Ask the Swag Gal – October 12, 2011

by TSGal on Wed, October 12th, 2011 at 7:00 am

Today’s question comes from a Swaggernaut aiming for a healthier diet:

“My fiance and I are trying to eat very healthy. The only problem is we haven’t found many variations for our healthy cuisine. We eat stir fry with rice, bean soup, ham, soups, and a ton of chicken. Do you have any ideas for new healthy recipes we can try?”

You’re definitely not the only one trying to eat more healthily – I’m sure there are many Swaggernauts who also have the same goal.  Even I’m trying to eat healthier, as I’m not too proud of my diet lately.  Who knew that pizza and McDonald’s weren’t the new health kick?  So if you’re like me, looking for healthy, but delicious, try out some of these recipes that I found on FoodNetwork.com.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for Italian food!  Pasta, cheeses, breads, mmmm!  Regardless of how healthy I’m trying to become, I can’t go without my Italian food! Luckily, I found this amazing recipe for Three-Cheese Macaroni.

Photograph by Kate Mathis

Total Time: 32 minutes

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 17 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated whole milk
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/3 cups grated muenster cheese (4 ounces), plus 4 deli-thin slices (1 ounce)
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (4 cups)
  • 4 cups medium pasta shells (9 ounces)

Directions

Whisk the egg, evaporated milk, cayenne, nutmeg, and salt and black pepper to taste in a bowl. Toss the grated cheeses in a separate bowl.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and cook until almost falling apart, about 7 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Add the pasta to the same water and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water. Preheat the broiler.

Combine the egg mixture and the grated cheeses in the empty pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the cheeses melt and the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and add the cauliflower. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth and light (you can also use a regular blender). Stir in some of the reserved pasta water until creamy.

Toss the pasta in the sauce; season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to a shallow casserole dishand top with muenster slices. Broil until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Per serving (about 1 1/3 cups): Calories 403; Fat 17 g (Saturated 10 g); Cholesterol 85 mg; Sodium 517 mg; Carbohydrate 41 g; Fiber 2 g; Protein 20 g

Who doesn’t love chicken?  But, when aiming for a healthier diet, chicken becomes more prevalent, so it’s hard to find meals that aren’t redundant.  This recipe for Stuffed Chicken Divan with a Sherry Dijon Sauce look amazing!

Total Time: 50 minutes

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups (4 ounces) fresh broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup low-fat evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Directions

Preheat the broiler. Mist a shallow rectangular baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until bright green and crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well and run under cold water until cold. Drain well again and squeeze dry in paper towels.

Chop the broccoli and toss in a bowl with the Gruyere and garlic. Insert a paring knife into the thickest part of each chicken breast to make a 3-inch deep pocket. Stuff each chicken breast with equal amounts of the broccoli mixture. Rub both sides of the chicken breasts with oil and thyme and season with salt and pepper.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 5 minutes. Put the chicken in the pan and cook until golden brown and just cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. If the chicken begins to brown too quickly, turn the heat down to medium to finish cooking through. Transfer to thebaking dish.

Meanwhile, combine the milk and stock in a small pot, season with salt and pepper and bring to asimmer over medium heat. Stir the sherry and cornstarch until smooth and pour, whisking constantly, into the sauce. Cook until just thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan. Top each chicken breast with 2 tablespoons of sauce and place under the broiler. Broil until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes and then cut each breast in half on an angle. Whisk the mustard into the remaining sauce and spread a few tablespoons on each plate. Top with a halved chicken breast.

Nutritional analysis per serving

Calories 347; Total Fat 11g (Sat Fat 5.1g, Mono Fat 3.9g, Poly Fat 1.1g) ; Protein 50g; Carb 10g; Fiber 1g; Cholesterol 126.5mg; Sodium 433.5mg

Craving some creamy and robust Clam Chowder, but don’t want to break your diet?  No need to worry!  This Low-Fat Clam Chowder will allow you to enjoy the comfort of your favorite meal without the guilt!

Photograph by Andrew Mccaul

Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Prep: 45 minutes

Cook: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds cherrystone clams, scrubbed
  • 2 large red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 slice lean center-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup fat-free half-and-half
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 teaspoons unsalted butter, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Directions

Put the clams and 2 cups water in a pot. Cover, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until the clams open, 5 to 10 minutes (discard any that do not open); transfer the clams to a bowl. Pour the liquid into a large measuring cup. (You should have 3 cups liquid; add water if needed.) Wipe out the pot.

Pour the liquid back into the pot through a paper towel-lined sieve. Add the potatoes, cover and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove one-third of the potatoes. Continue to cook the remaining potatoes, covered, until soft, about 10 more minutes. Puree in batches in a blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pot.

Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves and cook, stirring, about 3 more minutes. Add the bacon mixture and reserved potatoes to the soup. Cover and cook over low heat, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove the clams from their shells and roughly chop. Stir the clam meat and half-and-half into the soup; remove from the heat, cover and set aside, 20 to 30 minutes.

Discard the bay leaves. Season the soup with salt and pepper and reheat. Serve topped with a slice of butter, parsley, chives and paprika.

Per serving: Calories 353; Fat 9 g (Saturated 4 g); Cholesterol 76 mg; Sodium 251 mg; Carbohydrate 36 g; Fiber 4 g; Protein 29 g

With 300 fewer calories and 65% less fat than a serving of restaurant-style meatloaf, you can’t go wrong with Vegetable Meatloaf with Balsamic Glaze!

Photograph by Con Poulos

Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

Prep: 20 minutes

Inactive: 10 minutes

Cook: 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small zucchini, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed to a paste with coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (90 percent lean)
  • 1 cup panko (coarse Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the zucchini, bell peppers, garlic paste and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables are almost soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Whisk the egg and fresh herbs in a large bowl. Add the turkey, panko, grated cheese, 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and the cooled vegetables; mix until just combined.

Gently press the mixture into a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cupbalsamic vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes in a small bowl; brush the mixture over the entire loaf. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Per serving: Calories 270; Fat 14 g (Sat. 4.2 g; Mono. 6.3 g; Poly. 3.1 g); Cholesterol 104 mg; Sodium 451 mg; Carbohydrate 16 g; Fiber 1 g; Protein 20 g

Hmm…and suddenly I’m hungry!  I hope some of these recipes sounded delicious, and will help you in your goal of a healthier diet.

Do any of our Swaggernauts have any healthy recipes they’d like to share?

~TSGal

P.S. – Send your questions to TheSwagGal@Swagbucks.com!  If your question is picked your answer will be featured in the blog and you’ll be hooked up with 150 Swag Bucks!

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