Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cookies: One Little, One Big...Guess Which One Packs a Punch?

Jennifer Roper Stott has an amazingly fun blog and she posted an intriguing recipe. See the link below:

Well, this reminded me of a cookie that I had made once years ago. I thought it, too, had black pepper in it; but my memory does not serve me well. The ingredient that packed the punch was TABASCO. Check it out. It brings heat to the table. The recipe comes from a book called "The Great Amerian Cookie Book.

Peppersass Cookies


2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
2/3 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 egg
2 teaspoons TABASCO brand Pepper Sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla


Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat 1 cup sugar and butter in large bowl with electric mixture at low speed until well blended. Add egg, TABASCO Sauce, vanilla and flour mixture; beat until smooth.

Divide dough in half; place halves on plastic wrap. Shape each half into log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Cover and refrigerate until firm, 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place remaining 1/2 cup sugar in shallow dish. Cut dough logs into 1/4 inch thick slices; dip each slice in sugar. Place slices 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are golden around edges. Cool on wire racks. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Cook's notes: Some of the easiest cookies to make are refrigerator cookies. But they often aren't the prettiest and they never seem to make as many as promised. I used red sugar to give them some color. Final verdict is that they look and taste like a crisp sugar cookie with a little tang. And then comes the heat. Interesting and surprising.

This second cookie is a family favorite. However, it's a really temperamental recipe; but well-worth it. The recipe calls for butter, but I find that the margarine gives it a nice crisp outside texture. I made the recipe for years with no problems (Emily even won a blue ribbon at the county fair and got chosen for state at the age of 10.) and then the cookie started not working out. It turns out that manufacturers had changed out the ingredients in cheaper brands of margarine and they were no longer as effective for baking. I find that Blue Bonnet works the best. Also, it works better if the kitchen isn't really hot. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour and the cookies will end up being the crispy and cakey finished product that you want. Like I say, a little finicky, but my family will tell you that's it is well worth it. BTW, the recipe came out of the Ladies Home Journal magazine about 30 years ago. Oh, and I ALWAYS double it.

Giant Snickerdoodles


1 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 c. plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 c. flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon


In large mixer bowl with mixer at medium speed, cream butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar and eggs until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. In a separate bowl combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture until well blended. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon in a flat open bowl. Shape dough into 2 inch balls and roll in cinnamon-sugar. Place 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet (Cookies will spread!). Bake 12 - 15 minutes until golden brown. (Snickerdoodles will pull up at first, then flatten out to giant size during baking.) Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack. 2 dozen.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Enjoying the harvest!

One of the greatest moments of the summer, for me, has to be when the garden begins to ripen and you can finally taste the rewards of your hard work! This year we planted beets! I love beets, they are so delicious. I bought a pack of seeds for 50 cents and so far we've enjoyed over 20 tasty beets! What a bargain! Usually I just roast the beets on their own and slice them up and put them in our green salads that we have with our dinner every night. (I'll explain how to do that at the bottom of the blog) But, last week I asked my husband if he had any requests for meals for the upcoming week. I very rarely ask him this. Usually I just make whatever I want. But this roasted vegetable salad is by far his most requested item for me to cook. I can't really blame him, it is very tasty and a good alternative to your boring side dishes of frozen corn or peas. Roasting the veggies gives them such a lovely deep flavor, and the colors of this salad are just divine. This salad is especially good in the fall and winter when the root veggies are plentiful and nothing else really is. But this time, since our beets were ripe, I made it in the summer. I found this recipe from the Food & Wine Magazine, and it originally comes from the cookbook of Sophie Dahl (Roald Dahl's grand daughter and British supermodel) titled, Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights. Anyway....The recipe is a keeper!

A few things, I sometimes can't find both celery root and parsnips so often I just do one or the other. And another thing, I would recommend doubling this! It makes for good leftovers. As is, the recipe probably serves about 4. Oh, and also, I prefer this recipe with goat cheese instead of feta. I've tried it both ways, and the husband and I both agree the goat cheese is best!

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad 


1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges 
1 small sweet potato (about 8 ounces), cut into 1-inch pieces 
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces 
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces 
1 small celery root (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces 
1 small beet, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces 
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
Salt and freshly ground pepper 
1/4 cup walnuts 
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar 
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley 
1 ounce feta, crumbled (1/4 cup) 


Preheat the oven to 425°. In a medium roasting pan, toss the onion, sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, celery root and beet with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender and lightly browned in spots.

Meanwhile, spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast until golden, about 6 minutes. Transfer the walnuts to a work surface and coarsely chop.

In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar with the lemon juice, mustard and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fold in the parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Add the vegetables and walnuts to the dressing and toss. Top the salad with the feta and serve warm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead The roasted vegetables and dressing can be refrigerated separately overnight. Rewarm the roasted vegetables before serving.

How to Roast a Beet

Now, if you just want to roast beets for a tosses salad, here is an easy trick! Take a few beets trim the tips off but leave the peel on. Wrap the beets in tin foil. cook in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 4o minutes, or until the beets are easily pierced with a fork. Let the beets cool. Take a paper towel and gently rub the beets, the peel will come right off. Then you can slice them or dice them however you'd like. You can also quarter them, sprinkle with a little oil and vinegar, crack some salt & pepper on them and throw on some chives or basil and eat alone. Is very tasty!

They are also very good in a green salad with goat cheese, green onions, romaine lettuce and orange sections. The orange and the beets really compliment each other. I got this idea from Every Day Food. Yum yum! go eat a beet this week, I dare you!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Only Sorbet Recipe You'll Ever Need

Above: The same sorbet (that you can see below)...only it was photographed with my brand new camera. What a great birthday present!

Above: Yummy sorbet...but the picture doesn't do it was taken with my old camera.

My husband loves sorbet. It is his all-time favorite dessert. So, I made a lot of sorbet while we were dating.

I discovered this basic recipe for Pineapple Sorbet and it is so easy and super tasty. Rather than look for more sorbet recipes that were this fool-proof, I decided to just make the same recipe over and over--but using different fruits.

I have successfully used pineapple, strawberry, mango, and peach. I even made kiwi sorbet (but I used lime juice in place of the lemon juice for that one). It always turns out great. My husband loves to get one scoop of pineapple, one of strawberry, and one of mango and mix and match the flavors as he eats.

My only warning here is my usual warning these days...don't take short cuts. As a mom, I've experimented with shortcuts and as I mentioned in my last post, they usually backfire on me. This time, the shortcut I took was to eyeball the amount of sugar instead of measuring it out. The result? I didn't use enough sugar. So, it wasn't sweet enough and the sorbet turned into more of a granita texture-wise than a sorbet. For those of you who don't know what a granita is, it's kind of like a fruit snow cone. It's not smooth and soft like sorbet, it's icy and crunchy. Still yummy and refreshing, but it's not sorbet. I had to let the sorbet melt again and then add more sugar so that it was the right taste and texture and then I froze it again. After re-freezing, it was my wonderful yummy reliable sorbet recipe again.

The secret to making sorbet is the sugar. The sugar lowers the freezing point of the mixture so that it doesn't become rock hard like an ice cube. I have an ice cream maker, but I usually just freeze this in a freezer-safe container and then let the sorbet thaw until it is scoop-able. If you're impatient, microwave the sorbet for about a minute and then see if it's soft enough to scoop. But whether you decide to make this in an ice cream maker or not, you won't be disappointed. It is the perfect light, refreshing summer dessert.

Pineapple Sorbet


1 small pineapple, peeled and cored (see notes)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
mint sprigs, optional (see notes)


Cut pineapple into 2 inch pieces. Place lemon juice and pineapple in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth; add sugar. Add sugar; process 1 minute or until sugar dissolves.

Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Spoon sorbet into a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze 1 hour or until firm. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.

If you don't have an ice-cream freezer, use a covered metal bowl (see notes). Freeze mixture 3 hours or until it is hard on the outside, but slushy in the middle. Remove it from the freezer, beat it with a whisk until smooth, and return to the freezer, covered, for 4 hours until firm.

Nutrition Information: Serving Size=1/2 cup. 116 calories, 0.2 g fat, 0.2 g protein, 30 g carbohydrate, 0.5 g fiber, 0.0 mg cholesterol, 0.2 mg iron, 1 mg sodium, 3 mg calcium.

Source: Cooking Light (rated 5 stars!).

Notes: My rule for switching up the kind of fruit you use is that you want about one blender-full of fruit (after the fruit is blended) in place of the pineapple in the recipe.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pollo Italiano (Italian Chicken)

Above: Chicken Saltimbocca

Above: Chicken Parmigiana

I think Italian food is my favorite. Mexican food is a close second (or maybe tied). But I love Italian food with all my heart. When it comes to Italian, I usually make pasta (easy, usually economical, and a pound of pasta goes a long way). But as is evidenced by the many chicken recipes on our blog, I also love chicken--especially when it is done Italian style.

The first recipe is for Chicken Parmigiana. It is so easy, basic, and tasty. A true Italian classic. This particular recipe is an old favorite. I made it, myself, the first time at least 7 years ago. My only warning here is that I fell into the shortcut trap again. I've been so busy with two little boys lately that I keep trying to come up with cooking shortcuts. Some of the shortcuts work out, but honestly, mostly they backfire on me. The shortcut I tried here was to put all of the ingredients for the chicken breading into the blender. The result? The texture of the breading was kind of boring and it actually made it a little less flavorful this time around. I've made this a ton of times over the past seven years. Every other time, I crushed the stuffing (which is the primary ingredient for the breading) with a meat mallet and then added the other breading ingredients. This time, I got lazy...and it just didn't work. But follow the recipe as written and it is to die for. I made this for my husband's grandmother and she proclaimed that it was a recipe "for the books"--a recipe to write down, keep track of, and make again and again.

The second recipe is for Chicken Saltimbocca. I tried it for the first time just last night. My father-in-law planted some mint and sage for me because he knew I liked fresh herbs (what a sweet thing to do!). This was a fun challenge for me, because I am mostly used to using basil, rosemary, thyme, and even chives when it comes to fresh herbs. I've had some fun with the mint (I made a minted pea mash that was lovely and refreshing--I'll have to add it to the blog sometime. I also used the mint in our yummy Greek meatballs, and we used it in our herbed sodas that we made last year too). But I was honestly at a loss for what to do with the sage. I'd never cooked with sage much before. The only recipe that I had come across recently that used sage was for Chicken Saltimbocca...but for one reason or another, I kept putting off making it. Now, my only regret is that I didn't try that recipe sooner!

Oh, and do you want to know a cool thing about mint and sage? They come back every year, so you don't have to keep re-planting them and buying new plants every year. What a perk!

Pair these chicken recipes with a salad or some veggies and a side of pasta and you're set! I hope you like them.

Chicken Parmigiana


1 cup packaged herb-seasoned stuffing mix, crushed (preferably Pepperidge Farms stuffing)
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup snipped parsley
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or to taste)
2 1/2 to 3 lbs. meaty chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, etc.)--you can also use 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (which is what I usually do)
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted


In a shallow dish, combine the stuffing mix, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and garlic powder. Set aside.

Skin the chicken. Brush chicken with butter or margarine. Coat with stuffing mixture.

In a greased 15x10x1 inch or 13x9x2 inch baking pan, arrange chicken so the pieces do not touch.

Bake chicken, uncovered, in a 375 degree oven for 45-55 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in chicken registers 170 degrees F for breast meat or 180 degrees F for thigh meat. Do not turn chicken pieces while baking.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: I have no idea where my Mom found this recipe.

Notes: I usually double the breading mixture. Sure, you end up throwing some out because you have extra, but I hate it when you are trying to coat chicken and you run out of breading mixture (or it gets soggy) by the time you are trying to add breading to the last pieces of chicken.

Also, as noted in the introduction to this blog post, don't be tempted to take a shortcut and throw the breading ingredients into a blender. Crush the stuffing in a zip top bag and then stir in the other breading ingredients. It's just much more flavorful that way and the texture of the breading is a lot yummier.

Chicken Saltimbocca


1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 fresh whole sage leaves, plus
4 minced sage leaves
4 (6-8 ounce each) chicken cutlets
4 slices (3 ounces) thinly sliced prosciutto
4 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup dry white wine (or chicken broth can be used)
1/3 cup reduced sodium canned chicken broth
1 tablespoon cold butter


In a shallow bowl, stir together flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Lay one sage leaf lengthwise on each cutlet, then wrap a prosciutto slice around middle of each cutlet, encasing sage. Flatten with the palm of your hand to help prosciutto adhere to the chicken. Dredge cutlets in seasoned flour; tap off excess.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Cook 2 cutlets until golden-brown and cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove cutlets and keep warm. Repeat with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and 2 cutlets (see notes).

Add wine and broth to skillet; cook over high heat until reduced by three-quarters, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool 1 minute. Add butter and minced sage; stir until butter is melted, about 30 seconds. Spoon sauce over cutlets; serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Nutrition information: 393 calories, 12.7 g fat, 52.8 g protein, 7.1 g carbohydrates, 0.6 fiber.

Source: Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe.

Notes: I doubled the recipe, so I increased the flour dredging mixture (by more than half--I probably used a cup of flour and salt and pepper to taste). I used 6 full-size chicken breasts which I made into cutlets myself by slicing them in half lengthwise. I used one whole sage leaf per piece of chicken (so twelve, total). However, I LOVED the combination of sage, chicken, and prosciutto. Those parts made for the best bites. I think I would have used more sage--perhaps two or even three leaves per piece of chicken.

Also, I used slightly more prosciutto (probably 4 ounces for the recipe as written--or 8 ounces since I doubled it).

Since I doubled this recipe, there were a lot of batches of chicken cutlets to cook. My warning to you is to make sure to wipe the pan clean with a paper towel in-between each batch and then add the additional oil to cook the chicken in at that point. The reason for this is that the first batch will be crisp, clean, and nicely browned. But if you don't wipe out the pan, the yummy little browned bits leftover from the batch before will quickly overcook and become nasty little burned bits that can mar the taste of your final batches of chicken.

Finally, by the time I finished making the cutlets, I had cranky boys and a tired husband, so I skipped the sauce. I'm sure it would have been fantastic (as I am now in love with sage and would have liked more and more sage with my chicken). But I simply didn't have the time and energy when it came down to it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Campin' Out @ Home

Sarah saw this dessert recipe and it gave us the theme for our Sunday dinner before Independence Day. It was one of the all time yummy, love-at-first-bite desserts. Oh, and the rest of the dinner was pretty good, too. As Megan said, "I love summer food." Well, this one was a pretty easy dinner all the way.


1 1/2 lb. lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 (1 oz.) pkg onion recipe and dip soup mix
1 egg
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. plain bread crumbs
1/3 c. ketchup
1 gab (1lb. 4 oz.) refrigerated new potato wedges
3 c. ready-to-eat baby carrots
Fresh parsley, if desired

Heat gas or charcoal grill. Cut 6 (18x10 inch) sheets of heavy-duty foil; spray with cooking spray. In medium bowl, mix beef, dry soup mix, egg, milk and bread crumbs. Shape into 6 loaves (4x2.5x1 inch). Place one loaf on each foil sheet; top each with about 1 T. of the ketchup. Place about 1/2 cup potatoes and 1/2 c. carrots around each loaf.

Bring up 2 sides of foil so edges meet. Seal edges, making tight 1/2" fold; fold again, allowing space for heat circulation and expansion. Fold other sides to seal.

Place packets on grill. Cover grill; cook over medium heat 25 to 30 minutes, rotating packets 1/2 turn after 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender and meat thermometer inserted in center of loaves reads 160 degrees. Garnish with parsley if desired.

Cooks notes: I used barbecue sauce and Clayton said he would have liked it better if I had used the ketchup. Wonder of's worth the cost to use Reynolds Non-stick foil. Also, the refrigerated potatoes are good because they are semi-cooked and don't take as long as fresh potatoes to cook. This recipe came from the Betty Crocker website. They note that these can be made 24 hours ahead and refrigerated. Neat trick!


1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. thawed frozen limeade concentrate
1 T. poppyseed, if desired
12 c. cut up fresh fuit (cantaloupe, kiwifruit, pink grapefruit, watermelon, berries, grapes, etc.)
1/2 c. slivered almonds, toasted

Mix honey, limeade concentrate and poppy seed in medium bowl.
Carefully toss fruit with honey mixture.

Cooks note: This came from Betty Crocker kitchens. We didn't use the almonds (Pete's allergies) and I'm not sure I would like the nut texture with the fruit anyway. Niel freaked over the poppy seeds, but the salad was eaten up faster than most plan fruit salads I've served.


4 ears corn (kernels cut from cob)
1 c. lite coconut milk
1/4 t. salt
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1 T. lime juice
1/4 t. crushed red pepper (optional)

Combine corn kernels, coconut milk, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat to maintain an active simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the coconut milk has evaporated, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in cilantro, lime juice, and crushed red pepper, if using.

Cooks notes: This recipe came from I just used frozen corn (an economy size bag) and doubled everything else. Loved the kick from the red pepper and might even increase it a tiny bit.


1 pouch (1 lb. 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 c. butter or margarine, melted
3 c. milk chocolate chips (18 oz. or 1 1/2 pkg)
4 1/5 c. mini marshmallows

Heat over to 375 degrees. In large bowl, stir together cookie mix and crumbs. Stir in melted butter until soft dough forms. Press into ungreased 13x9" pan.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until set. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt Spread chocolate evenly over crust.

Set oven control to broil. Sprinkle marshmallows over melted chocolate. Broil with top 5 to 6 inches from heat 20 to 30 seconds or until marshmallows are toasted. (Watch closely: marshmallows will brown quickly). Cool 10 minutes. Serve warm. Store any remaining bars tightly covered. To reheat, place individual bar on a microwaveable plate. Microwave uncovered on high about 15 seconds or until warm.

Cooks note: These were on ...yes...Betty Crocker's of my favorite sites. This was a really easy recipe, one that could easily be taken to a potluck. I didn't really think they needed to be reheated. Clayton and Sean spoke dibs on the leftovers and made sure to take them home! Oh, and the pictures don't do it justice.

Friday, July 1, 2011

"Nobody--calls me--'chicken!'"

Ah, Marty McFly. We all have our weak spots and Marty McFly's weak spot (of Back to the Future fame) was being called "chicken" (or "yellow" pronounced "yellah" in the third movie). He would do all sorts of crazy things if people pushed this particular button. He just didn't want to be labeled a coward. It just took him awhile to figure out that he wouldn't be a coward by avoiding certain conflicts...he would just avoid being a fool!

One of my weak spots is the combination of chicken and mushrooms. Basically, add mushrooms to anything and I become much more interested. I love mushrooms! I just can't understand how some people don't love them (unless they have a food allergy). So, today I'm going to share two chicken recipes that also feature mushrooms. And believe me, you will be no fool for trying these recipes.

The first recipe is a new discovery made by my Mom. She didn't really expect it to be anything special, but everyone LOVED it. Seriously, it was so tasty. My sister-in-law declared that it was her new favorite chicken recipe and that she would probably request it for her birthday dinner!

The second recipe is one that I found over a year ago. It is so easy. Plus, it is one of those meals that has a built in side dish, so in my opinion, you won't need to make anything else (unless you want to have a crusty roll on the side). My only warning here is to be careful not to overcook the vegetables (otherwise they can become mushy). But make sure to read my notes at the end of that recipe for the tips I used.

Spinach and Mushroom Smothered Chicken


3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 3/4 cups sliced mushrooms
3 green onions, sliced
2 tbsp chopped pecans (see notes)
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
4 (4 oz. each) skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp rotisserie chicken seasoning (see notes)
2 slices reduced-fat provolone cheese, halved (see notes)


In a large skillet, saute the spinach, mushrooms, onions and pecans in oil until mushrooms are tender. Set aside and keep warm.

Coat grill rack with cooking spray before starting the grill. Sprinkle chicken with seasoning; grill, covered, over medium heat 4-5 minutes on each side or until chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear.

Top with cheese. Cover and grill 2-3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. To serve, top each chicken breast with reserved spinach mixture.

Source: Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook

Makes 4 servings.

Notes: We used regular provolone cheese (we couldn't find reduced fat). We excluded the pecans as well since my son is allergic to all tree nuts (sniff, sniff. I miss nuts so much! But of course his safety is more important!) Also, my Mom used Kroger brand chicken/poultry seasoning and it was sooooo good. It wasn't anything fancy, but it added so much flavor to the chicken. Finally, you could broil the chicken instead of grilling it, if you prefer. It would take the same amount of time if you broiled it in the oven on high. If you want further broiling directions, refer to the recipe below (as it broils the chicken as opposed to grilling it).

Broiled Chicken Breasts with Vegetable Saute


1 tsp garlic powder (see notes)
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp black pepper, divided
4 (6 oz each) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Cooking spray
1 tbsp olive oil
1 (8 oz) pkg pre-sliced mushrooms
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced (about 5 ounces)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped plum tomato
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
4 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/ cup (1 oz) grated fresh Parmesan cheese


Preheat broiler.

Combine garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper in a small bowl; sprinkle chicken with garlic powder mixture. Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray, and broil 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

*Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1/44 tsp salt, mushrooms, zucchini, and minced garlic; saute 2 minutes. Add remaining 1/8 tsp pepper, tomato, onion, basil, and vinegar; saute 3 minutes. Serve vegetable mixture over chicken; sprinkle with cheese.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size 1 chicken breast half, 1/2 cup vegetables, 1 tbsp cheese).

Nutrition information: 284 calories, 7.3 g fat, 44.4 g protein, 9.4 g carbs, 2.2 g fiber, 103 mg cholesterol, 2.2 mg iron, 88 mg sodium, 106 mg calcium.

Source: Cooking Light Chicken cookbook. ISBN: 0-8487-3063-1

Notes: First of all, notice that one serving (1 chicken breast and a 1/2 cup of vegetables) is less than 300 calories! Since it was so light, I increase the vegetables. I would recommend doubling or even tripling the vegetables and serving 1-1 1/2 cups of vegetables with each chicken breast.

I would also recommend being much more generous with the garlic powder than the 1 tsp that the recipe calls for. Personally, I would add garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste (which for my taste, is a lot more than what the recipe calls for). Also, I didn't use a broiler pan (I hate cleaning those!). I used a foil-lined jelly roll pan. I personally also recommend changing the order in which you cook the vegetables. From my experience, I found that when I cooked it in the order that the recipe stated, I ended up with zucchini and tomatoes that were cooked more than I would have liked them to be (and onion that wasn't cooked as much as I like!).

Here's how I prefer to do it instead (and how I would do it if I were you!):

*Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1/4 tsp salt (or salt to taste), 1/8 tsp pepper (or pepper to taste), minced garlic, and onion. Saute until onion is tender. Add mushrooms and saute until tender. Add zucchini and saute to desired tenderness (I like my zucchini a little more firm--just slightly sauteed). Add tomato, basil, and vinegar and saute just until the tomatoes are warmed through, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly, if needed (You can add more salt, pepper, or even more garlic powder, if you like). Serve vegetable mixture over chicken; sprinkle with cheese.