Chicken parmesan meatloaf muffins

Two 'muffin'-sized meatloaves made of ground chicken and seasonings are topped with homemade marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Served with cauliflower risotto.I love chicken parmesan when I go out to eat, but I’ve been avoiding it due to the elevated sodium levels I know the sauce will undoubtedly have, the breading on the chicken, etc. I’ve been learning that some of my favourites from restaurants over the years are not the healthiest of choices and tend to have a million calories, two million grams of fat and an ungodly amount of sodium. Chicken parmesan is no exception, sadly.

But does this mean I have to swear off of it? No! Why not make my own and adjust things to fit my dietary needs? I’ll save my waistline from expanding (or my feet!) and save my pocketbook too!

I had a craving for it one night but didn’t have any chicken breasts to make it myself. What did I have? Ground chicken. What could I do with that? Well, I make beef meatloaf ‘muffins’ all the time, so why not do the same with the chicken? They’d have bread crumbs worked into them, using a similar theme to chicken parmesan. And heck, I have light parmesan in the fridge at all times! If I made up my own sauce, I could control the sodium considerably. So I went to work on it and here’s what I did:

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Canada Day breakfast: chicken maple sausage patties

A plate holds two maple chicken sausage patties overlapping each other with a side of tomato slices.HAPPY CANADA DAY!

Why not celebrate with two posts in one day? 🙂

I had a surplus of extra lean ground chicken in my fridge this weekend and knew I needed to cook some of it up today (along with the roast which is already in my slow-cooker). I could make burgers for lunch, but then, I hadn’t had breakfast yet. Canada Day without breakfast?! How about brunch? Even better!

By noon, I had whipped up two pounds of this ground chicken into 18 chicken sausage patties based on Sophy’s Chicken Maple Sausage Patties #1 recipe on Spark Recipes. My version is very similar, but I made a few adjustments based on what I had on hand and dietary needs.

Three tablespoons of maple syrup bumped up the sugar content a bit more than I wanted, so I cut back, for example, and still found that we could taste the maple-y sweetness in  them. We’re also not fans of cayenne, so I omitted that and the coriander because I didn’t have any on hand. But what a special way to celebrate Canada Day, imo!

Here’s how I made mine:

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Lower-carb / lower-sodium adventures: chili stew

A bowl of chili stewI’m sure that I’ve probably posted my chili/chili stew before somewhere, but let me state for the record that it is not what most people think of when they think of chili. It’s more of a stew or soup with chili seasonings. I throw all kinds of vegetables into it and there are no beans.

But lately, I’ve been watching my sodium intake and carbs, so I’ve been  changing some of my old favourites up, as mentioned in previous posts. For this one, I focused on cutting right back on the sodium. Did you know, for example, that 1/2 a cup of diced tomatoes from a can generally has about 450-500 mg of sodium, but the same amount from a ‘no salt added’ can of tomatoes may only have 20-30 mg? It’s a HUGE difference! It allows you the room to regulate the salt how you’d like it, rather than dealing with all that sodium right from the start.

I managed to get my chili stew to the point of only being about 170 mg of sodium per 1 cup serving, which means I could have two servings if I wanted to! 😉

Here’s what I did:

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Low-carb adventures: A new spin on Shepherd’s Pie (sweet potato-style!)

A bowl full of Shepherd's Pie made with ground chicken and sweet potatoI come from an English-Irish upbringing. Shepherd’s Pie was a bit of a staple in our house when I was growing up. You know, that English-Irish-Scottish-whatever type of casserole designed to use up leftovers? I’m not talking about the traditional one that’s done with a lamb mince.

I’m talking about the kind that your mom would whip up with the leftover mashed potatoes and veggies from the night before with some seasoned ground beef because it was a) economical and b) the only way she’d get the kids (you) to eat leftovers. 😉

Needless to say, I love Shepherd’s Pie, or at least the North American version of it. The only problem is, I don’t make it too often because we try to limit how often we’re eating red meat (especially of the ground persuasion) and with the starchy potatoes, it’s not exactly the healthiest of dishes.

Not wanting to give it up entirely in my quest to eat healthy, I had a bit of an epiphany. I had some sweet potatoes in the cupboard and ground chicken in the fridge that needed to be cooked up; why not do some substitutions? I had no idea how it would turn out, but here’s what I did.

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Low-carb adventures: Homemade chicken sausage patties

A breakfast plate of chicken sausages, an egg, half of an English muffin and some raspberries.As previously mentioned, I’m trying to watch my eating habits a bit more than I have in the recent past but I’ve found myself craving my old stand-bys. So this was a recipe I tried out of a craving for sausage. I had some ground chicken in the fridge and figured I’d give it a go. Surely, this would also mean the sausages would be lower in sodium, as they’re not pre-processed.

These are based on Rachel Ray’s Chicken Sausage Patties recipe on the Food Network’s website. The only adjustment I made was instead of pan-frying them, I popped them in my George Foreman grill for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway through (as mine cooks hotter on the top than the bottom for some reason, so one side gets brown faster than the other).

Pop over to the Food Network’s site to check out the recipe. Hers says it makes up to 12 patties. I somehow got 15. And the nutrition values below are per patty.

I definitely give this one the two-thumbs up!

Nutrition Info

Serving: 1 patty

Calories: 112
Carbs: 2g
Fat: 5g
Protein: 15g
Sodium: 166mg
Sugars: 1g

Low-carb adventures: chicken patty w/light Caesar salad

A chicken patty on a plate with a Caesar salad beside it.Recently, I’ve been trying to cut back here or there on my carbs. Due to my mother’s diabetes and my obesity (and therefore being in the danger zone), I figured it was a good move to make. So I’ve been browsing the diabetes-friendly recipes online and found this really interesting one: Chicken Caesar Burger at Taste of Home.

The idea intrigued me but I didn’t want the big white hamburger bun. I had bought some whole wheat English muffins, but I got to re-thinking that idea. I thought, Why do I need a bun?? So I considered deconstructing the recipe ever so slightly and presenting the patty next to a Caesar salad.

So, that’s what I did and boy, am I full! They were very filling and very satisfying. I was full after one patty and my salad. I only made a slight change to the patty recipe: I didn’t add the second bit of parmesan cheese to the top of  the patty and I didn’t have fresh garlic, so I used a teaspoon of garlic powder.

The recipe itself was extremely easy to follow. Everything for the burger goes into one bowl to be mixed, while the salad stuff is mixed in another. Grill these up on your indoor grill and within 6-8 minutes, they’re done (just make sure that the internal temp is at least 160F). I think the whole process took no more than 15 minutes to throw it together and cook. While the patties cook, make the salad. And the patties are very large, being 1/4 pound a piece.

The salad was about 2 cups of romaine lettuce, 3 slices of ready-made bacon (chopped and quickly cooked up in a non-stick pan), the parmesan I didn’t put on the burgers and some Renee’s fat free Caesar salad dressing.

Delicious! Even hubby agrees! I’d recommend this to anyone.

Nutritional Info

Serving: 1 patty

Cal: 298
Carbs: 4g
Fat: 12g
Sodium: 717mg
Sugars: 2g