Skinny enchiladas: great flavor with lower calories and cholesterol. Photo courtesy Denise Austin.
As we were writing this, we heard two television newscasters discussing their diet resolutions for 2015.
“I lasted five minutes into the Rose Bowl,” said one. “I made it to yesterday [January 2nd]”, said the other.
Sure, it’s tough to diet. But on a daily basis, it’s easy to downsize the calories and saturated fat. If you must have Fettuccine Alfredo or cheesecake, look for Cooking Light-style alternatives to your favorite dishes, from Fettuccine Alfredo to cheesecake.
Here are two Mexican favorites “downsized’ by health and fitness expert Denise Austin, who debuted a new online diet and fitness program this month. Try them, and if they please your palate, look for more “skinny” versions.
RECIPE: DENISE’S SKINNY ENCHILADAS
1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoons chili powder (use half ancho chili powder for a smokier flavor)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 can (15 ounces) no-salt-added tomato sauce
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked skinless boneless chicken breast, shredded
3 cups loosely packed spinach, roughly chopped
8 organic corn tortillas
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with oil spray.
2. HEAT the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent and very soft, about 7 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano and cayenne and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce, broth, and salt and cook until hot, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. RESERVE 3/4 cup of the sauce. Add the chicken and spinach to the remaining sauce and cook until the spinach is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. WRAP the tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave for 30 to 60 seconds to heat through.
5. DIVIDE the chicken filling evenly between the 8 tortillas. Roll the tortillas and arrange them seam sides down in the baking dish. Spread the reserved 3/4 cup sauce evenly over the tortillas and top with the cheese. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and broil the top for 3 to 5 minutes to brown the cheese.
6. TOP each serving (2 enchiladas) with 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt and scallions.
Calories per serving: 510.
RECIPE: DENISE’S SKINNY NACHOS WITH VEGETARIAN CHILI
20 organic corn tortilla chips (if following gluten-free diet, check label to ensure chips are gluten-free)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheese
1/4 cup diced tomato
2 tablespoons sliced black olives
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
4 cups vegetarian chili
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced yellow onions
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup tomato juice
For The Vegetarian Chili
Skinny nachos amp up the flavor with spices. Photo courtesy Denise Austin.
1 cup cooked black, pinto, or red kidney beans (if using canned, choose no-salt-added or low-sodium beans and rinse and drain well before use)
1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
2. ARRANGE the tortilla chips in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with the cheese. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese is just melted.
3. SPRINKLE the tomato, olives, and scallion evenly over the nachos. Divide into 2 equal portions and serve each portion with 2 cups Vegetarian Chili topped with 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt.
1. HEAT the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
2. ADD the onions, carrot, cilantro, tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir well and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes.
3. ADD the tomato juice and beans. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Calories per serving: 430.