Sunday, September 26, 2010

guest post with a GREAT recipe!

I am so happy that Laura from The Gruneisen Family News
wanted to share a before and after meal with all of YOU!
If you haven't read her blog, you should check it out-she has a precious family and her recipes are DELICIOUS...just see for yourself with the recipe she shared with US! Laura writes:
Let’s face it – dieting is really hard! No matter what kind of diet you’re on – the basic principle is always the same: less food, less choices. For me, this was the worst part of trying to lose weight. I hated eating food that tasted like cardboard, and I really hated eating the 1 or 2 bites of the food I loved, and being left hungry after dinner. But I’m here to tell you that there are ways to still enjoy your favorite meals in a light and healthy way. Here I have a Before and After Chicken Taco Mac that I improved upon.

The Before recipe, found in Family Circle magazine, contained
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast 12 ounces garden pasta 1 medium bell pepper 1 tbsp unsalted butter 1 tbsp all-purpose flour 1 1/2 tsp chili powder 1/2 tsp salt 1 1/4 cup milk 8 ounces pepper jack cheese 3 scallions 2 ounces lime-flavored tortilla chips
for a total of 557 calories and 22g of fat (with 10g sat fats!).

I wanted to keep the basic idea and taste of the recipe, but make it something that I could enjoy without breaking my diet. I thought about what went into a taco, and then went from there. To make this a healthier meal, I did a few things:
· Reduced the amount of chicken to 8 ounces, and added a cup of whole black beans to add fiber.
· Replaced the butter with olive oil. Butter contains a ton of saturated fat (7.3g per Tbsp) and doesn’t add a lot of flavor in this meal.
· Added a medium onion, tomato, jalapeno and lettuce to make the portion size bigger and add much-needed vitamins.
· Added more flavor with spices such as ground coriander (gives a really smoky, citrusy flavor) and garlic powder.
· Changed the cheese to reduced-fat, and lowered the amount (only by 2 ounces) to make the sauce lower in fat.
· Used 1% milk in the sauce. When making a cheese sauce, I’ve found that using 1% works WAY better, because fat free doesn’t contain enough fat to thicken properly and make a creamy sauce.
· Used whole-wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour to add fiber. Every little bit helps!

By making these few easy changes, this lowered the total to 407 calories and 13.3g of fat (with only 4.7g sat fats). That’s 150 calories and 8.7g fat saved! So here’s the new and improved meal – enjoy (guilt-free)!

Laura’s Chicken Taco Mac (serves 6)
1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into small chunks
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup rinsed and drained black beans
1 jalapeno, finely chopped (feel free to add more if you like it hot!)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp whole-wheat flour
10 ounces pasta
1 large bell pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/4 cups 1% milk
6 ounces reduced fat, shredded 4 cheese Mexican Blend (I used this cheese because my store doesn’t carry reduced fat pepper-jack. Feel free to substitute for pepper-jack with the same calories)
3 scallions, sliced
2 ounces tortilla chips
3/4 cup chopped tomato
3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
Cooking Spray
Bring a large pot of water to boil. While you’re waiting for the water, toss the chicken with the ground coriander, garlic powder, pepper, and ½ tsp of salt.
Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add a 1-second spray of cooking spray. Add the chicken and sauté until browned and cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.
To the water, add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and return to the same pot, along with the tomato and scallions. Set aside.
In the same pan, add the onion, bell pepper and jalapeno. Saute until soft and the onions are translucent. Add the black beans and the chicken back to the pan and remove from heat. (This will keep it warm while the rest of your meal cooks.)
In a small pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the flour and whisk for a few minutes until the flour mixture is bubbling. Add the milk and whisk constantly until thickened slightly, about 4-5 minutes. Add the other ½ tsp of salt and the chili powder, and then remove it from heat. Add the cheese and whisk until combined and creamy.
Add the veggie/chicken/black bean mixture to the pasta, and then pour the cheese sauce over the whole mixture. Mix well, and then pour into a non-stick 9x13 baking pan. Crush the tortilla chips and sprinkle over the top of the pasta.
Broil the pasta in the oven until you can smell the tortilla chips, about 2 minutes. This step is mostly to heat everything through again and make sure the tortilla chips are toasty and crispy.
To serve: Spoon portion into bowl and then add ½ cup chopped romaine lettuce to the top. I know what you’re thinking, but don’t knock until you’ve tried it. It really does make it taste like a bowl of taco, and gives a great crunch to the meal. Plus it adds more fiber and greens. But if you’d rather not, no biggie – it still tastes great without!


Lana said...

Your recipe sounds very good! It's going in to my recipe file! I am a new follower. Stop by the farm for a visit! We are smack in the
middle of harvest so my blogs are a bit farm intense right now since this is all we are doing.

Hannah said...

Yummy! I can't wait to try it!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

This looks amazing. I love the The Gruneisen Family News.

Mama Hen said...

It is really amazing how changing recipes even a little can make a huge difference in fat intake and calories. It can still be delicious! I love your healthy blog Marissa and the recipes are great!

Mama Hen

Emma B. said...

Thank you so much for following me on Ready 2 Get Healthy! I am now following back & can't wait to read your healthful tips!

Kristin said...

such a cool blog! Following you now.


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