Wednesday was supposed to be Chef’s Salad, but I ended up going to a Charity Chicks event last minute with some lovely ladies (skirtini’s for a cause, yes please) and I left Matt to his own devices with salad and sandwich basics. Thursday night, Matt was catching up on some sleep after a long shift at the hospital so we didn’t have a sit down dinner.

But, that’s the reality of meal planning:

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This was Monday’s recipe in my meal plan for the week, and I gotta tell ya’ll, it is one of my faves.

Pork with Peanut Sauce

Pork with Peanut Sauce

Unfortunately, I rarely follow a recipe exactly, so I forgot to tell you about a few tweaks I made. If you haven’t tried it yet, here’s a few pointers.
– If you bought pork tenderloin, broil it. It takes about ~8-10 minutes on each side, and it’ll have this delicious, crispy outside and perfectly tender inside. Plus, it’s way faster than the grill / oven.

Broiled Pork Tenderloin

Broiled Pork Tenderloin

– I use about half the peanut butter called for in the sauce, and gently bump up the soy sauce / rice vinegar to taste. I’ve made this the original way, and it’s a little too peanut butter-y of a texture and taste. I like it to be more runny, with just a hint of the PB taste. This is also key for cutting some of the calories. I forgot I had actually made this and posted it about 2 months ago, and you can see here the thicker texture as well as thinner pork chops. This week’s was much better… what can I say, my cooking is a work in progress!

Tuesday I made the Chicken Marsala. I listed the recipe here. Again, tweaks. (I’d be a terrible chemist and/or engineer.)

Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala

I love the sauce on this… it tastes even better the second day when the chicken has hung out in that sauce and just soaked it all up. This recipe originally came from WW “Simply the Best” cookbook, and they list the stats at 390, including the brown rice (which I did not list on the recipe). Sure beats Olive Garden’s 770 calorie version!

After I made it, I decided the grapes really didn’t add much. I think I would leave them out in the future, and put mushrooms back in. What’s chicken marsala without mushrooms?

I usually note in my cookbooks when I made a dish, what the reactions were, and any changes I’ve made. The last time I made this dish was actually November 26th, 2006. This is when I first start taking pictures of my food. I think I’ve come a long way in photography, as well as cooking. Here’s the original picture from nearly 3 years ago. I have no idea what setting I was using that made the dish look so…gray.

Original Chicken Marsala, Early Photography Days

Original Chicken Marsala, Early Photography Days

Tonight, Chef Salad is still on the menu and I’m looking forward to a lighter dinner. Okay, sort of light, this salad does involve bacon and cheese. Everything in moderation, right?

Hawaiian Chicken Salad

May 23, 2009

For those of you in my group on Wednesday, I promised to post the link here of the Hawaiian Chicken Salad since we ran out of hard copies! I love this recipe – the juice from the pineapple means you use very minimal mayo for the whole dish! This is really yummy served on top of bibb lettuce, or on a toasted piece of whole wheat bread. It’s also a great dish to take to a party, since no one is really going to guess it’s low cal. See below & enjoy!

Hawaiian Chicken Salad

Yield: 4 cups Per ½ cup serving: 90 calories

1/8 tsp dry mustard
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ cup light mayonnaise
2 cups cooked and diced chicken

½ cup cooked celery
½ cup chopped green onions
¼ cup chopped green pepper
8 oz can crushed pineapple in juice, drained

Preparation:
1. Mix together first three ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, vegetables and pineapple. Toss to mix.
3. Stir in mayonnaise mixture until moistened. Chill 1 hour to blend flavors.

All credits on that title obviously go to the Zac Brown Band… one of my favorite songs of late. (Aptly named “Chicken Fried.” Creative.) I mentioned before that living in the South means lots and lots of fried food. It took me forever to realize that when someone mentioned “seasonings” in their green beans, they ain’t talking Mrs. Dash. So, one of the biggest challenges I’ve had as a weight loss coach is introducing people with “seasoned” palates to new and tasty alternatives and convincing them that healthy can be yummy.

When I got this month’s Everyday Food magazine, I knew right the first recipe I wanted to try was the Oven Fried Chicken. I’ve done other variations of this but it never turns out with that juicy flavor that I know those who love tried&true fried crave. This one started with a buttermilk marinade, so I had high hopes for it being a little more authentic.

The recipe is right here, so I won’t go ahead and type it all out. But I will tell you about my tweaks. The recipe says to toast the breadcrumbs for 8-12 minutes. I noticed at 7 minutes they were starting to burn so I pulled them out. They were just about to pass the point of no return, but I was able to rescue them in time. (Thought it was my new oven was too hot, but turns out someone else had the same experience!)

Breadcrumbs, Baking

Breadcrumbs, Baking

I only used my olive oil spritzer on the crumbs and tossed them before baking. I also used boneless, skinless chicken breast and powdered buttermilk (add water) – just because that’s what I happened to have on hand.

Pantry Staples.  (Um, Freezer Staples, too.) Good Stuff.

Pantry Staples. (Erm, Freezer Staples, too.) Good Stuff.

I liked the recipe because it was all things I had in my pantry already, and it was relatively quick. I paired it with a baked sweet potato and a salad. Using my fave calorie count, I calculated my version to be 190 per serving (4 servings with a pound of chicken breast.) With a large sweet tater (160 cals + 30 for 2 tsp brown sugar + 30 1 tsp butter = 220 cals), dinner clocks in at 410 cals. (You can go halves on the sweet tater for budgeting purposes, if you need to.) Pair it up with a big green salad and you’ll be one happy eater. You might not even miss the fried chicken. REALLY. (Ok, give it a few tries…)

Time for Dinner, Ya'll!

Time for Dinner, Ya'll!

Baja Lime Tostadas

February 15, 2009

We eat a lot of chicken.  Not going to lie – sometimes it gets a little bit boring.  I was looking for a way up our poultry tastings, but I needed something quick.  I make homemade tortilla chips a lot by just baking tortilla shells, so I got the idea to try and make homemade tostadas.  First, I marinated the chicken overnight in my FAVORITE mexi-flavored marinade, Annie’s Organic Baja Lime Marinade.  I first picked this marinade up on a whim when I was looking for a lower sodium marinades and it’s one I’ve gone back to time and time again.

Annie's Baja Lime Marinade

Annie's Baja Lime Marinade

I put the tortilla shells (small ones) on a cookie sheet and sprayed them with cooking spray.  They went in the oven at 400 degrees for just about 6 minutes.  (I flipped them half way through.)  In the meantime, I cooked the chicken on my indoor grill.  When the tostadas were good and crispy, I pilled them up with 2 oz of chicken each and 1 T of shredded cheese.  I put them back in for just another minute to get the cheese a little melty.  When they came out, I dolloped them with 1 T of low fat sour cream and a reckless amount of salsa.

Chicks on the Indoor Grill

Chicks on the Indoor Grill

They were delicious, but we weren’t sure whether you were supposed to pick them up and eat them or slice them up.  We folded them like NY style pizzas and tried to catch the runaway salsa.  So good!

Finished Product!  Eat up!

Finished Product! Eat up!

Although it’s a bit of an estimate with the salsa, they should be around 240 calories.  (215 pre-salsa, with 85-cals coming from the tortilla shell.)