The past couple of nights, making dinner has been an adventure. I’m having to modify my way of doing things a little bit to make sure that I’m staying within my calorie count. Instead of just saying, “Yeah that looks right,” I’m actually measuring things, and I’m not doing a whole lot of improvising these days. I guess as we grow older, things have to change a little right?
The real challenge I faced yesterday. I had to go back to work at the restaurant, where I had to physically think about not grabbing a french fry or downing a cup of soda, which I’m so used to doing while I was there. I am almost dreading working doubles because I am going to have to bring my mid-day meal to resist the temptation of getting something stupid unhealthy.
So, on to the food. The whole reason people read this blog.
The other night, I pulled out one of my other cookbooks, and this one I’ve mentioned before in a post and in a recipe. It’s the Eat What You Love by Marlene Koch. This time I found her recipe for a Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo, and instead of using the heavy cream and butter with tons of parmesan to make an alfredo sauce, she uses lowfat milk and cornstarch to imitate the creaminess of the sauce and then only a little bit of parmesan and I’m thinking that because the cheese doesn’t have to penetrate as much sauce, a little bit goes a long way and it’s absolutely delightful. And, the broccoli is basically steamed in the microwave which makes for super easy preparation. And I got to have pasta! On a diet! It was a good day.
So then last night, I decided to try something that I wasn’t one hundred percent sure that my hunny would enjoy, but that I had never tried to make and that only had 187 calories per serving. That would be Stuffed Peppers, and goodness gracious did they turn out pretty. Now, out of the three go-to cookbooks for this diet adventure, the only recipe that I could find for a low-cal version involved using the meatless soy crumbles instead of ground beef. I had pulled out ground beef, I was going to use it. I had bought some deliciously colored red, yellow and orange bell peppers at Sam’s Club and they were calling me to make this dish. (Have you ever noticed that the more pretty an ingredient is, the more you want to eat it? It goes right along with that whole eat with your eyes first mantra.) Therefore, I turned to my friend Google and found a great recipe. And guess what? My hunny loved them. And we both decided that the meat mixture that goes into the peppers would also taste really good wrapped in a tortilla with some cheese.
Corkscrew Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo
8 oz rotini or bowties
5 c. broccoli florets
1 c. low fat milk
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 c. light cream cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper, or more to taste
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 c. shredded cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast (I used chicken thighs and it was really good too)
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions while preparing the sauce, and set aside.
2. Place the broccoli in a large microwave-safe dish. Add 3 tablespoons of water, cover, and microwave for 4 minutes, or until crisp tender.
3. In a medium saucepan, whisk the milk and cornstarch until smooth. Whisk in the broth and place over low heat. Add the cream cheese, garlic powder, and pepper. Bring to a low simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the Parmesan and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes, or until sauce is smooth.
4. Toss the cooked pasta, broccoli, and chicken together in a large serving dish. Pour the sauce on top, and toss gently to combine.
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING (1 1/2 CUPS): 330 Cal, 36g Carbs, 7g Total Fat (3.5g Sat Fat), 6 WW Points
RECIPE FROM: Eat What You Love by Marlene Koch