Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Salmon or Chicken Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Reduction

Strawberries and balsamic vinegar are such a perfect combination of sweet and sour that I borrowed the idea from my earlier post (see Balsamic Strawberries with Mascarpone Cream) and took it in another direction to come up with this delicious main dish salad. The strawberries in particular give this salad a delightful Spring flavor, while the crunch from the crisp romaine and toasted almonds only adds to its freshness.

The following recipe describes how to make this salad using salmon, but it is equally delicious with boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders that have been quickly browned in a skillet in place of the salmon (see variation suggestion below recipe). I hope while strawberries are at their peak, you'll give this one a try.

Salmon Salad with a Strawberry Balsamic Reduction
(Makes 2 servings)

2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Splenda granular
1 teaspoon lemon juice
6 cups romaine lettuce
2 center cut salmon fillets (about 5 oz. each)
1 tablespoon canola oil or grapeseed oil (for high temp cooking, not olive oil)
Lemon pepper
10-12 strawberries, quartered

1. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat (I use a small cast-iron skillet). Add almonds to dry pan and toast, stirring often, until golden brown. Pour almonds into a bowl; set aside.

2. In another small bowl, mix together the balsamic vinegar, Splenda, and lemon juice; set aside. Divide and arrange romaine lettuce on two serving plates; set aside.

3. Wipe out pan of any almond bits and increase heat to medium-high. Meanwhile, coat both sides of the salmon fillets with oil and sprinkle with lemon pepper. When skillet is very hot, place the oiled salmon in the pan and do not disturb for at least 2 minutes until a brown crust has formed. Turn salmon and sear other side for at least two minutes. Turn again and complete cooking to desired doneness. (If you like your salmon on the rare side, the 2 minutes per side should be fine. I like mine cooked through to flaky and no longer pink in center, which takes another 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook, or fish will be dry.) Place salmon on top of lettuce on serving plates and set aside.

4. Add balsamic vinegar mixture and strawberries to hot pan. Boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to ½ cup and thickened to consistency of syrup. Evenly divide balsamic reduction and strawberries over salmon and lettuce. Top each with 1 tablespoon of the toasted almonds and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information per serving: 367 calories, 20 g carbohydrate, 14 g total fat, 3.2 g saturated fat, 3.9 g fiber, 38.7 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010

Variation: Try this salad with grilled chicken, instead of salmon. Pan-grill the chicken for about 3-4 minutes per side and cook until juices run clear. Allow chicken to rest before slicing and distributing over salad greens. If desired, add a chopped plum tomato with the romaine.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lemon Tart Thumbprint Cookies

Outside the sun is shining and my garden is blooming with daffodils and tulips. A spring day, such as this, calls out for something light and sweet. These delicate and delicious cookies, with their beautiful sunny-yellow centers, taste like miniature lemon tarts.

The secret ingredient that gives these cookies their bright, citrus flavor is lemon curd. Once a speciality item, it is now commonly found in most supermarkets in the jelly and jam section. The thing that is so wonderful about lemon curd is that a tiny bit packs a flavorful punch! In this recipe, I've used it both in the dough and as a filling to give this cookie a delightfully bold lemon flavor that will linger on your palette. If you like these sweet gems, you might enjoy substituting lime curd, lime zest and juice for the lemon for a slightly different taste experience. Also, when the two flavors are arranged together on a plate, they'll make an attractive presentation of spring colors for your next get-together.

Lemon Tart Thumbprint Cookies
(Makes 30 cookies)

1 cup almond flour (or finely ground blanched almonds)
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Zest and juice from 1 lemon (strain juice of pulp)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
¾ cup Splenda granular (not baking blend)
2 tablespoons lemon curd
1 large egg
2 teaspoons lemon extract
2½ tablespoons lemon curd for filling

1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. If desired, line cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a small mixing bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, lemon zest and salt; set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and mascarpone cheese with a handheld or standing mixer until light and fluffy. Add Splenda and beat on medium speed until combined. Add egg, lemon extract and the 2 tablespoons lemon curd and beat on high speed until well incorporated and thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and continue beating until just combined.

4. With a wooden spoon, fold in dry ingredients until a soft dough forms. Drop by rounded teaspoon approximately 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheet. Use your thumb to press a slight indentation into the center of each cookie and fill with ¼ teaspoon lemon curd. (If necessary, dip your thumb into flour to prevent dough from sticking.) Bake until set, about 8-10 minutes. Cookies will not brown much, except around edges, so watch carefully and do not overbake. Immediately remove from cookie sheet onto wire rack to cool.

Nutritional Information per cookie: 64.8 calories, 5.6 g carbohydrates, 4 g total fat, 1.4 g saturated fat, 0.5 g fiber, 77.8 mg sodium, 1.4 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Parmesan Zucchini Crepes with Creamy Garlic Sauce

As I've said, crepes are an excellent vehicle for vegetables, turning them into a quick, but impressive meal. Here is another delicious light meal or side dish that will encourage any picky eater in your family to eat more vegetables. In this recipe, the zucchini sticks are browned in a skillet, then topped with cheese and finished off under the broiler before being folded into a crepe. The creamy garlic sauce compliments the dish perfectly. If you've created a batch of crepes ahead of time, this recipe takes less than 15 minutes to prepare. As a matter-of-fact, it's so simple, I've made this beautiful quick meal for lunch several times, even though I'm alone and there's nobody to impress, because I'm worth it!

NOTE: Are you not wanting to make crepes, but this recipe sounds good? Try the variation described below and serve with grilled chicken.*

Parmesan Zucchini Crepes with Creamy Garlic Sauce
(Makes 2 servings)

two 6" to 7" crepes made from my "Basic Crepes" recipe (see 4/6/10 post)
1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 6 or 8 wedges
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup reduced sodium chicken or vegetable stock
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon fat-free half and half

1. Preheat oven to broil. In an oven-proof, non-stick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil on medium-high heat. (I use an 8" cast iron skillet.) Place zucchini wedges, cut side down, into the heated pan and cook, turning occasionally, until the zucchini is browned on all sides. Sprinkle with the grated parmesan that has been combined with the Italian herbs and place under the broiler for a couple of minutes until parmesan is bubbly and browned slightly. (Watch carefully so cheese doesn't burn.)

2. To make sauce, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute, stirring often to prevent scorching. Add flour and stir until flour has begun to brown lightly. Remove from heat and add stock while whisking constantly. Add pepper and continue to whisk until flour has been incorporated and mixture is smooth. Return to heat and cook, stirring often, until sauce boils. Remove from heat and add fat-free half and half. Stir until combined.

3. Divide broiled zucchini strips between two crepes that have been prepared ahead of time. Fold each filled crepe into a tube, place seam side down on a serving plate and top with garlic sauce. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information per serving: 187.5 calories, 15.7 g carbohydrate, 9.8 g total fat, 3.4 g saturated fat, 1.3 g fiber, 303.7 mg sodium, 10 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010

* Variation: The zucchini sticks in this recipe are delicious on their own and served as a side dish. For dinner one evening (after my last batch of crepes had been eaten), I served the crunchy parmesan zucchini with grilled chicken breasts and drizzled the creamy garlic sauce over the chicken (no crepes). Prepared in this way, it is another quick and easy meal that is simply divine.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Balsamic Strawberries with Mascarpone Cream

My brother inlaw is a budding gourmet. While visiting my family in Oklahoma last month, he made his "signature dessert" one evening and I was very impressed! Now that strawberries are coming into season, I wanted to share his recipe in which the traditional ingredients were swapped with diabetic-friendly substitutions to make it fit into my food plan. It calls for tiramisu flavored mascarpone cheese. If you can't find it, just use plain and dissolve ½ teaspoon instant coffee into the fat-free ½ and ½ before whipping the topping. This is a luscious and elegant dessert that is very easy to prepare and one you'd be proud to serve for any special occasion.

Balsamic Strawberries with Mascarpone Cream
(Makes 4 servings)

Halve 1 quart strawberries and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons powdered erythritol; set aside.

Sweet Balsamic Sauce ingredients:
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
4 teaspoons powdered erythritol
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan. Stir over medium heat until the sweetener dissolves. Boil until liquid is syrup-like and reduced to ½ cup. Wait until it cools a bit and mix with the strawberries.

Whipped Mascarpone Cream ingredients:
½ cup mascarpone cheese (tiramisu flavored, if desired)
6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons powdered erythritol (to taste)

To make whipped cream, combine ingredients in medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer or whisk by hand until thick soft peaks form.

To serve: Mix strawberries with the balsamic sauce. Divide strawberries into four martini glasses and top with a large dollop of the mascarpone cream. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Nutritional Information per serving: 265 calories, 16 g carbohydrate, 23 g total fat, 15 g saturated fat, 2.2 g fiber, 2.9 g protein.

Recipe by Aiden Smith, copyright 2010, revised by Kathy Sheehan 2020
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Rainy Day Lentil and Vegetable Soup

It's rainy and cold today, which calls for a warm pot of soup and a glowing fire in the fireplace. I love lentil soup, but most canned lentil and vegetable soups contain potatoes which only adds to the carbohydrate count without adding much nutrition. For that reason, I like to make my own. This particular recipe is more like a stew because it is thick with delicious vegetables! I used the prepackaged cooked lentils that can sometimes be found in the produce section of the supermarket or at Trader Joe's. Their convenience and excellent taste can't be beat! Feel free to add your favorite vegetables or substitute another dark, leafy green (in place of the kale), if you desire. Then curl up with a good book and a steaming cup of soup -- it will warm your heart!

Rainy Day Lentil & Vegetable Soup
(Makes about ten 1¼-cup servings)

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups celery, sliced
3 carrots, sliced into half rounds
1 cup green beans, sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced into quarter rounds
6-8 stalks asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
8 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2½ cups cooked lentils
4 cups kale, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or stew pot. Add onion, carrot, celery, green beans, zucchini, asparagus, garlic and dried herbs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent. Add tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Add lentils and kale and simmer for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are soft and kale has wilted. Adjust seasonings and serve.

Nutritional Information per serving: 111 calories, 20 g carbohydrate, 1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 5.9 g fiber, 486 mg sodium, 8.5 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pan-Grilled Asparagus & Vegetable Crepes

Do you still have some crepes left in your refrigerator and wondering what to do with them? Crepes are an excellent way to take ordinary vegetables and turn them into something special. For example, take this simple recipe of pan-grilled fresh asparagus, a few mushrooms and grape tomatoes. By themselves, they'd make a nice side dish, but put them into a crepe and they become the focal point of the entire meal!

Early spring is the best time for asparagus, so be watching for it in your grocery or farmer's market. Asparagus is low in calories, cholesterol and sodium free and is a good source of fiber, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. This recipe is quick to prepare, if you make the crepes ahead of time, and makes a wonderful luncheon idea to share with a friend. If you don't have the other vegetables suggested in the recipe, substitute your favorites because they're all delicious!

Pan-Grilled Asparagus and Vegetable Crepes
(Makes 2 crepes)

Two 6" to 7" crepes made from my Basic Crepe recipe (see 4/6/10 post)
6 spears of asparagus
1/3 cup sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup grape tomatoes
¼ cup shredded low moisture, part skim mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon olive oil
Lemon pepper and salt
2 teaspoons honey mustard (or substitute your favorite)

1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Remove tough, woody ends from asparagus. Heat olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Add asparagus to pan, sprinkle with lemon pepper and salt. Cook for about 1 minute, turn asparagus and move to one side of the pan.

2. Add mushrooms and grape tomatoes to skillet. Saute, stirring or turning vegetables occasionally, until mushrooms have released their moisture and browned and the skins of the tomatoes have split.

3. Place three asparagus spears in the center of each crepe. Top with the grilled mushrooms and tomatoes, distribute evenly along length of crepe. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of your favorite mustard over vegetables and top each crepe with 1 tablespoon shredded cheese. Fold sides of crepe over vegetables to create a tube. Place crepes, overlap side down, into an oven-proof dish or cookie sheet that has been sprayed lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Top each crepe with 1 tablespoon shredded cheese. Bake for 10 minutes until cheese is melted and crepes are hot. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information per crepe: 135.5 calories, 11.8 g carbohydrate, 6.7 g total fat, 2.2 g saturated fat, 0.4 g fiber, 6.5 g protein

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010

Friday, April 9, 2010

Berry Blintzes

I made a batch of crepes the other day and have enjoyed eating them in a variety of ways ever since, from sun up to sun down! Here is an extremely easy dessert or snack recipe that uses the newly arrived strawberries in the produce section of the supermarket or farmer's markets opening around the country (or substitute your favorite berry). Combined with healthy, non-fat cottage cheese that has been lightly sweetened with Splenda and nutmeg, this dessert is a good source of calcium and protein.

The creamy chocolate sauce is made in the microwave and whipped up in less than 2 minutes. It is much lower in calories, carbohydrate and fat than even the light chocolate sauces available in a bottle. Save any leftover sauce in the refrigerator; it will keep for 1 week or more. What a delicious and fun way to experience the first, ripe berries of Spring!

Berry Blintzes
(Makes 2 servings)
2 crepes made from my "Basic Crepes" recipe (see 4/6/10 post)
½ cup non-fat cottage cheese
1 tablespoon Stevia granular, divided
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup sliced strawberries (or substitute your favorite berry)

Chocolate Sauce Ingredients:
1 tablespoon dry cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 tablespoon Stevia granular
¼ teaspoon cornstarch
¼ cup almond milk (Original)
1 teaspoon mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 drops vanilla extract

1. First, make the sauce by measuring dry ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a 2-cup measuring cup or microwave bowl (sauce will bubble up as it cooks). Add almond milk and stir until cornstarch is dissolved and other ingredients are blended. Microwave on high for 20 seconds, until mixture is hot. Stir until cocoa powder is incorporated and mixture is smooth. Return to microwave and heat on high for 20-30 seconds, or until mixture bubbles and begins to boil. Stir again and add the chocolate chips and drops of vanilla. Stir until chips have melted and mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool completely. (This can be done ahead of time and placed in a refrigerator until serving time.)

2. Place sliced or washed berries in a small bowl and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon Splenda. Stir to coat berries; set aside.

3. Measure cottage cheese in a small bowl, add 2 teaspoons Splenda and nutmeg. Stir to combine.

4. Place ½ of the berries into the center of a crepe. Top with ½ of the cottage cheese mixture. Fold like a burrito so that all sides of the crepe are folded inward to cover filling. Turn over and place filled crepe on a serving plate. Repeat with remaining crepe. Top each crepe with 2 tablespoons of the cooled chocolate sauce and serve.

Nutritional information per serving of 1 blintz with 2 tablespoons sauce: 142 calories, 18.3 g carbohydrate, 3.3 g total fat, 1.1 g saturated fat, 1.7 g fiber, 10.3 g protein.
This sugar-free chocolate sauce is wonderful as a topping in other recipes, too! Nutritional Information per tablespoon of sauce: 14.5 calories, 2.5 g carbohydrate, 0.6 g total fat, 0.2 g saturated fat, 0.5 g fiber, 0.3 g protein.
Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spinach and Mushroom "Manicotti" Crepes

A couple of months ago, my family and I went to a wonderful Italian restaurant in Boston called Vinny T's. I chose manicotti and was surprised when I was presented with creamy ricotta wrapped in a crepe, instead of a traditional manicotti noodle. After the delicious meal, I looked at the nutritional differences between the pasta tube normally used for manicotti and a crepe made with my healthier recipe (see previous "Basic Crepes" post). I was delighted to discover that a crepe is half the carbs and fewer calories than it's noodle counterpart! One manicotti pasta noodle is 70 calories and 14 carbohydrate, while a crepe is 63 calories and only 7 carbs. Not only that, but I find the manicotti dish made with crepes to be more filling, which means I eat less. For me, one manicotti crepe is as satisfying as 2 or 3 of the filled pasta tubes.

The great part about this recipe is that all the components can be made ahead of time (up to 2 days, if stored in the refrigerator), from the crepes to the sauce. When it's time to prepare dinner, the assembly is quick and the cooking time only 25-30 minutes. Recently, I made this dish for a dinner party and my time in the kitchen was reduced significantly because everything was ready to go. I even filled the crepes just prior to my guests' arrival - all I had to do was pop them in the oven! So, make a batch of crepes and save a few for this delicious, healthier alternative to an Italian classic.

Spinach and Mushroom "Manicotti" Crepes
(Makes 8 servings)

8 crepes made from my "Basic Crepes" recipe (see 4/6/10 post)
1 (10 oz.) package of frozen chopped spinach (thaw or microwave for 5 minutes)
15 oz. fat-free ricotta cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon basil, dried (or 2 teaspoon fresh, chopped)
½ cup fresh mushrooms, sliced & rough chopped
1 egg, slightly beaten
1½ cups No sugar added spaghetti sauce (I use Hunt's brand)
1 teaspoon Italian herbs, dried
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded low moisture, part skim mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Spray a 13" x 9" baking pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

2. Squeeze the excess moisture from the chopped spinach and place in a medium mixing bowl. Add the ricotta and parmesan cheeses, nutmeg, lemon pepper, basil, mushrooms and egg. Stir with a fork until ingredients are well combined; set aside. (This mixture can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to use. It will stay fresh in refrigerator for 2 days; stir before filling crepes.)

3. In another mixing bowl, combine the spaghetti sauce, herbs and garlic powder. Stir to combine. Measure ¼ cup of the sauce into the baking dish and spread with a spoon or rubber spatula to coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer.

4. Take one crepe and spoon a slightly rounded 1/3 cup of the ricotta-spinach mixture into the center of the crepe. Spread along the center of the crepe with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula. Fold sides of crepe over mixture to create a tube. Place crepes, overlap side down, into the baking dish. Repeat with remaining crepes, laying them side-by-side in the baking dish. Top with remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle evenly with the shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 3-4 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information per stuffed crepe: 168.3 calories, 15.8 g carbohydrate, 4.5 g total fat, 2.7 g saturated fat, 1.6 g fiber, 12 g protein

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010

How does this recipe compare with traditional spinach manicotti made with pasta? By using fat-free ricotta cheese and crepes instead of pasta, this recipe is significantly less in calories, carbohydrate and fat. For comparison, the nutritional information per serving of traditional spinach manicotti is 270 calories, 51 g carbohydrate, 10 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 2 g fiber and 11 g protein.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Basic Crepes

Crepes are thin, egg pancakes that can be filled with sweet or savory ingredients that are perfect for a diabetic because they are only 7 carbs each. Although the thought of making crepes may appear daunting, the batter is easily made in a blender and cooking the crepes is very simple and quick. Also, the crepes can be made ahead of time, even a day or two ahead, because they will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To demonstrate how easy it is to make a crepe, I've created a short video of the cooking process. As you'll see, it takes about 2 minutes.

Basic Crepes
(Makes about fourteen 6" to 7" crepes)
In a blender, blend together the following ingredients to create a thin batter:

1½ cups skim milk (soy, almond or Hood Calorie Countdown can be substituted)
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons no trans fat buttery spread, melted (I used Smart Balance)

1. Pour batter into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow bubbles to dissipate. Heat an 8" non-stick skillet, such as an omelet pan, on medium heat. Brush skillet with melted butter and ladle a scant ¼ cup of batter into the skillet. Swirl the pan around and around to distribute the batter evenly and to form a circle. Continue swirling the pan until the batter thickens and settles. Replace pan on the burner and cook for about 1 to 1½ minutes, until the edges of the crepe are dry, beginning to brown slightly and curling inward. Using a rubber spatula, lift edge and carefully turn crepe over by hand. Cook second side for about 30-45 seconds. Remove crepe from pan and place on a piece of parchment paper to cool.

To store crepes, make certain that crepes are separated with a piece of parchment paper between each crepe. Arrange crepes in a stack and place in a resealable plastic bag. Crepes can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use. Use crepes within 3-4 days.

Uses for crepes: These basic crepes can be used in sweet or savory recipes. Fill them with fresh fruit, berries, or sugar-free pudding for a light dessert. Fill them with your favorite vegetables, mushrooms, cooked turkey or chicken and cheese, heat in a 350-degree oven until cheese is melted for a delicious lunch or easy dinner.
I have posted a variety of recipes that demonstrate just how versatile these thin pancakes can be any time of day! Click on "crepes" under list of ingredients to see all the delicious and healthy fillings I suggest.

Nutritional Information per crepe: 63 calories, 7 g carbohydrate, 2 g total fat, 0.7 g saturated fat, 0.2 g fiber, 3.1 g protein

Recipe and video by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Blueberry-Lemon Chicken

Easter Sunday dawned glorious and sunny in Maine. My first daffodils have opened their golden cups and Spring is undoubtedly in the air! Because I wanted to spend as much time outdoors as possible, dinner needed to be an easy and undemanding affair. I had recently made this dish while visiting family in Oklahoma and it was well received. Today, I changed the original recipe a bit by adding lemon undertones and the result was even better! The star of this colorful dish is the blueberries, deemed a "super fruit" full of antioxidants. If you're looking for a light, easy dinner to herald in the warmth of spring, I highly recommend you give this one a try. It is a celebration of fresh fruit flavor!

Blueberry-Lemon Chicken(Makes 4 servings)
4 boneless & skinless chicken breasts (about 4½ ounces each)
Lemon pepper and salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 small shallots, finely chopped
Zest and juice from one small lemon (about 3 tablespoons juice)
3 tablespoons chicken broth
1¼ cups frozen or fresh blueberries (wild Maine berries are best)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon erythritol sweetener, granular

1. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with the lemon pepper and salt. Heat olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts and cook until browned and just cooked through (juices will run clear), about 5-6 minutes on each side depending on thickness of chicken. Remove to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm or place in a warm oven that has been heated to 200-degrees.

2. Add chopped shallots and saute until brown and translucent. Add lemon juice, zest and chicken broth and stir to deglaze skillet. Add blueberries, balsamic vinegar and Splenda. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced and slightly thickened into a sauce. Spoon over chicken and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information per serving: 164.5 calories, 9 g carbohydrate, 3.9 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 1.9 g fiber, 26 g protein.
Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010