Skillet rosemary chicken, modified to cut salt and fat

Food Network has tons of recipes it sends me via regular email newsletters but many of them have too much salt, fat and sugar for my post-angioplasty diet. So I find myself modifying them to suit what I need now. Such is the case with this skillet rosemary

Food Network Rosemary Chicken
Food Network Rosemary Chicken

chicken.

Here are the ingredients Food Network specifies:

3/4 pound small red-skinned potatoes, halved, or quartered if large
Kosher salt
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus 1 tablespoon leaves
1 clove garlic, smashed
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Juice of 2 lemons (squeezed halves reserved)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each)
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved Continue reading “Skillet rosemary chicken, modified to cut salt and fat”

Major chicken recall underway — check your chicken

A major recall of chicken is underway, if you bought chicken recently at a host of retailers, check it immediately.

Grilling chicken breasts on my new grill pan.
Check your chicken, there’s a major recall underway.

The brands involved include:
– Acclaim
– Antioch Farms
– Buckley Farms
– Centrella Signature
– Chestnut Farms
– Family Favorites
– Home Dining Selections
– Kirkwood
– Koch Foods
– Market Day
– Oven Cravers
– Rose
– Rosebud Farm
– Roundy’s
– Safeway Kitchens
– Schwan’s
– Shaner’s
– Spartan
– Sysco

The recall of 561,000 pounds of chicken from Chicago-based Aspen Foods is an expansion of an earlier Aspen recall of 2 million pounds of chicken in September. Continue reading “Major chicken recall underway — check your chicken”

A Chinese food recipe that actually works as low-sodium?

Chinese food is a cuisine I love but have given up since my 2012 angioplasty because of the high sodium content of almost anything containing soy sauce or other salt-heavy Chinese sauces. I did binge on Chinese food for a birthday a few years back, but that’s been it.

A low-salt broccoli beef recipe from the American Heart Association.
A low-salt broccoli beef recipe from the American Heart Association.

So I was excited to see this recipe for broccoli beef stir fry from the American Heart Association. It uses only a tiny amount fo low-sodium sauce sauce, one tablespoon, for a pound of beef and two pounds of broccoli. I might add some Mrs. Dash salt-free teriyaki marinade to intensify the Chinese flavors a bit. Continue reading “A Chinese food recipe that actually works as low-sodium?”

Going off my diet in the foothills of Austin — hello County Line

Austin, Texas, is known for music, the University of Texas, and, of course, Texas barbecue. Ribs, brisket and various sausages all are served as various barbecue spots in this beef-country city. That’s cold comfort for someone like me on a low-fat diet since my 2012 angioplasty.

My County Line Combo plate!
My County Line Combo plate!

So rather than torture myself every night I was there, I resolved to go off my diet one night to try some barbecue. My wife, who spends more time in Texas for work these days than at home, recommended a place she’d gone before, County Line. It’s nestled in the foothills on the edge of town and looks exactly like you’d want a roadhouse barbecue place to look. The one we went to apparently is the original location, there are others. Continue reading “Going off my diet in the foothills of Austin — hello County Line”

Target is carrying 93% lean ground beef

Lean beef is the only kind I eat on my post-angioplasty diet these days. I’ve mentioned how I found 96% lean ground beef at a supermarket chain here in Chicago, Jewel. That remains the leanest ground beef I’ve seen in a supermarket.

This recent Target add included 93% lean ground beef.
This recent Target add included 93% lean ground beef.
Target 93% lean ground beef
Target 93% lean ground beef

But a recent ad for Target’s food selection included 93% lean ground beef. While not as lean as what I buy, it can be a good choice if you can’t find the 96% lean. With most places selling either 85% or at most 90%, this 93% lean ground beef stands out as a good choice if you have a Target with a major food section nearby. Continue reading “Target is carrying 93% lean ground beef”

Lean ground turkey, let’s review how to find the leanest variety

Ground turkey has replaced ground beef in a variety of dishes I make, from meatballs to tacos because it is, or at least can be leaner than most ground beef offerings. But I’ve warned you before that not all ground turkey is all that lean, read the nutrition label to find the leanest variety your food store offers.

Which is leaner? Do you see the different descriptions? No? Another reason to always read nutrition labels.
Which is leaner? Do you see the different descriptions? No? Another reason to always read nutrition labels.

Some brands offer lean and extra lean ground turkey. I recently found another variation of that in the Honeysuckle brand, made by food giant Cargill. It offers white meat ground turkey and breast meat ground turkey. You would think white meat would be the leanest, but the breast meat offering is leaner, 1.5 grams of fat per four ounces compared with 8 grams in the other variety.

Why? I’m guessing skin is ground along with the meat for the higher fat one, it adds flavor and moisture. When you find these two types, buy one of each package to mix in a turkey meatloaf to get some flavor and lower fat content overall.
John

Food hack test: making tortillas into taco shells

Food hack was a new term to me until very recently. I wrote about 28 Brilliant Food Hacks that seemed like good ideas, including one in which you can turn a soft tortilla into a hard taco shell.

A brilliant food hack? Using a cup to turn a tortilla into a hard taco shells didn't go exactly as advertised.
A brilliant food hack? Using a cup to turn a tortilla into a hard taco shells didn’t go exactly as advertised.

But I tried that one recently and it left a bit to be desired. The problem may have been that the cup I used, you put the tortilla in a coffee cup and then put it a microwave to harden, was too small for the tortilla.

I started with these flat, low-salt tortilla shells from Trader Joe's.
I started with these flat, low-salt tortilla shells from Trader Joe’s.
...and ended up with this slightly round taco shell
…and ended up with this slightly round taco shell

You can see the result here, the tortilla curved on one side, the side in the cup, but remained largely open on the other. A second attempt in which I tried to push it deeper into the cup caused it to split in the middle.

Why not just buy taco shells? Because all I’ve seen are extremely high in salt but I have managed to find low-salt tortilla shells.

I’ll try this hack again with a deeper cup and see if that helps. It was fun to have a hard shell again, especially one that was low in salt, in which to put my low-fat ground turkey mixture.
John

Turkey meatballs, a great side for Italian dishes

Meatballs are an integral part of Italian-American cooking (not so much in Italy, but that’s another story) but red meat is largely off my diet since my angioplasty in 2012. So I’ve switched from beef to turkey meatballs. It occurred to me I’ve referred to them in past posts here but never shown how to make them.

So here’s a quick guide. Start with a pound of lean ground turkey, which has about one gram of fat per ounce. Add four to six ounces of Panko breadcrumbs, some reduced fat Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning you can buy pre-mixed (be sure to get a mix without salt listed as an ingredient). Add cheese and seasoning to your taste preference.

Turkey meatballs are a low-fat, low-salt alternative to beef meatballs.
Turkey meatballs are a low-fat, low-salt alternative to beef meatballs.

Combine the ingredients in a bowl, adding water to help bind it all. Mix it together, then form it into meatballs using your hands, rolling it clockwise across your palms (or you can buy a device to make meatballs).

Turkey meatball ingredients include lean ground turkey, Panko breadcrumbs, low-fat cheese and Italian seasoning.
Turkey meatball ingredients include lean ground turkey, panko breadcrumbs, low-fat cheese and Italian seasoning.

I normally get 17 turkey meatballs from a pound, so each is a bit less than one ounce, or one gram of fat. The breadcrumbs are low-salt, the cheese has salt, so be prudent in how much you add. This is still a low-salt offering, and definitely lower-fat than beef or more traditional beef and pork meatballs.

Turkey meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl, just add water and mix it all up.
Turkey meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl, just add water and mix it all up.

Cook them for about an hour at 350, turning after 30 minutes. Coat the bottom of the pan with water to avoid sticking, you may need to add more water at the 30-minute mark too.

Enjoy!
John

Salt-free taco seasoning from Mrs Dash, a start to your low-salt, low-fat tacos

Tacos were not on my food radar when I was an Italian-American kid growing up in Brooklyn. But I did start eating them after moving to the Midwest and became a fan before my angioplasty took Mexican dishes largely off my post-surgery eating menu.

I missed tacos, they remind me of fun meals I used to make with my kids, and so I was very excited to see that Mrs. Dash makes a salt-free taco seasoning mix.

Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning
Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning
Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning Nutrition information
Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning Nutrition information

You can see the nutrition information here, no salt, some sugar according to the ingredients list but not enough to put on the nutrition panel, and potassium chloride used instead of salt, or sodium chloride. If you have any potassium issues, you might want more information about how much is in this. But if not, this can be a first ingredient for some relatively low-salt, low-fat tacos. Continue reading “Salt-free taco seasoning from Mrs Dash, a start to your low-salt, low-fat tacos”

New Year’s Day: time for some (lean) beef

New Year’s Day 2015! Wow, who would have imagined I’d be here to see this day after having angioplasty back in 2012. I’m a bit beside myself with the wonder of it all. But that aside, let’s continue with our 12 days of Christmas low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar menu offerings with some beef today.

Yes beef, but the leanest beef you can find. That’s 96% lean ground beef in my case. I get it at the Jewel supermarket chain here in Chicago, see if you can find it in your market as well.

A lean burger, along with peppers and asparagus.
A lean burger, along with peppers and asparagus.

Patties made from this type of beef are extremely lean. Have them on some salt-free bread with some low-salt, low-sugar ketchup and you’re all ready for a day of football and friends!

Happy 2015 everyone, let’s hope the world find some peace this year for all the troubles of recent times.
John

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