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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

    

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Open Faced Breakfast Sandwiches

21 Aug

Tonight my family asked for breakfast for dinner (which is not unusual in this house).  I wanted to do something a little different, so we went with Open Face Sandwiches.  I know that this recipe calls for packaged instant gravy (GASP!) which is almost a deadly sin in the American south (and in my home particularly).  I chose to go this route for 2 reasons.  1. Packaged instant gravy is much lower in calories than homemade white gravy, and 2. it’s easier, and on a weeknight, time is precious.  I used some pretty specific brand name ingredients here, but i’ll list the calorie counts for what i used, in case you’d like to use an alternative brand, or these items are not available in your area.

I usually like to stay around 250 calories or less for breakfast, so this works better as a lunch or dinner option for me. However, you could lower the calories by using 2 slices of canadian bacon instead of sausage, or using only egg whites.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Light (100 calorie) English Muffins
  • 4 Eggs
  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 8 chicken or turkey sausage patties (I used chicken sausage at 120 cal per 2 patties)
  • 1 envelope of white country gravy (I used Pioneer at 45 calories per 1/4 cup)
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Directions: 

  1. Cook sausage patties according to directions on package.
  2. Prepare gravy according to instructions on packet. Stir in salt.
  3. Mix eggs and egg whites together and whisk until blended.
  4. In a large skillet, spray non stick cooking spray, and scramble your egg mixture on medium heat until eggs are done. Season eggs with salt and pepper if you wish.
  5. While eggs are cooking, split your english muffins and toast them all in the toaster, or on broil in the oven.
  6. To assemble sandwiches, place 1 muffin top, and 1 bottom on each plate.  Top each muffin with a sausage patty.
  7. Divide eggs evenly between each of the 8 muffin pieces.
  8. Top plate with 1/3 cup of gravy, split evenly between the 2 muffins.

Makes 4 servings= 365 calories per serving

Approximately 9 weight watchers points plus per serving.


Curry chicken

11 Aug

I love Indian food, but my husband doesn’t. Long story shirt, we’ve never been to an Indian restaurant in the 9 yrs we’ve been together. I figure my only chance at winning him over with Indian food was to start at home, so here is our low cal curry.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 5 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 tsp curry
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup lite coconut milk
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 potato, medium sized

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large skillet, and sautéed onions and garlic for about 3 min.

2. Stir in curry, garam masala, salt, and cumin and stir until incorporated with onions.

3. Add chicken and brown on both sides (about 3 min per side) stirring onion mixture around to keep from sticking/burning.

4. Add water, coconut milk, tomato and potato (peeled and diced).

5. Cover pan and Cook on medium about 15 min, covered.

6. Stir mixture and remove lid. Continue cooking about 20 min uncovered.

7. Remove chicken thighs and shred/chop the meat. Return to pan and stir in. Continue cooking until liquid has cooked down to a thick sauce, or a consistency you prefer.


 Divide into equal servings of 4 or 5. Serve with rice (not included in calorie count shown here)

Editors Note: if you liked this, try my chicken tikka masala

5 servings= 277 calories per serving

appx 7 weight watchers points plus

4 servings= 346 calories per serving

appx 9 weight watchers points plus

Creamy Mushroom Chicken

1 Jul

So, I was inspired to try a recipe like this, when a friend of mine mentioned how much her family loved a similar dish.  I took to the internet for a full fat version, and started updating it to make it more calorie friendly.  I loved the results, although this version did take a long time to cook in the oven.  I think it will work just as well if i throw it all in the crockpot, and next time i’m going to do just that.  I’ll come back and let y’all know how that works out.  Enjoy!  (ps: eat this with mashed potatoes or rice. omg, that sauce!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken (i used 4 breasts, 5 oz each)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 can reduced fat cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 1 jar of sliced mushrooms, drained (the larger glass jar, or 2 smaller cans)
  • Paprika to taste

Directions:

  1. Arrange chicken in a 9 x 13 pan and salt and pepper the tops of the chicken (to taste).  Spread mushrooms evenly over chicken.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together: mushroom soup, wine and sour cream.  Pour over chicken, completely covering it.
  3. Dust with paprika.
  4. Cover baking pan with aluminum foil, and Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hours.  Uncover pan and continue baking an additional 20 min.

Makes 4 servings of chicken + Sauce= 256 Calories per Serving

Appx 6.5 weight watchers points plus per serving


 

Enchilada Verde Chicken Casserole

25 May

This was pretty family friendly, and it’s derived from a recipe i found in cooking light.  They suggested making one of these in a glass pan for now, and one in an aluminum pan to freeze for later.  I’m always looking for something easy and handy on a busy night of piano, or girl scouts, or t-ball, so that’s exactly what I did. I haven’t reheated the frozen one yet to see how it turned out, but if you want to do this too, simply take the one you want to freeze out of the oven after 10 min, let it cool entirely, Cover tightly with foil and freeze for “upto 2 months.”  Bake it uncovered at 400 for 45 min.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic (separated into 2 1 tbsp portions)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 3/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, (divided into 2 even 3/4 cup portions)
  • 4 scallions, diced
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro (1 cup ish)
  • 7 medium sized fresh tomatillos, quartered
  • 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
  • 1/4 cup 1% milk
  • 2 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 15 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Directions:

1. Bring 2 cups water, pepper, 1 tbsp garlic, and bay leaf to a boil in a large saucepan. Add chicken to pan and reduce heat and simmer, 15 minutes. Stir every 5 min or so.  Remove chicken and shred with 2 forks.  Place chicken, salt, 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, and scallions in a bowl and mix well.

2. Place 1 tbsp minced garlic, cilantro, tomatillos, and chiles in the blender or food processor and “puree” until finely chopped. Add milk and cream cheese; process until smooth.

3. Coat 2 (8-inch) square glass or ceramic baking dishes with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup tomatillo sauce in the bottom of each dish.  Cut each of 15 flour tortillas in half.

4. On top of the sauce, arrange 5 tortilla halves (place 4 around edges, flat side against each edge of the pan, and one in middle). Top each dish with one-fourth of chicken mixture. Top each layer with 1/4 cup tomatillo sauce again.

5. Repeat layers once more:  Tortillas, remaining Chicken, 1/4 cup tomatillo sauce.   Finally, top each pan with one last layer of  remaining Tortillas, and remaining tomatillo sauce.

6.  Spread remaining 3/4 cup of Monteray Jack Cheese evenly over the top of both pans.

7.  Cover pans in foil and Bake at 350° for 25 minutes.

Garnish with plain greek yogurt and diced tomatoes if desired (not captured in calorie count here)
Makes 8 Servings= 320 Calories per serving
appx 9 weight watchers points plus
 

Pasta Carbonara

22 Apr

So, I was super excited about this dish.  Not even because Pasta Carbonara is delicious, but because, it’s a little more complicated, as far as cooking goes.  If you don’t do this just right you’ll end up with spaghetti and scrambled eggs, so, listen up and read the directions carefully 🙂  I hope you guys enjoy this as much as we did. Be careful about the bacon you buy. you should get a package that’s no more than 70 calories for 2 slices (my favorite is 50 cals).

Ingredients: 

  • 4 Slices of Center cut bacon
  • 4 TBSP finely chopped onion
  • 12 oz of pasta (i used fettuccini, but spaghetti works too)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup 1% milk
  • 2/3 Cup Shredded parmesan and Romano cheeses (i used a mix of Parm/romano/asiago)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 12 oz Boneless, skinless chicken
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste (for chicken)

Directions:

  1. Season chicken, and get it on the grill.  When it’s done grilling, pull it off and set it aside for now.
  2. Cut bacon slices into little pieces using kitchen scissors, about 1/4 inch square.
  3. In a large skillet, cook bacon on medium high heat until it’s crispy.
  4. Start a pot of boiling water for your pasta, and once it boils, toss the pasta in to cook.
  5. While Bacon is cooking, mix the following items in a large bowl:  Eggs, Milk, Salt, Pepper, cheese.  Whisk until everything is smooth and well incorporated. You need to do this while the bacon is cooking.  The egg mixture needs to be ready to go when the pasta finishes cooking.  You don’t want to let the pasta sit.
  6. When bacon is finished cooking, remove bacon bits and set aside.  Leave grease in pan and use it to sautee the onions until soft, then set the pan, with onions and grease, to the side.
  7. When pasta has finished cooking, remove 1/3 cup of the water before draining.
  8. Very slowly poor the pasta water into the egg mixture, while whisking constantly.  If you’re pouring the water too fast, or not stirring you may end up cooking the egg, which you don’t want yet.
  9. Once Pasta water and egg mixture are well combined, drain your pasta.  Don’t let it sit and dry out or cool down. It’s alright if you don’t get all the liquid out entirely.
  10. Put the pasta into the bowl and mix with egg mixture.  You need to be stirring constantly.
  11. Pour egg and noodle mixture into the pan with bacon grease and onions.  Stir over low heat for about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. The sauce should begin to thicken.
  12. Once sauce has reached a good consistency (silky and smooth), mix in bacon and divide evenly into 4 plates or bowls.
  13. Slice chicken and divide among dishes.

Garnish with crushed red pepper or fresh parsley if desired.

Editors note: Seriously. don’t stop stirring, and don’t turn the heat up too high once you get everything in the pan! You’ll end up with scrambled eggs, which is not what we’re going for here 🙂

Makes 4 servings= 550 Calories per serving

Approximately 14 weight watchers points plus per serving

Moroccan Chicken

22 Jan

Remember a while back, when I said I was experimenting with new spices?  Tonight’s exotic adventure includes the North African spice “Ras El Hanout” and it was really fragrant and delicious.  Next time, I think I’m going to cut the chicken up, add some peppers, and serve this over rice.  I ordered my Ras El Hanout on ebay but you can make your own if you want.  Here’s a recipe on Epicurious!

Ingredients:

  • 4 (6 oz) chicken breasts (i used Tyson right-size. they’re perfect!)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP Ras El Hanout
  • 1 TBPS light butter or margarine
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • Salt
  • 2 TSP honey

Directions:

1. In an oven-proof skillet, heat olive oil on medium.  Add 1 TBSP ras el hanout, Mix and cook for 2-3 minutes, just to toast the spices.

2.  Add chicken breasts, and coat each breast with the spice mixture. Allow breasts to cook about 4-5 minutes.  Remove chicken, and set aside.

3. Add butter to skillet, and melt butter, swirling it around to incorporate remaining spices.

4. Add onions to butter mixture, and sauté about 4 minutes. Place chicken breasts on top of onions in pan.  Sprinkle the whole dish with salt.  Drizzle honey over the top of the mixture.

5.  Place skillet containing onions and chicken into a preheated oven.  Bake on 400 for 10-12 minutes. Serve chicken and onions together.

Makes 4 servings= 278 Calories per serving.

Appx 7 weight watchers points per serving

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