Frozen Entrees: Make Your Own (cont.)

Some things to keep in mind when sharing dishes:

  • Share with friends or neighbors who are also committed to eating healthfully. This will help ensure that the dishes they make fit into your higher-fiber, lower-fat, lower calorie-eating plan.
  • If someone in your family has a medical condition or allergy that requires you to avoid a certain food, make sure your friends or neighbors know before they cook up their specialty. Ask your friends if there's any ingredient they need to avoid.
  • Dial down the salt and/or sodium-containing ingredients. It's easy to add salt to taste, but impossible to take it out once it's added.

Big-Batch Recipes

Here are a couple of warm and toasty fall dishes that are ideal for making ahead and freezing. Just reheat them, then finish them off with fresh garnishes (make sure not to freeze the garnishes ahead of time).

Quick Chicken Cassoulet

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as 1 cup hearty stew + 1/2 cup vegetable without added fat

You can serve this either as is as a stew, over rice, or as the filling for a quesadilla (that's what I did for lunch the next day with the leftovers). To make the chicken part easy, buy a roasted chicken from the supermarket and shred all the meat off, discarding the skin. You'll have exactly the amount of chicken needed in this recipe!

1 tablespoon olive oil (or substitute canola oil)
1 package Hillshire Farm Turkey Polska Kielbasa (2/3 less fat), about 10 ounces; cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 cups baby carrots, chopped
4 grilled or roasted (boneless and skinless) chicken breasts, torn into chunks
2 cups less-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon minced or chopped garlic
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 dried bay leaf
2 15-ounce cans white beans (cannellini or other), rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley (or 1 1/2 teaspoons parsley flakes)
2 cups croutons of choice (optional)

  • Heat a large nonstick skillet or saucepan over high heat, and add onion, carrots, and kielbasa slices. Cook, turning often, until onion is golden and sausage is lightly brown on both sides.
  • Add chicken, broth, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and beans and stir to blend. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and let simmer about 8 minutes to blend flavors and heat chicken and beans throughout.
  • Spoon into shallow bowls (or freezer portions). Just before serving, sprinkle a little parsley over each serving along with 1/4 cup of croutons if desired.

Yield: 8 servings

Per serving: 298 calories, 27.5 g protein, 31.9 g carbohydrate, 7 g fat (2.2 g saturated fat, monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat are not available), 58 mg cholesterol, 7 g fiber, 415 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 21%.

Awesome Turkey & Veggie Chili

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as 1 cup of hearty stew/chili + 1/2 vegetable without added fat

This chili is great on its own, but the garnishes make it awesome. So take a few minutes to dress it up with a garnish of grated cheese, green onions, fat-free sour cream, and diced avocado.

2 tablespoon canola oil
2 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey (7% fat)
2 packages taco seasoning (1 ounce each)
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes (optional)
2 cups less-sodium chicken broth
2 cups mild salsa
4 cups canned, crushed tomatoes in puree
7 ounce can chopped green chili peppers
1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 green bell peppers, diced
5 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced (about 6 cups)

1 1/4 cups shredded, reduced-fat Jack or cheddar cheese
1 bunch green onions, chopped (the white and part of the green)
1 1/4 cups fat-free sour cream
1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

  • Heat oil in a large, nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey, and, as it cooks, use a potato masher to crumble into small pieces. After about 4 minutes, add taco seasoning mix, coriander, oregano, and the chili flakes (if desired). Stir and continue cooking until turkey is well-browned.
  • Add chicken broth, salsa, tomatoes, green chilies, onion, bell pepper, and zucchini. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan and reduce heat; simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Ladle the chili into individual bowls (or into freezer portions). Just before serving (and after heating, if frozen), top each with grated cheese, green onions, sour cream, and avocado, as desired.

Yield: 10 servings

Per serving: 245 calories, 17 g protein, 20 g carbohydrate, 10 g fat (2.6 g saturated fat, 4.2 g monounsaturated fat, 3 g polyunsaturated fat), 55 mg cholesterol, 4.5 g fiber, 990 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 36%.

NOTE: The garnishes add (per serving) 100 calories, 6 g protein, 8 g carbohydrate, 5.5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 2.6 g monounsaturated fat, 0.5 g polyunsaturated fat, 7 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 99 mg sodium.

Originally published Oct. 13, 2004.
Medically updated October 2005.

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