MUFA is my new mantra.
And what you ask is a MUFA? Well first let me tell you that a MUFA is the remedy to the most dreaded, obscene, frightening thing that can happen to a woman - BELLY FAT.
Who among us hasn't fought the battle of the bulge at some point in our lives? And worse than just the way Belly Fat makes us look and feel, doctors now tell us that it is the most dangerous kind of fat to carry around. Belly Fat increases our odds of contracting heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Geez. And I just thought it looked bad.
But wait - science AND food (the very thing that got us into this mess) to the rescue. In the form of MUFA's. Otherwise known as monounsaturated fatty acids, MUFA'S are the good fats found in some oils, olives, nuts and seeds, avocados and dark chocolate (alleluia)
The latest nutritional information suggests that by eliminating bad fats and adding a MUFA (good fat) at every meal, you will flatten your belly and loose weight. To test this theory I am currently following The Flat Belly Diet by Rodale Press. I am just ending the first phase of the diet, which is a four day "cleanse". The next 28 days I will be following the guidelines of the book by eating four 400 calorie meals a day and including a MUFA in each of these meals.
A cook on a diet is not a pretty sight. I love to cook freely, testing my original recipes, shopping for new ingredients and tweaking old menu plans. With that said, I am determined to make every one of these meals healthy, delicious, beautiful and easy to make and I will use all my skills, knowledge and available cookery tricks to accomplish this. My judge and fellow diet traveller is TBHITW. I told you he was the best, he is willing to eat along with me for 28 days. All in the name of my kitchen research and good health (and yes, love).
Care to follow along on this journey?
Rice Stuffed Balsamic Chicken (serves 4) - approximately 400 calories
1 cup brown rice (prepared with 1/2 water and 1/2 low salt vegetable broth - yield 2 cups prepared
4 Tablespoons almonds, toasted and chopped
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon parsley, minced
A few grinds freshly ground black pepper to taste
Prepare rice according to package directions using 1/2 water and 1/2 vegetable broth. When cooked, stir in almonds, garlic, parsley and pepper. Set aside.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 8 ounces each)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup balsamic vinegar
Cut a pocket deep into each chicken breast and spoon about 1/2 cup rice into each cavity. If needed, skew with a tooth pick to seal.
Preheat oven to 400.
Heat oil in an oven proof saute pan and brown the chicken on the top (smooth side) about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Turn chicken over and place in oven. If you don't have an oven proof saute pan, spray a rimmed cookie sheet with nonstick spray and place chicken raw side down on cookie sheet. Either way, bake for 20-30 minutes or until rice reaches internal temperature of 165 degrees.
While the chicken is cooking, place 1 cup balsamic vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a high simmer. Continue to simmer until vinegar is reduced and reaches the syrup stage. Remove from heat.
When chicken is cooked through, slice each breast in 6 to 8 slices. Distribute among 4 plates and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Divide the remaining rice among 4 plates.
Serve with simple steamed squash, green beans, mushrooms or carrots.
A Cook's Notes: The MUFA in this meal is from the almonds and olive oil. Each serving is about 4 ounces of chicken, 1/2 cup of rice and 1 cup of steamed vegetables. If you want some additional flavor on your vegetables, spritz with fresh lemon juice or orange juice. Steamed carrots sprinkled with a little ginger and a spritz of orange juice is a family favorite. Also notice I did not add any salt to the meal. The balsamic vinegar, while having 0% sodium adds a "salty" flavor really kicking up the chicken.
Tomorrow: Breakfast for a busy Friday.