Chicken-Veggie Quesadillas with Ranch Yogurt Sauce
This recipe is part of “The SparkPeople Cookbook.” Order your copy today! This is a great kids’ meal, or cut each quesadilla into eight pieces for an appetizer. This recipe is part of “The SparkPeople Cookbook.” Order your copy today! This is a great kids’ meal, or cut each quesadilla into eight pieces for an appetizer.
Want three more new-to-you sneak-peek recipes from “The SparkPeople Cookbook”? Click here!
- 1⁄4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 tsp Ranch Seasoning Blend
12 ounces boneless and skinless chicken
1 tsp canola oil
2 red or orange bell peppers, top and
bottom removed, cored and seeded
4 whole-wheat tortillas
2 tomatoes, diced
1⁄2 cup shredded Monterey or pepper Jack
the yogurt and 1⁄2 teaspoon of the seasoning
blend. Cover and chill in the refrigerator.
2. Place the chicken into a plastic bag. Using a
meat mallet or rolling pin, pound out the meat
to 1⁄4-inch thickness. Add oil and remaining seasoning
blend to the bag. Marinate meat 10 minutes
or up to 8 hours.
3. Place a cast-iron skillet or nonstick skillet
over moderate heat. Once warmed, add the
peppers. Sear the peppers by pressing down
on them, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, let
cool slightly, and dice.
4. Place the chicken in the skillet, and cook over
moderate-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn,
and continue to cook until internal temperature
reaches 165° F, about 5 minutes more. Remove
the meat from the skillet, let cool slightly, and
dice. Wipe out the skillet with paper towels.
5. Reheat the skillet to moderate heat. Build the
quesadillas one at a time by placing a tortilla
in the pan, then layering on half of the chicken,
peppers, tomatoes, and cheese. Top with
a second tortilla and cook for 2 minutes on
each side until the cheese melts. Remove the
cooked quesadilla to a cutting board. To serve,
cut each quesadilla in half, with a pizza wheel
if you have one.
Snacktime! Healthy FIlling Snacks for 200 cals
You’ll need to pick up a copy of “The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight” to access the recipes, but we will share some sneak peeks this week—and you can easily add recipes from the cookbook to your SparkPeople Nutrition Tracker, too!
In recent years, dietitians, doctors, and researchers have rethought the “no eating between meals” rule. Snacks are important, especially when you live an active life or are trying to lose weight. If you go hours on end without eating, your blood sugar will drop, your stomach will grumble, and you’ll start to get grouchy—and you’ll ultimately eat your way through whatever’s in the kitchen. Eating every few hours keeps your hunger levels down so you can control your appetite and prevent overeating. Healthy snacks help keep blood sugar levels in check and keep your energy up.
Just a few well-timed bites have a big impact. That’s why we included so many snack tips and recipes in “The SparkPeople Cookbook.” It’s almost snacktime…
- Creamy, Tangy Tomato Bruschetta (141 calories)
- Tabbouleh (179 calories)
- Multi Grain Roll with 1 tablespoon each peanut butter and all-fruit spread (205 calories)
- Coach Nicole’s Fresh Guacamole with baked tortilla chips and 1/2 cup cucumber slices (206 calories)
- Baked Sunburst Fries with Spicy Yogurt Sauce (176 calories)
- Sweet and Spicy Pecans with 1/4 cup dried cranberries (191 calories)
- Caramel Popcorn with 1/2 ounce dry-roasted peanuts (199 calories)
- SparkGuy’s Best Trail Mix (158 calories)
- Berry Oatmeal Bars (159 calories)
- Tomato Jam on 1 slice whole wheat bread with 1 tablespoon low-fat cream cheese (183 calories)
Poached Ginger Chicken
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 3/4 to 2 pounds)
- Kosher salt
- 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled
- 1 large shallot
- 4 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced, or 1 small daikon radish, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce (such as sambal oelek)
- 1 bunch watercress, trimmed
- Juice of 1 lime
Put the chicken in a medium pot with just enough water to cover; add 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat and cook until the chicken is firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of salted ice water. Drain the chicken and plunge into the ice water for about 30 seconds to stop the cooking. Drain again.
Toss the cucumber and radishes with the chili sauce, 3/4 teaspoon salt, the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon sugar in a large bowl. Add the watercress and toss.
Divide the salad among plates. Slice the chicken and add to the plates, then top with the ginger mixture. Drizzle with the lime juice.
Per serving: Calories 432; Fat 23 g (Saturated 4 g); Cholesterol 118 mg; Sodium 614 mg; Carbohydrate 9 g; Fiber 2 g; Protein 47 g
Photograph by Antonis Achilleos
Steamed Vegetables With Roasted Chickpeas
Total Time: 50 minPrep20 minCook30 min
- 1 small kabocha or buttercup squash (about 2 pounds), seeded and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
- 1/2 head cauliflower, sliced into florets
- 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- 4 cups snow peas (about 8 ounces)
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- Freshly ground pepper
- Cooked brown rice, for serving (optional)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh mint
- Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Place the squash, cauliflower and ginger in a large steamer basket over a saucepan of simmering water and season with salt. Cover and steam until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Add the snow peas, remove the pan from the heat and keep covered until the peas are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, toast the coriander seeds in a skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sesame oil and increase the heat to medium-high. Add the chickpeas and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and scallions; remove from the heat.
Divide the vegetables among plates, over rice if desired. Spoon the chickpea mixture on top and garnish with the mint and sesame seeds.
- Per serving (without rice): Calories 368; Fat 16 g (Saturated 6 g);
- Cholesterol 23 mg; Sodium 795 mg; Carbohydrate 46 g; Fiber 11 g; Protein 11 g
Photograph by Antonis Achilleos
Vegetable Meatloaf with Balsamic Glaze
Total Time: 2 hr 5 minPrep20 minInactive10 minCook1 hr 35 min
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small zucchini, finely diced
- 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed to a paste with coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (90 percent lean)
- 1 cup panko (coarse Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the zucchini, bell peppers, garlic paste and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables are almost soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Whisk the egg and fresh herbs in a large bowl. Add the turkey, panko, grated cheese, 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and the cooled vegetables; mix until just combined.
Gently press the mixture into a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes in a small bowl; brush the mixture over the entire loaf. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Per serving: Calories 270; Fat 14 g (Sat. 4.2 g; Mono. 6.3 g; Poly. 3.1 g); Cholesterol 104 mg; Sodium 451 mg; Carbohydrate 16 g; Fiber 1 g; Protein 20 g
Photograph by Con Poulos
Chicken Zucchini Alredo
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 zucchini, thinly sliced into half-moons
- 4 4-ounce thin skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- Freshly ground pepper
- 12 ounces fettuccine (preferably whole wheat)
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cold low-fat milk (1%)
- 1/2 cup evaporated nonfat milk
- 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 clove garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the zucchini, cover and cook until tender, stirring, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Heat another tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Cook the pasta in the boiling water as the label directs. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water; return the pasta to the pot.
Meanwhile, whisk the flour and low-fat milk in a bowl. Place the remaining 1 clove garlic and 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, 30 seconds. Add the flour-milk mixture and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add the evaporated milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cheese; stir to melt, 1 minute.
Cut the chicken into strips. Toss with the pasta, sauce, zucchini and parsley, adding the reserved pasta water to loosen.
Per serving: Calories 680; Fat 18 g (Saturated 5 g); Cholesterol 85 mg; Sodium 820 mg; Carbohydrate 79 g; Fiber 3 g; Protein 49 g
Photograph by Stephanie Foley
- Cooking spray
- 2 cups (4 ounces) fresh broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Gruyere cheese
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 4 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup low-fat evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Preheat the broiler. Mist a shallow rectangular baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until bright green and crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well and run under cold water until cold. Drain well again and squeeze dry in paper towels.
Chop the broccoli and toss in a bowl with the Gruyere and garlic. Insert a paring knife into the thickest part of each chicken breast to make a 3-inch deep pocket. Stuff each chicken breast with equal amounts of the broccoli mixture. Rub both sides of the chicken breasts with oil and thyme and season with salt and pepper.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 5 minutes. Put the chicken in the pan and cook until golden brown and just cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. If the chicken begins to brown too quickly, turn the heat down to medium to finish cooking through. Transfer to the baking dish.
Meanwhile, combine the milk and stock in a small pot, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir the sherry and cornstarch until smooth and pour, whisking constantly, into the sauce. Cook until just thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan. Top each chicken breast with 2 tablespoons of sauce and place under the broiler. Broil until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes and then cut each breast in half on an angle. Whisk the mustard into the remaining sauce and spread a few tablespoons on each plate. Top with a halved chicken breast.
Nutritional analysis per serving
Calories 347; Total Fat 11g (Sat Fat 5.1g, Mono Fat 3.9g, Poly Fat 1.1g) ; Protein 50g; Carb 10g; Fiber 1g; Cholesterol 126.5mg; Sodium 433.5mg
Italian for Dinner By Rikki Snyder
by Rikki Snyder