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

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cooking Light with Rachael Ray: Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Blue Cheese & Pecans

Anything wrapped in bacon has got to be good! However good tastin’ isn’t always the best for us nutritionally, as we know. Inspired by Rachael’s recipe, I was able to create a dish that is both delicious and nutritious; keeping all of the flavors intact, yet cutting the fat in half! With a few little switches to ingredients and cooking style, you can have a savory, cheesy, bacon-y chicken dish without any of the guilt. Serve it with some steamed greens or a salad and you have dinner!!
The recipe makeover also demanded a name change...

Stuffed Chicken with Blue Cheese and Walnuts
Serves 4

• 4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 1 cup REDUCED-FAT blue cheese crumbles

• 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

• 2 scallions, sliced on bias

• 2 slices good-quality center cut bacon

• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

• 1 cup low-sodium/fat free chicken stock

• 1/2 cup FAT FREE half-and-half or cream

• 2 tablespoons grainy mustard

• 2 tablespoons “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” Light Soft Spread

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut the chicken across the breast but not all the way through. Use the knife to cut inside, toward the outer edges, creating a pocket. Open the breasts up and season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper.

Stuff the seasoned chicken cutlets with REDUCED-FAT blue cheese crumbles, walnuts and scallions, using equal amounts for each of the three ingredients. Season the outside again with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken on a small baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes. (Cooking times may vary. Be sure chicken is cooked thoroughly before removing from the oven.)

Melt the ICBINB in a skillet pan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, cook 1 minute then whisk in stock. Let thicken a minute then whisk in the half-and-half and grain mustard, season with salt and pepper, reduce heat to warm.

Rachael recommends halving the chicken and stacking ‘em to show off the center. Set chicken in gravy or pour over top.


So delish!
To cut calories and fat from the original recipe, I chose to bake the chicken instead of starting with a pan fry and moving to the oven. Bacon went from being wrapped around the chicken to being sprinkled sparingly on top. Other savings can from using reduced-fat blue cheese, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (light spread) and fat free half-and-half. Just those little modifications to the original recipe gave us these results! Half the fat, saves over 100 calories and still tastes amazing?!?!? It is true! Check out the nutrition facts and then print out the recipe to try for yourself.

NUTRITION FACTS (PER SERVING/one stuffed chicken breast with sauce):
BEFORE~463.8 calories / 32.4g fat / 5.8g carbohydrate / 36.4g protein / .8g fiber

AFTER~ 333.6 calories / 16.9g fat / 6.9g carbohydrate / 34.6g protein / 1.1g fiber

SAVES~ 130.2 calories & 15.5g fat


You can see this recipe and many more on a fabulous recipe site,!


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