Tag Archives: healthy

Chicken, Bacon Mac & Cheese

Gooey Italian and jack cheeses, crispy applewood-smoked bacon and juicy chicken breast pieces . . . sounds great (and unhealthy) right?  Amazing as it is, this dish is lightened up enough that a serving of two cups is under 500 calories.  Butter is removed from this dish and replaced with cream of mushroom soup and skim milk.  Finished with reduced fat shredded cheeses and a single piece of crumbled bacon these ingredients add the perfect amount of creaminess and salt without going overboard.  For the chicken, I utilized a rotisserie chicken and removed the skin/fat and shredded the breast meat for this dish.  I then heated up the breast meat it the pan drippings from cooking the bacon.  I’ve gotten in the habit of buying a rotisserie chicken on Sundays and storing the meat for use later in the week.  Having the chicken done ahead of time makes this dish simple and quick to make.  I also recommend cooking this dish in a pan that can be put in the oven and on the stove.  This means a lot less dirty dishes to clean.

 

I promise that even though this dish is a lightened-up version of a favorite comfort food recipe – it tastes great!  Enjoy!

-H

 

Recipe adapted from MyRecipes: Bacon, Ranch and Chicken Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

8 oz uncooked elbow macaroni (or shells)

1 slice applewood-smoked bacon (I’ve also used reduced sodium bacon)

1 cup shredded chicken breasts (rotisserie chicken with skin/fat removed works great!)

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs flour

1 1/2 cup fat-free milk

1/2 cup condensed, reduced sodium & fat, cream of mushrrom soup

3/4 cup reduced fat, italian blend, shredded cheese

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp dill

1/8 tsp salt

Cooking spray

1/2 cup reduced fat, shredded colby/jack cheese

 

Directions:

1) Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.

2) Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet (that can go in the oven) over medium heat until crispy.  Remove from pan and reserve drippings.  Chop bacon and set aside.

3) Add shredded or cubed chicken breasts to pan and saute until heated through or cooked (3-6 minutes).  Remove chicken and set aside.

4) Add oil to pan and heat over medium-high.  Add flour and cook two minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Combine milk and soup and add mixture to pan.  Continue stirring until mixture comes to a boil; cook two minutes or until thick. Remove from head and let stand four minutes so sauce can cool.  Add Italian cheese blend, onion powder, garlic powder, dill and salt.  Stir until cheese melts.  Add the past and chicken and stir to combine.

5) Preheat broiler.

6) Sprinkle with bacon and colby/jack cheese.  Broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts

 

Nutrition:

Serving size – 2 cups

Calories: 497

Fat: 17g

Protein 33.3g

 

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , ,

General Tso’s Chicken

I’ve been making this recipe with my family for years.  It’s always been one of my favorite foods to make at home but fried in a wok and containing lots of sugar and cornstarch made it everything but healthy.  So this go around I tried to lighten it up while still maintaining the integrity of the dish.  I reduced the amounts of sugar, salt, oil and cornstarch to lower the calories and sodium in this meal.  The end result was great.  My husband and brother even commented it tasted better than the original recipe.  The sauce is thick and tangy with just enough heat and the chicken stays moist and tender. I hope you enjoy.

 

-H

 

Ingredients – Sauce:

1/4 cup corn starch

1/8 cup water

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 inch of fresh ginger root, minced

1/4 cup white sugar

4 Tbs low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/8 cup cooking sherry or white wine

1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

2 cups green onions, chopped

4 dried peppers or 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (alter to taste)

 

Ingredients – Meat:

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3 Tbs soy sauce

1 tsp white pepper

1 1/2 Tbs corn starch

1 1/2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

 

Directions:

1.  Combine all meat ingredients except olive oil in a large bowl.  Allow to marinate at room temperature while preparing other ingredients.

2. Combine all sauce ingredients except peppers and green onion in a large bowl.  Mix well until cornstarch and sugar is dissolved.

3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cooked until browned and cooked through (appx 15 min).  Remove chicken and set aside.

4. Reduce heat to medium and add green onions and peppers to remaining oil in skillet.  Cook until onions are tender and the peppers are fragrant (appx 2 min).  Re-mix the sauce ingredients and add to the pan.  Stir consistently until sauce thickens and starts to boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and add chicken.  Cook until chicken is heated through (appx 2 min).

Serve with Jasmine rice.  Delicious!

 

Tagged , , , ,

Roasted Squash & Shallot Soup

I was inspired this weekend to do a ‘Day of Cooking.’  One of those days where you don’t worry about time to prepare or difficulty – you just cook.  On my day of cooking I discovered this recipe for butternut squash soup.  To be completely honest, I’ve never made butternut squash soup before.  It’s one of those dishes you hear from so many people about how tasty it is and simple to make.  Well I finally decided to give it a go.

 

At the grocery store they did not have any butternut squash in stock so instead I ended up with a kabocha squash.  The label read it was sweet and would be a good substitute for sweet potatoes/yams or butternut squash.  Turned out to be a great substitute.  The squash along with fresh ginger, shallots and a little salt and olive oil were all roasted in the oven until tender.  Ingredients were then blended with chicken stock.  The end result – amazing!  Topped with a splash of sour cream and a pinch of chives this soup is to die for.  It has a creamy texture with lots of flavor.  We’ve been eating it as a leftover for the last couple of days and it’s still great.  Highly recommend.

 

Enjoy – H

 

Recipe Adapted from – MyRecipes

Ingredients:

4 cups cubed and peeled kabocha squash (or butternut)  Appx 1.5 lbs

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

4 large shallots, peeled and quartered

1 inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced

2 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

Fresh chives and sour cream for serving

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Combine first five ingredients on a roasting pan; toss well.  Bake for 50 minutes or until tender.  Cool ten minutes.

3. Place half of squash mixture and half of the chicken broth in a blender (recommend removing the center lid of blender to allow steam to escape).  Blend until smooth.  Pour into sauce pan and repeat.

4. Heat mixture over medium heat for 5 minutes or until heated through

5. Top with chives and sour cream as desired

 

Nutrition:

Serving size – 2/3 cup of soup

Calories: 112

Fat: 2.5 g

Protein: 3.3 g

 

Tagged , , , ,

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Found this recipe one day while randomly surfing websites for new recipes.  I’ve always loved chicken cordon bleu but have never found a recipe I really liked.  Most recipes either required a lot of work (stuffing chicken breasts) or were quite unhealthy.  Well this recipe totally fit the bill!  We loved it so much the first night we are literally making it again tonight – two days in a row!  The leftovers held up as well – the panko topping stayed crunchy and the flavors were spot on.  What makes this recipe so easy is all the traditional cordon bleu flavors are just piled on top of the chicken breasts and put in the oven.  A cream cheese and swiss cheese mixture adds a delicious creaminess and the ham chunks just enough salt.  We served it with a side a polenta as to not overshadow how awesome this chicken is. This recipe is so tasty, I promise you will enjoy!

-H

Recipe adapted from EatingWell

Ingredients:

1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (Should have four breasts – we cut two large ones in half)

Fresh ground pepper and kosher salt to taste

1/3 cup shredded swiss cheese plus a sprinkle more for topping

2 Tbs reduced-fat cream cheese

1/4 c panko crumbs

1 Tbs Italian breadcrumbs

1 tsp fresh chopped thyme

4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1/4 c chopped ham

 

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

2) Heat 2 tsp oil in a large, ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add to skillet.  Cook chicken until browned on both sides – approximately 2 minutes per side.

3) While chicken is cooking, in a small bowl combine: cream cheese and swiss cheese.  In a second small bowl combine: pank0, bread crumbs, thyme and remaining oil.

4) Move chicken breasts to center of pan so all pieces are touching.  Top with cheese mixture and then ham.  Sprinkle a small amount of additional swiss cheese on top of ham.  Finish off with bread crumb mixture.  Bake in oven 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Tagged , , ,

Turkey Burgers with a Spicy Red Onion & Cucumber Slaw

When we cook the same dinner two weeks in a row, you know we found something we love.  This recipe for Asian turkey burgers is awesome.  Bulgur acts as the binder in this dish as opposed to breadcrumbs and eggs – this cuts down on some unnecessary calories and adds additional nutrition.  Along with bulgur, cilantro, ginger, garlic and scallions are combined to create the patty.  A homemade, spicy spread created with yogurt and chili garlic sauce adds just the right amount of zip and the cucumber and red onion slaw provides great texture and crunch.  Cooked on a grill pan for only a few minutes this meal is incredibly easy and filling.  I’m sure you will enjoy.

-H

Recipe adapted of Food Network

Ingredients:

1/4 cup bulgur wheat (we have also substituted quinoa)

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1 tsp sugar

1/4 seedless cucumber, sliced thin

1/4 of a red onion, sliced thin

1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 tsp chili, garlic sauce (found in the Asian food isle)

12 oz lean ground turkey

2 Tbs hoisin sauce

2 scallions, chopped

1 tsp grated ginger

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 Tbs chopped, fresh cilantro

2 tsp vegetable oil

4 whole wheat hamburger rolls

Directions:

1. Create the slaw.  In a bowl combine the vinegar, sugar and generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Add cucumber and onion and toss.  Marinate 30 minutes.

2. Cook the bulger according to package directions – ours said combine 1/2 cup of water with 1/4 bulgur.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover 15 minutes.

3. Create spread. Combine yogurt and chili garlic sauce. Season with salt/pepper to taste.

4. In a large bowl combine: bulgur, turkey, hoisin, scallions, ginger, garlic and cilantro.  Form into four equal sized patties.

5. Heat a nonstick grill pan (or skillet) over medium heat.  Lightly brush both sides of patty with oil and place in pan.  Cook, turning only once – 3-4 minutes per size.

6. Drain the pickled vegetables and toss with extra cilantro if desired.  Spread the yogurt sauce on the top and bottom of each bun and top with patties and cucumbers/onions.

Nutrition

Serves – 4 (does not include bun)

Calories – 186 g

Fat – 4 g

Protein – 18 g

Tagged , , , ,

White Bean Puree & Chicken

 

Our New Years resolution for 2012 was to be healthier – eat out less, exercise more and eat lower calorie meals.  With just about one month down we’ve held fast to our resolution and are feeling great.  To help stay on course we’ve been experimenting with lots of different healthy meals – trying to find well balanced dishes that are both filling and low in calories. One of the recipes I created is a white bean puree that I serve with the shredded meat from a rotisserie chicken where the skin/fat has been removed.  I make the meal on Sunday afternoons and then have lunch for the entire week!  With so few ingredients the meal is really flavorful and most importantly filling.  Enjoy!

-H

 

Ingredients:

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1.5 large yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp cumin

2 cans white bean, drained and rinsed

1 small can green chilies

1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

Rotisserie chicken, skin and fat removed, shredded

 

Directions:

1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and cook 5 minutes or until tender.  Add garlic and cumin and cook 1 minute more.

2. Add chicken broth, beans and chilies.  Cook until beans are heated through.  Remove form heat.

3. In a food processor, puree the bean mixture

 

Serve bean mixture with 6 oz of shredded chicken.  Sour cream and salsa optional.  330 calories.

Tagged , ,

Balsamic Cranberry Chicken

Balsamic Cranberry Chicken

This recipe is AWESOME.  It takes some of my favorite flavors of all time and combines them in one dish.  By searing the chicken and then baking it in the cranberry/balsamic sauce, the meat turns out extremely tender.  The sauce itself is very delicious – you’ll find you want to sop up every last bite.  We tried serving ours for the first time with steamed bulgur.  The bulgur was perfect for this dish! It soaks up the flavor of the sauce while keeping the consistency of the wheat in tact.

 

One of my other favorite parts about this dish is the cleanup.  The chicken and sauce is all cooked in one pan!  In this post you’ll see we’ve cooked the chicken in a cast iron pan using both the stove and oven.  I’ve modified this dish in the summer to allow cooking on the grill (we’ve used aluminum grill pans as well as cast iron).  I really hope you enjoy!

-H

 

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 Tbs butter

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1.5 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

4 tsp Dijon mustard

3 Tbs real maple syrup

4 Tbs balsamic vinegar

3/4 cup green onion, chopped

2/3 cup dried cranberries

(Serve with 1 cup uncooked bulgur combined with 2 cups water)

 

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

2. Heat cast iron pan/skillet over medium high heat.  Add butter to coat pan.  Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add to pan.  Cook 3-5 minutes per size or until browned (does not need to be cooked through).

3. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add garlic, chicken broth and Dijon to the pan.  Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.  Add maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, onions and cranberry.  Cook two minutes more.

4. Slice chicken into strips/medallions. add to the sauce.  Put dish in the oven and bake 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

 

Nutrition:

Serving Size – 4

Calories – 312

 

Tagged , , , , ,

Chicken Sausage and Tomatoes Over Parmesan Polenta

Chicken Sausage & Polenta

You know the feeling you sometimes get when you arrive home for the day and you can’t decide what to have for dinner?  You have no motivation for cooking and even less motivation to drive out and pick something up?  Well, that’s how we ended up eating this dish.   This meal is quick and easy to make and comes packed with flavor.  This dish is also very filling and comforting.  It’s definitely one of those recipes to keep in your back pocket for when you’re craving comfort food but don’t want to go through the hassle of complicated recipes and also want to stay light on calories.

I promise this is both easy and incredibly delicious.  Enjoy!

-H

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light:

Ingredients:

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

6 oz chicken sausage (we used gouda/apple or bell pepper sausages)

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 tsp crushed rep pepper flakes

2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained (I recommend one can “no-salt added” and on can “basil oregano”)

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup water

3/4 cup quick-cook polenta

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add sausage and saute for 3 minutes or until browned.  Add onion and saute fro 5 minutes or until tender.  Add garlic, oregano, pepper and tomatoes; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens.

2. While sausage-tomato mixture is cooking, combine chicken broth and water in large saucepan; bring to a boil  Add polenta, stirring in slowly.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until polenta is thick.  Stir in half of the Parmesan cheese.

3. Serve the dish – 2/3 cup of polenta in a bowl, top with 3/4 cup of sauce and 1 Tbs of cheese

Nutrition:

Calories: 311

Fat: 10 g

Protein: 16.4 g

Tagged , , ,

Buffalo Chicken Salad With Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

Talk about quick, easy and low calorie – we found this recipe to have it all.  The homemade blue cheese dressing is especially good.  With a base of fat free yogurt and low-fat buttermilk it’s just as tasty but much healthier than store bought brands.   For the hot sauce we used a combination – Frank’s Wing Sauce and Frank’s Thick Sauce.  The hot sauce can easily be changed each time giving this dish a different flavor.  I also shredded carrots using a peeler and cut the cucumbers very thin – this provided an added crunch and allowed you to get a little bit of everything in each bite.

Enjoy!

-H

Recipe adapted from FoodNetwork

Ingredients:

Salad-

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken tender strips

1/4 cup hot sauce

2 hearts of romaine (or mixed lettuce)

2 carrots, shredded

1/2 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced

Dressing-

2 Tbs low fat mayonnaise

1/4 c low fat buttermilk

1/4 c plain, fat-free yogurt

1 Tbs white vinegar

1/2 tsp sugar

1/3 c crumbled blue cheese or Gorgonzola

Salt and pepper

Directions:

Salad-

1. Ensure chicken is cut into slices thin enough for your salad. Put chicken in bag along with hot sauce to marinate 20 minutes at room temperature

2. Preheat broiler.  Place chicken on baking sheet and put in broiler.  Cook 4-6 minutes, turning once until cooked through.

3. In a large bowl combine the lettuce, carrots and cucumber

4. Service lettuce mixture with chicken and dressing

Dressing –

1. Fold a paper towel and place in small bowl.  Spoon yogurt onto paper towel and allow to drain and thicken 20 minutes

2. In a medium bowl whisk the thickened yogurt, buttermilk and mayonnaise.  Add the vinegar and sugar.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in blue cheese crumbles.

Tagged , , , ,