Ground Chicken Breast Tacos

Ground Chicken Breast Tacos
Serves 4
Can Be Doubled| Can Be Halved| Makes Great Leftovers| Freezes Well

Who doesn’t love a good taco? I was never a big taco eater until I met Mahir, who is borderline obsessed. Wherever he was, he always hunted for a Taco Bell so he could get his fix. When we started making over all our food favorites, finding a taco substitute that would work under the tablespoon of oil philosophy was a top priority. I can’t take credit for this recipe- Mahir experimented several times before he came up with a version he was satisfied with. Our take uses Indian spices, but, with the exception of garam masala, the others are common in both Indian and Mexican cooking. Try these tacos with the roasted tomato salsa from last week. When we have these on the menu, we use two pounds of meat so we can enjoy them for several meals. Mahir can eat them at least four times and still not tire of them! And those Taco Bell visits? It’s been more than five years since we even thought about visiting one!     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

1 pound ground chicken breast
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 14-ounce can unsalted diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ginger, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
2 bay leaves (optional)
2 teaspoons of olive or canola oil
1 large handful of cilantro, finely chopped

Instructions:

Heat oil over medium heat in a large non-stick pan.

Lower the heat to medium-low, and fry the onions, garlic, ginger and , if using, bay leaf, until onions are soft and clear, about 15 minutes.

Add tomatoes, spices and chicken.

Cover the pan but keep stirring frequently to make sure chicken doesn’t clump.

Cook until chicken is done, about 15 minutes.

Top with cilantro.

Serving Suggestions:

Tuck inside a whole wheat tortilla, tacos shells or a brown rice tortilla. Top with jalapeno cheese if you like and salsa, shredded lettuce and hot sauce. You can also mix with brown rice.

Vegetarian Substitutes:

If you’re meatless, you can use ground seitan instead of chicken.

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Zucchini, Tomato & Parmesan Frittata

Zucchini, Tomato & Parmesan Frittata Low Fat Recipe

Zucchini, Tomato & Parmesan Frittata
Serves 6
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Freezes well

I make a daily frittata, with local eggs of course, for the cafe. It makes a great breakfast dish and also works nicely for a light lunch. My version of frittata is basically a quiche without the crust. It’s quick to put together, you get multiple meals from one dish, it’s great for any time of year, and the varieties of seasonal flavors you can add are practically endless! A regular quiche is loaded with rich cheeses and heavy cream, but this frittata omits the cream and makes smart use of a small amount of parmesan cheese, which is big on flavor but very low in fat and calories per serving.      ~ Susan

Ingredients:

12 eggs
optional – 1/2 cup lowfat milk
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion – halved and very thinly sliced
2 medium zucchini – very thinly sliced
1 medium tomato – thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
sea salt to taste
1/3 cup shredded parmesan

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375F.

LIghtly oil a 10 inch pie dish or square casserole.

Whisk eggs in a large bowl until well beaten. Add milk if desired and whisk again.

Heat a large non-stick (or well seasoned cast iron) pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat pan evenly.

Add onions and sauté for a few minutes until getting lightly browned.

Add zucchini, thyme and a generous sprinkle of salt. Sautee mixture until zucchini are getting soft and lightly browned.

Arrange zucchini mixture evenly on the bottom of the dish.

Pour egg mixture gently over the zucchini.

Sprinkle the parmesan on top.

Gently arrange tomato slices on top – it’s okay if they sink into the eggs.

Very carefully place the dish into the oven on a middle rack and bake for about 35-40 minutes, until all puffed up and nicely browned on top. Let it cool to room temperature, it will deflate but will still be lovely and delicious!

We like to eat a freshly made frittata at room temperature, but it’s very nice warmed up the next day as well.

Serving Suggestions:

For breakfast try it with some sliced fruit on the side.
For lunch it’s great paired with a simple green salad.

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Roasted Tomato Salsa

Roasted Tomato Salsa
Serves 4
Can Be Doubled| Can Be Halved| Makes Great Leftovers

Jarred salsa may be low in calories, but it’s loaded with sodium and other preservatives to keep it edible for as long as possible. Salsa is a staple in our house. It’s photographed here with chicken tacos (that recipe is coming next week), but we use well beyond Mexican dishes. It’s a super side accompaniment to scrambled eggs, as a dip with veggies or brown rice crackers, and believe it or not, it makes a great substitute for salad dressing. I confess that I relied on the jarred stuff up until a few years ago when a friend told me how easy it is to make my own. I’m not a fan of tons of chopping and am not that skilled at chopping vegetables finely the way a classic pice de gallo requires, but after experimenting with different recipes, I came up with my own that needs a minimal amount of chopping because it’s roasted in the oven. Now that we have our own recipe which uses no oil and where we can control the amount of salt, I will never go back to the grocery store version! If you’re a salsa fiend like me, I suggest making a big batch of this and keeping it in the fridge to use all week.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

3 medium sized ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters (for a sweeter salsa, use a 16 ounce box of Campari tomatoes)
3 cloves of garlic, halved
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and halved longwise  or leave them in for a spicier salsa
2 medium red onions, cut into quarters
1 large handful of cilantro, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place the tomatoes, onions, garlic and jalapeno on a cookie sheet and season with salt and pepper.

Cook for 35 to 40 minutes.

Let cool and puree in food processor until smooth. For a chunkier salsa, don’t puree as much.

Stir in cilantro, and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Serving Suggestions:

It’s a must-have along with the black bean quesadillas I wrote about a few months ago but also works with any taco or burrito recipe. It’s also great with eggs.

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

roasted red pepper low fat hummus recipe

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Serves 2
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers

We love hummus! I make all kinds of varieties with different flavors blended in, but this one is a great “go-to” for parties or guests. It has a gorgeous color ~ very appetizing when served on a plate surrounded by whole grain pita wedges. Most store bought hummus is made with crappy oils and a lot of them! It’s easy to make your own healthy hummus at home and it tastes so much better than the kind in the plastic tubs. The addition of the roasted red peppers not only adds a beautiful hue but also helps create a smooth, satisfying texture without having to add a lot of oil or tahini. You can double or triple this recipe and have enough to make multiple meals from it.    ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 cup soft cooked chickpeas (I use dried, soaked overnight, cooked very tender)
1/2 tablespoon sesame tahini
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup roasted red pepper, chopped (the jarred kind is great)
2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (start small and add more till it’s right)
1 clove garlic – minced (or about 1/2 teaspoon dried granulated garlic)
pinch of sugar or a few drops of agave nectar
sea salt to taste
water as needed

optional – add a dash of hot red chile flakes, hot sauce or cayenne if you like a hot, spicy hummus

Instructions:

Make sure your chickpeas are cooked very soft, then cooled to room temperature – this creates a nice, creamy texture for the hummus.

Put everything except water in a food processor fitted with the double blade and puree, scraping down the sides to incorporate everything evenly

Add water in small amounts and continue blending until you get the consistency you like.

Taste and add more salt, lemon, garlic to your liking.

The sugar/agave might sound like a weird touch, but sometimes the little element of sweet really brings the whole flavor together. It doesn’t make the hummus taste sweet at all, just rounds out the whole flavor.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve as an appetizer or snack with whole grain pita wedges. Garnish the hummus with a dash of paprika and a parsley sprig for a nice presentation.

Make it a meal for two by serving 2 equal portions of hummus on 2 entree plates, surrounded by sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, red or yellow bell peppers, pita wedges, olives, maybe a sprinkle of feta, and a wedge of lemon.

Use as a sandwich filling!

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Hearty Tofu Stew

Hearty Tofu Stew
Serves 4
Can be doubled| Can be halved| Freezes well| Makes great leftovers

Mahir and I enjoy having friends over for casual weeknight dinners. Scheduling during the weekends can be hard with everyone’s packed schedules, and a weeknight is an easy way to catch up without making the meeting into a drawn out affair. We have a lot of  vegetarian friends, and I’m always hard pressed to come up with creative meal ideas that will satisfy non-meat eaters and carnivores alike. I was browsing through recipe books one day on a hunt, but nothing appealed so I turned to Susan for help. In classic Susan style, she had several tasty ideas, but this one jumped out the most. Our guests love it and so do the three of us- when it was 42 degrees last week in New York, I made a big batch that lasted us several meals. And, for those who can’t go without with animal protein in their meal, you can substitute flank steak bits or chicken breast cubes for the tofu.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

1 14 ounce packet of firm tofu, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 medium red onions, cut into medium chunks
1 large carrot or two medium carrots, peeled and cut into medium-sized chunks
4 large stalks of celery, cut into medium-sized chunks
1 8 ounce package button mushrooms, halved
1 15 ounce can diced, unsalted tomatoes
1 bay leaf
a generous splash of red wine
2 teaspoons dried basil or 1/2 cup loosely backed fresh basil leaves, torn
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Up to 1 cup of water
salt and pepper, to taste
chopped flat leaf parsley
red chili flakes, to taste (optional)

Instructions:

Heat oil on medium heat in a large non-stick sauce pan or cooking pan that has some depth.

Saute onions until slightly brown(about 10 minutes)

Add in the rest of the ingredients, stir well, cover and simmer on low for 40 to 50 minutes. For a thicker stew use less water. If you like a more soupy consistency, use more.

Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Top with parsley and enjoy.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve on top of brown rice or quinoa or with a crusty whole- wheat roll.

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Eggplant Caponata

Eggplant Caponata Low Fat Recipe

Eggplant Caponata
Serves 2 as an entree, 4 – 6 as an appetizer
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Can be frozen

Ingredients:

Scott and I are in the process of becoming the official proprietors of the space where we’ve been doing the weekend dinner bistro. It’s an exciting and hectic time! This week I’m posting my recipe for a dinner special I did last weekend that’s been getting great reviews. Now, if a low fat dish like this is pleasing hungry bistro patrons, you know it’s going to be a winner on your dinner table. This vegetarian dish is a versatile recipe for your collection. It’s ridiculously delicious, you can eat it hot or cold, as a main dish or a savory appetizer. It’s great over a hot bowl of pasta or brown rice, or take it on a picnic with a crusty baguette. This is my kind of eats – very healthy and seriously addictive!  ~ Susan

Instructions:

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
3 large garlic cloves – minced
1 medium red bell pepper – diced
1 medium yellow bell pepper – diced
1 medium eggplant – diced
a pinch of hot chile flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup brined capers – well drained
1/4 cup tomato paste – mixed with 3/4 cup water
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Heat a large non-stick skillet (or well seasoned cast iron or enameled skillet) over medium high heat.

Add the oil and let it heat for a moment, then add the onions and sautee for about 2 minutes, or until they being to very lightly brown, Add the garlic and sautee another 30 seconds.

Add the peppers, and the spices and sautee for a few minute, until peppers are beginning to get tender.

Add the eggplant along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and sautee a few more minutes, until eggplant is beginning to get tender. Adjust heat as necessary to keep anything from burning.

Add the tomato paste mixture along with the olives and capers and stir well to combine. Cook another couple of minutes, until vegetables are tender but not overcooked. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Serving Suggestions:

Tossed with whole wheat penne and topped with a sprinkle of crumbled goat cheese is how I serve it at our bistro.

Try it over brown rice, or tucked into a whole grain pita. Or serve as an appetizer with crostinis. So good!

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Fish In a Packet

Fish in A Packet
Serves 2
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved

As a seafood lover, I’m always looking for different ways to prepare my favorite crustaceans. I came up with this recipe after reading an article about cooking en papillote– basically a French term for cooking in parchment paper. Sealing the fish inside the paper makes it extra moist which means you can skip using any added fat. I used a teaspoon of butter in my creation because a small portion makes this very light dish taste extra-indulgent even though it’s not. You can even make the packets ahead of time and pop them in the oven when you’re ready to eat. The presentation also makes this an entertainment worthy main course. Get ready for “oohs” and “aahs” as your guests open their packets.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

1 pound of your favorite white fish such as lemon sole, tilapia or halibut
A few sprigs of thyme, oregano or rosemary (you can also use a combination of all three)
1 small zucchini or 1/2 a larger zucchini, thinly sliced longways
1/2 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
1 ripe tomato, thinly sliced
4 to 6 kalamata olives
2 teaspoons of butter
red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut two 12-inch long pieces of parchment paper. Foil also works if you don’t have parchment.

Season one fillet fish with salt and pepper and place in the center of the paper.

Layer the rest of the ingredients on top of the fish ending with one teaspoon of butter.

Season with more and salt and pepper and red pepper flakes if using.

Seal packet by folding excess paper over the fish and tucking underneath.

Repeat with the remaining fillet.

Rest on a baking tray, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. The time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish and your oven.

Serving Suggestions:

A crusty whole wheat roll is the way to go with this super light fish recipe. You already get in your veggies, but to bump up your quota even more, try a simple green salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and a balsamic and olive oil dressing.

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Turkey Burgers

Turkey Burgers Low Fat Recipe

Turkey Burgers
Serves 3
Makes great leftovers | Freezes well | Can be doubled | Can be halved

Turkey burgers are great for a quick meal – in less than ten minutes you’ve got them on the table! We watch the prices at the grocery store, and when our favorite ground turkey (humanely raised, cage free, etc.) goes on sale we grab a few 1-pound packages to put in the freezer. A fun thing about turkey burgers is that everyone can dress them up to their own liking. You can add a splash of hot sauce, barbeque sauce, A1 sauce, or whatever condiments make your taste buds happy. I like mine with lots of mustard!       ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 lb ground turkey (or chicken) – breast or dark meat, either one
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon worstershire sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt -more or less to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste
lettuce leaves
sliced tomatoes
sliced red onion
pickles
whole grain burger buns or bread (or your favorite gluten-free variety)
condiments as you like

Instructions:

Mix the ground turkey with the granulated garlic, worstershire sauce, salt and pepper, using your hands to mix it all together well.

Form the mixture into three patties, and make them quite flat (they will “puff up” as you cook them).

Heat a well-seasoned cast iron pan or a non-stick skillet on medium heat and add a small drizzle of olive oil. Use a non-scratching spatula to spread the oil evenly over the bottom of the skillet.

Cook burgers for about 3-4 minutes, or until the bottoms are nicely browned. Flip burgers and cook a couple more minutes. I turn off the heat and cover them for a couple of minutes to make sure they’re cooked all the way through without worrying about burning them.

Serving Suggestions:

Let each person dress the burger to their own liking and serve with oven roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes,  butternut squash (or a combination) and/or a big salad.
A leftover turkey burger with all the trimmings makes for a very healthy lunch when served with baby carrots as a crunchy side dish.

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Poached Chicken Salad

Poached Chicken Salad
Serves 2
Can be doubled| Can be halved| Makes great leftovers

I can’t take complete credit for this recipe. Back when Susan used to cook for us, I was desperate for tasty yet light lunch options, and this was one of the first creations she presented me with. I was blown away right away, but I never thought to ask her for the recipe because I always imagined it as something complicated. But I had such an intense craving for it when I was pregnant, and when I called to ask her how to make it, I was stunned by the simplicity. Indian style curry powder isn’t something that’s traditionally used in chicken salad, but that’s the touch which makes this a unique recipe. I make it a few times a week for lunch when I’m home. Meenakshi shares it with me, and Mahir often requests it to take for lunch as well. Three happy Voras with one easy recipe.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts (about 1/2 pound)
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 bunch of scallions, finely chopped
1 handful of cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon of low-calorie vegan mayo (I love the one by Spectrum)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Boil the chicken breasts in a pot of water until done, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the breast, reserving about a tablespoon of the water.

Once cool, shred with your fingers or finely chop with a knife.

Mix with the vegetables, spices, mayo, cilantro and water (this makes the salad especially moist).

Serving Suggestions:

Try this salad tucked inside a whole wheat pita, in between two slices of bread or on top of greens with some whole grain crackers on the side. Canned tuna would also make a great substitution.

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