While paying attention to the ingredients used when cooking is crucial, the preparation method must also be considered. Baking, roasting, poaching, and boiling are ways to prepare foods without adding any cooking fat, which helps to avoid unnecessary calories. To satisfy the urge for something crisp and crunchy, try this recipe which uses pine nuts to add texture. Like other nuts, pine nuts are a good source of heart-healthy fats and magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that most Americans may not be getting enough of, and it has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and hypertension. So exchange fried chicken, which is full of trans fat and refined carbohydrates, for this dish instead for fewer calories and greater nutritional value.
4 Blue Ribbon chicken breasts
16 fresh mozzarella pearls (or 4 ounces cubed mozzarella)
½ cup pine nuts
½ cup egg whites
1/2 cup diced plum tomatoes
½ cup diced green and yellow bell peppers
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 cloves minced garlic
4 tsp. oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Slice chicken breasts down the middle to create a pocket and squeeze with juice from the lemons. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Use a food processor or spice grinder to blend pine nuts into a course powder.
4. Coat each chicken breast with egg whites followed by pine nuts and arrange in baking dish coated with non-stick cooking spray.
5. Combine tomatoes, diced bell peppers, salt, pepper, garlic, and balsamic vinegar.
6. Stuff each chicken breast with the tomato and pepper mixture, followed by 4 pearls (or 1 ounce) of mozzarella. Sprinkle with oregano.
7. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve atop a bed of baby greens.
Nutritional information for one chicken breast: 328 calories, 31 grams of protein, 20 grams of fat, and 2 grams of fiber.