In order to stay on track, we need healthy food that tastes good. More than 15 years ago, I wrote a cookbook titled "Heavenly Lites" featuring recipes that are lower in fat.
Mauna, my friend and assistant for more than 20 years, and I both lost weight while testing the recipes for the cookbook. And the best part was we enjoyed the foods because they tasted good.
One of Mauna's favorites was our Chicken and Rice Primavera and my favorite is the Lite and Easy Brunswick Stew.
The primavera calls for reduced fat Cheddar cheese but I prefer to use "real" Cheddar and simply reduce the amount from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup. This, of course, will increase the fat grams slightly, but the dish will taste better.
Keep in mind that even though these foods are lower in fat, that doesn't mean they are also low in calories and/or sugar content. The introduction to this old cookbook states, "This book is not intended to be part of a weight loss program, but is meant to be a low-fat supplement to a healthier way of eating."
CHICKEN AND RICE PRIMAVERA
2 cups instant rice (for a healthier version, use instant brown rice)
3 cups cooked and chopped chicken breasts
1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian diced tomatoes, drained (reserve liquid)
1 (15 ounce) can mixed vegetables, drained (reserve liquid)
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese
Heat oven to 350 F. Pour the uncooked rice in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan. Layer the chicken over the rice. Add the drained tomatoes and vegetables. Combine the liquid from the tomatoes and vegetables with enough chicken broth to make 2 1/2 cups of liquid. Add this to the mushroom soup and mix well. Pour over the vegetables. Sprinkle the cheese over top of the casserole. Bake for about 35 minutes. Makes 10 generous servings with less than 4 grams of fat per serving.
LITE AND EASY BRUNSWICK STEW
4 cups shredded, cooked chicken breasts
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/3 cup vinegar (I prefer rice vinegar)
2 tablespoons sugar (or equivalent of sugar substitute)
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 tablespoon Tabasco (or to taste)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (11 ounce) can shoepeg corn
1 tablespoon low-fat margarine (if desired)
In a large soup pot combine chicken, tomatoes, tomato sauce, onion, bell pepper, parsley, vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Combine flour, salt, black pepper. Sprinkle this mixture over top of stew. Gradually add water, stirring in the flour mixture. Add remaining ingredients and let simmer for about 30 minutes. May need to add a little more water during cooking. Makes about 8 servings with less than 1 gram of fat per serving.
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