Here are two recipes that cut the calories and pack in the flavor.
Black rice is high in fiber, so it will keep you warm and feeling full longer. It can be found in most health-food stores and in some standard grocery stores. The rice needs to be soaked overnight. It can be cooked, cooled, covered and refrigerated a day in advance.
The Mexican-inspired chicken recipe is a one-pot dish that tastes even better after a day’s refrigeration; skim off any congealed fat (from the chicken skin) before reheating in a pot on the stove top. If you have trouble finding boneless, skin-on chicken thighs, buy bone-in thighs and see how to remove the bones in the Note below.
Braised chicken thighs with tomatillos
4 to 6 servings
8 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs (intro and the Note below)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut into quarters
1 medium jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (seeded, if desired)
2 cups no-salt-added chicken broth
1/2 cup chipotle-flavored mayonnaise, for serving
Finely grated zest and juice from 1 lime, plus lime wedges for serving
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves, plus a few leaves for garnish
Flesh of 1 avocado, cut into chunks
Season the chicken thighs with the cumin, salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chicken, top sides down. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes or until browned then turn them over and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. (The chicken won’t be cooked through.)
Stir in the onion and garlic; cook for about 2 minutes or until softened, then add the tomatillos, jalapeño and broth. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Uncover; remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, stir together the chipotle mayonnaise, lime zest, half the lime juice and the chopped cilantro in a medium bowl, until well blended.
Use large forks or a couple of table knives to shred/break up the chicken in its sauce. Discard the chicken skins. Add the remaining lime juice and half of the avocado, stirring until the sauce gets a bit creamier. Taste, and add salt as needed.
Divide chicken and sauce among individual wide, shallow bowls. Top each portion with a dollop of the chipotle mayo, cilantro leaves and the remaining avocado chunks. Serve warm, with lime wedges.
Note: To remove the thigh bones, invert the thighs so they are skin side down. Use your fingers to locate the main bone that runs through the thigh. Use a small, sharp knife to scrape away the flesh from either side of the bone, clearly exposing the bone but keeping the flesh intact as much as possible (do not shred it away in pieces). Finally, cut away any cartilage or flesh to release the bone, which should not have any flesh on it.
Nutrition per serving (based on 6): 410 calories, 52 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 17 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 200 mg cholesterol, 510 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar
Adapted from “The Eat Fat, Get Thin Cookbook: More Than 175 Delicious Recipes for Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health,” by Mark Hyman (Little, Brown and Co., 2016).
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Black rice, banana and coconut breakfast bowls
3/4 cup black glutinous rice (see headnote)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 coin (quarter)-size slice peeled fresh ginger root
1 cup coconut water
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup unsweetened plain fresh almond milk (from the refrigerated case)
1 banana, sliced (may substitute a fruit of your choice)
2 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds (arils; optional)
2 tablespoons low-fat coconut milk
A few mint leaves, for garnish (optional)
Place the rice in a bowl and cover it with water. Let soak overnight.
Drain the rice and rinse it until the water runs clear, then place it in a small saucepan. Add the cinnamon, ground ginger, fresh ginger, coconut water and cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then give it a stir, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover tightly and cook for about 30 minutes or until tender. Not all the liquid will be absorbed.
Uncover; stir in the almond milk and increase the heat to medium; after the rice begins to bubble at the edges, cook for about 5 minutes, then discard the slice of fresh ginger.
Divide between bowls. Top with the banana, the pomegranate seeds, if using, and the coconut milk.
Garnish with the mint leaves, if using; serve warm.
Nutrition per serving: 360 calories, 9 g protein, 82 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 35 mg sodium, 7 g dietary fiber, 14 g sugar
Adapted from “Skinny Soups: 80 Flavor-Packed Recipes of Less Than 300 Calories,” by Kathryn Bruton (Kyle Books, 2017).