from Jude’s Kitchen: leaner meals

With the holidays over, many of us are turning to meals with less fat, sugar and sodium, so here are a couple of main dishes that qualify.

Chicken Paprika

Chicken Paprika

After all the rich food over the holidays, it’s time to think about going back to everyday fare.

The party’s over. It will actually feel good to eat simpler food for awhile.

With that in mind, here are a couple of low-fat, high-nutrition meals to serve your family and friends that are high in flavour and look attractive and enticing, but won’t leave you feeling bloated. Forget about the sour cream on top of the Chicken Paprika unless you opt for the fat-free kind, and don’t even think about serving buttery garlic bread with the pork dish.

You can do without all those accompaniments. Remember: keep it simple.

If you’re interested in dropping some of the pounds you put on in December, reduce the dressing on your salad and keep it simple, with a light olive oil and lemon vinaigrette that you make yourself—so you know what’s in it.

Read labels and opt for ingredients with lower fat, sugar and sodium. Focus on fresh fruits and vegetables and let them inspire you to create dishes that emphasize colourful fresh produce instead of larger meat portions.

Choose lean meats or seafood and select low fat cheeses instead of triple cream brie.

Save the sausages and deli meats for an occasional treat instead of every day. Ditto the cookies, candy and ice cream. Have a piece of fresh fruit instead.

Leave the processed food on the shelf and make fresh selections that will encourage you to prepare simple meals: lean meat or cheese with a salad full of fresh vegetables, for instance.

Instead of spaghetti try spaghetti squash as your side dish. It’s delicious and much better for you.

Take an apple for your snack instead of a piece of cake.

Your body will thank you.

For more ideas for lower fat food, pick up a copy of my book, Jude’s Kitchen, wherever books are sold and be inspired seasonally by what’s fresh and local, because that’s how this book is organized—by the seasons.


Spicy Pork in Tomatoes

Lean pork stewed up with vegetables is both tasty and low fat, as well as being full of nutrition. It can also be cooked up quickly after work, because the pork doesn’t require long, slow cooking to become tender. Serve over boiled potatoes, brown rice or whole wheat pasta.

1 lb (454 g) lean boneless pork

1 large onion

1 celery stalk

1 carrot

6 mushrooms

1 green pepper

1 garlic clove

drizzle of oil

salt and pepper, to taste

1 tsp. (5 ml) cumin powder

1 tsp. (5 ml) chili powder

1 tsp. (5 ml) oregano

1 tsp. (5 ml) thyme

14 oz. (398 ml) tomatoes

fresh parsley, to garnish

Cube pork into bite-sized pieces and coarsely chop onion, celery, carrot, mushrooms and green pepper. Mince garlic.

Heat a drizzle of oil in a deep frypan over medium-high heat and quickly brown the pork, sprinkling with salt and pepper, to taste.

Add onion and stir a few minutes until softened. Add celery, carrot and mushrooms and stir well. Sprinkle with the other herbs and spices, except the parsley, and stir in.

Add the tomatoes and combine well, then reduce the heat and simmer on low for 10 minutes or so, covered with a lid.

Add the green pepper and cook a further five minutes or so.

Taste for seasoning, garnish with the fresh parsley and serve.

Serves 4.


Chicken Paprika

This is not quite the traditional Hungarian version. Instead it’s a lower fat version, but it’s quite delicious anyway. Enjoy over whole wheat pasta or even over spaghetti squash as we did. Yum.

1 onion

1 green pepper

1 clove garlic

4 chicken thighs

drizzle of oil

1 tbsp. (15 ml) sweet paprika

1/8 tsp. (.5 ml) hot paprika

1 c. (250 ml) chicken stock

1 tbsp. (15 ml) cornstarch

1 tbsp. (15 ml) cold water

1/2 c. (125 ml) fat-free plain yogurt

Cut onion in half and thickly slice. Chop green pepper and mince garlic.

Remove skin from bone-in chicken pieces and trim off any visible fat.

Heat a drizzle of oil in a deep frypan over medium heat and soften the onion. Sprinkle with the paprika and stir well.

Push to the sides of the pan and brown the chicken. Add the chicken stock (use low sodium or make your own) and stir everything together well, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.

Add the green peppers, cover and turn down the heat to low, simmering for about 25 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken pieces, until just cooked.

Remove the chicken parts and increase the heat slightly. Combine the cornstarch and cold water in a tiny bowl and add to the sauce, stirring until bubbling and thickened.

Add the yogurt and stir until smooth, turn off the heat and return the chicken to the pan to coat it in sauce before serving.

Serves 2-4.



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