Thursday, December 12, 2013

Chicken Delicious and Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of my favorite dinners when I was growing up was a roasted chicken meal my mother called "Chicken Delicious". Back then, it was made with skin-on chicken (fat), Italian pork sausage (meaning high fat), garlic salt and salt (meaning high sodium), and loads of oil (adding more fat). Chicken may be one of the "good meats", but the way this was made "back in the day" certainly leaves a lot to be desired in this day and age of limiting salt and fat intake!

So, how to make an old favorite but with less of today's "no-nos"? I made a newer version of chicken delicious tonight that reduces the fat and salt but still maintains the taste. Preheat oven to 425F (218.3C). Start with about 1.5 lbs of frozen or 1.25 lbs of fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts and 1 lb low fat Italian turkey sausage. Defrost the frozen chicken and pat dry. Peel and slice 6 medium russet potatoes and place in roasting pan or casserole dish. Mix 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in small bowl. Sprinkle half mix over potatoes. Slice turkey sausage into small pieces and place sausage and chicken on top of potatoes. Sprinkle the rest of the spices over the top of the chicken and then pour 1/4 cup of canola (or olive) oil over the chicken and sausage. Cover with either foil or lid, place in oven and cook for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove foil or lid and reduce heat to 375F (190.55C), cooking for 30 minutes or until potatoes are browned. Serve with a green salad and looks like this:

When done right, this is very good. If you overdo the oil or fail to defrost the chicken fully, the potatoes will turn to mush and it's not as good. On the other hand, if you overcook this dish, which is also easy to do, it can be dry and tasteless. When done right, the chicken is moist while the potatoes have a crisp edge. It's not the easiest to do, so I encourage people to not give up if the first try does not come out perfect.

I also found a recipe for Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies that I decided to try from Diabetic Cooking magazine. It looked good and we finished the Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies I made last week, so I figured I'd give it a try. It calls for:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Splenda
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cocoa or dark cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons skim milk
1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 375F (190.55C). Beat margarine, sugar and sugar substitute with electric mixer on medium speed. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk to the margarine-sugar mix and beat until well-blended. Stir in chocolate chips and drop by teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets, baking for 7-9 minutes, until just set. Remove to wire rack and cool completely.

I found that if you use an actual teaspoon measure and scoop the batter out by a level teaspoon, you can make nearly 6 dozen cookies as opposed to the 3 dozen the recipe says it makes. That means 4 cookies would constitute a serving and have 107 calories, 6g fat, 25mg cholesterol, 11g carbohydrate, 1g dietary fiber, 2g protein, and 57mg sodium. After baking, if you don't flatten them out, they look like this:

This batch had a light texture that I like -- kind of like a meringue cookie, though they are definitely a drop cookie. I had barely gotten the cookies out of the oven when my brother started eating them, so I would say they are definitely going to stay on my list of cookies to make.

Hope everyone out there is enjoying their holidays and, if you're in the path of some nasty winter weather, staying warm and dry!

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