Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cookin Light with Rachael Ray: Well-Dressed Salmon & Crispy Mashed Potato Cakes

First.... HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! I don't know about you, but I am very thankful for a lot of things in my life. One of those many things happens to be sharing my love of food and fitness with you through this blog. So for a special day like today, I wanted to do a little more. How about two recipes in one post?!?!? Sounded good to me!

These two recipes make a complete meal. Inspired by original recipes from Rachael Ray, this is a dish that is sure to impress without costing you too much time or money. We made this on a busy weeknight just before leaving town for Thanksgiving vacation. With all that needed to be done to get ready, there was still time after work (between the packing, laundry and cleaning), to throw together a meal that is bursting with great flavor and powerful nutrients. It offers a ton of healthy fats and protein; just what you need to fuel your holiday shopping and perfect for those busy nights during the Christmas season. Instead of ordering in, try this!

Save this one for next week as you get back on track after your turkey day feast!



  • 2 small plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 English (seedless) cucumber
  •  1/4 red onion, finely chopped, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons SPLENDA
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus a drizzle
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless salmon fillets (6 ounces each)


    Dice the cucumber into quarter-inch pieces. Leave on the peel. Seed and dice the tomatoes into quarter-inch pieces. Combine the cucumber, tomatoes and half of the red onion(half of the 1/4 cup) in a bowl and set aside.

    In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, SPLENDA and white wine vinegar and the remaining half of the red onion. Gently mix in the EVOO while continuing to whisk. Stir in the dill and season the dressing with salt and pepper, to taste.

    Season the salmon with a little black pepper. Heat a nonstick skillet with a drizzle of EVOO over medium-high heat (1/4-1/2 tablespoon is all you need). Place the salmon rounded side down and cook until golden and a little crispy at the edges, 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 minutes more for a pink center, or 4 minutes for opaque fish.

    Transfer the salmon to dinner or serving plates; top with the cucumber-tomato relish and cover with a liberal amount of dill dressing.



    Salmon, veggies and EVOO are healthy to begin with. They are packed with nutritional goodness and loads of healthy fats. With that being said, we don't need to use more than we need. So to cut back a little with this dish, I simply scaled down the amount of EVOO used and substituted a little SPLENDA in place of the sugar. Other than that, the recipe stayed the same. The real changes came in the side dish below!

    Check out the nutritional savings for the salmon....

    NUTRITION FACTS (per serving):

    BEFORE: 300.8 calories / 16g fat / 13.3g carbohydrate / 21g protein / .63g fiber
    AFTER: 178.6 calories / 9g fat / 4.8g carbohydrates / 21g protein / 1.1g fiber

    SAVES: 122.2 calories / 7g fat / 8.5g carbohydrates
    ADDS: .47g fiber


    Serves 4 (Makes 8 Cakes)


  • 4 ounces FAT FREE Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 2 pounds red potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons FAT FREE sour cream
  • 2 scallions, very finely chopped
  • 2 eggs (Egg Whites Only), lightly beaten
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)~ 1/4 TBSP for each batch of 4 cakes

     Dice the potatoes and add them to a large pot. Cover with water and salt the water. Bring to boil over medium heat and cook until tender.

    Drain the potatoes and return to the hot pot to dry. In a microwave-safe bowl, soften the cream cheese for 20 seconds on high in the microwave. Add the cream cheese to the potatoes along with the sour cream, scallions, egg whites and salt and pepper, to taste. Mash the potatoes to combine the mixture.

    Heat EVOO in nonstick skillet over medium heat (If doing one batch, heat all 1/2 TBSP. If doing 2 batches like I did, heat 1/4 TBSP first, then add for 2nd batch). Drop 2-inch mounds of the potato mixture (approximately eight mounds) into the skillet and gently press down to flatten a bit. Crisp the potatoes until deeply golden on each side, about 7-8 minutes total.


    These things were incredible! I mean, think about it....potatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, mashed and fried crispy! The only thing that could have made these things more heavenly would be bacon. But without the bacon, they were still amazing. Even more amazing...check out the savings with a couple simple switches, especially in the fat department! And I promise, you won't miss a bit of flavor!!

    NUTRITION FACTS (per serving of 2 cakes):

    BEFORE: 305 calories / 18.7g fat / 25.9g carbohydrates / 6.3g protein / 4g fiber
    AFTER: 164.3 calories / 1.3g fat / 27.6g carbohydrate / 10.2g protein / 4g fiber

    SAVES: 140.7 calories / 17.4g fat / 1.7g carbohydrate
    ADDS: 3.9g protein


    Original recipes by RACHAEL RAY for Well-Dressed Salmon and Crispy Mashed Potato Cakes can be found on Rachael Ray's offical site;

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

    Paula Deen's Lean: Pumpkin Baked Penne

    It's that time of the year where we love our kitchens to be full of the wonderful aroma of pumpkin pies and breads baking. Well, how about a little PUMPKIN BAKED PENNE instead?

    Paula Deen has a fabulous recipe for PUMPKIN BAKED ZITI that looks incredible. It is simple, different and very easy to make lean. Here is the Cookin' Lean version of Paula's dish. Try it out early this week for an simple, healthy meal that will allow you to take it easy before the really serious Thanksgiving cookin starts!

    SERVES 8


    FAT FREE cooking spray (for prepping the dish)

    1 pound mild or hot chicken Italian sausage

    3/4 cup chopped onion

    1 tablespoon minced garlic

    1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

    1 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    1 (15-ounces) can pumpkin puree

    1 cup FAT FREE chicken broth

    1 teaspoons salt

    1/3 cup FAT FREE Half-n-Half

    1 pound WHOLE WHEAT Penne pasta, cooked

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

    1/4 cup freshly grated REDUCED-FAT Parmesan  


     Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray baking dish with cooking spray. 

    Cook chicken sausage in a large, deep skillet over medium heat.

    Remove from skillet and drain fat on paper towels and set aside. Discard any and all fat from the skillet. Place the sausage in a separate bowl and set aside.

    Add onion, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and oil to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until soft; about 3 minutes.

     Stir in pumpkin puree and FAT FREE chicken broth. Mix together and add salt.

     Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer 5 minutes.

    Stir in half-n-half and sausage. Simmer until the sauce comes together and is thickened slightly.

    Add cooked penne pasta and parsley to the skillet and gently toss all the ingredients together to coat. 
    Pour the mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese.

     Bake for 35 minutes until the topping is golden brown.


    NUTRITION FACTS (per serving):

    BEFORE~ 472.5 calories /  21.1g fat / 49.25g carbohydrate / 19.75g protein / 2.9g fiber

    AFTER~ 248 calories / 4g fat / 38.9g carbohydrate / 17.3g protein / 5.4g fiber

    SAVES~ 224.5 calories / 17.1g fat / 10.4g carbohydrate
    ADDS~ 2.5g fiber

    I always think it's fun to try foods out of their typicall use. For example, when chocolate is worked into a main course or in this case, when pumpkin is used in something other than breads, pies or cookies! The pumpkin puree works! It is a great way to sneak in nutrients; creating a dish that seems very rich yet isn't. The little bit of fat-free half-n-half creates a thick sauce without all of the cheese and butter you would assume would be in a dish like this. Overall, it was fabulous! And in case you are wondering, it makes great left-overs too (if you are lucky to have any).

    Paula's original recipe suggests baking this recipe in 8 individual ramekins, which is a very cute idea for a dinner party. Either way, the bake time and temp stays the same.

    Enjoy and let us know what you think!!

    Monday, October 29, 2012

    Cookin' Lean Craft: Candy Corn Tree

    When does sugar content not matter when it comes to making sweet treats? When you don't plan on eating 'em!

     This fun little activity was too cute not to share. Yes, it is pure sugar, but the intention is to decorate with this recipe, not actually eat it. Although, Kimber and I did sneak in a few candy corn and dips into the frosting. Gotta have some fun and treat yourself every now and then, right?

    If you are home from school or stuck indoors because of Sandy like we are, this is the perfect activity to keep the kids busy for a bit. We are in a hotel and we even had room for this! No kids around the kitchen? This craft makes an adorable place card holder or dish label for a festive fall buffet. This little idea came from Paula Deen. While looking up new recipes to start working away on, I stumbled upon this video. Have fun with it!!




    • Spread icing all over the surface of the cone.

    • Starting with the bottom row, lightly press the candy into the icing.

    • Continue making each row until reaching the top of the cone.

    • To add a place card, dab an extra bit of icing on top and stick card gently into the icing.

    That is one proud little girl!

    If you are already thinking ahead, you may want to save this idea for Christmas or the winter holiday season. It will be here before we know it! Use white icing with green and red M&M's or blue and white York Peppermint Pieces to create a sweet winter wonderland!

    Kimber and I wish you a very HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

    Be safe. Have fun. And stop back again soon as we start cookin' it up again!

    **You may have noticed I haven't been posting much. I miss it soooooo much! This year I coached varsity volleyball for the first time and needless to say, it is very time consuming. I have loved every minute of it, but it doesn't allow much time for cookin' new recipes. There just haven't been a lot of exciting and new home cooked meals over the past couple of months. Well, the season is winding down and I am back! I hope you're ready to start cookin' some lean Food Network inspired recipes with me. I know I am ready to get back into it!! This time of year is one of my favorite times to be in the Cookin' Lean Kitchen. Hope you join us!

    Sunday, August 12, 2012

    Cooking Light with The Neelys: Chicken Alfredo Pizza

    Pizza just isn't red sauce, cheese and pepperoni these days. Restaurants, delivery chains and creative home cooks are finding ways to add excitement to the pizza pie; covering a wide range from dessert varieties to classic dinners just like this Chicken Alfredo Pizza. Patrick and Gina Neely created a delicious looking Chicken Alfredo Pizza that I just couldn't resist. When ordering pizza out, it is my ultimate splurge. Being familiar with the way my brain works with food, you know that any time I find a favorite splurge I immediately start cookin' up ideas for ways to make it lean.

    That's exactly what happened here. Stay home tonight and try out this healthy and inexpensive recipe for Chicken Alfredo Pizza. You'll love the taste and most importantly, you'll feel good about having something that is good for you too.

    Serves 8

    • 3/4 pound BAKED and DICED boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thin sliced works best)
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter"
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup FAT FREE half-and-half
    • 1/4 cup KRAFT Reduced-Fat Grated Parmesan Cheese
    • 1 package Pillsbury pizza dough
    • 2 cups baby spinach, well washed and drained
    • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1 package KRAFT Fat Free shredded Mozzarella
    • "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" Olive Oil Spray, for the crust

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    Place pizza dough on a pizza stone or pan, spreading out the dough and working into a pie shape. Bake for 8 minutes, then remove from oven and set aside.

    Melt the ICBINB in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant. Add the flour and cook until light blonde in color.

    Whisk in the fat free half-and-half, reduce the heat to low, and let simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in Parmesan and season lightly with salt and pepper, to taste.

    Ladle the sauce to cover the bottom of the pizza.

     Evenly top with the baby spinach, grape tomatoes, grilled chicken and the mozzarella. 

    Spray the edge of the crust with ICBINB olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake the pizza for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is thoroughly melted.

    Remove from oven ... slice and serve.


    NUTRITION FACTS: (Per serving; 1/8 of pizza)

    BEFORE~ 348.8 calories / 19g fat / 25.7g carbohydrate / 18.8g protein / 1.1g fiber
    AFTER~ 247.6 calories / 4.4g fat / 28.8g carbohydrate / 21.25g protein / 1.1g fiber
    SAVES~ 101.2 calories and 14.6g fat

    This was such a fun recipe to make! It  may look fancy, but is simple enough to involve the little helpers in your house. Kimber was excited to top off the pizza with spinach, chicken, tomatoes and cheese; the perfect job for her!

    The nutritional savings came in the cheese and cream substitutions. The original recipe calls for heavy cream, which we easily replaced with fat free half-and-half (a frequent Cookin' Lean substitution). The shredded mozzarella comes in a fat free variety, so that was another big saving piece. I am sometimes a little afraid that the fat free cheese won't melt as nicely, but KRAFT'S fat free Mozzarella did beautifully! If you really want to, you can try using a whole-wheat pizza crust or flat bread, but that all depends on your personal preferences. For this recipe, I felt the changes we were making were enough to where keeping a regular pizza crust would be just fine.

    Overall, you are going to love the look and taste of this pizza! And in case you were wondering, it is even great the second day!!

    Try it out and let me know what you think! We want to hear about how it turned out for you, as well as any healthy or creative modifications YOU may have made to this recipe.


    Friday, July 6, 2012

    The Digest Diet: Review & Shrimp Scampi Recipe

    The Editor-in-Chief of Reader's Digest and co-author of The Flat Belly Diet has released another book, The Digest Diet. This book is all about using groundbreaking science and collective wisdom to help people safely lose weight....quickly! I am all about the science behind it, but what matters most to me is, "How does the food taste?" Let's get real, people! You want to know the same thing too! So, naturally, I tested one of the best lookin' recipes in this cookbook and this is what I found. This "fat releasing" food is great! If you love this recipe for Shrimp Scampi with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil, then you will love the rest of the recipes in this book. Check out this recipe and then check out the Reader's Digest: The Digest Diet!

    Serves 4

    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 1-1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
    • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


    In a large skillet, cook the garlic and red pepper flakes in the oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until pale golden...about 1-2 minutes.

    Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 3 minutes.

    Pat the shrimp dry and sprinkle with the black pepper. Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook, turning the shrimp once, until just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Stir in the basil and serve.


    This dish is delicious and filling. My only criticism is that if you leave out the side of rice, if seems like this recipe amount may not be enough for two people. Other than that, the flavor is great and the recipe is great! It is definitely one of those recipes that is so good, it doesn't feel like you are on a diet! If this was an introductory dish to a diet, everyone would sign up! Looking for a diet or not, this book is a great resource for healthy and hearty recipes!!! The recipes are simple, delish and nutritious!! In addition to recipes, you will also find a workout plan and tips for adjusting to a "new" lifestyle. This is a resource you can't afford NOT to have!

    NUTRITION FACTS (per serving):

    143 calories / 6.5g fat / 5g carbohydrate / 16g protein / 1g fiber

    FAT RELEASERS:  Garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil, tomatoes, shrimp, black pepper and basil.

    To learn more about "Fat Releasers", The Digest Diet, the author (Liz Vaccariello) and recipes ....log into

    About the author....

    She is the editor-in-chief content officer of Reader's Digest, which reaches more than 26 million readers. She is the coauthor of the # 1 New York Times bestseller FLAT BELLY DIET! and 400 CALORIE FIX. Vaccariello regularly appearso n national programs such as GOOD MORNING AMERICA and THE DOCTORS  and has been featured on THE BIGGEST LOSER, TODAY, RACHAEL RAY and THE VIEW.  Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of PREVENTION. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

    Friday, June 29, 2012

    Cooking Light with Emeril Lagasse: Cheesy Grits

    When I think about traditionally southern dishes, grits always come to mind. Some people love 'em, some people hate 'em and for some people like just depends on what you are smotherin' them with. Cheesy grits? Yep! I was up for that. Anything with cheese is at least getting one shot with me.

    Kimber and I were visiting my Mom, Dad and brother in Charlotte over Father's Day this month. My Dad's request for dinner was as follows: ribeyes, roasted asparagus and cheesy grits! Mom and I thought this would be a great opportunity to try this classic southern side with a cookin' lean spin. Looking at the ingredients list, we knew right away there were ways to lighten it up. So we did and they turned out great! Even if you think you don't like yourself this. Do you like cheese? Do you like bacon? Then you will like these!! Pair 'em with steak or shrimp for a perfect combination.

    Here is our take on Emeril's Cheesy Grits. Find his original recipe HERE on Food Network.

    Makes 6 Servings

    • 4 cups water
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt; divided
    • 1-1/2 cups old fashioned or quick cooking grits (not instant)
    • 2 cups 1% milk
    • 1 cup FAT FREE half-and-half
    • 4 tablespoons "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter"
    • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
    • 1 cup REDUCED FAT shredded white cheddar
    • Optional, yet strongly recommended garnish: diced scallions  (green onions) & 3 cooked, crumbled slices of center cut bacon

    Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the grits and a teaspoon of salt to the water and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.

    When the grits thicken, add the milk, half-and-half and "ICBINB" and return to a boil.

    Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the saucepan and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the grits are tender, smooth and creamy.

    With what is left of the salt and pepper, season the grits according to what your taste buds are tellin' ya. If the grits are too runny, allow them to cook a little longer. Leave the saucepan uncovered and stir frequently. They will thicken up eventually... just give 'em a little time. When they are thick like you like 'em, fold the shredded white cheddar into the grits, and keep covered and warm until ready to use.

    Divide into 6 individual bowls and top with bacon and scallions. Dig in!


    Nutrition Facts (per serving):
    "After" calculations are done with bacon topping. Even with...check out the savings!

    Before ~ 565.5 calories / 42.1g fat / 34.7g carbohydrate / 23.79g protein / .45g fiber
    After ~ 310 calories / 11.78g fat / 37.3g carbohydrate / 13.49g protein / .45g fiber

    Saves ~ 255.5 calories AND  30.32g fat

    Give this southern side a try and let us know what you think!

    Thanks for the help with this, Mom.

    Enjoy everyone!

    Monday, June 18, 2012

    Cooking Light with Giada De Laurentiis: Fettuccine Alfredo (with Chicken & Broccoli)

    Thanks to a little email from a member of the Cookin' Lean community, I was inspired to take a stab at lightening up a classic, buttery and cheesy Italian dish---Fettuccine Alfredo! My guide for this recipe was the Queen of Italian Cuisine on the Food Network....Giada De Laurentiis. Here is my Cookin' Lean, and loaded with protein, take on her Fettuccine Alfredo.

    Serves 4

    • 8 ounces Vegetable Fettuccine
    • 1 tablespoon "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter"
    • 2 teaspoons all-purpose four
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups FAT FREE Half & Half
    • 2 tablespoons FAT FREE PHILADELPHIA cream cheese
    • 3/4 cup KRAFT REDUCED FAT grated Parmesan
    • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
    • Ground pepper
    • 2 6-8oz. boneless/skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 12oz. bag Steamfresh Broccoli Florets

    For the sauce... Melt the ICBINB in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and lemon zest; cook for about 1 minute. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the FAT FREE half & half. While whisking constantly, add the salt. After about 3 minutes, it should be just thickened, making it time to add the cream cheese and Parmesan cheese. Whisk until melted, about 1 minute. Stir in the chopped parsley.

    While making the sauce, boil the fettuccine in a large pot of salted water. Follow directions on the pasta box to attain the pasta texture you desire. When finished, drain and set aside in a large serving bowl or return to pot.

    **If adding chicken and broccoli to the dish, grill the chicken until cooked thoroughly and steam the broccoli in Steamfresh microwavable bag for 5 minutes. Slice cooked chicken. Add cooked broccoli and chicken to the pasta.

    Add sauce to the pasta, chicken and broccoli; tossing gently until everything is thoroughly covered with sauce.

    Divide into 4 bowls and top with additional Parmesan and parsley, if desired.


    Nutrition Facts (per serving): Nutrition facts for original recipe are based on 6 servings. Original suggests serving 6-8.

    Before ~ 1,071 calories/ 71.5g fat/ 95.4g carbohydrate/ 29g protein/ 4.4g fiber
    After ~ 478.3 calories/ 7.8g fat/ 65g carbohydrate/ 41.1g protein/ 8.3g fiber

    SAVES ~  592.7 calories / 63.7g fat / 30.4g carbs

    ADDS ~ 12.1g protein & 3.9g fiber

    To make this recipe a bit more waistline friendly, I reduced the amount of pasta and added more nutrition in the form of lean chicken and broccoli. The protein in the chicken will help to keep you feeling full and satisfied longer than just pasta alone; making you less likely to raid the ice cream freezer later in the evening! Overall, this dish will satisfy your craving for rich pasta without sacrificing your commitment to cookin' lean. Enjoy!!

    Friday, April 6, 2012

    Paula Deen's Lean: Portobella & Asparagus Salad

    Serves 6

    • 4 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed OR 1 container of fresh sliced baby portobellos
    • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, rouch ends removed
    • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
    • 2 cups cooked WHOLE GRAIN penne pasta
    • 3/4 cup KRAFT Fat Free Italian Dressing
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Olive Oil Cooking Spray

    Heat a grill pan or skillet on the stove at medium-high heat. Spray with Olive Oil cooking spray and add asparagus. Grill for 6-7 minutes, flipping occasionally and seasoning with a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove from grill pan, cut into 1" pieces and toss into a medium size serving bowl.

    Return the grill pan or skillet to the stove and spray again with Olive Oil cooking spray. Add mushrooms, seasoning with salt and pepper, and cooking for 6-7 minutes.

    Add mushrooms to the bowl with the asparagus (if using whole mushrooms, be sure to slice into thin strips).

    Add pasta and tomatoes to the bowl. Drizzle the Italian dressing over the pasta and mix.

    Season with an additional pinch of salt and pepper, if desired.

    Serve it up!


    Two things here saved in this recipe redo: Using the Fat Fee Italian dressing  instead of the Olive Oil AND cutting back on the amount of pasta used. Because the vegetables are so low in calories, you could even increase the amount in this recipe if you wanted to. It wouldn't hurt a thing! Doubling the amount of mushrooms increases the overall caloric value for the ENTIRE RECIPE by only 60 calories!!! (About 91 calories more to double asparagus and 75 for grape tomatoes)

    I made this recipe twice in a week! It is simple, light, fresh and delicious. For any summer cookout this year, I know the side dish I am bringing! Try it out and let me know what you think!!

    Nutrition Facts (per serving):

    BEFORE ~ 375 calories / 9.5g fat / 63.8g carb / 13.1g protein / 5.3g fiber
    AFTER ~105.5 calories / .34g fat / 21.8g carb / 6.2g protein / 4.7g fiber
    SAVES ~ 269.5 calories / 9.16g fat / 42g carbohydrate

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    Paula Deen's Lean: Chicken and Dumplings

    Nothin' says old fashioned comfort food like Chicken and Dumplings! I love taking on recipe makeovers like this because there is an element to it that is very new to me....the dumpling. I have never made homemade dumplings before this point, so it was exciting and scary all at the same time. For a first attempt at making dumplings and making 'em lean, I think we did OK! Take a look at how we took Paula Deen's recipe for Chicken and Dumplings and made it easier and a little bit healthier.

    Serves 6


    • 1.5 pounds boneless/skinless chicken breasts; cut into bit size cubes
    • 3 ribs celery, chopped
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 chicken boullion cubes (no sodium)
    • 1 teaspoon of Paula's House Seasoning (Recipe at the very bottom of the page)
    • 1 (10-3/4 ounce) can condensed Campbell's Healthy Request cream of chicken soup
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup WHOLE WHEAT flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ice water

    Put the cut up chicken breasts, celery, onion, bay leaves, bouillon, and House Seasoning in a large pot.

    Add 4 quarts of water and in water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer the chicken until cooked thoroughly, about 40 minutes. . Keep warm over low heat.

    To make the dumplings: Mix the flours (all-purpose and whole wheat) with the salt and mound together in a mixing bowl. Beginning at the center of the mound, drizzle a small amount of ice water over the flour. Using your fingers, and moving from the center to the sides of the bowl, gradually incorporate about 3/4 cup of ice water. Knead the dough and form it into ball.

    Sprinkle some flour onto a clean work surface. Roll out the dough (it will be firm), working from center to 1/8-inch thick. Let the dough relax for several minutes.

    Add the Campbell's Healthy Request cream of chicken soup to the pot with the chicken and simmer gently over medium-low heat.

    Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces.

    Pull a piece in half and drop the halves into the simmering soup. Repeat. Do not stir the chicken once the dumplings have been added. Gently move the pot in a circular motion so the dumplings become submerged and cook evenly. Cook until the dumplings float and are no longer doughy, 3 to 4 minutes.

    To serve, ladle chicken, gravy, and dumplings into warm bowls.

    Paula's Tip for Gettin' Thicker Gravy: If the chicken stew is too thin it can be thickened before the dumplings are added. Simply mix together 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water then whisk this mixture into the stew.



    BEFORE~ 363.8 calories / 9.2g fat / 38.6g carbohydrate / 29.5g protein / 1.8g fiber
    AFTER~ 307 calories / 3.4g fat / 39.5g carbohydrate / 31.3g protein / 4.2g fiber

    SAVES~ 56.8 calories / 5.8g fat      ADDS ~ 2.4g fiber


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