Category Archives: Savory

Bruschetta Chicken with Spaghetti Squash

I am participating in a fitness challenge hosted by our local hospital. It’s a 12-week challenge, with various fitness activities, classes and opportunities to win cool stuff. At the last class, they had a cooking demonstration and showed us how to make a few easy recipes. Here is my adaptation of their Bruschetta Chicken. I had a spaghetti squash that needed to be cooked so I decided to incorporate it into the recipe as well. You can use fresh tomatoes instead of canned for the bruschetta, I just find the canned to be more flavorful during the winter.

Bruschetta Chicken with Spaghetti Squash
serves 3-4

3-4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 to 3/4 cup prepared low-fat Italian salad dressing (like Good Seasons or Kraft)
1 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup fresh basil, slivered
1-3 cloves garlic, minced (depending on how well you like garlic)
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 small spaghetti squash
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, optional

Trim any fat off of chicken breasts, then slice diagonally into 4-5 strips. Place chicken strips in bowl and pour salad dressing over, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 8 hours, turning occasionally. You could also place the chicken and dressing in a Zip-lock bag instead of a bowl.

Combine tomatoes, basil, garlic and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste then cover and refrigerate at least an hour to allow flavors to mingle.

Cook spaghetti squash by whatever method you prefer. I cut mine in half lengthwise, seeded and removed the strings, then placed in a small casserole dish with a little water and microwaved it for 14 minutes. I let it cool a few minutes, then used a fork to separate the strands and placed them in a bowl.

Place chicken and the salad dressing marinade in a skillet and cook over medium heat until cooked through. Spread a tiny bit of the bruschetta sauce over the chicken, and combine the remainder with the spaghetti squash. If desired, sprinkle parmesan cheese over the squash. Plate and serve.

Advertisements

Quick and Easy Turkey-Lentil Stew

I have 3 different types of lentils in my pantry and use them regularly. They cook in about 30 minutes and are very versatile. Sometimes though, I want to serve a meal that practically prepares itself. While I am not a big proponent of canned soups, there are a couple I will occasionally use. Campbell’s Lentil Soup is one of them. It’s seasoned well and makes a great base for soups and stews. Here is one of my go-to recipes when I want to do zero chopping and measuring.

Quick and Easy Turkey-Lentil Stew

1 lb. ground turkey breast
1 tbsp. Canola oil, I just eyeball it
2 small cans Campbell’s Lentil Soup
16 oz jar of roasted Salsa Verde
1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1-2 cups water, as needed to get to desired consistency
1 Parmesan cheese rind – optional*
1/2 cup shredded cheese – optional – I used Asiago because it’s what I had, but Feta would be good too
salt and pepper, as desired

Brown ground turkey in Canola oil in large pot. Add all remaining ingredients except shredded cheese. Cook 20-30 minutes, although if you cook it longer it will thicken up nicely. Garnish stew with cheese if desired. Delicious and easy.

*I buy Parmesan cheese rinds from Kroger, in the deli section, and freeze until needed.

Rocco DiSpirito’s Amazing Fat-free Mayonnaise

For me, one of the hardest things about trying to eat a low-fat AND lower-carb diet is finding sauces and dressings that are not filled with oil and sugar, so I usually make my own. Take mayonnaise for example – the low-fat variety tastes terrible in my opinion, and I do not like the long ingredient list on the label. For a while now, I’ve been substituting plain fat-free Greek yogurt for anything that calls for mayo. I usually add a little Dijon mustard and a few Stevia drops to the yogurt and it actually makes a decent mayo substitute. However, I kept searching for something that would taste really good in dishes where mayo plays one of the starring roles – like my Stuffed Baked Potato Salad for example. I’ve been making this for years and even though I don’t really eat white potatoes any more, my family and friends love it so I still make it for them. It’s creamy and yummy and full of flavor and I just didn’t think yogurt would be a good substitute for mayo in this instance.

Enter Rocco DiSpirito’s Amazing Mayonnaise. I was searching for mayo substitutes found this recipe on the Dr. Oz Show website. As soon as I read the list of ingredients, I knew it was what I was looking for – yogurt based with just the right ingredients added to make an acceptable mayo for my potato salad. I whipped up a batch, tasted it, and said, “YES” so loud that I scared my cats who were lounging in the kitchen at the time. It is really good. It has cornstarch, so it may have too many carbs for people who are on ultra-low carb diets, but it works well for me.

Try it and let me know what you think.

Rocco DiSpirito’s Amazing Fat-free Mayonnaise
6 tbsp white vinegar
4 tbsp cornstarch
1 (17.6 oz) container Greek yogurt (plain non-fat)
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Salt
1 packet Stevia in the Raw (start off with less and add more if desired)

In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar into the cornstarch. Whisk 2/3 cup of the yogurt into the vinegar mixture. Pour the yogurt and vinegar mixture into a small saucepan and cook over high heat, whisking constantly, until it comes to a boil. (The yogurt mixture will thicken very quickly.) When it is very thick, scrape it into the bowl of a food processor.

Blend the yogurt mixture for about 1 minute. Turn off the food processor and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue to blend the yogurt mixture until it is slightly cool and very smooth, about 3 more minutes. Add the remaining yogurt, mustard, sweetener, and salt to the mixture. Blend for another minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and blend for 30 more seconds.

Pour the mayonnaise into a plastic container. Cover tightly and place in the refrigerator until it is cold and firm, about 2 hours. The mayonnaise can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

 

 

Jill’s Sausage Dip

My friend Jill shared this recipe with me many years ago. Ever since, it has been a hit every time I take it to a party or family gathering.

Jill’s Sausage Dip
1 lb Jimmy Dean mild or hot sausage
2 cans Ro-Tel tomatoes, do not drain
2 blocks cream cheese (I use low-fat or fat-free, but any kind works well)
½ tsp. Chipotle Chili powder
½ tsp. garlic powder

Brown sausage in a skillet. Drain off all grease and place sausage a Crock-pot. Add tomatoes, cream cheese, Chipotle Chili powder and garlic powder. Cook on low temperature until cream cheese melts enough to stir, then set Crock-pot to warm. Serve with tortilla chips, carrot sticks and celery sticks.

Recipe can easily be doubled.

Leftovers taste great the next day as an omelet filling.

Quick and Easy Chicken Fajita Soup

This is a great quick and easy soup. It’s made from mostly pantry/produce items that I keep on hand all the time. You can use a store-bought roasted chicken or any leftover chicken that you have.

Store-bought jalapeño peppers are usually mild but occasionally you will get a hot one. Just use half the pepper, or omit if you are adverse to the heat.

Chicken Fajita Soup

Serves 6

32 oz. chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
½-1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
16 oz salsa verde (I used the roasted variety)
28 oz can petite diced tomatoes, not drained
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1½-2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 package fajita seasoning mix
1 c. frozen corn
Salt and pepper to taste

Lime wedges, guacamole, sour cream, and chopped cilantro if desired

Combine chicken broth and next 7 ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add shredded chicken, fajita seasoning mix and corn and cook an additional 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with lime wedges, guacamole, sour cream, and chopped cilantro if desired.

You can also crush tortilla chips and sprinkle over the soup.

Quick Saucy Salsa Chicken

I made this tonight while searching for a quick, easy one-pan dinner. I had some chicken breasts that needed to be cooked, and all day I had been thinking about something creamy, yet spicy for dinner. After a quick search in the pantry, I came out with a jar of Bertolli Alfredo sauce and a jar of World Market Roasted Tomato Chipotle Salsa. Weird, I know, but somehow I knew it would taste good.

I’ve never been a fan of jarred Alfredo sauce on its own; it’s too easy to make the real thing. However, the ready-made kind makes a great sauce base and can be combined with all kinds of other flavors for quick meals. In this instance, the addition of salsa to the Alfredo cuts the fat and calories per serving, and amped up the flavor significantly. From prep to the table, this dish was ready in less than 30 minutes, and it was delicious. It will definitely be going into the dinner rotation.

If you are not on a low-carb meal plan, this would be good with Mexican rice, or spooned on top of a baked potato. I ate mine as-is, and Carla crushed a few corn chips over hers.

Quick Saucy Salsa Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into one-inch cubes
1 Tbsp olive or canola oil
1 jar Alfredo sauce
1 jar salsa
2 cups frozen broccoli and cauliflower florets (don’t thaw it)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chicken and cook about 5 minutes, just long enough to sear it on one side. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and cook about 5-6 minutes, or just until chicken is cooked through.

This was very saucy, which I liked. If you do not want a lot of sauce, you could use about 2/3 or 3/4 of each jar of sauce and salsa, or use 6 chicken breasts instead of 4.

%d bloggers like this: