International taste sensation Heart-healthy meals from around the world


IF YOUR NEW Year's resolutions include a more healthy diet, we've got the recipes for you. These low-fat entrees, using everybody's favorite -- boneless, skinless chicken breasts -- are a delicious way to keep your best intentions.

This Russian-inspired meal includes a delicate borscht, which can be served hot or cold.

Chicken Stroganoff

1 cup skim milk

2 teaspoons corn-oil margarine

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons chicken stock or water

1 medium onion, thinly sliced, about 2 cups

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced, 2 cups

1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed in a mortar and pestle

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sherry, optional

1/2 pound cooked chicken, without skin, cut into strips, about 2 cups

1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt

3 cups cooked noodles, 10 ounces dry

Heat milk in small saucepan over low heat. In another small saucepan, melt margarine and add flour, stirring constantly. Cook flour and margarine for three minutes, then take mixture off heat and add simmering milk all at once, stirring constantly with wire whisk. Put sauce back over low heat and cook slowly for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you wish a thicker sauce, cook it a little longer. Add salt and mix thoroughly. If there are lumps blend until smooth.

In a large saucepan, heat the chicken stock and cook the onions, covered, over very low heat until soft, adding a little chicken stock if necessary to prevent scorching. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking, covered, until soft. Add the white sauce and all the other ingredients except the chicken, yogurt and noodles. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Add the chicken and cook until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat, add yogurt and mix thoroughly. On each of four heated plates serve three-quarters cup of the mixture in the center of three-quarters cup of noodles.

Serves four. Each serving has 345 calories, 7 grams fat, 90 milligrams cholesterol and 165 milligrams sodium.

"Cooking it Light" by Jeanne Jones; Collier Books -- 1987


2 large beets, 1/2 pound

1 1/2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/3 cups buttermilk

4 teaspoons plain nonfat yogurt

Scrub the beets thoroughly, being careful not to break the skin. Cut off the roots and tops. Place the beets and chopped garlic in a large saucepan. Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove the beets from the water, reserving one cup of liquid. Slip the skins off the beets and discard. Chop the beets and place in a blender. Add reserved cooking liquid and all the other ingredients except yogurt and blend until smooth. Serve either hot or cold. Garnish with a teaspoon of yogurt.

Makes four 3/4 -cup servings. Each serving has 70 calories, less than 1 gram fat, 5 milligrams cholesterol and 270 milligrams sodium

"Cooking it Light"

Szechuan Orange-Ginger Chicken

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 each green and red pepper

1 orange

1 teaspoon bottled chili paste, available in specialty food stores, or dried chili peppers to taste

2 tablespoons sherry

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root

Cut chicken into one-inch squares; set aside. Halve peppers and remove ribs and seeds; cut into one-inch squares.

Using vegetable peeler, remove rind from orange, being careful not to include any of the bitter white pith. Cut rind into thin julienne strips about 1 1/2 inches long; set aside. Squeeze orange juice and reserve one-quarter cup juice.

In small bowl, combine reserved orange juice, chili paste, sherry, sugar and cornstarch; stir until smooth.

In wok, heat oil over high heat; add chicken and stir-fry for two minutes or until no longer pink. Remove chicken. Add orange rind, garlic and ginger root, stir-fry for 10 seconds . Add peppers and stir-fry for one minute. Add chili paste mixture and bring to boil. Return chicken to wok and stir until heated through. Serve with rice.

Serves four. Each serving, not including rice, has 220 calories, 24 grams protein, 6 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams fat, 66 milligrams cholesterol and 58 milligrams sodium.

"Low-Cholesterol Cuisine" by Anne Lindsay, Hearst Books, 1989

Jalapeno Chicken

2 medium tomatoes, peeled and seeded

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons dark molasses

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

3 cloves garlic, pressed

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 4-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Place tomatoes in container of electric blender or food processor; top with cover, and process until smooth. Combine pureed tomato and next six ingredients in a two-quart casserole. Microwave, covered at high five minutes. Set tomato mixture aside.

Place chicken breast halves in an 11x7x2-inch baking dish with thickest portions towards outside of dish. Spoon tomato mixture over chicken. Cover with wax paper and microwave at high 10 to 12 minutes or until chicken is done, rotating dish a half-turn every four minutes. Let stand three minutes. Serve warm.

Serves four. Each serving has 164 calories, 27 grams protein, 2 grams fat, 9 grams carbohydrates, 66 milligrams cholesterol and 337 milligrams sodium.

"Cooking Light" edited by Cathy A. Wesler; Oxmoor House -- 1991.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

2 3-ounce chicken cutlets

2 slices each turkey, hum and reduced-fat Swiss cheese

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard, divided

1 teaspoon honey

1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons plain dried bread crumbs

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup canned ready-to-serve low-sodium chicken broth

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sour cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Top each chicken cutlet with one slice each turkey and ham and one slice cheese; starting from narrow end, roll each cutlet jelly-roll fashion. Secure with toothpicks.

In small mixing bowl, combine one tablespoon mustard and the honey; spread half of mixture evenly over each chicken roll.

On sheet of wax paper arrange bread crumbs; turn chicken rolls in bread crumbs, coating all sides and using all of bread crumbs. Arrange chicken rolls on nonstick baking sheet and drizzle each with one teaspoon oil. Bake until chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.

While chicken is baking prepare sauce. In small saucepan combine broth and flour, stirring to dissolve flour. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens, three to four minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in sour cream and remaining mustard; cook, stirring occasionally, three to four minutes longer. Do not boil.

To serve, remove toothpicks and cut each chicken roll crosswise into four equal slices. Onto each of two serving plates, pour half of sauce and top with four chicken roll slices.

Serves two. Each serving has 329 calories, 31 grams protein, 12 grams fat, 22 grams carbohydrate, 750 milligrams sodium and 63 milligrams cholesterol.

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