Cooking sprays like Pam are oil, as a number of contributors
have mentioned. Compared to using regular oils, and using
them with non-stick pans, they allow a much, much smaller
dose of fat, especially if you count out loud when spraying
them. I say "one thousand and one" and hold it to that, with
a circular motion to cover the pan. Even if I don't cover
the entire bottom of the pan, I don't spray anymore.
But even then, you probably don't need to use any for most
of your frying and sauteing. I have mentioned this before,
but I think it is worthwhile saying again:
If you start out with anything that has a lot of moisture
or water in it, like onions, tomatoes, fruits, etc, you don't
need any cooking spray. Just keep the temperature down to
simmer and cover the pan as you are finishing "frying."
The mixture will soften nicely and anything sticking to
the bottom of the pan will "steam" away and you will have
no trouble washing it either. "Frying" 'till dry is another
way to cook. Keep the heat higher toward the beginning and
use paprika to add color to the food. That will brown it.
You need to constantly stir it to keep it from sticking.
The food will start to have a layer of "thickened" material,
usually from the almost burned food--that is pasty--and
adds texture to the "fried" food. After a while, you
will develop the skill necessary to keep that "burned"
material just right, and not actually burned. The trick
is to watch it carefully and frequently mix it while
it is cooking. You turn the heat down when "ready."
I use cooking oil sprays only rarely, and only use Pam. I
use it when I fry things like pancakes or French toast.
But if you keep the heat down and turn frequently, you
will find them unnecessary in many cases--even preparing
Other readers have mentioned sauteing in apple juice,
water, veggie broth (FF), wine (if you don't mind
the alcohol--but that evaporates immediately), and
almost any other FF liquid that might work with
your recipe. It's a pity that most restaurants
don't understand that you don't need fat with which