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LifestyleColumnistsMarge Perry

3 Simple low-calorie recipes

Chicken breasts strips, red and yellow peppers, fennel,

Chicken breasts strips, red and yellow peppers, fennel, and onions with Italian seasonings and sweet-tart balsamic vinegar. Credit: Marge Perry

BALSAMIC CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE SKILLET

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided

1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon drained capers

2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips

1 medium orange bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips

1/2 medium fennel bulb, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips

3/4 teaspoon dried basil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Toss the chicken in a small bowl with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until lightly browned and just cooked through, 4 — 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet and add the onion, garlic, and capers; cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, 2 minutes. Add the bell peppers, fennel, basil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, 4 minutes.

4. Return the chicken to the skillet and add the balsamic vinegar; cook, stirring, until the chicken is hot, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 254 calories, 27 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 10 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 added sugar, 417 mg sodium

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PULLED PORK SANDWICHES

Top the pork with shredded cabbage or lettuce, sliced pickles, or eat as is.

1/2 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut across into 2-inch pieces

4 potato (or regular) hamburger rolls

1. Combine the ketchup, vinegar, sugar, paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and salt in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the pork, cover, and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until very tender, about 1 hour.

2. Transfer the pork and sauce to a bowl; shred with 2 forks. Serve on the rolls. Makes 4 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 389 calories, 41 g protein, 43 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 6 g added sugar, 786 mg sodium

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TANDOORI-STYLE SNAPPER

1/2 medium cucumber, peeled

1 1/2 cups plain nonfat Greek yogurt, divided

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons curry powder

4 (6-ounce) skinless snapper fillets

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon teaspoon black pepper

1. Grate the cucumber and squeeze it dry with your hands. Allow it to drain in a colander while you proceed with the recipe.

2. Combine 1 cup of the yogurt, lemon juice, paprika, ginger, garlic, and curry powder in a large bowl or baking dish. Add fish and turn to coat it on both sides in the sauce. Refrigerate 1 to 4 hours.

3. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup of yogurt, cucumber, mint, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a bowl; refrigerate until ready to use.

4. Preheat the broiler. Place a rack on a sheet pan and coat both with cooking spray. Remove the snapper fillets from the bowl and discard the marinade. Place the fish on the rack and season with remaining salt and pepper. Broil, turning once, until fish is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve topped with yogurt sauce. Makes 4 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 220 calories, 42 grams protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 added sugar, 540 mg sodium

TIP: To keep lower calorie meals satisfying, increase the amount of lean protein and / or serve with plenty of vegetables.

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