Lately, I’ve been DVRing this new show on Lifetime that I heard about: Cook Yourself Thin. It’s basically a cross between Queer Eye and a cooking show: every show they feature one woman who wants to drop a dress size, ask her what her favorite foods are, and then show her how to cook those recipes while cutting the calorie count way down and bumping the nutrition way up. Basically, it’s what I’ve been doing for years with Rachael Ray’s recipes! A lot of stuff is kind of obvious or standard for dieters (switch to low fat cheeses, bulk out pasta with veggies, swap cauliflower for mashed potatoes, etc), but there are some new tricks to learn too. It’s not the kind of show I would sit and watch with my full attention, but I like having it on in the background while I’m getting ready.
Until today, most of the recipes I’ve saved to make later have been various desserts and pasta dishes: banana chocolate chip muffins, red velvet cupcakes, stuffed shells, and “penne a la not-ka” (that one particularly intrigued me since penna a la vodka is Boyfriend’s favorite Italian dish). However, today I got a craving for Buffalo chicken, and I remembered seeing that on an episode, so I pulled it up to make for dinner. Having already eaten pretty lightly today, I figured it would be fun to have it with a beer while watching the Survivor finale and feel like I was totally indulging.
The recipe called for marinating the chicken for ten minutes – I got busy and left it to marinate for about 20. Extra flavor! The only other change I made was opting not to mix the breadcrumbs with oil, and instead just dip the chicken in plain breadcrumbs, bake for a bit, then use my Misto olive oil sprayer to add a touch of oil and brown the chicken up. I cooked the chicken for about 30 minutes instead of the recommended 15 (the extra time was needed to get the chicken to crisp and brown).
While it baked, I decided to make it a real bar-style meal and add carrot/celery sticks with a thick creamy dressing. Unlike at a restaurant, however, my veggie sticks were crisp and fresh – not cut days ago and left to wilt out of the fridge :) As for the dressing, I know blue cheese is traditional, but I didn’t really want the mondo calories and I’m not really a huge blue cheese fan anyway. Instead, I Googled some recipes for healthy ranch dressing and found that one popular way to make this is to mix Greek yogurt with cottage cheese – both of which I had in my fridge. My proportions were a bit heavier on the cottage cheese, simply because I only had a few tablespoons of Greek yogurt, and I completely changed the spices; my version used garlic, parsley, onion powder, chives, black pepper, and a dash of lemon juice to thin it down. The result? I swear it tasted like Hidden Valley Ranch – but with a fraction of the calories and no artificial ingredients or chemicals. I’m remembering that recipe in the future! Delicious.
As for the chicken, it came out to be the juiciest chicken breast I’ve ever tasted! The breading wasn’t that crispy, but I still really liked it. My only disappointment was the flavor – it ended up being fairly bland, with the marinade flavors really not coming through much at all. I ended up putting a few dashes of hot sauce on top after it came out of the oven, which spiced it up a bit. I’d make it again, but I think next time I’d try mixing some spices in with the breadcrumbs before coating the chicken.
Review: 4/5 stars
Overall, I was pretty impressed with this meal. It felt like a total indulgence that I would drunkenly get a bar, but it’s actually better for me than most people’s idea of a healthy dinner! It was very quick and easy – only about 10 minutes of active prep time required, and the whole thing is ready in 30 minutes. I will definitely be making this again when I want a treat :)