Monday, September 29, 2008

Carrot Fries

From Jenny Craig Gourmet

What do you do when it's 4 o'clock, you are starving and dinner isn't for another 2 hours? Make carrot fries! That's what I've been doing the past few days. I read about these on the Jenny Craig Forums and I was definitely intrigued...and did I say, hungry???

4 pm has traditionally been my snack time. I've usually just gotten home from work and I have a habit of snacking - probably one of the reasons I ended up where I'm at weight wise. So I had to find a way to get a little snacking in without violating the "diet" (I put that in quotes because I'm really not thinking of this as a diet but a lifestyle change. Diet means there is an end point. I can't stop eating this way because I know I'll gain every pound back and then some). When I read about these carrot fries I couldn't wait to try them. And I've made them nearly every day since. My husband even thinks they're great!

Heat your oven to 450 degrees. Peel the skin off of about 3-4 carrots and cut into french fry size pieces. Pile them on a cookie sheet and spray with PAM. Mix them up well to coat with the PAM and then arrange them flat on the sheet. Put them in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Toss them about every 15-20 minutes so they cook evenly. When done (I like mine a little crispy) remove from oven and put them in a bowl. I put a little freshly ground sea salt on them. YUM!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Breakfast Scramble, kicked up a notch

From Jenny Craig Gourmet

With all my JC food, I try to limit my use of the microwave. I use it to defrost some of the food items or if I'm at work, to heat up my lunches. Otherwise, I find the microwave, especially mine, overcooks things or leaves things a little to soggy for my taste (for example the French Toast - I put mine in the toaster!). When I come home from work I pull out my dinner and leave it on the counter for a couple of hours to defrost, that way I can just throw it in the pan with whatever veggies I'm making for that night and have a big one dish meal.

My breakfast today consisted of:
Breakfast Scramble
1 Fruit
1 cup nonfat Milk

I decided to volumize the scramble a bit by adding one portobellini mushroom, cut into bite size pieces. Have you tried these yet? Size wise they are in between the size of a crimini and a portobello. Perfect for portioning out!

What I'm sharing here isn't really a recipe, but more of a method. I defrosted the scramble in the microwave for 2 minutes on 30% power. Then I heated up a nonstick skillet and added the scramble and some PAM to coat. I covered the pan and let it sit for about 5 minutes on Medium to heat everything through. Then I removed the cover and added the mushrooms, 1 tsp of Italian Seasoning, a pinch of red pepper flakes and few dashes of Marie Sharp's Hot Sauce. Stir everything together well and let the mushrooms cook for about 2-3 minutes. Pour the mixture onto a plate and enjoy!

From Jenny Craig Gourmet

Admittedly, this isn't the most colorful of dishes. Next time I'd probably add some chopped red pepper and some chopped basil as a garnish to make it more visually appealing.

I serve most of my JC food on my salad plates. Its more of an appropriate portion size for me and I like to see a full plate of food!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Roasted Green Chili Chicken Sandwich

From Jenny Craig Gourmet

I am currently eating off of the preplanned menus. For me it is easier knowing that my whole day is planned out calorically. Today's lunch, according to my menu is:

Chicken Sandwich
Spinach Salad
Jenny's Dressing (50 cal)
2 Tbl Parmesan Cheese (42 cal)

Now, here is what I did to mix things up a bit while staying within the calories (and actually a little under).

Roasted Green Chile Chicken Sandwich
1 green chile
1 Jenny Craig Chicken Sandwich (discard the Creole Mustard dressing or save for another use)
1 roma tomato cut into thick slices
2 small pieces of romaine lettuce
a few thin slices of onion
1 Babybel Light cheese, cut into 3 thin slices (50 cal - I am substituting this for the parmesan. It's 8 calories more but I'm making up the difference with not using the Jenny's Dressing - more on that later)
2 Tbl FF Sour Cream (20 cal)
Chili Powder to taste
PAM Professional

Heat up your grill to high heat.

Roast the green chile on the grill until it is almost completely blackened on all sides (it should look like the picture below) and place in a ziploc bag for about 5 minutes. This will loosen the skin so it will scrape off easily.

From Jenny Craig Gourmet

Remove the chicken and bun from the packaging. Defrost chicken in microwave for 90 seconds on low power. Remove chicken and season with chili powder then spray with PAM. Spray the inside surface of the bun with PAM as well and place the bun and chicken on the grill. Watch the bun closely so it does not burn and remove when toasted to your preference. Heat the chicken through on the grill, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile combine 2 Tbl Fat Free Sour Cream with 1 tsp or so of Chili Powder or to taste. I like things SPICY! Mix well and set aside.

Remove the chile from the ziploc bag and scrape the charred skin off with a knife or your fingers. Cut off the stem, then cut lengthwise and remove the seeds. Slice green chile into pieces that will fit on the sandwich.

Now, it's time to assemble. I used about 1 tsp of the sour cream mixture on each bun (2 tsp total = ~7 cal) then added the 3 thin slices of cheese to the bottom bun. Top with lettuce, onion, tomato then the chicken. Add a couple green chile slices to the top of the chicken and finish with the top bun.

I ate my sandwich with a spinach salad with diced tomato, freshly ground pepper and a few tsps of my favorite Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette (2 T = 5 Cal, 1 g Carbs).

So whats the damage? My substitutions added up to 62 calories (not including the chicken sandwich of course) vs. the 92 calories had I eaten the Jenny's dressing and the Parmesan Cheese. I saved 30 calories and had a filling, SPICY lunch. How do you jazz up your chicken sandwich?

What to have on hand...

I thought I'd start off by talking about the vegetables, herbs and spices I have on hand to volumize my meals while adding flavor without the calories. These are staples I always have on hand in my refrigerator and pantry so I can whip up a variety of dishes without having to run to the store.

Shredded Cabbage
Yellow Squash
Zucchini Squash
Romaine lettuce
Mixed Greens
Tomatoes (Roma and Cherry)
Peppers (Red, Yellow, Orange, Jalepeno, Green Chile)
Sugar Snap Peas
Portobello Mushrooms

Ground Cumin
Chili Powder
Italian Seasoning
Cajun Seasoning
Hot sauces (I have a variety of my favorites like Sriracha, Gunslinger, and Marie Sharps)

Vinegars - you can add a lot of flavor to your cooking with ZERO calories
Cider Vinegar
Red Wine Vinegar
Rice Wine Vinegar
Champagne Vinegar

Finally, I found this new PAM Professional specifically formulated for High Heat. I really like the results both on the stove top and in the oven.

With various combinations of the ingredients above you can add volume and flavor to your Jenny Craig meals or create flavorful vegetable side dishes to compliment your meal, leaving you feeling full and satisfied. No deprivation here!