Here's a dish for cool autumn evenings.
The combination of flavors and Indian-summer colors make the dish taste like gourmet fare, but the entire meal is quite simple to prepare and low in fat.
The chicken is dusted with a spice blend and steamed inside a packet of aluminum foil. No oil or butter is needed, so the whole entree gets just 18 percent of its calories from fat. This recipe is based on using chicken breast halves that weigh about 6 ounces each, so no one will leave the table hungry.
Fresh sweet potatoes, sometimes mislabeled as yams in supermarkets, are high in beta carotene, vitamin A and dietary fiber. Served with the chicken, they create a complete meal that is a balance of complex carbohydrates and lean protein.
Cumin-spiced chicken with chutney
Makes 4 servings
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 6 ounces each
nonstick cooking spray
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves or ground thyme
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons mango-type chutney
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Tear off four sheets of aluminum foil, each about 10 inches square, and lightly coat them with nonstick cooking spray. Place a chicken breast in the center of each piece.
In a small dish, combine the cumin, paprika, thyme, sugar, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Sprinkle the spice mixture lightly over both sides of the chicken breasts.
Fold the thin, pointy ends of each breast under the thick ends to make rough squares. Fold the foil tightly to make packets that will not leak in the oven.
You can prepare the chicken up to eight hours in advance. When ready to cook, bake the packets for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the chicken is firm to the touch and no pink shows.
Serve 1 tablespoon of chutney per chicken breast.
Per serving: 326 calories, 6 g fat, (18 percent of calories from fat), 53 g of protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 146 mg cholesterol, 264 mg sodium.
Mashed sweet potatoes
Makes 5 servings
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 pounds, or 4 1/3 cups diced)
1/2 cup skim milk, heated
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Boil diced sweet potatoes in enough water to cover for 14 to 16 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain, then transfer to a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed with electric beater (not a food processor, or potatoes will become gummy).
Add the hot milk, a few drops at a time, until the potatoes are smooth and fluffy. Add the salt, brown sugar and nutmeg and beat on high speed until very fluffy. Serve hot or warm.
Per serving: 138 calories, 3 g fat (17 percent of calories from fat); 2 g protein, 28 g carbohydrate, 0.4 mg cholesterol, 393 mg sodium.
Pub Date: 9/25/96