I’m writing this on my drive home from my Grammie and Grandad’s house, drinking a frosty diet beverage, but enough about me, how bout food?
This morning started out to a sleepy start. My fiancée originally woke me up at 7:25 when we were supposed to be meeting at church at 7:30…needless to say we didn’t make it to first service. After talking to him for all of 20 seconds, I feel back asleep and was once again woken up at 9:10, which happens to be 10 minutes after we had again said that we would be meeting up at our favorite Sunday morning breakfast joint.
After getting to breakfast around 9:40, I get ready pretty fast, it was time for breakfast. I love our breakfast joint for a couple of reasons, they have some great food and they are awesome on making some substitutions for those who are trying to eat healthier. I had been known before for getting their vegetarian omelet with no cheese and made with egg whites, but in the last couple of weeks I started switching up my order by ordering a grilled chicken breast and egg whites. The breakfast also comes with a side of cantaloupe and a side of toast, which I always order dry whole wheat toast. The breakfast is always great. This restaurant is small, so they do not have nutritional information so here are some basic tips on ordering breakfast from a place that might not have nutritional info. Always avoid the fried items, it’s better to be safe than sorry. When choosing a breakfast meat, the order in which to order should be grilled chicken (if possible), ham, bacon and the very last resort should be sausage. Also remember that if you are order meat simply as a protein for the meal, remember that eggs are packed with protein, and egg whites have no less protein than a whole egg just less fat. Try ordering egg whites or Eggbeaters instead of whole eggs, every whole egg is 75 calories and 5 grams of fat, an egg white is only 30 calories and 0 grams of fat, these numbers really start to add up if you are ordering something like an omelet. Think about it, when you order an omelet typically 4 whole eggs are used, that means that you are consuming, just in the holding case of the omelet, 300 calories and 20 grams of fat, just in the thing that is holding your breakfast together! If given the opportunity order a white colored cheese as opposed to a yellow one, it’s a fact that yellow cheeses typically have a higher amount of fat then their white counterparts.
Anyways, enough about breakfast, after breakfast my fiancée, Dan and I headed back to my house for a little bit of relaxation before leaving to go to my grandparent’s house later that afternoon. Breakfast always goes for a couple of hours, which meant by the time that we got home it was practically 12 and we would be getting hungry soon. After relaxing and talking for a bit, I offered to make Dan something for lunch, and resorted back to one of my all time favorite meals, the patty melt. Ever since I was a kid, I loved hamburgers, not cheeseburgers (I was never really a fan), I was known for ordering them everywhere I went with a big side of French fries. I even used to order a hamburger for breakfast, when I wasn’t feeling in the mood for a standard burger, I would resort to its not so distant cousin the patty melt. This was a burger that I enjoyed the cheese on, and the perfect thing on top besides those grilled to perfection onions, was of course mustard. I had been looking through my “Cook this, not that!” cookbook earlier that day and had seen the recipe, ever since that moment I couldn’t get it off my mind. The recipe seemed pretty standard, but we all know how I like to do things, I did my best to substitute what I could off the already light patty melt swap. I used one piece of bread instead of two, and cut it in half for a couple of reasons - the burger patty was not overall thin it was more thick and wouldn’t require as much bread, and rye bread slices are always huge. I also substituted out the ground sirloin in place on 93% lean ground turkey, based on convenience and I swapped out the full fat Swiss cheese for reduced fat provolone, also based on convenience and the fact that Dan despises Swiss. The last swap that I made that was different from the already lightened recipe is that I eliminated the oil; instead I used a good pan with a great non-stick surface and sprayed the pan lightly with non-stick cooking spray. The result of all my swapping brought me back to my burger days. The patty was juicy and the cheese was gooey, it was amazing. A regular patty melt from your favorite burger joint just might add up calorie wise to: 1,030 calories and 64 grams of fat the lightened version in the “Cook this not that!” cookbook clocks in at: 340 calories and 12 grams of fat and my tasty rendition comes in at a smooth: 296 calories and 12.6 grams of fat. Just goes to show what cooking in your own kitchen can really do.
After making lunch we only had a limited time till we were going to leave to head out to my grandparent’s house, and I had promised that I would make dinner and dessert tonight. I had talked to my Grammie earlier that week and we had decided to go with Chicken Parmesan, served on top of whole wheat angel hair and low-fat marinara, our sides would be the Heart Attack Cheese Bread, roasted vegetables and a large garden salad. But wait that’s not all, for dessert, a Butter Almond Layer Cake with No Trans Fat Here Frosting. Not too long after lunch we started getting everything ready to take to do the cooking and the baking, and soon we were on our way. As soon as we arrived, I went to cooking, I wanted to make sure that dinner would be ready in plenty of time and that the cake would have plenty of time to cool prior to frosting it. The cake was the first thing that I worked on, and it was probably the recipe I have been the most worried about modifying. The recipe involved shortening. I had never run into this problem before and wasn’t quite sure what to do. I decided to do some online research and found allrecipes.com to be helpful for swapping tips – I found that butter is the perfect substitute for shortening. This was helpful because I know that applesauce works as a great moisture substitute for butter in many baked items. To create this recipe swap I switched out quite a few things, first thing that I subbed was instead of all white flour, I used 1 cup oat flour and 1 ¼ cups white flour – giving the cake more fiber and more protein. I then switched out the sugar for Splenda, and the eggs for Eggbeaters. Lastly I swapped the recommended 2% milk for fat free milk and the cup of shortening for ¼ cup of butter and ¾ cup of no sugar added applesauce. After preparing the batter for the cakes I baked the cake layers and allowed them to cool so that I would be able to frost after dinner would be completed. For the chicken parmesan I used Devin Alexander’s recipe found of the Discovery Health webpage for Chiseled Chicken Parmesan. I don’t normally modify Devin’s recipes because I honestly can’t get them to be any lower than what they already are. Devin’s chicken parmesan is still breaded like the classic but instead of being fried it’s baked. The recipe is super easy, and everyone always loves it.
Here is Devin’s Chiseled Chicken Parmesan, try making it for yourself, I’m sure that you will love it!
Chiseled Chicken Parmesan
olive oil spray
2 4-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoons flour
1/2 tablespoon reduced-fat parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg white
1/2 tablespoon fat free milk
1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley leaves
1/2 Low-fat marinara sauce
1 ounce (1/2 cup) finely shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
1/2 ounce reduced-fat parmesan cheese or 1 ounce finely shredded parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly mist a non-stick baking sheet with spray.
Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and, using the flat side of a meat mallet (a heavy rolling pin will also work), pound them until they are an even 1/3-inch thickness working from the center outward. In a medium, shallow bowl, mix the flour, parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper.
Make sure the chicken is as dry as possible (without actually drying it) and dip one piece into the flour mixture until it is coated on all sides. Shake off any excess flour and place the breast on a dinner plate. Repeat with the second breast then place it on the plate next to the first breast. Cover the plate with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a second shallow bowl, use a fork to lightly beat the egg white with the milk. In a third, shallow bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the parsley. Dip the floured chicken breasts, one at a time into the egg mixture. Allow any excess egg to drip from the chicken (this is important or breadcrumbs will clump) then coat it with breadcrumbs. Dip it back into the egg then back into the breadcrumbs. Place them side by side on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer the dish to the oven and cook the chicken 7-9 minutes per side until the chicken is no longer pink inside.
Just before the chicken is cooked, heat the marinara sauce in the microwave or in a small pan on the stovetop until just hot. Top each breast with 1/4 cup marinara sauce followed by the mozzarella then parmesan cheese. Then bake the chicken for an additional 3-5 minutes until the cheese is melted. Serve the chicken hot with a side of pasta and/or a large green salad.
Makes 2 servings.
Each (1 Chicken Breast) Serving has: 301 calories, 37 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat, 1 g sat. fat, 79 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 776 mg sodium Traditional Chicken Parmesan made with a 4-ounce chicken breast has: 613 calories, 65 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 32 g fat, 16 g saturated fat, 176 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 1000 mg sodium
Along with our awesome chicken parmesan we enjoyed our butter almond cake with the no trans fat here frosting, and I have to say for my first layer cake, it wasn’t amazingly decorated, but at least it stayed together . For my rendition of the layer cake it clocked in at: 154 calories and 3.3 grams of fat per slice with frosting. The original recipe comes in at a staggering 528 calories per slice and 20.9 grams of fat in each slice with frosting. When it comes to the lighter recipe I would have to say I have won this one. As for me now, I am at home with a very tired Dan who should be leaving soon and a half empty diet soda. Until I am in the kitchen again…
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