Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bourbon Chicken and Broccoli

Not every recipe has to be a total revamp. I want the recipe to still taste like the original recipe intended... just slightly better for me. When I came across Mel's Bourbon Chicken, it looked delicious and fit into my meal plan perfectly. I just wanted to "health" it up slightly.

As originally posted, Mel's recipe provides:

295 calories
10.9 g fat
14.7 g carbohydrate
0.1 g fiber
35.8 g protein

Not too bad. I reduced the amount of chicken used and replaced it with 2 cups frozen broccoli. I also decreased the oil by half. The result not only effected the macronutrients but micronutrients as well! The addition of broccoli made the Vitamin C content go from 3.4% to 48% BONUS!

Bourbon Chicken and Broccoli

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 Tbsp olive oil
cornstarch for dusting

1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 c. apple juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup lite soy sauce
2 cups frozen broccoli florets

Cut chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. Dust lightly with cornstarch. Heat oil in wok and cook chicken in batches in batches until lightly browned on all sides. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients except for broccoli. Pour into wok and bring to a boil. Add chicken bits back to the pan, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add broccoli florets. Simmer 2-3 more minutes or until broccoli is thoroughly heated. Serve on fried brown rice, if desired.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving:
222 calories
6.0 g fat
16.3 g carbohydrate
1.0 g fiber
28.0 g protein

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fried Brown Rice

Lately I've been someone a fan of Mel's Kitchen Cafe. Every recipe on her site looks super tasty to me. And they are generally healthy as well so I don't usually have much alteration to do - BONUS!

A few weeks ago she posted some AWESOME meal planning menus which I glanced at a last week while making my own meal plan. I noticed the baked brown rice recipe and was intrigued - I have never made brown rice that way. So I thought, why not?

I was making an Asian inspired recipe (more tomorrow) and thought that I could try the baked brown rice, spice it up a bit and turn it into fried rice. Now I know that fried rice isn't the healthiest creation ever BUT I tried to add extra vegetables to the rice. In my mind, the more the vegetables take up space on my plate, the less rice I actually put on my plate. It works in theory!

Fried Brown Rice

1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup lite soy sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8x8 inch baking pan. Place the rice in the prepared pan and pour in chicken broth. Stir to equally distribute the rice. Cover tightly with a double layer of aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for five minutes before removing the aluminum foil and fluffing with a fork. Adjust the baking time if there is still left over cooking liquid or if it is too dried out. Set aside.

Preheat olive oil in wok or large skillet. Over medium heat, cook onions and carrots 2-3 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook one more minute. Add rice and turn up the heat to medium-high. Stir regularly to slightly brown the rice and coat in the olive oil and vegetables. Add frozen peas and soy sauce. Cook 2 - 3 minutes longer or until peas are hot.

Makes 8 servings (1/2 cup).

Per serving:
87.9 calories 3.9 g fat 12.0 g carbohydrate 1.5 g fiber 1.9 g protein

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lunch Wraps

A few weeks ago we had a Kids Health Day at work. Instead of having Take Your Child to Work Day back in the spring, my company held out until the beginning of August for a big Kids Work Day event. The kids could choose a bunch of different classes that they could take. We had Smoothies 101, Healthy Snacking, Kids Kickboxing, Fun Fitness Testing, Yoga, Scavenger Hunts, Chemistry experiments, etc. I taught Kids In The Kitchen. I talked about the basics of the 5 food groups and had the kids make veggie wraps and home made trail mix.

Well... we had a bunch of leftover veggie wrap ingredients and my coworker and I went to town on that food for the following week. They hit the spot so much so that I made sure to have the ingredients on hand for future wraps for lunch. They have been my go-to lunch for over two weeks now.

Here's what my wrap had:

Whole wheat tortilla (La Tortilla Factory would be awesome here)
1 Tbsp cream cheese or hummus
Protein: Black beans or turkey lunch meat
Veggies: carrots, peppers, cucumbers, spinach

Here are some other options to include:
shredded cheese
diced grilled chicken
sunflower seeds
What would you put in your wrap?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

I think I need to work on my food photography skills....but it sure tastes good!!!

Feeding Finley as been quite the learning experience. She is a *little* independent and has NEVER let us feed her baby food or put utensils up to her mouth. She has wanted to do it all on her own. So the challenge has been to find foods that our toothless darling can eat. We were amazed at the way should could put down steamed broccoli, peas, even grilled chicken without any teeth.

In the last week, two little teeth have just begun to break the surface of her lower gums and it has opened up a whole new world of eating for our little darling. I'm not a big fan of having special foods just for the baby, instead I try to just feed her what we are having for dinner. I was SUPER surprised when she gobbled up this enchilada recipe. The tortillas were a bit too difficult for her to manuver without full teeth but she gobbled up the chicken and black bean filling. Now I know that spicy food is right up her alley (although this dish isn't too spicy, just a little kick from the chiles).

The original recipe is from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I like it because all of the ingredients are things that I typically keep on hand. These enchiladas are jam packed! So I said that it makes 6 servings, which would be 1.5 enchiladas per person. The original recipe would provide:
723 calories
40.5 g fat
55.3 g carbohydrate
6.4 g fiber
35 g protein

I made a few basic changes like using reduced fat cream cheese and sour cream. I also only sprinkled the top with a 1/2 cup cheddar, instead of putting a few tablespoons of Monterey Jack in each enchilada plus cheese on top. I also substituted good old La Tortilla Factory Low Carb tortillas.

This recipe would be great for doubling and freezing or just halving and freezing, depending on your family size. I will definitely be making it again!!!

Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
2 (4 oz) cans green chiles
1 pkg reduced fat cream cheese
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp light margarine
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp flour
1/3 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. skim milk
1 can (7 oz) green chile enchilada sauce
1/2 c. reduced fat sour cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
8 La Tortilla Factory tortillas

Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl, combine softened cream cheese and green chiles. Mix well. Add the chicken and black beans. Mix to combine, set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt the margarine over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and starts to turn translucent, about 2-4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir well. Cook for 1 minute until all the flour is cooked and nutty. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk. As you whisk and the mixture cooks, the flour will get less lumpy around the onions and the mixture will become smooth. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is bubbling and has thickened. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the enchilada sauce and sour cream.

Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Spread about 1/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the dish. Fill each tortilla with about 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture. Roll the tortillas up and place seam side down on the prepared baking dish.

Pour the white sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Top with shredded cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the enchiladas are bubbling, hot and lightly browned. Top with chopped cilantro, if desired.

Makes 6 servings:
620 calories 26 g fat 67 g carbohydrate 15.7 g fiber 37.3 g protein

Friday, August 12, 2011

From my mama's kitchen...

I consider my mom to be a good cook (Are you reading this mom?). She always makes relatively healthy meals and does a great job entertaining a crowd when all the kids, spouses and grandkids come to their house for special occasions.

A few weeks ago, we went to my mom's house to have a joint summer birthday party. My dad was turning 60 and we were celebrating the 3rd birthday of my niece and an early 1st birthday for Finley. She wanted a special cake and asked a friend for her "Strawberry Cheesecake Torte" recipe. Turns out it is an old Pampered Chef recipe - you know, the kind that tries to convince you to buy all their special items. Well, even without the special items it turned out delicious. I couldn't find the original recipe on the Pampered Chef website but there were several ways to make this a bit healthier.

Strawberry Cheesecake Torte

1 package (16 oz) pound cake mix (plus ingredients to make cake, low fat version)
1/2 cup water
1 package sugar free strawberry gelatin
1/4 cup seedless strawberry jam
1 lemon
1 package reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup cold skim milk
1 container (12 oz) lite frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 pkg (3.4 oz) cheesecake instant pudding and pie filling
1 kiwi, peeled, sliced and halved
1 cup hulled and sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Prepare cake mix to low fat package directions (usually using egg whites, decreasing oil, etc). Pour into pan, spreading evenly. Bake 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean: Cool 10 minutes. Carefully lift cake out of pan and onto cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.

In a microwave safe container, microwave water on high for 1-2 minutes or until boiling. Add sugar free gelatin; stir until dissolved. Add jam; whisk until smooth. Invert cake onto large cutting board. Prick cake at 1/2 inch intervals with a toothpick or fork. Brush cake evenly with all but 2 Tbsp of the gelatin mixture. Trim 1/4 inch around edge of cake and discard edges. Cut cake crosswise into 3 equal layers.

Zest lemon; set zest aside. Juice lemon to measure 2 Tbsp juice. In medium bowl, combine cream cheese and lemon juice; whisk until smooth. Add milk; whisk until smooth. Spoon whipped topping over cream cheese mixture (Do not mix). Sprinkle with pudding mix: mix well (Mixture will be thick).

Place one layer of the cake onto serving platter. Place a little less than half of the cream mixture on cake layer and spread evenly. Top with second cake layer and repeat cream mixture leaving behind enough cream mixture to pipe a border. Top with third layer, pipe a decorative border around edge. Spread any remaining filling down center.

Arrange kiwi on top of cake. Place strawberries and reserved gelatin mixture in small bowl. Mix gently. Spoon berries over top of cake and sprinkle with remaining lemon zest.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lazy Cucumber Salad

This has been my go-to dish of the summer 2011. I made it for a pool party a few weeks ago and then again when my parents were staying with Finley while the husband and I went camping with friends. I originally got the recipe from Real Mom Kitchen. But I made it even simpler. Instead of using fresh dill, I use bottled dressing - my favorite Kraft's Greek Vinaigrette. I figured it has dill in it so, close enough :)

Lazy Cucumber Salad

3 medium sized cucumbers, sliced into half moons
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 large red onion, diced
3/4 cup Kraft Greek Vinaigrette

Mix together all ingredients. Cover and let sit in refrigerator a few hours before serving. Keeps well for several days and great for leftovers!!!

Makes about 9 servings. Per serving: 80.5 calories 5.5 g fat 7.1 g carbohydrate 1.2 g fiber 1.0 g protein

Monday, August 1, 2011

Black Bean Corn Salsa

Apparently I'm on a Mexican kick lately. I think that's just how I roll in the summer time. Anyone else like that?

A few years ago my mom introduced me to this recipe. It was in their church cookbook, submitted by some lady I've never met. BUT I have gotten some good use out of this recipe. It's perfect to take to summer BBQ's or pot lucks. I love that I typically have most of the ingredients on hand and if I don't, it only takes about $3 to pick them up from the store.

We like foods pretty hot and spicy in our house. This recipe does include a jalapeno. I usually leave some of the ribs and seed intact so that some of the heat remains. If you don't like very much heat, make sure you remove all the ribs of the jalapeno before you dice it up. I also like to cover my hand in the plastic produce bag while chopping a jalapeno. You can also keep rubber gloves on hand. I must have had a REALLY potent pepper one time that I made this recipe and ended up with a burning hand for 3 days. I haven't made that mistake again.

Black Bean Corn Salsa

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can shoepeg or white corn, drained and rinsed
3 Roma tomatoes, diced as tiny as you can get them
1/2 red onion, diced as tiny as you can get it
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1/4 cup Zesty Italian dressing

Mix together all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Best if refrigerated for at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve with tortilla chips, put in quesadillas, or serve with rice as a vegetarian meal.

Makes 12 servings

60 calories 1.4 g fat 10.2 g carbohydrate 2.6 g fiber 2.6 g protein