Sunday, February 15, 2009

Plan #4 - Let it Stew

Stews are a great way to stretch a budget because they don't cost much to make and can feed a crowd. The two recipes below - Autumn Cranberry Beef Stew and Red Wine Beef Stew with Potatoes and Green Beans - will take you just a couple of hours to cook up on a Sunday, but provide you with 20 servings of home cooked goodness to pop in the freezer and pull out for lunches or an easy weeknight dinner. Purchase the chuck roast package from Costco which usually comes with two roasts at about 2-3 pounds each, and cut into your own cubes. And don't forget that when it comes to stew, the more the merrier. Start with the base recipes the below, but feel free to make substitutions or additions to use up whatever you have in the bottom of your veggie drawer before it goes bad. And since we can't live on stew alone (well possibly we can but don't want to) I've added a recipe for Turkey and Cranberry Port Wine Sauce to make use of the remaining wholeberry cranberry sauce from the first recipe. The recipe fits well with the comfort foods theme of the week with all the tastes of Thanksgiving at a fraction of the cost. Serve with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and steamed green beans and carrots to use up any of those remaining veggies that didn't make it into the Red Wine Beef Stew.

Autumn Cranberry Beef Stew

1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
Cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 (12-ounce) Guinness Stout
1 (10-ounce) package frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 (8-ounce) package button mushrooms, quartered
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
8 cups cooked egg noodles (about 1 pound)
Chopped fresh thyme (optional)

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; sprinkle over beef. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef to pan; cook 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add chopped onion, broth, bay leaves, and stout; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours or until beef is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in pearl onions and mushrooms; cook, covered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine 1/4 cup water and flour in a small bowl. Add flour mixture and cranberry sauce to pan. Cook 5 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Serve with noodles. Garnish with fresh thyme, if desired.

Yield: 10 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup stew and 3/4 cup noodles)

CALORIES 479 (27% from fat); FAT 14.6g (sat 4.8g,mono 6.3g,poly 1.1g); IRON 6.3mg; CHOLESTEROL 138mg; CALCIUM 35mg; CARBOHYDRATE 43.7g; SODIUM 239mg; PROTEIN 39.5g; FIBER 2.6g

Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2007

Red Wine Beef Stew with Potatoes and Green Beans

Recipe courtesy Dave Lieberman

Making an amazing stew is a whole lot simpler than most people figure. After you brown up your beef, all you basically have to do is throw a bunch of tasty ingredients in a pot and let it do its thing. Adding green beans at the end of cooking freshens up the stew and their snap is cool. You can make it completely in advance, as far as 2 days ahead of time. Just refrigerate it right in the pot and reheat it over low heat. You?ll have to stir in a cup or so of water because the stew will have thickened up. (Do the water thing if you?re reheating leftover stew too.) I use butter to brown the beef because it adds richness to the stew and makes for a creamier gravy. But you can substitute any type of oil for the butter if you want. Pretty much any decent red wine will do for stew; I like using Burgundy or Cabernet Sauvignon but the basic rule is that as long as you?d be happy drinking what you?re cooking with you?re in good shape.

  • Prep Time:20 min
  • Cook Time:2 hr 0 min
  • Level:Intermediate
  • Serves:about 10 servings
  • Ingredients

    • 2 pounds beef chuck for stew, cut into 1-inch cubes
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 4 medium carrots, peeled, halved and cut into 1-inch chunks
    • 3 small onions, diced
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans reduced-sodium beef or chicken broth
    • 2 cups dry red wine
    • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
    • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
    • 2 medium russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
    • 2 handfuls green beans, ends trimmed


    Season the beef cubes lightly with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy 6-quart pot over medium heat. As soon as the butter starts to turn brown, add half the beef and raise the heat to high. At first, the beef will give off some liquid, but once that evaporates, the beef will start to brown. Cook, turning the beef cubes on all sides until the pieces are as evenly browned as possible, about 5 or 6 minutes after the water has boiled off. If the pan starts to get too brown at any point, just turn down the heat a little. Scoop the beef into a bowl and brown the rest of the beef the same way using the remaining butter.

    Scoop out the second batch of beef, then add the carrots and onions and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook until the onion starts to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour until it has been worked into the veggies and you can’t see it any more. Pour in the chicken broth, wine, and crushed tomatoes, and toss in the rosemary. Slide the beef back into the pot and bring the liquid to a boil.

    Turn down the heat so the liquid is just breaking a gentle simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook 50 minutes. Stir the stew several times while simmering so it cooks evenly and nothing sticks to the bottom.

    Stir the potatoes into the stew, cover the pot completely, and cook until the potatoes and beef are tender, stirring occasionally, about another 45 minutes. Add the beans and cook for another 5 minutes until the green beans turn bright green and are cooked through but still have a nice snap to them.

    Turkey and Cranberry Port Wine Sauce

    Use cranberry sauce left over from your holiday meal to make this easy supper. The recipe calls for shallots, which have a milder, sweeter flavor than onions. A sweet onion will work, as well.

    1 tablespoon canola oil
    4 (4-ounce) turkey breast cutlets
    1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
    1 tablespoon butter
    1/4 cup chopped shallots
    2/3 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
    1/4 cup port wine
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
    1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    Whole sage leaves (optional)

    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle turkey with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add turkey to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer turkey to a plate.

    Melt butter in pan. Add shallots; sauté for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium; stir in cranberry sauce, wine, chopped sage, vinegar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.

    Return turkey to pan. Cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Serve with sauce. Garnish with sage leaves, if desired.

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cutlet and 1/4 cup sauce)

    CALORIES 276 (23% from fat); FAT 6.9g (sat 1.7g,mono 3.2g,poly 1.1g); IRON 1.7mg; CHOLESTEROL 53mg; CALCIUM 16mg; CARBOHYDRATE 21.5g; SODIUM 428mg; PROTEIN 28.4g; FIBER 0.8g

    Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2005
    Roasted-Garlic Mashed Potatoes

    1 whole garlic head
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 pound peeled Yukon Gold or red potatoes, quartered
    3 cups water
    1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

    Preheat oven to 375°.

    Remove white papery skin from garlic head (do not peel or separate cloves). Rub oil over garlic head; wrap in foil. Bake at 375° for 1 hour; cool 10 minutes. Separate cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Set aside. Discard skins.

    Place potatoes in a saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 15 minutes or until very tender. Drain. Heat milk in pan over medium heat until hot (do not boil). Add potatoes, salt, and pepper, and beat at medium speed of a mixer until potato mixture is smooth. Add garlic pulp, and stir well.


    Mashed Potatoes With Sage: Omit garlic; add 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage to milk, salt, and pepper.

    Chive-and-Goat Cheese Potatoes: Omit garlic; add 3 tablespoons minced chives and 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese to milk, salt, and pepper.

    Yield: 5 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)

    CALORIES 105 (27% from fat); FAT 3.1g (sat 0.5g,mono 2.1g,poly 0.3g); IRON 3.2mg; CHOLESTEROL 1mg; CALCIUM 79mg; CARBOHYDRATE 16.6g; SODIUM 140mg; PROTEIN 3.9g; FIBER 1.8g

    Cooking Light, OCTOBER 1997

    Saturday, February 14, 2009

    Plan #3 - You Can Flank Me Later

    Plan #3 is dedicated to Costco's Flank Steak. If you know how to prepare it, this underrecognized cut can be a great source of red meat for those on a budget. It's not the tenderest cut out there and so can usually get an excellent price per pound. The trick with Flank Steak is to cook with strong, bold flavours, and to slice thinly against the grain into small pieces when serving, otherwise it can seem a little tough. And try as we might not to be food wasters, Don and I have found that we just do not enjoy reheated steaks of any kind. So pay attention to how many people you are serving, portion off the meat and only prepare what you plan to eat that night. I've found from experience, that Costco's Flank Steak packages usually come with two very large cuts per package. One large costco cut can typically feed up to six people. For just Don and I, I cut each steak in half and freeze the four sections separately. Each half a steak contains more than enough meat for a dinner for two in our household.

    Below are a couple of recipes for flank steak. As I mentioned above, start by dividing the meat into the right proportions for your family size. The Soy-Balsamic Marinade can be prepared ahead of time and frozen with the meat in an airtight ziploc bag, then grilled or broiled for an easy weaknight meal. Serve the marinated grilled steak as is with some roasted potatoes and veggies, or try it with the Chimichurri Sauce shown below for some additional flavor. The Curried Beef and Onions is an easy weeknight meal which makes use of lots of typical pantry items and spices. If you decide to make ahead and freeze, only complete the directions up through the tomatoes. Then on the night you are ready to serve, cook up some fresh rice and stir in the yogurt right before serving. Be warned though that this recipe is not one for those who cannot handle the heat. It's a spicy one but very tasty!

    Soy-Balsamic Marinade

    Notes: This marinade imparts a rich mahogany sheen and spicy bite to red meats and salmon. The recipe can be multiplied for larger batches; cover and chill up to 2 weeks.

    This recipe goes with Grilled Marinated Meat

    1/4 cup soy sauce
    3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    1 tablespoon honey
    1 tablespoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
    1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon hot chili flakes
    1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

    In a small container, mix soy sauce, vinegar, honey, sesame oil, chili flakes, and garlic.

    Yield: Makes about 1/2 cup, enough for 1 to 1 1/2 pounds meat, poultry, or fish

    Sunset, JULY 2002

    Garlic-Rubbed Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

    Chimichurri is a traditional tangy herb sauce from Argentina that's usually paired with grilled meat. Set aside half of the flank steak for Steak Panzanella another night.

    1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon sugar
    1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 large garlic clove
    2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
    1 tablespoon water
    4 servings Garlic-Rubbed Flank Steak

    1. Place first 7 ingredients in a food processor; process until finely minced. With processor on, slowly pour oil and 1 tablespoon water through food chute; process until well blended. Serve sauce with Garlic-Rubbed Flank Steak.

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces steak and 1 tablespoon sauce)

    CALORIES 221 (50% from fat); FAT 12.4g (sat 3.2g,mono 7.1g,poly 1g); IRON 2.1mg; CHOLESTEROL 37mg; CALCIUM 33mg; CARBOHYDRATE 2.2g; SODIUM 349mg; PROTEIN 24.2g; FIBER 0.5g

    Cooking Light, AUGUST 2008

    Curried Beef and Onions

    1 (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed
    2 teaspoons vegetable oil
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
    2 cups vertically sliced onion
    1 tablespoon curry powder
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
    1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
    2 cups hot cooked basmati rice
    Cilantro sprigs (optional)

    Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices.

    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak, and sauté 3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add ginger, garlic, and jalapeño; sauté 1 minute. Add onion, curry, and coriander; sauté 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, and simmer 1 minute or until liquid almost evaporates.

    Remove from heat, and cool slightly. Stir in yogurt. Serve over rice. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup steak mixture and 1/2 cup rice)

    CALORIES 408 (30% from fat); FAT 13.6g (sat 5.2g,mono 5.1g,poly 1.7g); IRON 5.1mg; CHOLESTEROL 56mg; CALCIUM 116mg; CARBOHYDRATE 43.2g; SODIUM 418mg; PROTEIN 27.5g; FIBER 3g

    Cooking Light, JANUARY 2003

    Plan #2 - Double Duty

    This plan doesn't even require massive bulk purchases to make your groceries stretch. Sometimes even ingredients that you buy in smaller quantities can go to waste. With this plan, I've tried to make the most of some fresh ingredients that usually don't keep too long by applying them to more than one recipe. Instead of buying two smaller cans of chicken stock for the Sausage and Spinach Soup and the Turkey Jambalaya, buy one large quart at a fraction of the cost. The Lemon Basil Chicken Breast recipe calls for fresh basil which appears also in the soup and green onions which do double duty with the jambalaya. For the ultimate convenience, when you prepare the Lemon Basil Chicken breasts, make a couple extra and use the leftovers as a substitute for the shredded turkey in the Jambalaya. Finally, pair the Lemon Basil Chicken Breasts with a Baby Spinach Salad with Mandarin Orange and Red Onion to make use of the leafy green leftovers from the soup. And the best part of this entire meal plan is that each of these recipes can be made in under thirty minutes for the busy weeknight cook.

    Sausage and Spinach Soup

    Fresh herbs are added after the soup cooks so they'll retain their bright color and flavor. You can substitute 1 teaspoon dried herbs for each tablespoon fresh, but add them with the tomatoes. Serve with a toasted baguette.

    10 ounce sweet turkey Italian sausage
    Cooking spray
    1 cup prechopped onion
    2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
    1/2 cup water
    1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
    1 (14.5-ounce) can organic stewed tomatoes, undrained (such as Muir Glen)
    1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    2 cups baby spinach
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
    2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
    2 tablespoons grated fresh Romano cheese

    Remove casings from sausage. Cook sausage in a large saucepan coated with cooking spray over high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion and 2 teaspoons garlic to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup water, beans, tomatoes, and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat, and stir in spinach, basil, and oregano. Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls, and sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese.

    Wine note: This delicious soup needs a wine that's crisp and medium-bodied, such as a California pinot gris (aka pinot grigio). The wine's crispness balances the richness of the sausage and the density of the beans. At the same time, the wine's body is substantial enough to stand up to the weight of those ingredients. Try Morgan Pinot Gris "R & D Franscioni Vineyard" 2006 (Santa Lucia Highlands, California), $18. -Karen MacNeil

    Yield: 4 servings

    CALORIES 261 (30% from fat); FAT 8.6g (sat 2.8g,mono 2.7g,poly 2.5g); IRON 3.4mg; CHOLESTEROL 62mg; CALCIUM 105mg; CARBOHYDRATE 23.1g; SODIUM 842mg; PROTEIN 20.9g; FIBER 5.4g

    Cooking Light, MARCH 2007

    Lemon-Basil Chicken with Basil Aioli

    A side of egg noodles complement the fresh lemon and basil flavors of this guest-friendly entrée.

    1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
    1/3 cup chopped green onions
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    Cooking spray

    Basil Aioli:
    1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
    2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    3/4 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
    1/2 teaspoon olive oil

    To prepare chicken, combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken to basil mixture, turning to coat.

    Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 8 minutes on each side or until done.

    While chicken cooks, prepare aioli. Combine 1/4 cup basil and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Serve with chicken.

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and 1 tablespoon aioli)

    CALORIES 284 (32% from fat); FAT 10.3g (sat 1.7g,mono 1.4g,poly 0.6g); IRON 1.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 106mg; CALCIUM 51mg; CARBOHYDRATE 6.1g; SODIUM 410mg; PROTEIN 40.1g; FIBER 1g

    Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2005
    Turkey Jambalaya

    Andouille sausage adds a kick to the Cajun classic from Louisiana. Rice and shredded turkey absorb a flavorful mixture of tomatoes and spices until they're bursting with flavor.

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 1/2 cups chopped onion
    1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
    1 cup chopped green bell pepper
    1 cup chopped red bell pepper
    2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
    2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
    2 cups shredded cooked turkey
    6 ounces andouille sausage, chopped
    2 tablespoons sliced green onions

    Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in bell peppers and next 5 ingredients (bell peppers through black pepper); sauté 1 minute. Add rice; sauté 1 minute. Stir in broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add turkey and sausage; cover and cook 5 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions.

    Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

    CALORIES 249 (27% from fat); FAT 7.6g (sat 2.4g,mono 3.4g,poly 1.3g); IRON 2.7mg; CHOLESTEROL 42mg; CALCIUM 37mg; CARBOHYDRATE 27.4g; SODIUM 523mg; PROTEIN 17.3g; FIBER 2.7g

    Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2001

    Baby Spinach Salad with Mandarin Orange and Red Onions

    Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray


    • 8 ounces baby spinach, about 5 to 6 cups
    • 1 cup mandarin oranges, drained
    • 1/2 cup chopped red onions
    • 1 tablespoon orange marmalade
    • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball the amount
    • Salt and pepper


    Arrange spinach leaves on a large platter or individual salad plates. Top with mandarin sections and chopped red onion. Whisk together marmalade and vinegar. Stream oil into dressing while continuing to whisk.

    When you are ready to serve, pour the dressing over salad and season with salt and pepper.

    The Freezer Chef

    My friend and co-host of this blog, Katy, recently bought a book titled "Fix it, Freeze It, and Feast," or something of the like. You can pretty much get the concept by the title. It basically takes large catering style proportions and organizes family style meals into freezable sections which you can prepare ahead of time, store, and then take out and cook up in a matter of minutes. I'm excited to add this as yet another resource in my never ending quest for healthful, convenient, tasty, and economical cooking.

    The idea of buying in bulk can be a great strategy for stretching a budget, but only if you are smart about how you apply your purchases. For instance, Costco, has excellent prices on fresh meats and produce. But unless you're having a lot of guests over, you usually can't eat the produce before it goes to waste (not exactly a money saver). And the meat, while it certainly is competitive at price per pound, it's typically proportioned much greater than an actual serving requires. In the future, us girls are hoping to get together and have some freezer cooking parties with Katy's new cookbook where we all make a few recipes, divide them up amongst each other and then take home our spoils. In the meantime, it has inspired me to do a little prep of my own, and have compiled some weekly menus that stretch the budget, capitalize on bulk items, and can be easily portioned off and frozen for a better shelf life. I hope you enjoy.

    Plan #1 - The Thigh Master

    This plan is a great way to make use of an entire pack of boneless skinless chicken thighs from Costco. They typically come in packs of about 6 pounds, and can usually be purchased at around $2.00 to $2.50 a pound. The Brunswick Stew and Chicken Thighs Braised in Garlic and White Wine are both delicious comfort food dishes that reheat well so can be cooked up over the weekend and then divided into individual servings to be refrigerated or frozen and eaten throughout the week. The Asian Barbecue Chicken is one of my all time favorite marinades. I recommend mixing the marinades as soon as you get home from the grocery store and then tossing together with the chicken in one or two ziploc bags depending on how much chicken you have left and how many people you plan to feed. Then store in the freezer to pull out later for a convenient weeknight meal.

    Chicken Thighs Braised in Garlic and White Wine

    2 teaspoons dried oregano
    Kosher salt and pepper
    8 small chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    3 small yellow onions, quartered
    4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    3 jarred hot cherry peppers, seeded and roughly chopped, plus 3 tablespoons of the brine
    1 cup dry white wine
    1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
    1 cup long-grain white rice

    In a small bowl, combine the oregano, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, season with the spice mixture, and dredge in the flour.

    Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and brown the chicken, 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

    Add the onions to the pot and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cherry peppers and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the pepper brine, wine, and broth and bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

    Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the package directions. Divide among individual bowls and spoon the chicken and sauce over it.

    Yield: Makes 4 servings

    CALORIES 675 (37% from fat); FAT 28g ; CHOLESTEROL 113mg; CARBOHYDRATE 64g; SODIUM 960mg; PROTEIN 31g; FIBER 2g; SUGAR 5g

    Real Simple, SEPTEMBER 2007

    Brunswick Stew

    From 19th-century Virginia, this stew originally included squirrel meat (we opt here for chicken). Although the stew is sometimes thickened with stale bread cubes, this version uses flour to give it body and features garlic bread on the side. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs.

    Cooking spray
    1 cup chopped red bell pepper
    3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
    1/2 cup chopped celery
    1 tablespoon peanut oil
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    2 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
    1 (10-ounce) package frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
    1 (10-ounce) package frozen baby lima beans, thawed
    6 (1-ounce) slices Italian bread, toasted
    2 garlic cloves, halved

    Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add bell pepper, onion, and celery to pan; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add oil to pan. Combine flour and chicken in a medium bowl, tossing to coat. Add chicken to pan; cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Gradually stir in broth; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Add tomato paste and next 5 ingredients (through lima beans) to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

    Rub bread slices with cut sides of garlic; discard garlic. Serve bread with stew.

    Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup stew and 1 slice bread)

    CALORIES 319 (26% from fat); FAT 9.2g (sat 2.2g,mono 3.5g,poly 2.6g); IRON 3.2mg; CHOLESTEROL 50mg; CALCIUM 58mg; CARBOHYDRATE 38g; SODIUM 596mg; PROTEIN 22.4g; FIBER 5.8g

    Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2007

    Asian Barbecue Chicken

    "This is a recipe I love to make for family and friends. I usually serve it with roasted sesame asparagus and a sesame-noodle salad. Let the chicken marinate overnight for best results." -Jen McDonald, Centerville, VA

    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    1/4 teaspoon curry powder
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    8 (6-ounce) chicken thighs, skinned
    Cooking spray
    Lime wedges (optional)
    Green onion tops (optional)

    Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; add chicken. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 4 hours, turning occasionally.

    Prepare grill.

    Remove chicken from bag, reserving marinade. Place marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute.

    Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 20 minutes or until done, turning and basting frequently with the marinade. Garnish with lime wedges and green onion tops, if desired.

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 thighs)

    CALORIES 297 (23% from fat); FAT 7.7g (sat 2g,mono 2.4g,poly 1.9g); IRON 2.7mg; CHOLESTEROL 161mg; CALCIUM 39mg; CARBOHYDRATE 16.1g; SODIUM 706mg; PROTEIN 39.2g; FIBER 0.4g

    Cooking Light, MARCH 2002