Healthy chicken and mushrooms in a sherry cream sauce

Healthy chicken and mushrooms

The biggest challenge in converting to a healthier lifestyle is finding ways to stay full without feeling deprived. Because I’m so used to scarfing down carbohydrates and large portions (and, you know, large portions of carbohydrates), meal times can pose challenges.

But we’re up for the task.

I recently stumbled upon Nosh My Way: a website with tons of delicious, healthy recipes with Weight Watchers PointsPlus values already calculated (four per serving for this dish). You certainly do not need to be on Weight Watchers to enjoy flavorful, lower-calorie meals — though having Marlene do the calculations ahead of time is awesome.

Her recipe for chicken breasts in a creamy mushroom sauce was delicious — and great for a weeknight. Spencer had a mess of mushrooms that needed to be used up ASAP, and most of these ingredients were already on hand. We made a few additions to the recipe, outlined below, but the original would be great, too.

I just have to add garlic, y’all. It’s a sickness.

We served with Brussels sprouts (because I’m obsessed with them), but it would also be tasty over brown rice. Totally your call.

Healthy chicken and mushrooms
in a sherry cream sauce

Just slightly adapted from Nosh My Way. Serves 4.

• 16 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 white onion, thinly sliced or chopped
• 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced baby bella mushrooms
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• 3 tablespoons dry sherry
• 1/2 cup reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
• 4 tablespoons fat-free half and half
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives or scallion greens
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch

1. Season chicken with pepper and salt on both sides.
2. Spray a medium-sized skillet or Dutch oven with nonstick spray and heat on medium heat.
3. Add the chicken and cook, turning once or twice and adjusting the heat to prevent burning, until brown — about 10 to 12 minutes.
4. Transfer chicken to a separate plate and keep warm.
5. Add onions to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minutes.
6. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 2 minutes.
7. Pour in sherry; simmer until almost evaporated, scraping up any browned bits, about 1 minute.
8. Pour in broth and cook until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in half and half and cornstarch.
9. Return to a simmer. Return the chicken to the pan, turn to coat with sauce and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Add the chives or scallion greens and serve immediately.



Beginner’s cooking with Meg & Palmer: Chicken & vegetables

My boyfriend graciously offered to make dinner for my family the other night! And, since we’re all trying to eat better and Palmer is steadfastly improving his own diet, we had to go healthy.

I’m not embarrassed to admit Palmer is a much better cook than I am! We all know about my adventures (and extreme misadventures) in the kitchen. I was happy to lean back, relax and take some tips from someone else for a while. And hey, Palmer bought us a really nifty vegetable steamer! Which was a very nice complement to the chicken, sliced thin, he seared.

We had fresh green beans (steamed with the new gadget, served with just a little butter) and chicken with seared peppers and zucchini. I was getting a little nervous listening to all the sizzling and popping coming from the pan, but I’m told this is normal. I just have a little PTSD from the oil poppin’ incident of early October ’08.

But everything turned out great! Palmer carefully watched the meal and whizzed around the kitchen like a pro. I, of course, swooped in still in my work clothes toting my digital camera to document the process. He cooked whole wheat pasta to be served beneath the chicken and vegetables, and it tasted quite delicious. I wasn’t sold on the idea of whole wheat after last week, but I realize that — like everything — it’s all in how you prepare it. He added some butter and, I think, a little onion? Very good!

Delicious! Healthy, quick and easy. Though my parents aren’t big on the peppers and zucchini, they gamely went along with it! It’s definitely a nice, fresh alternative to eating leftovers — or the crazy stuff I concoct. But don’t worry, I’m getting back in the culinary ring very soon!

Beginner’s cooking with Meg: Mustard chicken

So last night was another culinary adventure — this time with a real recipe and everything! Dad got Rachael Ray’s 365: No Repeats cookbook pretty cheap and, after pouring through it for a little bit, much of it seems like something I’ll need a little more skill to attempt. But I did find this awesome recipe for chicken with mustard sauce! Since it didn’t require grilling, coring or baking, I figured I could give it a whirl.

My first stop was, of course, to the grocery store for my needed supplies. I even made a list and everything! How responsible of me! I went through the recipe on my lunch hour to figure out what we wouldn’t have in the pantry. This included onion, chicken broth, sour cream and fresh lemon. Grabbed that stuff and headed home.

Next up in my “thirty-minute meal” was to prep all my ingredients. I have to admit I had a little help from Dad on this part. The chicken breasts were huge so we cut them in half and trimmed off all the fat (we’re all on dietary restrictions around here; have to eat as healthy as possible.) I chopped up the onion, sliced the lemon in half (that was fun!) and dirtied way too many bowls. But I eventually got the chicken seasoned with thyme, lemon, salt and pepper. It was smelling pretty delicious already! Guess I was doing something right!

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