Apricot BBQ Chicken Skewers

Apricot BBQ Chicken Skewers Low Fat Recipe

Apricot BBQ Chicken Skewers
Serves 3-4
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Can be frozen*
Vegetarian Substitutes

These are so good. Usually you’d think of cooking chicken skewers on a grill, but lately I’ve been cooking these in a skillet with great success. In a pan the sauce has a chance to really caramelize and coat the chicken, whereas on the grill most of the sauce cooks off. Cook up a batch and keep them in the fridge for a quick snack anytime. Or, marinate a whole batch, cook up half and *freeze the other half for future use. To really infuse the chicken with flavor make sure you marinate for at least 6-8 hours or, even better, 24 hours before cooking. These skewers also make great party food or appetizers!      ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs trimmed of all excess fat
1/4 cup fruit-sweetened apricot preserves
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup all natural BBQ sauce – we love OrganicVille original
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions:

Cut trimmed chicken thighs into large bite size pieces.

In a large mixing bowl combine the apricot preserves, vinegar, BBQ sauce, granulated garlic and sea salt.

Add the chicken and mix very well to coat evenly.

Place chicken and all the sauce in a storage container and marinate for at least 6 hours, overnight is ideal.

Thread marinated chicken onto skewers (make sure they will fit in your skillet), leaving space at either end of skewer.

Heat a large non-stick skillet or well seasoned cast iron pan over medium heat and add skewers. Cook skewers, turning a few times, until chicken is cooked throughout and sauce is nicely caramelized. My trick is to keep adding a bit of water to the pan as they cook, so the sauce doesn’t dry out or burn before the chicken is cooked, then I let the water and sauce dry out a little, so it caramelizes and gets nice and thick. Lastly, swirl the chicken skewers through the thickened sauce to make sure plenty of it sticks to the chicken.

Serve these hot, or let cool to room temp.

Serving Suggestions:

As an appetizer you can put one or two of these on a small plate, with a leaf of lettuce underneath.

For a meal, these go great with rice, or roasted vegetables, or boiled new potatoes. We always add a big crunchy salad with lots of colorful vegetables tossed in.

Vegetarian Substitutes:

Try firm extra cubed tofu or seitan in place of the chicken.

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Scallion Crusted Halibut

Scallion Crusted Halibut
Serves 2
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved

We’re big halibut eaters around here- Mahir and I love the fact that it has a meaty, firm texture but yet has the low calorie and fat content of a light white fish. I’m always looking for interesting ways to prepare it, and I came up with this one after a trip to Whole Foods. In an addition to plain fish, the seafood counters at the stores sell a lot of already marinated varieties, and when I was there recently, salmon fillets with these seasonings were a popular buy. I decided to make the same topping myself but use halibut instead. I initially thought that a half-pound of fish each would be too much, but both Mahir and I finished without much trouble!     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

2 6 to 8-ounce halibut fillets
4 stalks of scallion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of cilantro, finely minced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil (you can use all canola if you don’t have sesame on hand)
1 to 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss together all of the seasonings and rub on fish.

Bake for 7 to 10 minutes (bake longer depending on thickness of fish) and turn on the broiler on high and broil until done- an additional 2 to 4 minutes.

Serving suggestions:

Given the Asian flair of this recipe, try with soba noodles tossed with steamed sno-peas, lightly sauteed shitake mushrooms, a touch of sesame oil and soy sauce.

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Tomato Macaroni Soup with White Beans & Kale

Tomato Macaroni Soup with White Beans & Kale Low Fat Recipe

Tomato Macaroni Soup with White Beans & Kale
Serves 4 – 6
Can be doubled | Makes great leftovers | Freezes well
Vegetarian Substitutes

This is something we threw together the other day out of things we had in the house. It turned out remarkably good and was very easy to make. I “cheated” a little when creating this recipe, adding some jarred pasta sauce that needed to be used up, but the result was so tasty I’m not going to change a thing, we’ll make it the exact same way next time. And yes, after enjoying this soup for dinner two nights in a row we’ve already decided there will definitely be a next time, and we’ll be doubling the recipe!     ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1/2 cup onion – small dice
1/2 cup celery – small dice
1 cup carrot – small dice
1 quart (4 cups) *homemade chicken broth (or two 14.5 oz cans of organic broth)
2 cups jarred pasta sauce (we used Classico tomato basil – very low fat, all natural!)
2 cups cooked whole grain macaroni
1 can white cannelini beans – rinsed & drained
6 cups chopped kale leaves – stems removed
1/2 teaspoon each of dried basil, oregano & thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried granulated garlic
sea salt & black pepper to taste

optional – chopped parsley & scallions for garnish

*We prefer homemade broth to most store bought varieties, especially some of the boxed organic broths, which have way too many flavors added. Our is nothing more than the water left over from when we poach chicken for chicken salad or other chicken recipes. We add a few bay leaves while poaching and lightly season the broth with sea salt. Refrigerate the broth overnight, remove most of the solidified fat the next day and freeze broth in pint & quart containers for uses such as this recipe.

Instructions:

Place the onion, celery and carrot in a large soup pot with the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Add everything else, bring back to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer another 5 minutes.

Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking, and serve! We garnished ours with chopped parsley and scallions.

Serving Suggestions:

Slices of whole grain bread with a sprinkle of parmesan on top, popped in the toaster oven, was our accompaniment of choice – a perfect combination with the soup!

Vegetarian Substitutes:

Use your favorite vegetable bouillon or broth in place of the chicken broth.

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Dried Herb Omelet

Dried Herb Omelet
Serves 1
Can be Doubled

This recipe is another one that I picked up in Malibu. Our friends who we rented our house with brought along their nanny Ika who, like our nanny Tess, happens to be a fabulous cook. I saw her making this omelet on our first morning there and was skeptical that using only dried herbs could make for a tasty end result. I took the bite that she offered me and realized I was wrong- this dish which has no oil and requires no chopping is full of flavor and is ready in a flash. It’s great for any meal, but it’s become a weekend lunchtime favorite in our house.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

2 eggs
1 tablespoon of water or milk
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Heat a small to medium nonstick over on medium heat and coat with cooking spray.

While pan is heating, beat the eggs using a whisk until fluffy, adding liquid halfway through.

Add herbs and salt and pepper.

Pour egg batter onto pan, and cook until edges are lightly brown, and the middle is no longer runny.

Flip, and cook an additional minute or two.

Serving Suggestions:

Whole-wheat or Food for Life Ezekiel toast with a dollop of butter is a great starch option. Get your veggies  in with a simple salad of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and carrots or any lightly stir-fried or steamed vegetable like broccoli, zucchini or green beans.

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Roasted Beets, Turnips & Carrots

Roasted Beets, Carrots & Turnips Low Fat Recipe

Roasted Beets, Turnips & Carrots
Serves 2
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers

Lately I’ve been craving beets, so I picked up a bunch from our farmer friends down the road. When I roast beets I like to mix them up with other vegetables. Here’s a great trio – the colors are lovely and you get three distinctly different flavors in each bite. The mellow carrots, the sweet, earthy beets and dare I say ever so slightly “bitter” turnips are a great combination! Any of them roasted by themselves are fine, but when roasted together like this they all shine. I’d serve this medley as a side dish for chicken or turkey, or even alongside simply herbed and grilled fish with a wedge of lemon.     ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 large turnip
2 medium beets
2 large carrots
2 teaspoons olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350. Cut all the vegetables into 3/4 inch cubes.

Toss them in a mixing bowl with the oil, salt & pepper until evenly coated.

Arrange in a single layer in a casserole or baking dish, and cover with foil or casserole lid.

Let vegetables roast, covered, for about 35-45 minutes, just until tender and very lightly browned on the bottoms. They’re ready!

Serving Suggestions:

You’ve got a classic roasted vegetable side dish here, pair it with herbed chicken or turkey, or try the grilled fish suggestion! Halibut, tilapia, even a simply broiled filet of sole would be great.

These roasted gems would also go very well with the Savory Baked Tofu recipe I posted a couple of months ago.

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Aparna’s Turkey Tikki’s

Aparna’s Turkey Tikki’s
Serves 2 to 3
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved| Makes Great Leftovers| Freezes Well

The three of us recently spent a week at a lovely beach house in Malibu with our friends Raj and Aparna and their two kids. The house had a huge backyard that overlooked the sea and was so beautiful that we ended up cooking most of our meals on the outdoor grill and canceled many of our dinner reservations. We all had recipes we tried- more of those coming later- but the grande finale to our cookfest was these tikki’s. Tikki’s are basically mini-patties, but you can actually shape these any way you like. They are an old family recipe of Aparna’s and were so good that I made a double batch of them within two days of returning from our trip.

Her recipe uses ground lamb, but I substituted ground turkey breast to make them more Tablespoon friendly. Granted, the grinding of the spices takes a few extra minutes, but once you finish this step, the rest is very fast. And, the roasting gives these a completely different flavor profile than the Turkey Kebabs I posted several weeks ago. The only thing missing when I made them at home was Raj and Aparna’s good company that we so enjoyed the first time around.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey breast or, for a moister kebab, substitute in 1/3 pound of dark turkey meat for the breast meat
1 teaspoon of red chilli powder
½ teaspoon of garam masala
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of cumin seeds
2 teaspoons of coriander seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder
1 tablespoon crushed ginger
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 to 4 green chillies chopped- small Thai or Indian green chillies (use more or less depending on your spice preference)
A handful of chopped cilantro

Instructions

You can use an oven or nonstick grill pan. If using oven, preheat it to 350 degrees.

Roast and grind poppy seeds, coriander seeds and cumin seeds.

Bring the meat to room temperature and marinate with the spices, coriander and onions for at least 2 hours.

Divide the mixture into 12 to 14 small portions and form into patties, almost like a mini-burger size.

In oven, roast for 10-15 minutes or until cooked, making sure to turn over the patties halfway through the cooking. If using grill pan, warm it up over medium heat and lightly mist with cooking spray. Grill for 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked. Be sure to turn over the patties halfway.

Serving Suggestions:

Tuck into a whole wheat pita and top with onion slivers, coriander or tamarind chutney, mango chutney or ketchup. For side dishes, any steamed or lightly sauteed vegetable will do, but if you want to keep with an Indian theme, try My Mother’s Gobi or the Indian Style Mushrooms and Green Beans. Or, serve these patties as an appetizer with toothpicks tucked in.

Golden Chicken Indian Curry

Golden Chicken Indian Curry Low Fat Recipe

Golden Chicken Indian Curry
Serves 3
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Can be frozen
Vegetarian Substitutes

Here’s another Indian-inspired recipe from our home kitchen. Every time we have this for dinner we find ourselves commenting on just how delicious it is. The sauce is rich and flavorful without using a lot of butter or cream, the trick is thickening it with a bit of cornstarch! I use boneless skinless chicken thighs – we like the richer flavor of the dark meat with this ensemble of spices and sauce, but I’ve also made it for clients with all white meat and it receives glowing reviews. We love the slightly pungent flavor of the green peppers mixed with the hint of sweet spice, but if you’re not a fan of green peppers, you can use sweet bell peppers in their place.      ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs – trimmed of all excess fat
1 tablespoon butter or ghee
1 medium yellow onion – quartered and thinly sliced
1 medium green pepper – quartered and thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
a scant 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt (more or less to your own taste)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon water mixed with 1 teaspoon cornstarch
sliced or chopped fresh tomatoes for garnish
sliced scallions or chopped cilantro for garnish

Instructions:

Cut the trimmed chicken thighs into bite size pieces.

Heat the butter in a nonstick skillet (or a well-seasoned cast iron pan). Add onions and sauté on medium heat until lightly browned (about 5-7 minutes).

Add chicken and sauté another 5-7 minutes.

Add green pepper, spices, salt and 1/4 cup water. Stir to combine everything, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 7-8 minutes or until pepper is soft and tender.

Add the 1 tablespoon of water mixed with the teaspoon of cornstarch and stir until sauce thickens.

It’s ready! Taste and adjust any spices to your liking, add something hot if you like such as cayenne pepper or hot chile flakes, and plate it up!

Serving Suggestions:

Our classic pairing is with some brown basmati rice and a big salad, but it’s also really good with chapati, or even mashed potatoes!

Vegetarian Substitutes:

Firm cubed tofu or sliced seitan are both really good in place of the chicken, just omit the sautéing step and add either of these along with the spices and water.

Ameeta’s Crunchy Grilled Okra

Ameeta’s Crunchy Grilled Okra
Serves 2 to 3
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved

I have to apologize for this not-so-great shot which was taken on my iPhone at dusk, but this recipe is so good that I’m hoping you’re willing to overlook the bad photography. Ameeta is one of my mom’s close friends. Everyone covets invitations to her house because she is one of the best cooks around and always surprises you with her creations. She had us over last weekend for a last minute barbecue, and the spread, as usual, for incredible. She started us off with these crispy ladyfingers. I posted an Indian style okra recipe a while back, but I have never had them grilled whole. The idea wouldn’t have occurred to me, but Ameeta is a star with the unexpected. Since there is no chopping required, they take take less than five minutes to put together. The dish was wiped out within minutes of her putting it out, and I’m happy to say that I managed to snatch the last one!     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

1 pound of okra, whole
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Instructions

Heat barbecue or grill pan to high.

Wipe okra dry with cloth.

Mix together salt, sugar and all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Add oil to okra in a large bowl and toss well to mix using hands to get the okra well oiled.

Add the spice mix to the bowl and toss well to get  the spices to adhere to the okra.

Using a vegetable grilling mesh or a cookie cooling rack (sprayed well with oil) spread the okra in a single layer onto the barbecue or directly onto the grill pan.

Using tongs turn a few times making sure okra is cooked and brown spots appear, about 10 minutes or so in total
time.

Serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions:

Try this dish with any type of grilled chicken, fish or meat. They would also be ideal with the Turkey Kebabs I wrote on a few weeks ago.



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Lemon & Sage White Bean Spread

Lemon & Sage White Bean Spread Low Fat Recipe

Lemon & Sage White Bean Spread
Serves 3 – 4
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers

Here’s an easy alternative to hummus, with a different yet equally delicious flavor profile. White cannellini beans puree up smooth and silky, with very little oil needed to create a velvety texture. Our favorite way to enjoy this spread is with freshly baked whole grain bread, but it’s also good with crackers or vegetables for dipping. For a party or special gathering we’ll serve it along with a platter of grilled or roasted vegetables, a dish of olives and plenty of warm homemade bread. White bean spread is a fantastic appetizer, but makes a perfect light lunch or dinner too. And you can have the whole recipe done in five minutes!       ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 can white cannellini beans – drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic (or 1 good sized fresh clove of garlic, roughly chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (more or less depending on how lemony you like it)
1 teaspoon dried sage (or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh chopped sage leaves)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
water as needed

Instructions:

Put everything in a food processor and blend until smooth and pureed, adding water in very small increments to make a good creamy consistency.

Taste and add a bit more garlic, lemon and/or salt to get it just the way you like it.

Spoon into a serving dish and garnish with a bit of chopped parsley, or fresh sage if you’ve got it!

Serving Suggestions:

This spread is best when served at room temperature.

Freshly baked whole grain bread is our favorite match, but crackers, pita breads or fresh vegetables are very good too.

The spread and bread ensemble travel well – great for taking to a picnic!

For lunch or dinner, serve the spread and bread ensemble along with a big salad – spicy arugula with a simple balsamic vinaigrette topped with a few shaves of Asiago cheese would be divine.

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