Friday, July 23, 2010

Don't Be Chicken...Cook Chicken



When dining out at an Italian-American restaurant, you may already know to avoid pasta dishes, fried foods, and cream-based sauces; but you would probably never expect the amount of calories that are often in entrees that sound perfectly healthy- such as grilled or baked chicken and fish meals. Many of these such items are drowned in butter or oil that is never mentioned in the menu title. They are also commonly served with starchy sides, such as potatoes or rice. For the health conscious, it is a nuisance to understand the components of a nutritious meal but have no way to overcome the oblivion of deceptive titles that can sound healthy.

This recipe for Balsamic Chicken with Goat Cheese was adapted from a Rachel Ray original. If you have read any of my other posts, you already know of my passion for greek yogurt. It is a healthy substitute for so many different things, including sour cream, buttermilk, and in this recipe-  heavy whipping cream. I have never seen a low-fat variety of goat cheese so regular will be fine because it is used sparingly. Other than the cheese, all of the other ingredients are naturally low in fat and calories. When combined, they create a mouth-watering sauce that makes for a delicious presentation as well. The recipe suggests cooking the chicken in the skillet that you prepare the sauce in;but, you can also season the chicken with salt and pepper and grill it. I would recommend the grilling method if you are preparing the sauce in advance; just omit step #2 from the directions. The sauce can be made ahead of time and then reheated in a sauce pan before serving. This chicken is perfect for a romantic date night meal for that special someone. And if your special someone likes this as much as my special someone, there could be plate-licking involved. It is a restaurant-worthy dish that is great for entertaining a crowd. I served it with a low-fat creamed spinach recipe by The Skinny Chef and a fresh garden salad. For a more filling meal, you could serve the chicken over whole wheat orzo pasta to absorb the extra sauce. Balsamic Chicken with Goat Cheese will have your guests wondering when you have found time to attend culinary school- sure to impress!

Balsamic Chicken with Goat Cheese
serves 4

4, 4 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tbsp light butter (around 50 calories per serving)
1 1/2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh chopped thyme or 1 tbsp dried thyme
3 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp 0% plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 oz. goat cheese, softened in microwave for 15 seconds

1. Preheat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Spray skillet with cooking spray. Season chicken liberally with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add the chicken to the hot skillet.
Cook for 5-6 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and cover with foil to keep warm.
3. Reduce heat to medium and add the butter. Once the butter melts, add the mushrooms and brown stirring occasionally for about 4 to 5 minutes. Once done, season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the garlic, thyme, and shallots. Cook stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes until shallots are wilted.
5. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook 2 minutes more.
6. Whisk in the stock, balsamic vinegar, and the yogurt.
7. Turn the heat up to high and cook for about 2-5 minutes or until thickened.
8. Reduce to a low simmer and to keep warm until serving.
9. Spread goat cheese evenly over each chicken breast and top with sauce.


Nutrition: 173 calories, 5g carbohydrate, 27g protein, 4g fat

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Nutrition student with a passion for giving yummy recipes a healthy make-over. Future RD on a constant search for the best food finds. And new blogger trying to relay my tasty ideas to everyone else.

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Please feel free to email me with any questions, suggestions, or comments at lamandle88@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you.

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