Saturday, September 25, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Panini

Kyle and I were both starving tonight and I had no idea what I was going to make for dinner.  I didn't feel like making anything an almost opted for Chinese delivery or pizza delivery or anything delivery for that matter.  Luckily, I came to my senses and decided to make this Buffalo Chicken Panini from the October 2010 issue of Cooking Light.  Kyle had mentioned wanting something spicy so this was the perfect meal.  It also rolls in at 402 calories per sandwich which is even better. 
My only recommendation is to add more hot sauce (if you like it spicy).  The amount in the recipe gave it the buffalo wing taste, but didn't have any heat.

Buffalo Chicken Panini
Cooking Light, October 2010 Issue, pg. 206
1/4 cup hot pepper sauce, divided
1 pound chicken breast tenders
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
6 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
8 (1-ounce) slices white our sourdough bread
Directions: Preheat broiler; coat broiler pan with cooking spray.  Combine 2 tablespoons hot sauce and chicken in a medium bowl , tossing to coat.  Arrange chicken in a single layer on broiler pan; broil 4 minutes on each side or until done.  Place chicken in a bowl; toss with remaining 2 tablespoons sauce.  Combine cheese and mayonnaise.  Spread 3 tablespoons cheese mixture on each of 4 bread slices; top each with one-forth of the cooked chicken and 1 bread slice.  Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Arrange two sandwiches in pan.  Place a cast-iron or heavy skillet on top of the sandwiches, press gently.  Cook for 3 minutes on each side or until bread is toasted (leave skillet on sandwiches while they cook).  Repeat procedure with remaining 2 sandwiches.  Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich).
Nutrition Info:
Calories: 402
Fat: 16.2g (sat 4.9g, mono 6g, poly 3.5g)
Protein: 32.4g
Carb: 29.1g
Fiber: 3g
Chol: 75mg
Iron: 0.8mg
Sodium: 724mg
Calcium: 100mg

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Loaded Potato Soup

In the October 2010 issue of Cooking Light I stumbled on this recipe for Loaded Potato Soup.  I was instantly intrigued with this "healthy" soup that had cheese and bacon nestled on top (yum! I love bacon).  I was surprised to find that 1 1/4 cups of this soup is only 325 calories.  It's the perfect amount for a light meal, especially if you serve it with some chicken breast and a salad.

I decided to make it the following day for dinner and let's just say it got RAVE reviews from my husband.  I also really enjoyed it.  Kyle said it makes him feel like taking a nap.  I say it makes me feel like curling up in front of the fireplace to watch a movie on a cold night.  Did I mention I'm excited for Fall?

Another bonus is that it only takes about 30 minutes to make and it's a fairly simple recipe.  If you try this out please let me know.  It tastes like a super delicious loaded baked potato, but has all the goodness a hot cup of soup can provide.  Did I mention it has bacon? ;)

Loaded Potato Soup
Cooking Light, October 2010 Issue, pg. 42

4 (6-ounce) red potatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup prechopped onion
1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 bacon slices, halved
1/3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 teaspoons thinly sliced green onions

1. Pierce potatoes with a fork (no need to wash).  Microwave on HIGH 13 minutes or until tender.  Cut in half; cool slightly.
2. While potatoes cook, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion; saute 3 minutes.  Add broth.  Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk; add to pan with 1 1/2 cups milk.  Bring to a boil; stir often.  Cook 1 minute.  Remove from heat; stir in sour cream, salt, and pepper.
3. Arrange bacon on a paper towel on a microwave-safe plate.  Cover with a paper towel; microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes.  Crumble bacon.
4. Discard potato skins.  Coarsely mash potatoes into soup.  Top with cheese, green onions, and bacon.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)

Nutrition Info:

Calories: 325
Fat: 11.1g (sat 5.2g, mono 4.5g, poly 0.8g)
Protein: 13.2g
Carb: 43.8g
Fiber: 3g
Chol: 27mg
Iron: 1.3mg
Sodium: 670mg
Calcium: 261mg

~Watch the milk mixture carefully!! When it starts to boil, if it gets too hot it may boil over your saucepan (if it's not big enough) before the 1 minute mark.
~Make a double batch.  Although 325 calories is great per serving, if you don't pair it with a protein and side vegetable you may still be hungry.  Doubling the batch will ensure there is plenty to go around (just make sure you watch the calories, you know, if you're watching that kind of thing!)
~Freeze it! The night before you want to have it for dinner, pull it out of the freezer and stick it in the fridge.
~For you photographers out there... I watched a video at Fro Knows Best that talked about using flash and how to make your images look less flat.  I'm always stuck with the problem of photographing food at night during the winter, so this was a great tip!  Instead of keeping your DSLR on auto and using the pop up flash, change it to Shutter priority and decrease your shutter speed to 1/10 or 1/8 (instead of 1/100 or 1/200 that auto typically chooses).  Then, while keeping your flash popped, take the picture.  The flash with freeze whatever you're taking a picture of while leaving the shutter open to account for the ambient light (see the yellow light in the background of my photo from the overhead kitchen lights?).  I tested it out this morning when I had poor lighting and I was happy with the results!  Thanks Fro!