Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Two Healthy Chicken Sauces

Grilled, skinless chicken breast is a staple in my house.  I buy a package of chicken breasts, pound or cut them thin so they cook quickly and evenly (and aren't too big a portion size- about 6 oz is good for me), then keep them in the fridge for a few days to pull out and eat when I need to make a meal fast.  They reheat easily in the microwave, but sometimes I eat them cold on salads or sandwiches.

A 4-ounce portion of boneless, skinless breast meat has 120 calories, 1 fat gram and approximately 26 grams of protein (according to the Nutrition Info label on my package).  It's a great source of lean protein!

Adding a tasty, low fat, low calorie sauce to your chicken can help it not be so "boring." Here are two from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (Mushroom Marsala Sauce and Caramelized Onion and Mustard Sauce) that I like and are easy to make.

The Test Kitchen says the sauces can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 day and the recipe makes 1 cup (4 quarter-cup servings), so you may want to double the recipe if you have more people to serve.

Mushroom Marsala Sauce


Ingredients:
  • 2 teaspoons EVOO
  • 8 oz. white mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced thin 
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme (I used 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 
*If you want to be super-strict, I would omit the salt and butter.  

Directions:
  1. Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  2. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt; cook until browned, about 15 minutes. (My mushrooms cooked more quickly)
  3. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Whisk in the broth and Marsala and bring to a simmer.
  5. Whisk the water and cornstarch together and then stir into the sauce.
  6. Simmer until the sauce is thickened and measures 1 cup, about 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Nutrition:  1/4 cup serving = Calories 110; Fat 5g; Sat Fat 2.5g; Chol 10 mg; Carb 7g; Protein 1g; Fiber 0g, Sodium 190mg 

Caramelized Onion and Mustard Sauce


Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 2 onions, halved and sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley 
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  2. Add the onions and brown sugar and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring often, until the onions are dark golden and caramelized, 20-25 minutes. 
  4. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Whisk in the broth and mustard, scraping up any browned bits.
  6. Simmer until the sauce has thickened and measured 1 cup, 10-12 minutes.
  7. Off the heat, stir in the parsley and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper.
Nutrition:  1/4 cup serving = Calories 80; Fat 4g; Sat Fat 0; Chol 0 mg; Carb 9g; Protein 1g; Fiber 2g, Sodium 290mg 


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