Home & Garden

Dining In: On the lighter side

recipes by Karen Diefendorf
If your scale has reached new, previously unknown heights after all the goodies of the holidays, these ideas will help make cutting down on calories easy and delicious.

Chicken with artichokes
   6 skinned, boned chicken breast halves
   3 garlic cloves, minced
   Vegetable cooking spray
   2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
   1/2 medium onion, chopped
   1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
   1 (14 oz.) can stewed tomatoes, undrained
   1/2 c. uncooked brown rice
   1 c. water flavored with 1 pkg. chicken flavored granules
   1/2 c. dry white wine
   1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and cut into quarters
   Brown chicken over medium heat in large, non-stick frying pan or Dutch oven that has been coated with cooking spray. Remove chicken and drain and pat the pieces dry with paper towels.
   Again, coat the frying pan or Dutch oven with cooking spray and place over medium high heat until pan is hot. Add mushrooms, onions, and green pepper. Saute until all are tender.
   Add chicken, tomatoes, rice, wine, and water (with chicken granules added). Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in artichoke hearts. Cover and cook 25 minutes or until chicken and rice are tender.
   Yield: 6 servings with 260 calories per serving.

Baked crab and asparagus
   1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen asparagus tips, or a comparable amount of fresh whole asparagus
   6 oz. fresh crab or surimi (imitation crab)
   2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
   2 cloves garlic, minced
   1 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
   1 Tbsp. margarine
   2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
   1/8 tsp. white pepper
   1 c. skim milk
   1/4 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
   2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
   Cook asparagus according to package directions or until tender, but crisp. Do not overcook. In 4 individual au gratin dishes, arrange asparagus and crab pieces. Set dishes aside.
   For sauce, in medium saucepan cook mushrooms, garlic, and onion in margarine over medium-high heat about 4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Stir in flour and white pepper. Then, stir in milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in Cheddar cheese until melted. Spoon sauce on top of asparagus and crab in dishes. Cover dishes with foil and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
   Before serving, bake, covered, in a 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle Parmesan on top of each dish.
   Yield: 4 servings, each with approximately 180 calories.

Veal with peppercorn sauce
   1 1/2 lbs. veal cutlets
   Salt and white pepper to taste
   Vegetable cooking spray
   1 1/2 tsp. margarine
   1/2 c. chicken broth (or 1/2 c. water with chicken bouillon cube added)
   1/2 c. dry white wine
   1 Tbsp. lemon juice
   1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
   1 tsp. crushed green peppercorns
   1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
   3 c. hot cooked rice
   2 tsp. cornstarch
   1 Tbsp. water
   Fresh parsley sprigs
   Trim excess fat from veal cutlets and place cutlets between two sheets of waxed paper. Flatten them to 1/8-inch thickness, using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Cut into 1/2-inch strips and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
   Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and add margarine. Place over medium-high heat until margarine melts. Add veal and cook, stirring frequently until they are evenly browned. Add chicken broth, (or water with chicken granules) wine, lemon juice, mushrooms, peppercorns, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
   Place rice on a serving platter and arrange veal over the top using a slotted spoon. Combine cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water, stirring to blend. Add to pan juices and cook, stirring constantly 3 minutes or until thickened. Spoon over veal. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
   Yield: 6 servings with 194 calories (without the rice).

Chicken surprise
   1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen petite green peas
   2 c. cubed cooked chicken or turkey
   1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
   1/2 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
   1/3 c. chopped green onion
   2 Tbsp. chopped green pepper
   1 c. reduced-calorie mayonnaise
   1 tsp. Dijon mustard
   Salt and pepper to taste
   1 tsp. seasoned salt
   1 medium tomato, cut into 6 slices
   1 c. corn flakes cereal, crushed
   2 tsp. margarine, melted
   Parsley, finely chopped
   Combine well-drained peas, chicken, cheese, onion, pepper and mushrooms in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper and seasoned salt in a small bowl. Add to chicken mixture, mixing well.
   Spoon into a 10x6x2-inch baking dish. Arrange tomato slices on top. Combine crushed cornflakes and margarine and sprinkle over casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
   Yield: 6 servings.

Black beans and rice
   2 tsp. vegetable oil
   1/2 c. chopped onion
   1 clove garlic, minced
   1/4 c. chopped green pepper
   1/4 c. chopped red pepper
   2 c. cooked rice
   1/2 tsp. cumin
   1/4 tsp. chili powder
   1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
   1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
   1 c. chopped tomato
   Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, garlic and green and red pepper; sauté until tender. Stir in rice, cumin, chili powder and parsley. Sauté 3 minutes. Add beansand chopped tomato. Saute 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
    Yield: 8 servings with 123 calories per 1/2 cup.

Marinated vegetable salad
   1 c. fresh pea pods
   1 c. cauliflower flowerets, blanched
   1 (8 oz.) can hearts of palm, drained and sliced
   1 can whole baby corn
   1/4 c. celery, diagonally sliced
   1/2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
   1/3 c. chopped green onion
   1/2 c. rice wine vinegar
   4 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
   2 tsp. finely grated fresh gingerroot
   2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
   2 tsp. sesame oil
   2 clove of garlic, minced
   1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (be careful, this is hot stuff)
   To blanch cauliflower, place flowerets in steam basket over water in a sauce pan. Bring water to boil. After two minutes, remove cauliflower and immerse in cold water to stop the cooking process.
   Trim peapods and combine with well-drained cauliflower, hearts of palm, baby corn, mushrooms, and onion in a medium bowl. Set aside.
   Combine vinegar, soy sauce and gingerroot in a small bowl. Gradually add oil, beating constantly with a wire whisk. Add garlic and red pepper. Pour over vegetables and toss lightly. Chill 2 hours. Toss lightly again before serving.
    Yield: 10 servings.

Three-layer dessert
   2 1/2 c. lime sherbet, softened
   1 (8-oz) can unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
   1/2 c. vanilla ice milk, softened
   2 c. orange sherbet, softened
   Walnuts, chopped ( optional)
   Line an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 3-inch loafpan with wax paper. Spread lime sherbet in bottom of prepared loaf pan and freeze for 30 minutes.
   Press pineapple between paper towels to remove excess liquid. Combine pineapple and vanilla ice milk, stirring well. Spread ice milk mixture evenly over sherbet. Freeze for 30 minutes or until firm. Spread orange sherbet evenly over ice milk mixture. Cover and freeze several hours or until firm.
   Invert the mixture onto a serving platter and remove wax paper. Let stand at room temperature 5 minutes before slicing. May top with chopped nuts, but that will increase the calories.
   Yield: 8 servings.