Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

I LOOOOOVE Chicken Pot Pie, which is very unfortunate for the waist line!  A frozen chicken pot pie (the best kind) will cost you anywhere from 500-800 calories, 30-50 grams of fat and at least 800 milligrams of sodium.  When I figured out what all the info on the back of the box meant, I quickly took this out of my diet...but it has been missed.  Until now!  This version has about 250 calories and 5 grams of fat...much better alternative in my opinion!

The original recipe called for 5 oz of canned chicken - I'm personally not a huge fan of canned meats so I chose to cook about 1 pound of chicken breast instead.  I tripled the chicken just to add some extra lean protein to the dish.  Of course you could also use a rotisserie chicken if you are pressed for time!

Here is what you need:

1 can Healthy Request Cream of Chicken
1 lb chicken breast, cooked and chopped
2 cans no salt added mixed vegetables, drained and rinsed (frozen would work too)

1 cup low fat biscuit mix
1/2 c skim milk
1 egg

Mix first three ingredients in square casserole dish.

In a small mixing bowl, mix last 3 ingredients together and spread on top of chicken mixture - this will be your crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes - until crust is golden brown.

Easy as Pie!!

The 250 calories is based on 6 servings, but you may want to double it if you want leftovers.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Light and Lazy Lasagna

13.1 miles, 2 hrs 27 minutes and some soggy shoes later the half marathon is done!!  This is my friend Bailey and I at the finish line...


I was eating a few more carbs than usual last week in preparation for the run, including this "light and lazy lasagna."  I got the recipe off the back of the lasagna noodle box, but changed it up a bit...of course!  Lasagna is actually pretty easy to make, especially if you use the "lazy noodles!"  A few small changes will save you LOTS of calories - keep in mind this is for ~12 servings. 

15 oz ricotta cheese = 740 calories, 55 grams fat, 48 grams protein
15 oz part skim ricotta cheese = 590 calories, 34 grams fat, 49 grams protein

4 cups mozzarella cheese = 1344 calories, 100 grams fat, 99 grams protein
2 cups part skim mozzarella cheese = 576 calories, 36 grams fat, 55 grams protein

16 oz 80% ground beef = 1100 calories, 72 grams fat, 110 grams protein
16 oz 95% extra lean ground beef = 740 calories, 27 grams fat, 117 grams protein

Those simple substitutions save you almost 1300 calories and 204 grams of fat...totally worth it!!

Another ingredient to watch out for is the spaghetti sauce - which can often times be pretty high in sugar and carbs.  Look for a marinara (rather than a flavored variety) with about 7 grams of carbs per serving - trust me, they do exist, you just might have to search a little harder!

So here is what you need:

1 lb extra lean ground beef
26 oz jar of marinara sauce 
8 oz can of tomato sauce
15 oz part skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 box OVEN READY lasagna noodles (this is the lazy part)
2 cups part skim mozzarella
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Brown meat in skillet, drain off any excess fat.  Add marinara and tomato sauce to skillet.

In a mixing bowl, mix ricotta, egg, basil & Italian seasoning.

Using a 9x12 casserole dish, pour a thin layer of the sauce mixture on the bottom - just enough to cover the bottom.  Spread a thin layer of the ricotta mixture on 3 of the noodles and place on top of the sauce.  If you use the oven ready noodles they don't have to be cooked before hand, you just put them in the dish raw, so it is easy to spread the ricotta on them.

Top with ~3/4 cup sauce - enough to cover the noodles.  VERY IMPORTANT: make sure the noodles are completely covered with sauce or they will be really tough when its done - they need the liquid to cook.  Sprinkle ~ 1/2 c mozzarella on top.  Repeat. Noodles with ricotta, sauce, mozzarella.  Repeat again.  Top with final three noodles (no ricotta) and the rest of the sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake 10-15 minutes longer - until cheese is melted and dish is bubbly.  Let stand ~5 minutes before cutting into 12 servings.

I think this would be awesome with some sauteed mushrooms and spinach in the sauce but unfortunately that would provoke a "why is there fungus in the lasagna?" response so I don't do it.  If you have a more fungus friendly family you should try it - it would add some extra fiber and veggies!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

BBQ Baked Potatoes

So, last week was low carb week - this week is quite the opposite!  I am running in my first half marathon this weekend so dinners look a bit different.  I have some pastas in mind for later in the week but for tonight its potatoes...

This one goes in the slow cooker and you can do tons of different things with it.  We are putting the meat over potatoes because I have some in the pantry that I don't want to throw away, but it would also be good on some buns (which will probably be lunch for tomorrow come to think of it!) or just by itself.

Just a warning - this isn't the most photogenic of dishes!

Here is what you need:

2-3# roast (I bought a rump roast this time - it was the leanest looking one)
2 18 oz bottles of BBQ Sauce (see note below)
1 onion, quartered
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 slow cooker liners

Line your slow cooker with a bag and pour about 1/4 of the sauce from your first bottle on the bottom.  Place the roast, onions and garlic on top.  Pour in the rest of the sauce.

Cook on low for 8 hours.  You could serve as is and stop at this step if you like - the meat pretty much falls apart.  But, since some of the fat melts off the roast while cooking I add in another step to save on some fat calories.

Take the roast out of the slow cooker and shred with a fork, trimming the extra fat off the meat.

Once shredded, place into a new slow cooker liner.  Strain the onions out of the old sauce and add to the shredded meat along with the second bottle of BBQ sauce.  Leave in slow cooker until warm, then serve!

About the BBQ Sauce, when you are shopping look for the lowest carb one you can find.  Condiments can get people into trouble because they can be high in fat (salad dressings) or high in sugar (ketchup).  You want to look for a sauce that has less around 5ish grams of carbs.  I used one that had 6 and it tasted awesome!  Be careful with ones that are "flavored" - honey BBQ, chipotle, etc...because chances are they will be higher in sugar.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

5 Ingredients AND Low Carb!

Happy New Year!!  Hope you all enjoyed the Holidays as much as I did!   Between a fabulous vacation and some construction going on at the house, there hasn't been much cooking going on around here.  This is us on our FREEZING New Years vacation to Salt Lake with BJ and Kasey
and our quick visit with my BFF in Phoenix...

But...there has been no shortage of eating!  I think I lost all knowledge of nutrition as soon as I crossed over the Texas border...ok, maybe not ALL knowledge, but I definitely did my share of over-indulging.  So...needless to say, it's "low carb week" at the Boening household.  This is one of my favorite low carb casseroles to make.  It is super easy to make, but the biggest plus of all is the fact that it only takes 5 ingredients!

1 pound of cooked shredded/chopped chicken breast
10 oz frozen broccoli, thawed
1 can cream of mushroom soup (low fat/low sodium)
3 Tbsp mayo  (I prefer to use the olive oil based mayo - it is lower in fat and the fat is does have is heart healthy)
1/2 c -1 c shredded cheddar (reduced fat)

Boil chicken and shred.  Place in square casserole dish.

Add broccoli to dish...

Then add cream of mushroom & mayo...

Mix all the ingredients together and top with cheese - 1/2 cup - 1 cup depending on how cheesy you like it!

I topped it with about 10 Low Fat Saltine crackers because I had them in the pantry and they don't taste all that great on their own so I was looking for something to do with them - but it's not necessary.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Easy as that!

This makes enough for both of us for dinner and lunch the next day, so if you feeding more than 2-3 people, I would probably double it...FYI!