Trouble With Toast

Recipe: Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich

May 17, 2011
1 Comment

One of the hardest parts about “dieting” is planning for lunch, especially when your office is walking distance from many tasty treats.  Lean Cuisines and turkey sandwiches can only get you so far, ya know?

Originally, when I saw this recipe in Women’s Health magazine, I thought I’d make it for dinner one night.  But as I was buying ingredients, I pondered to myself, “Why can’t I make extra and then pack one of these sandwiches for the next day’s lunch?”  I just marinated and grilled some additional chicken breasts and pineapple slices, and I waited until I was ready to eat before I toasted the bun and melted the cheese (as I was reheating the chicken) – that way, the bread didn’t get soggy and the cheese didn’t get oily or rubbery.

What a delicious delight, regardless of the time of day!  I love the combo of sweet pineapple, salty chicken/cheese, and spicy jalapeno.  And if you don’t like raw onion, you could easily slice those thick and throw them on the grill with everything else (or caramelize them, if you prefer a little added sweetness).  You definitely won’t be tempted by neighborhood restaurants when you have this number in your lunch pail!

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4 to 6 oz each)
    4 pineapple slices (1/2-inch thick)
    1/4 cup pickled jalapeno slices, or 1 fresh jalapeno, thinly sliced
    Teriyaki sauce
    4 slices Swiss cheese
    4 whole-wheat kaiser rolls
    1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

Combine chicken and enough teriyaki sauce to cover it in a resealable plastic bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.

Heat a grill until hot (you shouldn’t be able to hold your hand above the grates for more than 5 seconds). Remove chicken from marinade and place on the grill; discard any remaining marinade. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, flip, and immediately add cheese to each breast. Continue cooking until cheese is melted and chicken is lightly charred and firm to the touch. Remove from grill; set aside.
While chicken rests, add pineapple and rolls to the grill. Cook rolls until they’re lightly toasted, and pineapple slices until they’re soft and caramelized, about 2 minutes per side. Top each roll with chicken, pineapple, red onion, and jalapeno slices. If you like, drizzle chicken with a bit more teriyaki sauce.

Per serving: 387 cal, 13 g fat, 29 g carbs, 703 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 36 g protein


Recipe: Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas

May 11, 2011
2 Comments

Wow, I cannot believe it’s been over a month since I posted anything.  Don’t worry – I haven’t been eating bad take-out.  In fact, the kitchen at TWT headquarters has been busy, and I have TONS of delicious new dishes to share with you.

My husband and I have been on a diet since late March.  Basically, even though we are good little exercisers, we weren’t feeling as healthy as we thought we could be.  We started using My Fitness Pal, a website/app that helps track calories (both consumed and burned), and we began paying a LOT more attention to the types and amounts of food we were putting into our bodies.  We also pledged to be more conscious of the calories we were drinking – so beer and wine consumption was significantly reduced.

The good news?  Not only am I down 10 pounds (and husband is down 12), but I have loads of healthy new recipes to talk about.  Not all of them were out-and-out successes, but I have found it amazing how satisfied I can be and still lose weight.  It’s all about planning, discipline, and understanding that while it’s okay to “cheat,” there are consequences to how you treat your temple, and if you can make good choices most of the time, you’ll really reap the benefits.

Let’s get to the food, shall we?

This recipe has now become one of my go-to dishes.  Empanadas are time consuming (especially when you make the dough from scratch), but you can make them ahead and freeze them for quick weeknight dinners or impressive party snacks.  This version shuns meat for (I think) equally filling beans and sweet potatoes, and baking rather than deep frying yields a golden brown result with all the extra fat and oil.

Note: Part of our lifestyle change involves watching portion sizes.  After all, who cares if something is only 100 calories if it’s only a bite!  In that vein, I am going to include key nutritional information in all future posts, to the extent that it is available.

  • 9 ounces all-purpose flour (2 cups)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 poblano chile
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine canola oil, 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and egg in a medium bowl. Gradually add oil mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Knead lightly until smooth. Shape dough into a ball, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour.

Preheat broiler.

Place poblano on a foil-lined baking sheet; broil 8 minutes or until blackened, turning after 6 minutes. Place in a paper bag; close tightly. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel chile; cut in half lengthwise. Discard seeds and membranes. Finely chop.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Cook the cumin seeds in a large saucepan over medium heat 1 minute or until toasted, stirring constantly. Place cumin in a clean spice or coffee grinder; process until ground. Combine cumin, poblano, sweet potatoes, and next 5 ingredients (through 1/2 teaspoon salt) in a large bowl; mash with a fork until almost smooth.

Divide dough into 10 equal portions, shaping each into a ball. Roll each dough portion into a (5-inch) circle on a lightly floured surface. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to keep from drying), spoon 3 level tablespoons poblano mixture into center of each circle. Moisten edges of dough with egg white; fold dough over filling. Press edges together to seal. Place empanadas on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cut 3 diagonal slits across top of each empanada. Bake at 400° for 16 minutes or until lightly browned.

Serving: 1 empanada

Per serving: 209 calories, 8.4 grams of fat, 29 grams of carbs, and 5.1 grams of protein


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