The Perfect Diabetes Comfort Food Collection: 9 Essential Recipes You Need To Create 90 Amazing Complete Meals

Chapter 2: Chicken

Master Chicken Sear

Master Poached Chicken

Scallion and Ginger Sauce with Seared Chicken

Apple Cider Chicken

Provençal Chicken

Classic Chicken Salad

Fruited Chicken Salad

Asian Chicken Salad

Basic Grilled Chicken Thighs

Chicken Marinades

The Principles of Chicken Preparation

Chicken is recognizable, comforting, and available everywhere. While we may drool over photographs of elaborately prepared delicacies, it is chicken that has always weathered the storm through the latest culinary trends. Ask someone their favorite food memory and chances are they will mention their mother’s succulent, crisp roast chicken. Like basic black, chicken can be dressed up or served simply, but no matter what, it probably appears on the dinner plate more frequently than any other protein.

So the challenge in preparing a great piece of chicken is to cook it just right so it’s not boring or overly fussed with. Yes, I’d say chicken is the perfect blank canvas; you have unlimited flavor possibilities and with the right cooking techniques, chicken’s neutrality becomes its advantage and allows for some terrific and varied meals.

Your results will be better if you begin with high-quality poultry. It’s certainly up to you (and your budget) which type of chicken you prefer, but I always lean toward organic chicken. Although “organic” and “free-range” chicken are loosely defined, I try to buy my chicken at our local farmers market each week. The taste is wonderful and certainly better than some of the off-color and fatty birds I’ve purchased in the past at the grocery store.

One of the greatest features of keeping poultry on your cooking calendar, is that it freezes beautifully. Go ahead and stock up on chicken when it’s on sale. Just remove the chicken from its original packaging, wrap in butcher paper, and seal in a Ziploc bag. Use chicken within 2 months for best freshness. Once chicken has been thawed, it will keep up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

The best way to defrost the chicken is to simply remove it from the freezer and place in the refrigerator for overnight thawing. Be sure to place the chicken within a container to prevent any juices from spilling out onto the refrigerator shelves. If you decide to speed up the process and thaw the chicken in the microwave or in a cold water bath, cook the chicken immediately. By either method, the chicken may have temporarily warmed up to a temperature above 40°F, and harmful bacteria may begin to multiply. Cooking will be required to destroy it.

To wash or not to wash chicken? When you wash chicken prior to it being cooked, you can end up accidentally distributing bacteria on surfaces all over your kitchen, including the sink, kitchen utensils, counters, and cutting boards. The bacteria that is present on raw chicken, if any, will be destroyed when it is cooked. Cleaning and disinfecting cutting utensils, cutting boards, and counters is the best way to guard against bacteria in chicken.

In this chapter, I’ll show you three methods for cooking chicken that I think every home cook should master. You’ll learn to properly sear, poach, and grill chicken. These three techniques will give you endless menu options. Let’s look at each method in depth:

Searing

The purpose of searing is to create an intense layer of flavor where the proteins brown or caramelize. The result is a very flavorful piece of meat. It’s a common myth that searing seals in the juices. It actually doesn’t do that at all. The chicken will develop a crusty outside that has tons of flavor, but it’s just as easy to dry out a seared piece of chicken as one that is not seared.

To sear chicken properly:

• Make sure the pan is very hot, just under the point of actual smoking. Use a cast iron or stainless steel pan for the best results. Nonstick is a poor choice for these recipes, as the chicken needs to leave residue in the pan to be incorporated into the sauce. You also simply cannot heat a nonstick pan safely to the temperature needed for a proper sear.

• Make sure the chicken is very dry. Pat it with paper towel, if necessary (I leave marinated chicken for grilling).

• Add oil to the pan and then add the chicken. You should hear a loud sizzle. If you don’t, remove the chicken and wait until the pan is hot enough. Be patient!

• Do not move or flip the chicken for at least 3 minutes. If you flip or move the chicken around you lessen the amount of heat, which means you have to wait longer for the chicken to develop a good sear, or at worse, you’ll never sear it at all.

• After 3–4 minutes, flip the chicken and check to see that you have a golden brown surface.

• After the chicken has been seared properly, it is flavorful to eat it as is; however, I prefer searing to be the first step to making a flavorful sauce to pair with the chicken. The tasty residue chicken leaves behind in the pan is perfect for making a flavorful sauce.

Poaching

Some home cooks go one step beyond the gentle moist heat of proper poaching to rapid boiling to cook chicken. Unless you want dried-out bites of chicken, poaching is the only way to produce a silken-textured chicken that is perfect for chicken salads and casseroles. Poaching prevents the proteins in the chicken from contracting tightly. When the proteins tighten, it squeezes the moisture out of the chicken, and takes all of the flavor with it.

To poach chicken properly:

• Start with a flavorful broth. Use chicken stock or water and then add peppercorns, garlic, and/or celery leaves. You can also add pieces of onion and parsley stems, if desired. Adding a tablespoon of white wine will also round out the flavor of the broth.

• Bring the mixture to a simmer to allow the flavors to infuse.

• Bring the liquid to a boil, turn off the heat, and add the chicken. Cover with a lid and the chicken will gently poach in this hot liquid for 10–12 minutes, with no chance of becoming rubbery, and will remain moist and tender.

• Use this poaching method for making chicken salads, casseroles, or to just eat with a simple sauce.

Grilling

For grilling chicken, here is the basic rule —choose only bone-in, chicken thighs. Save the chicken breasts for poaching or searing. Grilled chicken thighs work the very best on the grill, just remember to take the skin off before eating it. And bone-in chicken thighs are the most economical part of the chicken. The thigh bones continuously feed flavor to the meat and the darker meat stays moist and juicy at high grilling temperatures.

• Coat your grill rack with cooking spray or oil it well using a brush. This will avoid the chicken sticking to the grill.

• Make sure the grill comes to a medium-high temperature. Too hot a fire causes rubbery, stringy chicken.

• Start with grilling the thighs using direct heat (uncovered) for 8–10 minutes per side and then switch to indirect (covered) heat for 10–12 minutes per side. This combination ensures the outside will brown nicely, but the meat will remain moist.

• Resist the urge to keep flipping the thighs or moving them around. Not only will the non-stick spray prevent stickiness, but also leaving the chicken alone will keep it from sticking to the grill.

• I prefer the use of marinades rather than slathering on a BBQ sauce. If you want to use BBQ sauce, make your own or use a low-sugar variety. And remember to add the BBQ sauce in the last 10 minutes of the cooking process, otherwise the sauce will cause the chicken to burn easily.

• Clean your grill after cooking chicken to remove any grease and excess bits. You don’t have to clean it perfectly; a little leftover residue can impart a great flavor to the next batch of food to be grilled, but avoid a massive pile-up of leftover chicken bits.

Master Chicken Sear

Serves: 4 | Serving size: 1 breast or thigh

Cook time: 6–8 minutes

For Boneless Breasts and Thighs

1. Season 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.

2. In a 12–14-inch heavy skillet, preferably cast iron or stainless (NOT nonstick), heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive or canola oil over medium-high heat.

3. Add the chicken and sear until well browned on both sides for 3–4 minutes per side for the breasts, 2–3 minutes for the thighs.

4. Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent with foil.

5. Choose and prepare one of the sauce recipes.

6. Return the chicken and accumulated juices to the skillet and simmer gently until cooked through, about 4–5 minutes.

TO TEST: Chicken should feel firm to the touch. Using closed tongs, press on the center of the chicken. It should feel firm. Alternately, you may make a very small incision in the center of the meat and check to be sure the meat is cooked through with no traces of pink.

For Bone-In Breasts and Thighs

Follow step 1, but instead of removing the chicken to a plate, transfer the chicken to a baking sheet. Roast the chicken at 375°F for about 10–15 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Add back to the skillet with the sauce and cook for 3–4 minutes more.

Exchanges / Choices: 3 Protein, lean; 1 Fat

Calories 180; Calories from Fat 90; Total Fat 10.0 g; Saturated Fat 2.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 85 mg; Sodium 120 mg; Potassium 200 mg; Total Carbohydrate 0 g; Dietary Fiber 0 g; Sugars 0 g; Protein 21 g; Phosphorus 170 mg;

Master Poached Chicken

Master Poached Chicken

Serves: 4 | Serving size: 1 breast | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 20–22 minutes

3 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth or water

1 bay leaf

Handful celery leaves

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 peeled and smashed garlic clove

3 tablespoons dry white wine

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1. Add the chicken broth or water, bay leaf, celery leaves, peppercorns, garlic, and wine to a skillet with lid. Bring to simmer, uncovered, and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Raise the heat to boil, then turn off the heat. Add the chicken to the pot and cover with a lid. Let the chicken sit in the hot liquid for 10–12 minutes until cooked through.

3. With a slotted spoon or skimmer, remove the chicken from the liquid and place on a cutting board.

4. The chicken is now ready to be sliced, cubed, or shredded into various dishes. You may also serve the chicken uncut with a sauce.

Exchanges / Choices: 3 Protein, lean

Calories 130; Calories from Fat 20; Total Fat 2.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.7 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 65 mg; Sodium 70 mg; Potassium 160 mg; Total Carbohydrate 0 g; Dietary Fiber 0 g; Sugars 0 g; Protein 24 g; Phosphorus 140 mg

Scallion and Ginger Sauce with Seared Chicken

Scallion and Ginger Sauce with Seared Chicken

Serves: 4 | Serving size: 1 breast or thigh | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 8 minutes + time to prepare Master Chicken Sear

Scallion and ginger sauce is so versatile; you can use it over salmon, pork, or stir it into steamed vegetables. When mincing scallions, be sure to use all of the scallion, right up to the root end. Grate the entire amount of ginger called for below; the taste will be deep and rich.

Master Chicken Sear

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

1/4 cup minced scallions

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

3/4 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

Chopped scallions (for garnish)

1. Sear chicken as in Master Recipe, using breasts or thighs, boneless or bone in. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to the pan over medium heat.

2. Add the scallions, garlic, and ginger. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth, vinegar, hoisin sauce, and sugar and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes.

3. Return the chicken and juices to the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 4 minutes.

Exchanges / Choices: 1/2 Carbohydrate; 3 Protein, lean; 1 Fat

Calories 220; Calories from Fat 110; Total Fat 12.0 g; Saturated Fat 2.2 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 85 mg; Sodium 360 mg; Potassium 290 mg; Total Carbohydrate 7 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 4 g; Protein 22 g; Phosphorus 190 mg

Sides

Brown Rice

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup cooked brown rice

1. Cook brown rice according to package directions.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 1/2 Starch

Calories 110; Calories from Fat 10; Total Fat 1.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.2 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 40 mg; Total Carbohydrate 22 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 0 g; Protein 3 g; Phosphorus 80 mg

Asparagus Spears

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 6 spears

6 spears steamed asparagus

1. Steam asparagus spears for 6–8 minutes and serve alongside chicken and brown rice.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

Calories 20; Calories from Fat 0; Total Fat 0.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 15 mg; Potassium 200 mg; Total Carbohydrate 4 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 1 g; Protein 2 g; Phosphorus 50 mg

Apple Cider Chicken

Serves: 4 | Serving size: 1 breast or thigh | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 10–12 minutes + time to prepare Master Chicken Sear

This is a great dish to prepare in the fall and around the holidays. When you tire of turkey, change to this chicken recipe chock full of tart Granny Smith apples. If you can’t find fresh cider, substitute unsweetened, unfiltered apple juice.

Master Chicken Sear

1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced

1/4 cup minced shallots

2 teaspoons fresh minced thyme

1/2 cup apple cider

1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1. Sear chicken as in Master Recipe using chicken breasts or thighs, boneless or bone-in.

2. Add the oil to the pan on medium heat. Add the apples, shallots, and thyme to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add the apple cider and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook for 3 minutes.

3. Return the chicken and juices to the skillet and reduce to low. Simmer for 4 minutes. Add in the sour cream and parsley and serve.

Exchanges / Choices: 1/2 Fruit; 3 Protein, lean; 1 1/2 Fat

Calories 240; Calories from Fat 110; Total Fat 12.0 g; Saturated Fat 2.7 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 85 mg; Sodium 150 mg; Potassium 340 mg; Total Carbohydrate 10 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 7 g; Protein 22 g; Phosphorus 200 mg

Sides

Garden Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Serves: 8 | Serving size: 1 cup | Prep time: 7 minutes | Cook time: 4 minutes

3/4 cup walnuts 

2 tablespoons sugar

Dressing

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon coarse Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey or sugar

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salad 

5 cups mixed greens

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

2 large carrots, peeled and grated

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1. In a small sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat, toss the walnuts with the sugar for 3 to 4 minutes or until the sugar melts and caramelizes. Make sure the nuts do not burn. Remove the nuts from the pan and let cool.

2. In a large bowl, combine dressing ingredients and whisk well.

3. Add the salad ingredients to the dressing and quickly toss together. Serve on individual plates. Top with the nuts.

Exchanges / Choices: 1/2 Carbohydrate; 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 2 1/2 Fat

Calories 160; Calories from Fat 120; Total Fat 13.0 g; Saturated Fat 1.4 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 105 mg; Potassium 250 mg; Total Carbohydrate 11 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 7 g; Protein 3 g; Phosphorus 65 mg

Broccoli

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup steamed broccoli or broccolini

1. Steam broccoli or broccolini for 4–5 minutes until crisp and tender, and serve alongside Apple Cider Chicken and the salad.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

Calories 25; Calories from Fat 5; Total Fat 0.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.1 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 30 mg; Potassium 230 mg; Total Carbohydrate 6 g; Dietary Fiber 3 g; Sugars 1 g; Protein 2 g; Phosphorus 50 mg

Provençal Chicken

Serves: 4 | Serving size: 1 breast or thigh | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 10–12 minutes + time to prepare Master Chicken Sear

Much more flavorful than chicken with tomato sauce, this is a great balance of sweet and savory, just perfect to dress up chicken’s blank canvas.

Master Chicken Sear

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste

1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1/4 cup fresh chopped basil

2 tablespoons black olives, chopped

1. Sear the chicken as in Master Recipe using breasts or thighs, boneless or bone-in.

2. Add the oil to the skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, and anchovy paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth, wine, and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook for 4–6 minutes.

3. Return the chicken to the skillet and juices. Simmer for 4 minutes. Add in the basil and olives and serve.

Exchanges / Choices: 2 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 3 Protein, lean; 1 1/2 Fat

Calories 240; Calories from Fat 110; Total Fat 12.0 g; Saturated Fat 2.3 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 85 mg; Sodium 360 mg; Potassium 490 mg; Total Carbohydrate 8 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 4 g; Protein 23 g; Phosphorus 215 mg

Sides

Broccoli

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup steamed broccoli or broccolini

1. Steam broccoli or broccolini for 4–5 minutes until crisp and tender, and serve alongside Provençal Chicken and orzo.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

Calories 25; Calories from Fat 5; Total Fat 0.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.1 g;

Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 30 mg; Potassium 230 mg;

Total Carbohydrate 6 g; Dietary Fiber 3 g; Sugars 1 g; Protein 2 g; Phosphorus 50 mg

Orzo

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup whole-wheat orzo

1. Cook according to package directions.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch

Calories 90; Calories from Fat 5; Total Fat 0.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.1 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 30 mg; Total Carbohydrate 18 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 1 g; Protein 4 g; Phosphorus 60 mg

Classic Chicken Salad

Serves: 5 | Serving size: 1 cup | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: time to prepare Master Poached Chicken

Simple can be a good thing. Although I’ll branch out and add more ingredients in the next two chicken salads, you can never go wrong with this simple salad. The perfect chicken salad has only enough dressing to lightly coat it, so there’s no need for this to swim in heavy mayonnaise.

1 recipe Master Poached Chicken, cooled

1/4 cup minced red onion

1/4 cup minced celery

2 tablespoons minced parsley

2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise

1 tablespoon plain nonfat yogurt

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Lettuce leaves

Wedges of lemon or lime

1. Slice, cube, or shred the poached chicken and add to a serving bowl.

2. Add in the remaining ingredients, except lettuce leaves and lemon, and toss gently. Serve on lettuce leaves with lemon or lime wedges.

Exchanges / Choices: 3 Protein, lean

Calories 120; Calories from Fat 20; Total Fat 2.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.6 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 50 mg; Sodium 160 mg; Potassium 180 mg; Total Carbohydrate 3 g; Dietary Fiber 0 g; Sugars 1 g; Protein 20 g; Phosphorus 125 mg

Sides

Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

Serves: 11 | Serving size: 1 1/2 cups | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 6 minutes

7 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

1 small head romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and broken into bite-sized pieces

10 large white mushrooms, cleaned, peeled, if necessary, stemmed, and sliced

Dressing

4 slices lean bacon (40% or more less fat), chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1. Toss together the spinach, lettuce, and mushrooms.

2. Cook the bacon in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until crisp. Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, vinegar, sugar, and tomato paste. Stir to blend and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Toss salad with dressing and serve.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

Calories 40; Calories from Fat 10; Total Fat 1.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.3 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 80 mg; Potassium 300 mg; Total Carbohydrate 5 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 3 g; Protein 3 g; Phosphorus 50 mg

Apple

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1 apple

1 (4-ounce) apple, sliced

1. Slice apple and serve alongside Chicken Salad and spinach salad.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Fruit

Calories 50; Calories from Fat 0; Total Fat 0.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 110 mg; Total Carbohydrate 14 g; Dietary Fiber 3 g; Sugars 11 g; Protein 0 g; Phosphorus 10 mg

Fruited Chicken Salad

Fruited Chicken Salad

Serves: 8 | Serving size: 2/3 cup | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: time to prepare Master Poached Chicken

You’ll get your fiber-rich fruit and protein together in this lunch salad—or serve it for a light dinner. Any apple variety will work; however, I think sweet Gala tempers the slightly gamey flavor of the poultry.

1 recipe Master Poached Chicken

2 small gala apples, unpeeled and diced

1/2 cup halved red seedless grapes

1/4 cup sliced dried apricots

1/4 cup dried cherries

2 celery stalks, diced

1/4 cup minced red onion

2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise

2 tablespoons plain, nonfat yogurt

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Cut the chicken into cubes or slices.

2. In a large bowl, combine the chicken with the apples, grapes, apricots, cherries, celery, and onion.

3. Gently fold in the mayonnaise, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to meld flavors.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Fruit; 2 Protein, lean

Calories 130; Calories from Fat 15; Total Fat 1.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.4 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 30 mg; Sodium 220 mg; Potassium 260 mg; Total Carbohydrate 16 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 12 g; Protein 13 g; Phosphorus 120 mg

Sides

Whole-Wheat Crackers

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1 ounce

1 ounce baked whole-wheat crackers, such as Triscuits or Wheat Thins

1. Serve with chicken salad and tomato slices.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 1 Fat

Calories 130; Calories from Fat 40; Total Fat 4.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.8 g; Trans Fat 0.1 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 180 mg; Potassium 105 mg; Total Carbohydrate 20 g; Dietary Fiber 3 g; Sugars 2 g; Protein 3 g; Phosphorus 95 mg

Tomato Slices

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1 tomato

1 small tomato

1. Slice and serve with chicken salad and crackers.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

Calories 25; Calories from Fat 5; Total Fat 0.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 5 mg; Potassium 330 mg; Total Carbohydrate 5 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 4 g; Protein 1 g; Phosphorus 35 mg

Asian Chicken Salad

Serves: 12 | Serving size: 1 cup | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: time to prepare Master Poached Chicken

Use the dressing in this recipe as another vinaigrette to have in your collection. Asian Chicken Salad is something you see often on restaurant menus, and while it sounds healthy, it’s often laden with so much fat and sodium that it quickly becomes a less healthy choice. Choose green cabbage or change to Napa or even red cabbage.

1 recipe Master Poached Chicken

1 small head green cabbage, cored and shredded

2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded

1/2 cup sliced scallions

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

Dressing

1/4 cup lite soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 teaspoons dark sesame oil

2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger

1 garlic clove, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

12 lettuce leaves

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

1. Slice, cube, or shred the chicken. Add the chicken to a bowl with green cabbage, carrots, scallions, and red pepper.

2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Mix well. Serve on lettuce leaves and top with toasted sesame seeds.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1 Protein, lean; 1/2 Fat

Calories 100; Calories from Fat 40; Total Fat 4.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.6 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 20 mg; Sodium 230 mg; Potassium 250 mg; Total Carbohydrate 7 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 3 g; Protein 10 g; Phosphorus 85 mg

Sides

Whole-Wheat Crackers

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1 ounce

1 ounce baked whole-wheat crackers, such as Triscuits or Wheat Thins

1. Serve with chicken salad and strawberries.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 1 Fat

Calories 130; Calories from Fat 40; Total Fat 4.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.8 g; Trans Fat 0.1 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 180 mg; Potassium 105 mg; Total Carbohydrate 20 g; Dietary Fiber 3 g; Sugars 2 g; Protein 3 g; Phosphorus 95 mg

Strawberries

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 3/4 cup

3/4 cup fresh strawberries, sliced

1. Cut strawberries into slices and serve alongside chicken salad and crackers.

Exchanges / Choices: 1/2 Fruit

Calories 40; Calories from Fat 5; Total Fat 0.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 190 mg; Total Carbohydrate 10 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 6 g; Protein 1 g; Phosphorus 30 mg

Basic Grilled Chicken Thighs

Basic Grilled Chicken Thighs

Serves: 4 | Serving size: 1 thigh | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 26-30 minutes + marinating time

Use the simple marinade here or try one of the three additional marinades that follow. Although chicken thighs contain more fat than chicken breasts, they hold up on the grill much better than chicken breasts.

4 bone-in skinless chicken thighs

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, thyme, or basil)

1. Add the thighs to either a shallow baking pan, a deep bowl, or a plastic Ziploc bag. Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs. Pour over the chicken, cover or seal, and place in the refrigerator for 2–6 hours.

2. Heat a gas grill to medium-high heat. Set the rack 6 inches from the heat source. Coat the grill rack with cooking spray. Remove the chicken from the marinade.

3. Grill the chicken for 8–10 minutes per side on direct heat and then switch to indirect heat for another 10–12 minutes per side or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, turning once. This may occur before the cooking time is complete, so check the chicken and make sure it doesn’t overcook.

Exchanges / Choices: 3 Protein, lean

Calories 100; Calories from Fat 50; Total Fat 6.0 g; Saturated Fat 1.4 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 65 mg; Sodium 45 mg; Potassium 140 mg; Total Carbohydrate 0 g; Dietary Fiber 0 g; Sugars 0 g; Protein 12 g; Phosphorus 105 mg

Sides

Lemon Asparagus Soup

Serves: 12 | Serving size: 1 cup | Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small leek, bottom portion only, washed and chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 pounds asparagus, stems trimmed, sliced into 2-inch pieces

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

6 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning

1/2 cup half and half

Garnishes

1 fresh lemon, zested

1/4 cup toasted chopped pistachio nuts

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek, onion, and garlic and sauté for about 7–9 minutes until vegetables are soft. Add in the asparagus, potatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium and cook, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 15–17 minutes.

2. Ladle the soup into a food processor or blender and process until the soup is smooth, working in batches, if necessary. Return the soup to the saucepan and add in the lemon pepper seasoning and half and half. Heat through for 1 minute.

3. Garnish each bowl with lemon zest and pistachio nuts.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1/2 Fat

Calories 110; Calories from Fat 30; Total Fat 3.5 g; Saturated Fat 1.1 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 5 mg; Sodium 170 mg; Potassium 510 mg; Total Carbohydrate 17 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 3 g; Protein 5 g; Phosphorus 120 mg

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1 cup

1/2 cup sliced cucumber 

1 small sliced plum tomato

1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1. Slice the cucumber and tomato and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

Calories 25; Calories from Fat 0; Total Fat 0.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 5 mg; Potassium 230 mg; Total Carbohydrate 5 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 3 g; Protein 1 g; Phosphorus 30 mg

Chicken Marinades

Follow the directions for Basic Grilled Chicken Thighs and use one of these three marinades. Chicken can be marinated for up to 24 hours in a nonreactive bowl or you can use a plastic bag. For the Port Wine Marinade, marinate for only 5–6 hours, as longer marinating time results in a bitter flavor. Turn the chicken pieces on occasion. After marinating, drain the marinade from the chicken and discard or pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Serve the heated marinade with the cooked chicken. Use a food processor, blender, or just whisk the ingredients for these marinades in a bowl.

Southwestern Marinade

Serves: 16 | Serving size: 1 tablespoon | Prep time: 5 minutes

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon hot chile powder

2 tablespoons minced scallions

1 garlic clove, minced

Exchanges / Choices: 1 1/2 Fat

Calories 60; Calories from Fat 60; Total Fat 7.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.9 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 5 mg; Potassium 15 mg; Total Carbohydrate 1 g; Dietary Fiber 0 g; Sugars 0 g; Protein 0 g; Phosphorus 5 mg

Port Wine Chinese Five Spice

Serves: 12 | Serving size: 1 tablespoon | Prep time: 5 minutes

1/2 cup port wine

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons fresh orange zest

1 teaspoon Chinese five spice

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Fat

Calories 60; Calories from Fat 40; Total Fat 4.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.3 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 10 mg; Total Carbohydrate 1 g; Dietary Fiber 0 g; Sugars 1 g; Protein 0 g; Phosphorus 0 mg

Mint Marinade

Serves: 16 | Serving size: 1 tablespoon | Prep time: 5 minutes

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup minced mint

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Exchanges / Choices: 1 1/2 Fat

Calories 60; Calories from Fat 60; Total Fat 7.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.9 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 15 mg; Potassium 20 mg; Total Carbohydrate 1 g; Dietary Fiber 0 g; Sugars 0 g; Protein 0 g; Phosphorus 5 mg