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Mozzarella Chicken

8 Mar

This was a simple and easy dish, that I served with rice, because I really like rice with tomato based sauces.  It turned out simple, pretty quick, and yummy.  The best thing about this one is that I have all the ingredients I need on hand at just about any time, so it doesn’t take much planning.

If you like the idea of this Mozzarella Chicken, check out my other Italian Recipes here.

Ingredients: 

  • 4 (6 oz) boneless skinless chicken breast filets
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic, or 2 fresh cloves minced
  • 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional- to taste)
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese (part skim)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Heat your oil in a large oven safe skillet, on medium heat.  Add chicken and sear until chicken is golden brown on each side, 2-3 minutes per side.
  3. Remove chicken and set it aside on a plate.  Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic to skillet. Cook about 1 minute before adding all of the following ingredients: crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper.
  4. Stir everything together well in the skillet, and cook on low about 4 minutes, stirring regularly.
  5. Return chicken to skillet nestling them into the sauce.
  6. Cover each chicken breast in 1/4 cup of cheese, and carefully place your skillet into a preheated oven.
  7. Bake until chicken is cooked through.  My breasts were on the thick side, so it took a little longer.  I recommend starting at 15 minutes and then checking regularly until internal temp reaches 165. Serve with chicken and 1/4 of the sauce per person.

4 servings= 315 calories each

 

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

13 Feb

This is another one of those recipe mash ups, where I started to crave something that I thought was probably high calorie (rice, heavy cream, butter, etc) so I did some research, compared some recipes, and came up with my own take, making substitutions and additions to get a tasty result at a lower calorie count, and I’m pretty happy with the results.  Even my “soup isn’t real food” husband ate it… which says a lot.  Because, I probably make 20 different soups, and he only eats 2 prior to this one.   I hope you enjoy it too.  Directions for stove top and instant pot are listed below.

Editors note:  Want a non-creamy, super low cal version?  I made this as a regular chicken and wild rice soup first, and then I added all the “creamy” ingredients at the end, so what I have here is really 2 recipes for 2 delicious, but different soups.  If you want to make it a regular Chicken and rice soup, leave out the 3 ingredients indented at the bottom.  It will make 9 (1 cup) servings at 120 calories each.  Next time I make this soup, i’ll take photos of the non-creamy variety and post that recipe separately, but for now… this will do 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 whole carrots or a cup of baby carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped into appx 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 lb of chicken breast, boneless skinless
  • 1 box of rice a roni (or uncle bens, or any other brand) long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet
  • 32 ounces of chicken stock
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 Tablespoons of better than boullion, or 2 chicken boullion cubes
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 cups of 1% milk
    • 3 tablespoons of corn starch
    • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup

Directions:

Stovetop:

1. Warm a large soup pot on medium heat, and add about 1/2 cup of the stock, along with your onion, carrot, and celery.  Cook in the broth (adding more as you go if necessary) until the veggies start to get tender.

2. Once vegetables are tender, Cube your raw chicken, and add it to the mix with another cup or so of the stock.  Cook about 5 minutes before adding additonal ingredients.

3. Once chicken and veggies are cooked, add remaining broth, water, bullion, rice (and included seasoning packet) salt and pepper, and parsley, stirring all ingredients together.

4. Cook on low, stirring periodically, for 30 minutes.

If you want the creamy version, then continue on.  If not, stop here and eat your delicious soup.

5. Once everything has cooked together and you’re ready to get your creamy soup on, go ahead and pour the milk directly into the pot.

6. Place corn starch in a small bowl or cup, along with 1/4 cup of hot soup broth, and stir until mixture is smooth.

7. Add corn starch slurry back into the soup pot, scraping the sides of the container to make sure you get all the cornstarch into the pan.  Stir constantly for about 5 minutes until soup begins to thicken.

Once your soup has started to thicken some, go ahead and stir in the whole can of cream of mushroom soup.  Heat long enough to get everything hot, and serve.  You can let it continue cooking on simmer a while if you need to.  Just make sure to stir it periodically so it doesnt stick to the bottom of the pan and scorch.

Instant Pot:

1.Turn your pot on sautee, low, and add about 1/4 cup broth and your veggies.  Cook on sautee, stirring regularly, until veggies begin to get a little soft.

2. Add remaining broth, whole chicken breasts, water, rice with seasoning, salt, pepper, bullion and parsley into the pot.

3. Seal up your pot, close the steam valve and set on Manual, high for 10 minutes.

4. At the end of 12 minutes, quick release (QR) the pot and stir the contents inside.  Check to see if the rice is done, and if not, put back under Manual high for 3 more minutes, with QR.

5. Remove the chicken from the pot, and shred it with a fork, returning it back into the pot.

If you don’t want it creamy, here’s your chance.. you’re all done.  But if you do want it creamy, keep going!

6. Once everything has cooked together and you’re ready to get your creamy soup on, go ahead and pour the milk directly into the pot and turn the pot on sautee, low.

7. Place corn starch in a small bowl or cup, along with 1/4 cup of hot soup broth, and stir until mixture is smooth.

8. Add corn starch slurry back into the pot, scraping the sides of the container to make sure you get all the cornstarch into the pan.  Stir constantly for about 5 minutes until soup begins to thicken.

Once your soup has started to thicken some, go ahead and stir in the whole can of cream of mushroom soup.  Heat long enough to get everything hot, but remember to keep stirring or it will stick to the bottom of your instant pot and burn.  Enjoy 🙂

 

Makes 12 (1 cup) servings= 151 calories per serving

See below:  (photo 1:  Non creamy version, photo 2: Creamy version)


 

 

 

 

 

White Lasagna

17 Jan

This is a dish that can very easily be made vegetarian, by using veggie broth and omitting Chicken, so I’m listing it as “vegetarian friendly” and including the calorie count for both versions. This is a “weekend” recipe, meaning, it takes some time and love to put together. It’s not a “quick and easy” but it is yummy, and I hope you enjoy.

NOTE: I made mine ahead, put it all together and let it sit in the fridge assembled for about 1 1/2 hrs before baking. This is an easy “make ahead” meal. It’s also a good “make an extra one to freeze for later” meal. Just use an aluminum pan, and wrap the extra one tightly in saran wrap, then foil. Freeze, and when ready to cook set it out to thaw- then remove all the foil and plastic, cover back with foil, and bake as directed.

OK.  Here we go.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cooked chicken, diced or shredded (optional)
  • 8 oz reduced low fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese (divided)
  • 1 tsp italian herbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 a tsp each)
  • 3 cups of baby spinach leaves, fresh
  • 9 No-boil Oven ready bake lasagna noodles (the long wavy ones)
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms, rough chopped into quarters
  • 10 Cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese

Sauce:

  • 3 TBSP light butter or margarine (50 cal per tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/4 cup finely diced bell pepper (any color)
  • 2 TBSP minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp flour (i like seasoned flour. here’s the one I use)
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 of paremsan cheese from list above

Instructions: 

  1. Wash, dry, and cut all veggies as described above, and set each aside for now.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together: Ricotta, half of your paremsan cheese, egg whites, italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
  3. Stir your spinach leaves into the ricotta, mix thoroughly, and set the mixture aside for now.
  4. Next, you’re going to make your sauce.  I used a 1 qt sauce pan and a wire whisk.  First thing, melt the butter in the suace pan.
  5. Add onions and peppers, and stir constantly for about 3 minutes until onions are clear.
  6. Mix in your garlic and continue cooking and stirring about 30 seconds longer.
  7. Add flour into mixture, and stir until flour is well incorporated.
  8. Pour milk into mixture and stir until flour mixture is incorporated into milk and there are no lumps.  Add chicken broth and continue to stir and cook until mixture begins to thicken (about 3-5 min).
  9. While your sauce is cooking, fill a 9×13 pan about 1/2 way with hot water and place your lasagna noodles into the pan to sit for 5-8 min (no longer than that).
  10. Once your sauce is thickened a bit, remove from heat and stir in nutmeg a remaining parmesan cheese.

Assemble your lasagna:

  1. Using a 9×9 pan, sprayed with nonstick spray, Spoon about 1/4 cup of the sauce into the bottom of the pan and swirl it around until it covers the bottom.
  2. Trim all of your lasagna noodles to fit inside the pan.  You’ll have to cut about 3 inches off the end of each one. I used kitchen scissors.  Set noodles aside on a paper towel to dry.
  3. Layer the following items on top of the sauce:  3 noodles, side by side, slightly overlapping one another: Spread 1/2 of spinach mixture on top of noodles evenly.  Sprinkle 1/2 of your mushrooms and onions over that.  Next, spread 1/2 of chicken evenly over mixture. Top with about 1/2 cup of sauce poured evenly over top.
  4. Repeat that layer one more time, reserving about 1/4 cup of sauce for the top of the lasagna.
  5. Layer your last 3 noodles over your top layer, creating the top of the lasagna.  Spread remaining sauce over top, and then add mozzarella evenly over the top of the sauce.
  6. Bake, covered in foil for 40 min on 375 degrees.  Remove foil and bake another 12 minutes.

Let lasagna sit 5-10 min before cutting to serve (don’t skip this step or it will be watery)

Makes 6 servings= 300 calories per serving (as written)

255 calories without chicken


  

Chinese Chopped Chicken Salad

27 Oct

I’ve fallen in love with the Chinese Chicken Salad at California Pizza Kitchen, so I set out to find a recipe that would allow me to come close to this delicious dish at home, and I have to say this is pretty darn good.  It lacks the fried wontons that I love on the CPK version, but that just lends it to be even lower in calories, and to be honest, it is delicious without them, so I hardly even missed them.  I encourage you to try this one out.  I made it “Quick and Easy” By chopping all the veggies and combining in a large ziploc bag the day before.  I also went ahead and baked 2 chicken breasts and set them aside.  The day I had them for lunch, I just mixed the dressing, chopped the chicken, threw in the sesame seeds and almonds and mixed it all up with the lettuce mix.  This was yummy.

Editors Note: The dressing is a little on the sweet side, which i don’t mind.  If you like things a little less sweet, go with 2 TBSP Splenda brown sugar and subtract 15 Cal per serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 head of Napa Cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded (Julienne) carrots
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 10 oz boneless skinless chicken breast (seasoned with salth and pepper and baked or grilled)
  • 2 TBSP Roasted Sesame Seeds
  • 1/2 cup Slivered Almonds

Dressing:

  • 1 1/2 TBSP Sesame Oil
  • 3 TBSP peanut butter
  • 4 1/2 TBSP Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 TSP Asian Chili Sauce
  • 4 1/2 TBSP Rice Vinegar
  • 3 TBSP Splenda brown sugar mix
  • 1 1/2 TSP grated ginger

Directions:

  1. Prep all your veggies. Chop your lettuce, cabbage, scallions, carrots, and cilantro, and mix together.  If you do this ahead of time, store in a big sealed ziplock bag in the fridge.
  2. Salt and pepper your chicken, and either grill or bake it ahead of time.  I don’t like hot chicken on a cold salad, so i give mine plenty of time to cool.
  3. Assemble your salad by mixing the lettuce mix with your chicken and adding sesame seeds and almonds.
  4. Mix all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl with a wisk until you have a smooth mixture.
  5. Add Dressing to salad and mix everything together until dressing is evenly coating other ingredients.

Note: To serve as a side, omit chicken and serve as 8 servings. 155 cal per serving

Makes 4 very generous portions

1 Serving= 400 Calories

Appx 8 weight watchers points plus per serving

  
Dressing Ingredients:

Finished Dressing

Final Product:

White Chicken Chili (Crock Pot)

20 Oct

This recipe is nice and hearty, and a great winter staple in any house.  My version is a little on the spicy side (for example, my youngest won’t eat it, but my 2 older kids love it).  I suppose you could make it milder by using plain tomatoes instead of rotel, or a “mild” version of the green chiles and verde sauce. You could also reduce the Cayenne by half.  You can also mix in some reduced fat sour cream to cut the heat.  I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.  Best part?  It’s another great crock pot recipe for those busy nights.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 3 Cans of Great Northern Beans
  • 1 Can Original Rotel
  • 1 can of green enchilada sauce (Enchlidada Verde)
  • 1 Can of reduced fat chicken broth
  • 1 small can of roasted green chiles (or regular diced green chilis if you can’t find roasted)
  • 1 Cup of Corn (frozen or canned)
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 1/2 TSP cayenne pepper
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1/2 TSP Pepper
  • 1 TSP Salt

Directions:

  1. Drain the liquid from your Rotel, and Corn if you’re using canned. Also drain 2 of the 3 cans of beans.
  2. Place Chicken in the crock pot, and pour contents of all the cans on top of it.
  3. Place Chopped onion and 1 TBSP water in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.  Then dump it into the crockpot.
  4. Add Cumin, Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne Pepper into the Crock Pot.
  5. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  6. Remove Chicken, shred it with a fork, and return it to the pot.
  7. Stir the soup, and enjoy.  Serve with low fat sour cream and shredded cheese. (not calculated in this calorie count)

Makes 10 (1 Cup) Servings= 188 Calories per serving

Appx 4 Weight Watchers Points Plus per cup

Curry Chicken Salad (for sandwiches)

14 Sep

Hey guys!  So, this recipe is an original that I threw together this weekend.  It was inspired by a deli that used to be near my work, that sold Curry chicken salad on croissants.  I loved the stuff, but the deli went out of business.  I hadn’t had curry chicken salad in years, but last week I got a craving for it, and so this low calorie version was born.  I think this is delicious, and I will definitely be repeating it in my own household.  Even the husband enjoyed it, although he was unsure about trying it at first.  It’s yummy, and not too overwhelming with Curry.   The sweet cherry craisins are a nice comliment to the curry flavor.  I served this with 2 slices of 35 calorie bread (not included in the calorie count below).

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast (cooked and shredded)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 TBSP fat free miracle whip
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely diced
  • 1 TBSP onion, finely diced
  • 3/4 tsp of curry powder (i used a 1/2 tsp and a 1/4 tsp to measure)
  • 1 TBSP slivered almonds
  • 2 TBSP cherry flavored dried cranberries (I used craisins)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Mix everything but the chicken together first, to be sure your curry is mixed in well.
  2. Add chicken to mixture, and stir until everything is well incorporated.
  3. Serve with saltine crackers or low calorie bread.  Add Lettuce and tomato if you like.

Makes 4 (1/2 cup) servings= 161 Calories per serving

Appx 4 weight watchers points plus


Louisiana File Gumbo

22 Aug

I recently took a trip to New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and I was inspired by all the delicious food they had to offer.  I loved the rich and distinct flavors, which can come with a high caloric price tag.  So, after returning home, I decided to try my hand at a Cajun Classic:  File Gumbo (skinny style).  Here are the results of my adventure into Cajun cooking.  I actually found it to be quite satisfying, and even tastier than what I had in the New Orleans restaurant, but a little time consuming (i guess those rich flavors take some time to develop!).  I hope you enjoy. Just remember, Cajun food is spicy, and this is no exception. My littlest kiddo opted out.  One last thing, if you like your gumbo souper (this was thick) use another can of broth, and 1 1/2 tbsp file. (adds about 15 cal per serving).

Editors Note:  If you liked this, try out my Jambalaya

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 Can of chicken broth
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 2 TBSP light Butter
  • 14 cup Flour
  • 1 package of turkey smoked sausage, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon creole/Cajun seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cups frozen, cooked, peeled shrimp
  • 1 TBSP file powder (see pic below)

Directions

  1. Put the chicken in a pot and cover with water. Bring the chicken to a boil, and boil for about 7 minutes.
  2. Remove the chicken from the pot. When the chicken cools enough to handle, chop or shred it into bite sized pieces and set it aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat and add oil.  Once oil and butter mixture is heated, begin your roux by adding in the flour. Cook on low, stirring constantly, until your roux mixture is medium brown.
  4. Add the sausage , onions, pepper, and garlic and stir all ingredients together. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
  5. Add chicken broth, diced or shredded chicken, and salt, pepper, cajun seasoning, and bay leaves.
  6. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for one hour, uncovered.
  7. Stir in Shrimp and continue to simmer about 3 minutes for shrimp to heat up.
  8. Remove from the heat, Remove Bay Leaves and stir in the file powder.   Let the dish stand for 5 minutes.

I served this with 1 3/4 cups of gumbo, and 1/3 cup of mixed grains (brown rice) but you could eat it by itself, or with white rice if you prefer.  This added about 107 calories (not included in the calorie count for this recipe)

Makes 4 servings, about 1 3/4 cups each= 450 Calories

Appx 11 weight watchers points plus per serving

Roux plus veggies and sausage