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Suggestions please for low fat chicken breast recipies

  • l

The old doc finally got me to eat a low fat, low sugar diet. Weight and health wise I am ok with it, but it's getting boring. Specifically I'd like to get some preperations for skinless chicken breasts that have some flavor. Keep in mind no BBQ sauces (the sugar you know), no fried chicken (too many fats in hot oil preparations.) Mostly I have been grilling and then dressing with either lemon and pepper or a littel balsamic and EVO. Can you help me flavor it up or add variey? Thanks hounds!

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  1. One my favorites is to make foil packages; salt & pepper chicken; add sliced onions, sliced carrots, crushed garlic, sliced green pepper, sliced celery, sliced mushrooms, and pour a little sherry over it all; seal the package; place folded side up on a pie pan (they do leak sometimes ), and bake @350 for 30 minutes, depends on the size.

    I grill chicken and then use homemade salsas to give it more flavor. Stir fries with chicken broth rather than oil work well.

    good luck

    1. one of my favorites is making a marinade of chunky salsa (1/2 c), dijon mustard (1/4 cup) & fresh lime juice (2T)- marinate chicken in fridge for at least 30min.
      Then saute chicken only in butter, until brown (but you can omit butter for healthier)while boiling marinade for a couple minutes. Add marinade to chicken & finish sauteing until chicken is done. Place chicken on plate & boil marinade for 1 more minute. Spoon it over chicken & top with plain yogurt or sour cream. Can squezze a little fresh lime on top too.

      1. These fajitas are so easy, low fat and very tasty. You really don't need a lot of oil, and you can even use Pam instead of oil altogther.

        You can also adjust spices depending on how spicy you like them.

        Link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

        5 Replies
        1. re: valerie

          you should be careful of the hidden calories in many tortillas and sandwich wraps.

          1. re: jfood

            Agreed. I buy the small tortillas and if you only eat 1, it's still a relatively low fat/healthy dish. Additionally, I rarely put the cheese on mine since I don't want the extra calories, but my husband and daughter add the cheese to theirs.

            1. re: valerie

              little jfood (quasi nutristionist) told us at dinner the other night that most wrap sandwiches are worse than on bread. who-da thunk it?

              1. re: jfood

                That doesn't surprise me - I've found some nice flax seed wraps that I think have fewer carbs/calories than others.

          2. re: valerie

            Instead of a wrap we use a lettuce leaf like bibb, even the softer outsides of a head of iceberg works great.

          3. Here is one of my favorites. You can use lowfat dressing and cheese, of course, if the full fat versions are not accetable.:

            Buffalo chicken salad (serves 2)

            One large boneless, skinless chicken breast
            1 jar prepared buffalo wing sauce
            Lettuce, chopped
            Shredded cheddar cheese
            Prepared blue cheese or ranch salad dressing

            Trim chicken breast of fat and remove center cartilage so that you now have two breast halves. Filet each breast half into two thin pieces then slice across the grain into thin strips. Place chicken strips in a non-reactive bowl and pour the wing sauce over the chicken strips and mix to distribute the sauce evenly (pour in enough sauce to generously cover each piece of chicken). Let stand for a least 30 minutes. While the chicken is marinating prepare salad vegetables and place in individual bowls, top with shredded cheese. Pour chicken and all of the marinade into a hot skillet and sauté until chicken is cooked through (about 5 minutes). Once chicken is cooked transfer half of the meat and sauce onto each salad, pour ranch or blue cheese dressing over the chicken and salad and eat immediately.

            2 Replies
            1. re: EAF

              jfood struggles with blue cheese dressing and cheddar cheese hitting the mark on "low-fat".

              1. re: jfood

                Something I like to do with creamy dressings is to thin them with a little nonfat buttermilk or yogurt + water. Then add some seasonings to make up for the dilution, like garlic powder, fresh chives, etc.

                Or, just make low-fat creamy dressings from scratch :).

                Cheese is tricky, even reduced-fat versions can be moderately high in fat.

            2. What I ususally do is marinate it for a long time with some good quality flavored olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, and what ever other spices strike your fancy. I use this peppercorn kind of oil that my sister brought back from Italy. You don't need alot so you can cut down on fat. Then I broil. Or you can rub with lemon/lime, salt, pepper and broil. Or shove garlic in it and cook that way. I eat a lot of chicken breasts

              1. You can marinate in:

                Buttermilk with herbs and spices (even the ranch dressing packet could work, but it might have some sugar in it). Coat stips of breast in panko, spray with cooking spray and bake to make tasty chicken tenders.

                Thai or Indian curry paste (just read the label to make sure there's little or no oil in the paste) and lime juice to thin it out. Grill, broil or saute.

                Soy sauce with a touch of sesame oil, grated fresh ginger, garlic, rice wine vinegar and red pepper flakes. Grill, broil, saute or bake in parchment with mix of Asian vegetables (e.g. bok choy, carrots, baby corn, etc.)

                Chili powder, garlic and lime juice. Grill, broil or saute.

                That's all I can think of for now. Best of luck trying out some new recipes!

                3 Replies
                1. re: Sony

                  I want to mean this in a polite way, but the OP asked for low-fat recipes, and yet almost everyone is providing recipes involving butter, cheese, oil, buttermilk, etc........

                  1. re: Buford

                    No offense taken, and I hope my response is taken politely in return! Sometimes it's hard to figure out how to get the right tone across via Internet, that's for sure...

                    Buttermilk is typically low-fat, despite the misleading name. Traditionally it's the leftover liquid from making butter (so the butterfat is in the butter, not the buttermilk). Since most buttermilks these days are cultured from milk instead of made the traditional way, I should have specified LOW-FAT or NON-FAT buttermilk.

                    Sesame oil is a highly aromatic oil that can provide a lot of flavor with very little fat. Adding less than 1 tsp. to an entire dish that serves 4 can flavor it while adding minimal fat and calories.

                    Curry paste is another (sometimes) oil-containing ingredient that adds tons of flavor with little fat. The brand I have has 12 g. of fat (most of it unsaturated) in 2 tablespoons, which typically makes a pot of curry for 8 people. That paste is adding a whole lot of flavor without a lot of fat. This is a great example of how a little oil can carry a lot of oil-soluble flavors through in a dish. I've tried making curries with cooking spray or no oil, and in my opinion, the oil is needed to distribute the flavor of spices properly through the dish. I would rather have 1/2 tsp. of oil in a reasonable serving of something that actually tastes good than a large quantity of something without oil that is noticeably less palatable. I suppose others may not have the choice....

                    As another poster said, low-fat doesn't mean cutting out oils or fat entirely (this is a hard lifestyle to maintain). To me, it's a matter of choosing fats wisely (e.g. highly flavored fat-containing ingredients) and using them sparingly with other flavorful ingredients without fat. Not that oil or fat is needed in every recipe, but a reasonable amount (e.g. a tsp. per serving) can make a dish loads more palatable for a negligible price.

                    If the original poster needed a non-fat diet, I would definitely have to modify my suggestions.

                    1. re: Sony

                      Well said, I was about to make the same points, but you did it so much better.

                2. As one who has to also watch those fats and stuff, I think you'll find that being excessively strict is very difficult if not impossible. You'll get too bored or annoyed with this way of eating and wind up binging because of it.

                  Therefore I advise you to pick your battles. In otherwords, pick good fats when you use them (i.e.; olive oil), and of course, cut down on the refined sugars as much as possible. Start using all kinds of herbs and spices, and experiment with mustards and vinegars.

                  Having said that, you can use small amounts of items which contain sugar to flavor your food, just don't go overboard (i.e.; don't use tablespoons of BBQ sauce for a chicken breast).

                  My mom (who is gone) left us this recipe for a marinade which sounds simple and almost silly, but has great depth of flavor. One caveat - it calls for equal parts of each ingredient, however, I think that my sister may have written it down incorrectly because if you use the same amount of tabasco as other parts, it is unbearably spicey. I should know. I tried it out for the first time after many years of it being lost this past weekend. Started it exactly as written and had to throw out the first batch. Thankfully I had not put in the chicken yet!

                  I'd start with equal parts of the other 3, and add the tabasco little by little until it tastes right to you.

                  1 tablespoon cider vinegar
                  1 tablespoon ketchup
                  1 tablespoon soy sauce
                  1 tablespoon (or NOT!!!) tabasco sauce

                  This will easily flavor 4 large chicken breasts. I recently used 1/4 cup of each (and only about 1 tablespoon of the tabasco) to marinade about 3 pounds of chicken parts and it was the perfect amount. Marinade for about 1 hour or so in a big plastic bag to make for easy turning so it all gets coated. It really penetrates nicely. Grill as usual.

                  BTW speaking of mustards, a bit of dijon and olive oil and some chopped garlic, thyme and rosemary makes a nice marinade too.


                  1. I just tried a Rachael Ray recipe from her magazine (it was a gift ..) - marinate chicken in mixture of lemon juice, lemon zest, oregano, cumin, oil, garlic... pretty simple and tasty. We grilled them on the george foreman for a quick weekday dinner.

                    1. what I just did was, made a big batch of tomato sauce like a ratatoille? with any vege's you like and froze that to pour over anything. like your chicken or salmon with some brown rice. low fat and healthy

                      1. I am also interested in having a low fat diet (though low sugar seems to be too much to hope for), and I have been experimenting extensively with low fat chicken recipes. Imho there are two important things: remove the skin and as much other fat as you can, and cook with liquid rather than oil. My basic recipe is skinless chicken with vegetables and maybe beans or potatoes cooked in liquid in a frying pan, with the heat on medium until the liquid has almost cooked away. These recipes typically have something like 700 calories for a good dinner, and half of those calories are for beans -- potatoes are a lot less. Within that basic framework you can flavor the liquid however you like. I usually start with chicken broth from a box at the store and then add things. There are numerous options: curry paste, wine, tarragon, cumin, garlic, anchovies, soy sauce, mustard, etc. The next on my list is fish sauce -- I gather from the Web that the best is Squid Brand and so I'm psyched about the bottle of Squid Brand that I brought home the other day from the Thai market. I should think that this basic recipe scales up to serving several people, simply cooking larger quantities in a pot rather than frying pan. Another advantage is that you can't possibly overcook this dish (though you can undercook).

                        1. Oddly enough, the same answer I used to reply to the boneless chicken thighs posted below will also help you:

                          Indonesian chicken sates, Vietnamese lemongrass chicken, Japanese yakitori, or Indian tandoori-style chicken all sound like candidates for your diet. Using chicken breast won't give you as moist a dish as thigh meat will, but shorter cooking time and/or a brief brining beforehand should help with that.

                          1. Here's my current favorite way to cook chicken. (Recipe courtesy of a friend who finally gave in to my begging.)

                            Tequila-Lime Chicken
                            Serves 4-6

                            1/4 cup tequila
                            1 tsp salt
                            1 tsp sugar
                            3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
                            4 cloves garlic, minced
                            1/2 cup fresh lime juice
                            1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & sliced
                            1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (or less, if you want)
                            6 chicken breasts, boned & skinned

                            In food processor or blender combine all marinade ingredients. Process until well blended. Place chicken in large glass or ceramic bowl. Pour marinade over chicken. Refrigerate 3 hours.

                            Remove chicken from marinade. Grill 4 to 5 minutes on each side until browned, basting with marinade. Thinly slice cooked chicken. May be served hot or cold spread with cold mango salsa.

                            Mango Salsa
                            2 cups chopped mango (pitted & peeled)
                            1 cup chopped red bell pepper
                            2/3 cup chopped green onion
                            1/4 cup chopped cilantro
                            2 Tablespoons lime juice
                            zest of one lime
                            4 tsp olive oil (or less)

                            Mix together gently. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

                            Keep up the good work. I hope you're also eating fish (salmon! striped bass! tilapia! halibut!) and tofu, for variety's sake.


                            2 Replies
                            1. re: AnneInMpls

                              What is a good side dish for this meal?

                              1. re: ktcolt

                                I could definitely see a baked sweet potato with this (no butter..to keep the meal healthy!) and a dark green salad...OR some kind of black beans and rice would also go well, I think.

                            2. Here's one to try if you like Mexican...Chicken in Spicy Tomato Sauce...but, please check out the sugar content..between the orange juice and brown sugar...well, YOU need to determine if it's too much sugar for you, I don't know...and I will advise you that you do NOT need 3 TBSP. of oil...you can easily brown the chicken in a good non-stick pan coated with cooking spray to cut down on the fat. We really like this recipe. Also, have you tried meatless main dishes? There are some awesome ones out there on the 'net AND on this board using other proteins like black beans, lentils, etc. so that you are not consuming sat fats. You can do it!! Low-fat does not have to be boring.

                              Link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                              1. I will sometimes cut them up and boil them in a small amount of water, rice wine vinegar and salt (good amount).

                                takes about 5 minutes and you can serve it in a stir fry or cool them and put them in the fridge to serve with salads or with pasta. Also you can save the liquid. It will have some good flavor and you can boil other thing (like pasta) in it a later date. This will give flavor to things that are generally bland without adding fat.

                                I agree with the person who suggested that you choose your fats wisely and cook with very flavorful items. Vinagars, chiles, olives (suprsingly low in fat) etc.

                                The above could also be made with champagne vinegar or even white wine for a more european flavor.

                                1. What about chicken marbella without the sugar? A diabetic friend says it is just as good without the sugar and wine. I think she uses a little chicken broth so she has some sauce for the rice or cous cous.

                                  Link: http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

                                  1. The suggestion for stews is a good one as this is one way to really cut down on fat while maintaining the tenderness of the meat. Do you like stews? I recently made a simple (faux) tagine with preserved lemons and was amazed at its flavorfulness and richness. Granted, preserved lemons take a few weeks/months to make, but they are a magic ingredient and can transform ordinary food into extraordinary. There is much discussion here on preserved lemons, so I won't go into that.

                                    For the tagine, first I browned the chicken breasts in a hot, nonstick pan with very little oil. In a separate, deep pot, I sauteed sliced onions and garlic until translucent. Added the chicken, fresh tomato chunks, handful of cilantro (whole, stems and all), a preserved lemon and broth or liquid (water) to cover. Cooked at a gentle simmer for 2-3 hours. Ready to serve. Delicious. I served with couscous, but brown rice would be good. You could add some cooked chickpeas to bulk this out. Saffron would be lovely and add spectacular color. Good luck! And please share your discoveries. I can never find enough ways to cook chicken breasts.

                                    1. Poached breasts, shredded, in a salad. Vietnamese salad with cabbage, carrots, in a fish sauce-lime-garlic-mint dressing (and yes, a little sugar) and I like chilis too. Various permutations of soy sauce/vinegar/garlic/ginger/scallion.

                                      Traditional Mexican tacos use boiled chicken: griddle-toasted corn tortillas, beans (no need to fry, just mash, cook your own for best flavor), salsa, don't goop it up with cheese and you're fine.

                                      1. Have you checked out any of Jane Brody's "Good Food" cookbooks? They contain numerous low fat chicken recipes, and I have liked each one that I tried.
                                        For grilling, my favorite low fat recipe is tandoori chicken. I like this easy version from Julie Sahni: :
                                        1 ½ c. plain yogurt (not nonfat)
                                        4 T. lemon juice
                                        6 medium cloves garlic, minced
                                        1 2” piece of ginger, peeled and minced
                                        2 T. ground cumin
                                        2 t. ground coriander
                                        ½ t. ground cardamom
                                        ¼ t. ground cloves
                                        1 t. cayenne pepper
                                        ½ t. freshly ground black pepper
                                        salt to taste
                                        2 T. vegetable oil
                                        Mix together and throw in a lot of chicken breats. Marinate all day and grill.

                                        1. last night for the grill i marinated boneless skinless chicken breasts in
                                          a bit of white wine
                                          some OJ
                                          some "garlic expressions" brand salad dressing
                                          italian seasoning
                                          cayenne pepper
                                          black pepper

                                          just let sit in a ziplock bag for an hour or so and tossed it around. dumped the marinade so it shouldn't have added too much excess fat but made the chicken really tender on the grill and tasted great with squash, zucchini, mushrooms, & red peppers. i sauteed mine since unfortunately they had to be a bit mushy for a one year old to eat but they'd have been great on the grill too.

                                          agree that it's all about good fats in small amounts.

                                          1. fresh seasoning and lemon or lime juice with grilled skinless breasts.

                                            Likewise jfood finds a huge vat of roasted veggies is a great way and they keep nicely in the fridge. with all the fresh veggies today this list includes red/yellow peppers, onions, mushrooms, squash, zucchini, brussel sprouts, carrots. Cut into bite sized pieces and roast at 400 for 6-75 minutes, churning every 15 minutes. just add some seasonings to this and use a large non-stick roating pan.

                                            1. I got a lot of really great responses to this thread. I'm still working my way through them:


                                              For your grilled chicken, there is a recipe in EPI called Foolproof Grilled chicken, it involves a brine and a vinaigrette. (I go a little light on the olive oil in the v.) It's an excellent recipe. Fruit salsas make a nice accompaniment for grilled anything, IMO. To me, summer is the easist time to eat lower fat, and less calorically-dense items. Then comes winter and I want to make panade.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: danna

                                                I have enjoyed chicken breast with salsa and low fat Mozzarella cheese. Makes a tasty dish.

                                              2. My new panacea for improved, exciting taste is chimichuri. I eat in on all varieties of grilled meats and sea foods.

                                                The recipe is
                                                1. 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro and half cup of fresh flat parsley or 1 cup basil
                                                2. 3 medium cloves garlic
                                                3.1/4 cup red wine vinegar
                                                4. 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
                                                5. 1/2 to 1 Tbs sugar ( I like the larger amount with the basil)
                                                6. 1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper
                                                7. Salt to taste.

                                                puree in food processor or use a mortar and pestle.
                                                Chimichuri has changed my summer. It's my new favorite. It's an ideal topping to everything as far as I can tell.

                                                1. We love it sauteed with garlic, lemon juice and capers, season with salt & pepper..

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: RIChowderhead

                                                    This is a little different salad that can be a light lunch or dinner.

                                                    3 tablespoons lime juice
                                                    1 tablespoon olive oil
                                                    1 teaspoon jalapeno sauce
                                                    3/4 teaspoon salt
                                                    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
                                                    3/4 lb shredded cooked chicken breasts
                                                    2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
                                                    1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed
                                                    1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
                                                    1 cup cooked rice
                                                    1/2 cup red bell peppers, diced
                                                    1/3 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
                                                    1/4 cup red onions, chopped

                                                    Whisk first 5 ingredients for the dressing. Add the remaining and chill stlightly.

                                                    Another healthy one is in white wine (not sure if sugar is a problem since the alcohol cooks off?)

                                                    Dredge chicken in a little flour, salt, paprika and black pepper. Coat an ovenproof skillet with olive oil spray and brown on each side. Add equal parts chicken broth and white wine, bring to a boil, cover and bake at 350.

                                                  2. In the South Beach Diet Cookbook (the orange book, not the green one with the basic diet in it) there are a number of good chicken recipes. One I really like involves seasoning the chicken with chili powder and cumin and grilling it, then serving with a nice cool sauce made from cilantro, a little olive oil, almonds, and lime juice. It's sorta like pesto but with cilantro.