Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The March Issue

One of my favorite days of the month is when my Cooking Light Magazine arrives!  I seriously sit down with it and read the entire thing cover to cover- marking my favorite pages and recipes.  The March issue arrived Sunday, and by Sunday night I was already cooking. It was a cold rainy day and Chris and I were in recovery mode from a big night out in LA the night before- obviously Bacon, Ranch and Chicken Mac N Cheese was in order.  And it totally hit the spot. And since it was a Cooking Light version- it was reduced guilt!
8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
1 slice applewood-smoked bacon I used two. Ok fine I used 3 :) Really the more the merrier (unless you are in calorie counting mode)
8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces Cutting up raw chicken is so gross. I was really having trouble with this. However- it tastes good and adds protein to the dish.
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
1/3 cup condensed 45% reduced-sodium 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded six-cheese Italian blend (such as Sargento)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder I didn't have onion powder so I doubled the garlic powder.
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill I didn't have this and it was fine without.
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded colby-Jack cheese
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
2. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in pan. Finely chop bacon; set aside. Increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken to drippings in pan; saut√© 6 minutes or until done. As I'm cooking the bacon, I hear Chris giggling to himself in the living room and asked him what was funny.  Apparently the smell of the cooking bacon was so amazing he literally he couldn't help himself "You're making bacon!!" he kept saying.  If that's all it takes to keep him happy- I wish I'd figured this out earlier!
3. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; sprinkle flour evenly into pan. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Combine milk and soup, stirring with a whisk; gradually add milk mixture to saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat; let stand 4 minutes or until sauce cools to 155°. Add Italian cheese blend, onion powder, garlic powder, dill, and salt, stirring until cheese melts. This part was fun! The mixture literally turns into a cheese fondu like cheesy goo- yummm Stir in pasta and chicken.
4. Preheat broiler.
5. Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with reserved bacon and colby-Jack cheese. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts. I topped with some fresh ground pepper.
Nutritional Information- Makes 4 servings 2 cups each.
Calories:497 Do I get that that's a lot of calories?  Yes- but for a favorite like Mac and Cheese it's worth it and WAY less than you would find in a restaurant version. Also- the servings are huge! You could just have a cup and it would be about 250 calories.
Fat:17g (sat 9.2g,mono 4.7g,poly 1.4g)

Cooking Light is also great becuase they list all their recipes online. Check out the link: March 2010 Recipe Index. I think I'm also going to try to make the Blue Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Buffalo Sauce, Chicken Curry and Spicy Shrimp and Grits.
Also in this month's Issue was Top 25 cooking mistakes people make. I'm not going to list them all- but I'll share a few that stood out to me (because I tend to make them!)
-Pre-heat the pan before adding oil.  The pan should be hot when you add oil, and then let the oil heat before adding food.
-Taste the food at all steps of the process.  Not take huge bites, but have quick tastes to make sure your recipe is on track.
-Let meat rest. Once you finish cooking meat, always let it sit for a few minutes before cutting it so it doesn't lose all the juices.
-Measure your ingredients- don't eyeball it!
Happy Cooking!

No comments:

Post a Comment