All this preamble leads me to why and what I am sharing with you today: we are eating very healthily (is that a word?) and counting our calories for the next couple months...in between parties and family gatherings...to try to combat the seasonal waistline/thigh/rear expansion.
So, take heart, you can manage weight gain and foster health by eating well in between parties and family events. Here are a couple recipes that I have made lately that are really tasty, low in calories, very easy to put together and quite healthy.
Chicken Baked in Foil with Sweet Potatoes and Radish
Note from America's Test Kitchen: To ensure even cooking, buy chicken breasts of the same size. If using table salt, use only 1/8 teaspoon for each entire breast. Refrigerate the pouches for at least an hour before cooking. (I did not refrigerate them and they turned out great. I made four at once and we ate the second half warmed up last night. It was just as good as night one!)
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
12 ounces peeled sweet potato, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 celery ribs, quartered lengthwise and cut into 2-inch lengths
1/2 large red onion, sliced 1/2 inch thick, layers separated
Kosher salt and pepper
4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
4 radishes, trimmed and quartered (I used Daikon because I still have a lot growing in my garden.)
1. Spray centers of four 20 by 12-inch sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil with vegetable oil spray. Microwave oil, garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes in small bowl until garlic begins to brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Combine potato slices, celery, onion, radish, 1 teaspoon salt and garlic mixture in a large bowl.
2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon salt evenly over each side of each chicken breast, then season with pepper. Position 1 piece of prepared foil with long side parallel to counter edge. In center of foil, arrange one-quarter of potato slices in 2 rows perpendicular to counter edge. Lay 1 chicken breast on top of potato slices. Place one-quarter of vegetables around chicken. Repeat with remaining foil, potato slices, chicken, and vegetables. Drizzle any remaining oil mixture from bowl over chicken.
3. Bring short sides of foil together and crimp to seal tightly. Crimp remaining open ends of packets, leaving as much headroom as possible inside packets. Place packets on large plate and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
4. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Arrange packets on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until chicken registers 160 degrees, 18 to 23 minutes. (To check temperature, poke thermometer through foil of 1 packet and into chicken.) Let chicken rest in packets for 3 minutes.
5. Transfer chicken packets to individual dinner plates, open carefully (steam will escape), and slide contents onto plates. Drizzle rice vinegar over chicken and vegetables and sprinkle evenly with cilantro. Serve.
The authors encourage experimentation with new variations such as Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots, and Chicken with Fennel and Sun-Dried Tomatoes.
- 2 cups store-bought kimchi, chopped
- 1 cup chopped scallions (from 1 bunch)
- 1 1/2 cups cups chopped watercress, divided (from 1 large bunch)
- 8 ounces ground pork or chicken
- 1 garlic clove, finely grated
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 cup sliced radishes (from about 8 halved radishes)
- In a large bowl, combine kimchi, scallions, 1 cup chopped watercress, pork, garlic, cayenne, flour, egg, and 6 tablespoons water. Stir to combine.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of pancake mixture, pat it into a large pancake, and cook until browned on the underside, about 4 minutes. Slide the pancake onto a plate, then carefully flip it back into the skillet to brown the other side, about 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining pancake mixture and oil. Transfer both pancakes to a cutting board to cut each cake into 4 wedges.
- While pancake cooks, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil. In a small bowl, toss remaining 1/2 cup watercress and radish together with salt and pepper. Serve wedges of pancake topped with watercress relish; spoon sauce over top or serve alongside.
Here's to eating healthily throughout the holiday season...at least sometimes.