Most people love coconut-crusted chicken, fish and shellfish. Problem is, most coconut-crusted dishes contain lots of fat from heavy egg-based batters and pan-frying or deep-frying in lots of oil. That’s a shame because coconut “meat” is high in fiber and has a low glycemic index, meaning it doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar. It’s also rich in medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA’s), which, unlike long-chain fatty acids (LCFA’s), have no negative effect on cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease. The good news is, you can create a crunchy coconut exterior without tons of fat and calories. In this recipe, I coated chicken with three simple layers: flour, egg whites and coconut. The crust is light and delicious and also works well with fish and shrimp. The tangy and slightly spicy pineapple salsa takes the dish over the top. Let me know what you think! Read more »
I adore cooking food on a cedar plank. Why? Let me count the ways…
1. Baking on a cedar plank imparts a subtle wood flavor to meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, and vegetables, adding warmth and complexity to any dish.
2. The baking planks are designed for baking in the oven and they last for years (even if they crack, you can place them on a baking sheet to catch any juices).
3. Wooden planks belong in a healthy cook’s arsenal because, once seasoned the first time, they retain their moisture and require very little, if any, fat to prevent sticking.
4. Because wooden planks retain moisture, they help maintain the natural juices in meats and vegetables, keeping the food moist as well as flavorful.
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The great thing about bacon is that everyone loves it and a little goes a long way to enhance a dish. You don’t need to pile it on to get huge flavor. I mean, look at the calories and fat in this feast — it proves that you can enjoy bacon without loads of extra fat or calories.
I love the way the bacon spruces up mild-flavored chicken and keeps the lean meat moist as it roasts. I wanted to create a fantastic presentation so I cut the bacon into little squares and arranged it on top of the chicken, like rooftop shingles. I used applewood-smoked bacon because I like the way the smoky apple flavor (from various apple trees) partners with the chicken and honey mustard. You can use any smoked bacon you want, including hickory or brown sugar. Read more »
Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? But do you also love the 500-600 calories and 15-25 grams of fat per cup that comes with it (and who has just one cup)? Truth is, you don’t need heaps of fat to create a creamy and sensuous macaroni and cheese. A little butter goes a long way, as does good quality cheese. When it comes to toppings, I like the contrast of tender, cheesy noodles with crunchy toasted bread crumbs, but when you bake macaroni and cheese with a crust, the noodles dry out. So, for this dish, I created the topping in a skillet and then sprinkled it on at the end, creating golden brown, parmesan-spiked bliss. Also, lots of mac and cheese recipes call for a dash of hot sauce – the heat ramps up the cheese flavor and rounds out the dish. Instead of hot sauce, I decided to add a roasted jalapeno. The freshly roasted pepper adds the perfect amount of smoky heat and a splash of color. I think you’ll adore this! Read more »
The chimichanga, or chimi as it’s affectionately termed in the Southwest, is a deep-fried burrito stuffed with meat, vegetables and spices. Once fried to perfection, chimichangas are often topped with cheese and served with a variety of condiments, such as green onions, diced tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream and black olives. Sounds delicious, right? It is delicious, but consider that one restaurant-style chimi has around 760 calories, 34 grams of fat and 1,930 mg of sodium. With that much sodium, you’re done for the day — you’ll have reached your daily max in sodium in only one meal. Store-bought frozen chimichangas fare slightly better, with around 300-500 calories, 25 grams of fat and 1,200 mg of sodium per serving. Filling aside, it’s the deep-frying that does most of the damage. Regular burritos have about 200-300 calories and 10-20 grams of fat each, but drop them into the deep-fryer and you can add 225 calories and 21 grams of fat to each burrito. Yes, the deep-fried, crunchy exterior is great, but not worth the health consequences, especially when a healthier version is so easy to make.
You can stuff flour tortillas with delicious ingredients and then bake the chimichangas in the oven for the same, amazing result. Try this recipe and let me know if you agree. Read more »
Traditional pesto is a vibrant blend of basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan or Romano cheese and olive oil. The term “pesto” comes from the Italian word pestare, which means to pound or crush (you might be familiar with the mortar and pestle, the tools often used in the preparation of pesto). Pesto has countless applications in cooking – it can be tossed with warm pasta or gnocchi, swirled into mashed potatoes, added to steamed vegetables, and spooned onto toasted bread (bruschetta). You’ll never run out of ideas and it’s a quick cook’s best friend. Keep basil pesto in your refrigerator-arsenal for last minute meal solutions. Read more »
A taquito (pronounced ta-kito) is a rolled up, filled tortilla that’s deep-fried until golden brown and crisp. In the classic Mexican dish, also known as a flauta, the tortilla is typically corn and the filling is beef or chicken. Taquitos are amazingly crunchy and delicious, and they make a fun hand-held treat. Problem is, depending on the filling, ONE taquito can have 200-500 calories, 8-28 grams of fat and 350-1,134 mg of sodium. And nobody eats just one. Since I want you to enjoy all the flavors without all of the calories, I revamped the dish to make it Healthy Eats-friendly. Not just friendly — consider this taquito your new best pal! The filling is a savory blend of grilled chicken, salsa and sharp cheddar cheese. And by baking the rolled tortillas instead of deep-frying, I was able to shed hundreds of calories and milligrams of sodium and dozens of fat grams. Check them out and let me know what you think! Read more »
You’ve never had deviled eggs quite like these. I’ve added hummus to this recipe for a protein punch and savory flavor — feel free to use any hummus flavor you’d like. I used traditional, but you can also try roasted red pepper or garlic flavored. Spicy chili powder adds a nice kick of flavor; I prefer it over paprika, which is usually used for deviled egg recipes. The key to getting your eggs perfectly hard-boiled, is to dunk them in cold water for several minutes after boiling. These deviled eggs are the perfect Easter party hors d’oeuvre, or use up your leftover Easter eggs to make Hummus Deviled Eggs for a snack or lunch this week.
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With the weather warming up, and the sun peeking out just a little bit more day by day, our meals are lighter and include more fruits and veggies. For a satisfyingly fresh lunch, I’ve combined fresh spring asparagus and spinach — with nori seaweed as a surprise ingredient — into a lovely spring salad. Instead of store-bought salad dressing I use tahini for creamy flavor and texture. Lemon juice and fresh ginger add bold flavor without excess calories and fat. Slivered almonds provide filling healthy fats to keep you satisfied all afternoon. Bring this salad to an outdoor spring picnic party, or serve it as an Easter side dish. Read more »
With a bounty of bright spring vegetables popping up in markets and gardens, there’s plenty of fresh produce available to make delicious and eye-appealing veggies to serve at your Easter feast.
Sweet or white potatoes are both bursting with nutritional goodness including vitamin C. Mash them, top with cheese or roast. The possibilities are endless.
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