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Spice-coated seared chicken breasts and oven-roasted bell peppers,

Spice-coated seared chicken breasts and oven-roasted bell peppers, tomatoes and onions make a healthy, hearty filling for these easy-to-make fajitas. Photo Credit: Marge Perry

SIMPLE CHICKEN FAJITAS

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin

1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder

1⁄4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

1 pound boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1⁄2–inch thickness and cut in 4 pieces

2 bell peppers (any color) cut in 1⁄4-inch strips

1 medium red onion, sliced (about 1 cup)

2 plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise

1 tablespoon lime juice

2 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

4 (10-inch) flour tortillas

Salsa, sour cream and sliced jalapeños to taste

 

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a shallow baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Combine the salt, cumin, garlic powder and chipotle chili powder in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly on both sides of the chicken.

3. Combine the peppers, onion and tomatoes in a bowl; add the lime juice, soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of the oil and toss thoroughly. Spread on the baking sheet and cook in the center of the oven until the vegetables are crisp tender and lightly browned at the edges, about 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook about 4 to 5 minutes, until the undersides are lightly browned; turn and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 160 degrees, about another 4 to 5 minutes. Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing across in 1⁄4-inch strips.

5. Heat the tortillas according to package directions.

6. To assemble the fajitas, place the chicken and vegetables in a column down the center of a tortilla and top with salsa, sour cream and sliced jalapeños to taste. Fold in the sides and cut across in half to eat. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 437 calories, 31 g protein, 45 mg carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 15 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 1176 mg sodium

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SOUTHWEST BURGERS WITH CHIPOTLE KETCHUP

The ketchup may be made in advance and kept refrigerated for about 1 week.

 

1⁄2 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle in adobo sauce

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon honey

1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1⁄4 pounds (93-percent) lean ground beef

1⁄4 cup cilantro, chopped

1⁄4 cup finely chopped red onion

1 teaspoon chili powder

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil

4 ounces reduced-fat Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, thinly sliced

4 hamburger rolls

4 leaves Boston lettuce

 

1. Combine the ketchup, chipotle, lime juice, honey and ground cumin in a bowl; set aside.

2. Combine the beef, cilantro, onion, chili powder, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Divide into 4 equal parts and form 4 burgers, each about 3 1⁄2 inches in diameter.

3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan over medium high. Add the burgers and cook until the undersides are browned and readily lift from the pan surface, about 6 minutes. Turn and cook 4 minutes. Top with the cheese, cover the pan and cook until the cheese is melted and the burgers are at 160 degrees (for medium) about another 2 minutes.

4. Assemble the burgers: spread some of the ketchup on the bottom half of the rolls, top with a lettuce leaf, the burger and another dollop of the ketchup before closing the bun. Serve remaining ketchup on the side. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 426 calories, 35 g protein, 34 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 19 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 1139 mg sodium

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MEATY TEX-MEX MAC AND CHEESE

8 ounces elbow pasta

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound (93-percent) lean ground beef

1 teaspoon chili powder

1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin

1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

1⁄2 cup chopped scallions

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1⁄4 cups (1 percent) milk, divided

8 ounces (2 cups) shredded reduced-fat Cheddar Jack

 

1. Cook the pasta in plenty of lightly salted boiling water according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the garlic; cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the beef, stirring to break it into crumbles. Stir in the chili powder, garlic powder, cumin and cayenne and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is no longer pink. Add the tomatoes and cook 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the scallions.

3. Combine the flour and about 1⁄4 cup of the milk in a sauce pan off the heat and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining milk and place over medium heat. Cook, whisking, until the mixture is the consistency of heavy cream, about 7 minutes. Stir in the cheese.

4. Combine the pasta, beef and cheese sauce and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 427 calories, 33 g protein, 38 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 17 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 517 mg sodium

TIP: To significantly reduce sodium in any of these dishes, opt for no-salt added canned tomatoes and ketchup and look for lower- sodium tortillas.

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