Healthy Dining #1 – Provencal Chicken

Thankfully, our health insurance is provided through Sam’s work. I don’t know how we’d manage if we had to provide our own health insurance – not that we go to the doctor very often, but when we do it seems to cost an arm and a leg.

But, like every business, the bottom line matters, and as a way to cut costs in this area Sam’s company is instituting a life force type of program that encourages their employees to get into shape, lose weight, and start taking better care of themselves. The type of business he’s in attracts a certain overweight crowd as it is a very sedentary job; and as we all know, overweight, unhealthy people tend to cost insurance companies more. So the goal of this program is to encourage folks to lose weight and get into shape, in return for lower insurance premiums.

The HR department in his company is going to kick start this program with a “Biggest Loser” challenge. There are four different teams – one for each office, and the members of the winning team will each receive a gift certificate for a new wardrobe. Sam has been chosen as the team captain of the Kennesaw office, and he’s really excited about it.

As you all know, we have been getting fatter and fatter as the years have gone by. When we got married eleven years ago, we were both average for our size. But thanks to my cooking and my husbands willingness to boost my domestic self-esteem by eating everything I make, we’ve managed to pack on and excessive 250+ extra pounds between us, and we’re still gaining.

Yes, we’ve tried all kinds of diets. We’ve taken pills, we’ve exercised, we’ve cut out carbs and fats, we’ve eaten plain tuna, cottage cheese, and grapefruit until we were sick, we’ve counted calories, we’ve peed on strips, we’ve changed our diet numerous times, journaled every bite, we’ve eaten whole foods and raw foods, and counted every point and half-point we know how. And as we all know, diets work for a while until you get bored with the food, or just don’t plain like what you’re allowed to eat.

The only program that has worked for us in the past with moderate success has been Weight Watchers. So, in an effort to smoke the competition, Sam’s decided that’s what he’s going to do again for his “Biggest Loser” challenge.

Since we’ve done this program on at least five different occasions, we have all the books, cookbooks, points counters and journals that come with it. It’s a program that allows you to eat whatever foods you choose, so long as you stick to the recommended portions allowed and count the full amount of points you eat every day. It also helps to drink an excessive amount of fluids in order to keep your system flushed out.

And, because I already have five of the WW cookbooks, I am well equipped to handle the cooking requirements of this lifestyle change. So, I’ve already begun trying new recipes, and the most recent success story is the Provencal Chicken recipe in the WW New Complete Cookbook. This chicken dish is super. It is fancy enough to serve to guests, but is simple to make and comes together very fast. It also has a traditional Italian chicken flavor that makes this dish taste like its full fat counterparts. We used couscous instead of noodles to up the presentation and make the dish feel special, and we served it with a steamed mix of stir fry veggies. Also, for those of you who are doing the vegetarian diet (Niecey), you could substitute faux chicken or tofu and I bet it will taste just as good.

Here’s the recipe:

2 teaspoons olive oil or vegetable oil
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2″ strips
6 scallions, sliced or 1/2 cup sliced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced or 2 teaspoons pre-minced garlic in a jar
6-8 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed
3 cups hot cooked noodles/pasta or couscous

1. In a large skillet, heat oil. Saute the chicken, stirring constantly for 4 minutes. Add the scallions and garlic; cook stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through – approximately 2 – 4 minutes more.

2. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, capers, vinegar and rosemary. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid evaporates – about 10 minutes. Serve the chicken mixture over noodles or couscous.

Yield 4 servings; 5 points per serving.

Bon appetite!


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