Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy New Year - A Little Late...'s been a while! I've been feeling bad about not posting lately - there was stuff to put of the ever deepening snow in our yard the week before Christmas, New Year's wishes and pics etc.... But time seems to get away from me or I feel what I have to say isn't "all that" and next thing you know, weeks have gone by.

Anyhoo...enough of that - let's get down to business. Things have taken a turn back to the healthy at our house. Earlier this year, I very happily melted off 30 pounds. I felt terrific, but something about hitting that number, even though I wanted to rid myself of another 25 or so, made me pretty darn pleased with myself and I stopped working to lose weight and let myself sit with the 30 for a while. Well, over the holidays, the 30 lbs has back-peddled to about 22 (yes, I'm guessing...there's no way I'm stepping on the scale to see the actual goodie-damage. I'm not stupid!) So....right about January 3rd, the pantry and fridge were cleansed of their evil carbs and sugars - and low fat, whole wheat, sugar-free, fresh-from-the-farm items took their place. I have to feels great to eat better. It's actually a relief to not eat fat-laden crap. I already feel better - popping right up the stairs rather than trudging, rising easily in the morning instead of feeling like a sack-a rocks. I've truly missed steanmed broccoli and taking a few pieces of fruit to work with a great-tasting, mayo-free sandwich. 2009 is off to a terrific start!

So - in coming up with new ways to cook up ground turkey and chicken etc, this awesome new dish came out of my kitchen last night. Its low fat, uses whole wheat pasta and is full of rich, chickeny flavor. I'm not one for resolutions...they seem to set you up to fail -but I'm calling this dish Resolution Chicken Pasta because if you are one to make resolutions of the diet kind, this one will fit the bill!

Resolution Chicken Pasta

2 T olive oil
1 medium onion - halved & sliced (not too thick, not too thin)
1/2 red pepper - diced
4 cloves garlic - chopped (or minced)
4 medium, skinless chicken breasts - sliced into thin strips while raw
3 - 4 T flour
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (your choice low sodium, fat-free etc.)
1 can 98% fat-free cream of celery soup (undiluted)
1/2 can 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup (undiluted)
1/2 t dried basil
1 t celery seed
1 t red pepper flakes
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
salt (used throughout)
pepper (used throughout)
1 box (13.25 oz) Barilla Whole Wheat Thin Spaghetti

Begin by filling your pasta pot with salted water and keep the heat high enough so that the water boils quickly later on for your pasta. Heat oil in large frying pan over medium high heat and add sliced onions and red pepper. Season with salt and pepper and cook until onions start to loosen up - about 5 minutes. Add chicken pieces, a bit more salt and pepper and stir to combine then refrain from stirring for a few minutes so the chicken can pick up a little color on the bottom. After about 4 minutes, add the garlic and stir the mixture so the chicken just cooks throughout. Next, add the flour and stir well to combine. The flour will coat everything in the pan and make is rather tacky and kinda pasty - this is exactly what you want to have happen. Let this cook for a couple of minutes so the flour picks up the flavors in the pan and won't just taste like flour. Next, pour in the chicken broth. Stir well and scrape your stirring implement along the bottom of the pan to get up all the brown and wonderful 'leavings'. Stir until the mixture bubbles and you'll notice it will get thick pretty quickly in just a minute or so. Add in the two cream soups and stir well to combine. You can now turn the heat down to medium. Add in the basil, celery seed, red pepper flakes, onion powder and garlic powder. Stir well. Allow the mixture to bubble for just a few minutes - taste it for salt and pepper, then you can turn it down to medium low or low until the rest of your dinner is ready. The rest of this dish is the pasta. While the flavors of the chicken dish marry, crank the heat on the pasta water and once boiling, cook the entire box of whole wheat thin spaghetti (I like to break my spaghetti in half). Cook acording to package directions then drain, drizzle with a little olive oil if desired (just so it doesn't stick together). To serve, put the desired amount of pasta on your plate and ladle the chicken mixture on top. Then, twirl your fork into the hot, steamy, creamy deliciousness and enjoy!

Happy healthier eating in the new year!

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