recipe remix

recipe remix: chicken chilaquiles verdes

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Have you ever tried chilaquiles?  Chilaquiles (chee-lah-KEE-lays) is a Mexican dish that is very similar to nachos, and nachos were requested for Recipe Remix by Autumn Cole, so here we are!

The base for chilaquiles is tortilla chips, just like nachos.  Instead of being doused in queso dip (which we all know is delicious), chilaquiles features chips simmered in a rojo or verde sauce.  If you order chilaquiles from a restaurant, you have no idea of what’s in the sauce.  If you make the sauce yourself, you can control the sauce and make sure you have a delicious, plant-based sauce for your enjoyment.  Chilaquiles allows the chips to simmer for a short time in the sauce rather than being drenched with cheese which cuts down on the negative nutrition and pumps up the positive stuff.  It’s also very easy to make, and you too can create your own chilaquiles for a simple weeknight supper without any of the overindulgence.

Nutrition info: 11 Weight Watchers Points Plus, or about 550 calories.  Compare that to double or triple what you’d get with nachos!  Another tip: since you’re controlling how many chips you prepare, you won’t mindlessly eat past the serving size.  You’re welcome. 🙂

Chicken Chilaquiles Verdes

Serves 2

1/2 lb. chicken breast, cut into chunks

30 thick, yellow corn tortilla chips (don’t get the thin style, they’ll disintegrate)

8 tomatillos, husks removed

2 poblano peppers

1 jalapeno pepper

4 garlic cloves

1 cup fresh cilantro, plus some for garnish

2 limes, juice and zest

1 oz. cotija cheese or queso fresco, crumbled

salt and pepper to taste

Bring two medium pots of water to a boil.  In one, add a dash of salt and the chicken and cook for about 30 minutes.  In the other, add the tomatillos and cook for about 5 minutes.  While the tomatillos are cooking, either roast the poblanos in the oven or char them over a gas range.  Remove the charred skin with a paper towel, then cut off the stems and remove the inner seeds.

For the sauce, add the tomatillos, poblanos, jalapeno, lime juice and zest, garlic, and cilantro to a food processor or a blender and process until smooth.  When the chicken is ready, remove it from the water, shred it with your hands or two forks, and add it to the sauce.  Pour the sauce into a medium pan and stir to combine, then gently add the tortilla chips and stir.  Heat the pan over medium heat and allow the dish to bubble just a bit (about 5 minutes).  Turn off the heat and top with the cotija or queso fresco and any remaining cilantro.  Divvy the pan up between two people and serve with a simple green salad.  Enjoy!

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recipe remix: lightened up fettuccini alfredo

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Welcome to Recipe Remix #1–Fettuccini Alfredo!  My college friend Claire Steinbeck made this special request.  Claire is a fellow teacher in search of healthy meals, and I have to give her a personal thank you for pushing me to try out this dish.  I hadn’t had fettuccini alfredo in years–partly because of watching what I eat, but also because I’m a little bit lactose intolerant (self-diagnosis, mind you), and I tend to steer clear of creamy pasta dishes because of the subsequent tummy ache.  Not only does this dish not give me tummy issues, but it also includes extra fiber from the secret ingredient: cauliflower.

Before I share the recipe with you, let me say that I tried three different sauces for this one: one with lowfat milk and flour, one with lowfat Greek yogurt and flour, and one with pureed cauliflower.  While I liked all three, the cauliflower version was Alex’s favorite, and I have to agree that it was the one that tasted the most like regular alfredo.  The lowfat milk version tasted too diet-y and left a little to be desired.  The Greek yogurt version was a close second, but it did have an ever-so-slight tang from the yogurt that Alex said reminded him of sour cream, which he doesn’t like.

“But wait, I don’t like cauliflower,” you say.

Think again.  This recipe couldn’t be easier, and the cauliflower couldn’t be less apparent.  You boil a chopped head of cauliflower for 25 minutes, saute some garlic and shallot, add some evaporated milk and chicken broth, then give it all a whirl in the food processor with some parmesan, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  The cauliflower serves as the thickening agent and is flavorless, especially against the nutmeg, garlic, and shallot.  Even if you don’t think you like cauliflower, I challenge you to make this recipe.  I did some research and borrowed several ideas from several recipes, and I will definitely make this again.

Nutrition breakdown: 10 Weight Watchers points, which is roughly 500 calories per serving.  Compare that to 1200 calories for many restaurant versions, and you’ll be slurping up this pasta guilt-free.

If you’re gluten-free or low-carb, you could always use this sauce with zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash–that would be an especially healthy version.

I served this dish with a small green salad and a side of roasted broccoli.

Lightened Up Fettuccini Alfredo

1 head cauliflower

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 shallot, minced

1/2 cup fat free evaporated milk

1/2 cup fat free chicken broth

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. white pepper

8 oz. fettuccini pasta

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Give the cauliflower a rough chop, and when the water is boiling, add the cauliflower florets to the water, turn down the heat to simmer, and place the lid on the pot.  Cook for 25 minutes.

Cook pasta according the package directions.

When the cauliflower is cooked, drain it and set it aside.  In the same pot, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add the garlic and shallot and cook for about 2 minutes.  Next, add the evaporated milk and cook for about 1 minute.  Turn off the heat.  In a food processor or blender, combine the warm milk mixture with the chicken stock, parmesan, cauliflower, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  Blend the ingredients until smooth.  Pour the sauce back into the pot and add the pasta.  Use tongs to combine the pasta with the sauce and top with fresh parsley.

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