I never intended to raise my children on pizza and burgers, nor to subsist on them myself.
But I am the mother of three active boys. And by 5 p.m., marinating frozen chicken, thawing a block of frozen lima beans, and peeling, cooking and mashing potatoes for dinner can be an impossible task.
There was a time, not so long ago, when I would order greasy, nonnutritious food because it was fast and edible. (Sound familiar?)
But I was forced to say goodbye to “fast food at 5 o’clock” when my husband had open-heart surgery several years ago. I had to cook (a novel idea in itself) delicious, nutritious meals. No more fast food for my family!
My goal was to put a healthy meal on the table while keeping my job, my friends and my neighborhood grocery store. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking exotic foods purchased at a specialty store.
The following recipes are examples of some of the recipes that I’ve created, recipes that are either fat-free or extremely low in fat. Each serving of Santa Fe chicken has 2 grams of fat, while each serving of chicken Normandy has a mere 6 fat grams.
Santa Fe Chicken
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 onion, chopped
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (14-1/2-ounce) can Mexican or stewed tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (5-ounce) package saffron or yellow rice
1/2 cup water
1 cup fat-free Cheddar cheese
Spray a 2-quart casserole with cooking spray. Put chicken and onion into the casserole. Sprinkle with Worcestershire, lime and garlic. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until chicken is done.
Cut up the stewed tomatoes; add to casserole with rest of ingredients except cheese. Mix, then cover tightly. Continue to bake for 45 minutes or until rice is done.
Sprinkle with cheese, cover and let sit on top of stove until cheese melts. Top with fresh chopped cilantro if desired.
Yield: 4 servings.
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 large Granny Smith apples,
2 ounces reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
Spray ovenproof glass cooking dish with cooking spray. Place chicken in dish. Sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce.
Cut apples into thin slices; place on chicken. Cover tightly; bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes.
Slice cheese into thin slices. Place some over each of the chicken breasts. Cover; let sit on top of stove until cheese melts. Serve with brown rice.
Yield: 4 servings.