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From Your Table to Your Health: Save Time, Reduce Stress, Eat Well

Registered dietitian Becky Varner has tips for time saving and recipes for calorie cutting.
BY BECKY VARNER Modified: April 30, 2013 at 4:37 pm •  Published: May 1, 2013

Using moist heat by cooking in a liquid increases the tenderness of low-fat poultry and meats. It also takes minimal preparation time.

To start cooking the three pounds of chicken breasts, simply place in slow cooker, cover with hot water and put the lid on the cooker. Slow cookers vary in cooking time. Generally, cooking on high about four hours or on low for seven to eight hours is sufficient. Test the doneness of the chicken breast by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast. It should register 165 degrees Fahrenheit or higher to be certain the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

When the chicken is done, remove from the pot and allow the chicken and stock to cool a few minutes. When cool enough to handle, divide into three equal portions. Each cooked portion will be about 12 ounces, because some water weight is lost in cooking.

Take one portion of the chicken and slice crosswise in approximately ¼-inch slices.

Grind one-third of the chicken in a food processor or chop finely; dice or shred the other portion of chicken.

Freeze chicken that won't be eaten within a couple of days in plastic bags or containers designed for freezing. Label each bag with its contents and the date.

One great way to use the sliced chicken is in this chilled chicken with cucumber and lime sauce recipe.


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Chilled Chicken with Cucumber and Lime Sauce

Makes 4 servings

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup plain nonfat yogurt

2 cups chopped peeled cucumber

12 ounce cooked chilled chicken breast, cut in ¼-inch thick slices

¼ cup chopped cilantro

• Combine lime juice, olive oil, cumin, coriander, salt, yogurt and cucumber in a medium bowl. Stir well to mix.

• Gently fold in chicken slices.

• Chill until ready to serve.

• Fold in cilantro just before serving.

Nutrition Information: Each serving contains approximately 183 calories, 6 grams fat and 232 milligrams sodium.

Serving suggestions: Serve on a bed of mixed salad greens, stuffed in a whole-wheat pita pocket or stuffed in a hollowed-out tomato.

Chilled Chicken Spread In A Wrap

The ground cooked chicken breast is great to make a spread for a wrap or sandwich, and it is so simple to make.

Makes 6 servings

12 ounces chilled cooked ground chicken

¾ cup light mayonnaise or Miracle Whip

6 whole-wheat tortillas

Red bell pepper, seeded and cut in thin strips

About 16 chive leaves (each leaf is a long, hollow, slender grasslike leaf)

• Combine ground chicken in a medium bowl. Stir well to mix.

• Spread one-sixth of the chicken on each of six tortillas.

• Divide red bell pepper strips and chive leaves by placing in the same direction on each tortilla.

• Roll tightly.

• Cut in half diagonally and secure each half with a decorative toothpick.

Nutrition Information: Each serving contains approximately 250 calories, 7.6 grams fat and 521 milligrams sodium.

Serving suggestions: Fresh chopped herbs such as cilantro, basil or thyme can be added to chicken spread if desired.

Learn with Brunch

Becky will teach Learn with Brunch at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and May 15 at Uptown Grocery Co., 1230 W Covell Road in Edmond; and Learn with Lunch at noon May 14 at the Gourmet Grille inside Buy For Less, 3501 Northwest Expressway, and May 21 at the 10011 SE 15, Midwest City, location. Class size is limited. Call 302-6273, ext. 332, for reservations.

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