Dancing With the Stars” sounds so daunting. What made you want to join the show?

My family, friends and team members. They have been asking me for years and I felt that now is the time to conquer the dance floor.


Who is the toughest competition on the show? 

I’m truly staying focused on myself — my brain is my biggest competition. [But] I plan on cooking all of my competitors cake and pies before each show so that I can fatten them up. I want to make them move a little slower!

See her live

Paula Deen will be in the Philadelphia area Oct. 17, doing a cooking demo at the 2015 Taste Philadelphia Festival of Food, Wine and Spirits at the   Valley Forge Casino Resort. “Top Chef” winner Nick Elmi (Laurel) and Chef Luke Palladino (Palladino’s, the upcoming LP Steak) will be at the fest repping Philly, along with several other well-known chefs.

Recipe: Make Paula Deen’s Dutch Pancake with Applesauce

Ingredients:

• 3 large eggs, lightly beaten

• ½ cup milk

• ½ cup all-purpose flour

• ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

• Pinch of salt

• 3 tablespoons unsalted
butter

• Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling

• Home Ginger Applesauce (from “Paula Deen Cuts the Fat”) or store bought

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425° F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, flour, nutmeg and salt. Whisk lightly, leaving the batter a little lumpy.

3. In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, melt the butter. When the pan is hot and the butter is fully melted, pour in the batter. Bake for 15 minutes, until the pancake is golden brown. 

4. Remove the pancake from the oven and quickly sprinkle lightly with confectioners’ sugar. Return to the oven for 2 minutes. Serve warm with applesauce and more confectioners’ sugar, if you like.