Lesson #46: Chicken Ole

Low Carb Cooking 101

I think the whole world loves Mexican food. I certainly know that my whole family loves Mexican food. It’s nice to know that I don’t have to give it up to low carb.

I served this meal last week out in the sunroom with all the windows up and the ceiling fans creating a mild tempest. Judy went nuts with her crayons and markers and made Mexican placemats and napkins. She wanted me to buy a pinata, but I drew the line at that. After all, we’re moving in a few weeks and the one thing I don’t need is anything more to pack!

Actually (to veer off the low carb food topic for a moment), I’m not going to be cooking too many more meals here in Cincinnati. My plan is to pack up the kitchen pretty soon and then eat out for the rest of July. Life is too short to try and cook and move at the same time!

Before we get on with business, I have a little tip for those of you who, like me, cannot neatly unmold a gelatin salad to save their lives. I found a Tupperware gelatin mold that is terrific for the unmolding-impaired. The center section (the part that sticks up in the center of the mold) is detachable. When you remove this part, the suction between the gelatin and the mold is broken, and you can flip in over and unmold it like a pro. It also has a snap-on lid, which means you don’t have to try and keep plastic wrap over the top of the mold to protect the gelatin. (I refuse to call plastic wrap “cling wrap” because it doesn’t cling – at least not for me.)

I like my mold so much I bought a couple more, and I wouldn’t be without them! (And no, I don’t sell Tupperware.)

Here’s this evening’s menu:

  • Chicken Breasts Ole
  • Mexi-Gratin Fauxtatoes
  • Molded Gazpacho Salad
  • Tequila Sunrise (Non-Alcoholic)

Here’s the shopping list for the meal. You may very well already have some of these things on hand:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 head fresh cauliflower
  • plain yogurt
  • heavy or whipping cream
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • shredded Colby-Jack or Mexican blend cheese
  • sour cream
  • cream cheese
  • salsa (optional – for garnish)
  • 1 4-ounce cans green chilies
  • nonstick spray
  • sparkling water or club soda
  • DaVinci sugar free cherry syrup
  • DaVinci sugar free orange syrup
  • taco seasoning mix
  • garlic powder
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • ice

Here’s the game plan:

Make the Molded Gazpacho Salad a day or two ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve the meal.

If the chicken breasts are frozen, don’t forget to thaw them by putting them in the refrigerator the night before you’re going to serve the meal. Don’t thaw them in the microwave, this makes the chicken tough.

A little over an hour before you want to serve the meal, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and microwave the cauliflower (with no additional water!) in a covered dish for 7 to 10 minutes, or until it is just tender. Drain the cauliflower thoroughly and set it a side for a moment.

Prepare the Chicken Breasts Ole according to the package directions and put them in the oven. Set the timer for 15 minutes.

While the chicken breasts begin baking, finish preparing the Mexi-Gratin Fauxtatoes according to the recipe directions. When the timer dings, put the Mexi-Gratin Fauxtatoes in the oven with the chicken and reset the timer for 45 minutes.

While the chicken and the fauxtatoes are baking, set the table. Put out salad plates for the Molded Gazpacho Salad so that it doesn’t melt like it would if it were placed next to the hot chicken and fauxtatoes.

Unmold the Molded Gazpacho Salad onto a serving plate and put it back into the refrigerator until it’s time to serve the meal.

Mix the Tequila Sunrises minus the ice and put them in the refrigerator to thoroughly chill.

When the chicken and fauxtatoes are ready, serve the dinner plates and put them on the table. Take the Molded Gazpacho out of the refrigerator and put it on the table along with a spatula or pie server to serve it with.

Take the Tequila Sunrises out of the refrigerator, give them a stir, and add crushed ice before putting them on the table.

Call your family to the table and sit down to a relaxing, well-deserved meal.

And, finally, here’s the recipes:

Chicken Ole

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • nonstick spray
  • 4 heaping tablespoons salsa (optional – for garnish)
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream (optional – for garnish)

Spray a baking dish lightly with nonstick spray.

Rinse each chicken breast and pat it dry with paper towels.

Put the plain yogurt on a shallow plate or in a pie pan. Dip each chicken breast in the yogurt, turning each to coat it completely with yogurt on both sides.

Combine the taco seasoning and the shredded cheddar cheese in a shallow plate or pie pan. Dredge the yogurt-coated chicken breasts in the seasoning cheese, again turning them so that they are thoroughly coated with the cheese/taco seasoning mixture on both sides.

Place the coated chicken breasts in the greased baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Garnish each chicken breast with a tablespoon of salsa and a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

Serves 4.

Mexi-Gratin Fauxtatoes

  • 1 head fresh cauliflower, steamed until tender, drained, and mashed
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 cups shredded Co-Jack or Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 4-ounce cans green chilies, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt (to taste)

Mash all ingredients together, reserving 1 cup of the shredded hot pepper Monterey jack cheese, and place mixture in a buttered casserole or baking dish. Sprinkle reserved cheese atop the cauliflower mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted and the casserole is heated through. Serve hot.

Recipe can be doubled, and reheats well.

Serves 8 @ 225 calories, 20 grams fat, 9 grams protein, and 4 grams carbohydrates w/trace fiber.

Molded Gazpacho Salad

This one’s a repeat, but it’s one is my stepmother’s very favorites!

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar free tomato juice
  • 1 small package lemon-flavored sugar free Jell-O
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • nonstick spray

Bring the tomato juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Completely dissolve the gelatin in the boiling tomato juice. Chill until slightly thickened.

Combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; mix well. Stir into gelatin mixture. Pour into individual dishes or a medium serving bowl or mold. (If using a mold, spray lightly with nonstick spray first.) Chill until firm, a minimum of 3 hours.

Makes 3 2/3 cups or 7 servings @ 4 grams of carbohydrate per serving.

Tequila Sunrise (Non-Alcoholic)

  • ice
  • sparkling water or club soda
  • 1 ounce DaVinci sugar free cherry syrup
  • 1 ounce DaVinci sugar free orange syrup
  • 1 ounce heavy or whipping cream

Fill a 16-ounce glass 3/4 full of ice. Cover ice with sparkling water and add other ingredients. Mix well.

Serves 1 @ 5.6 grams fat, 0.3 grams protein, and 0.5 grams carbohydrates.

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