A Little Moderation: Lemon-Leek Linguine
I lost 122 pounds at Weight Watchers. How? My girlfriend left because she caught me asking out one of the coaches at a meeting. Who knew these ex-fatties could be so hot! Anyway…The reason that I popped my head into a meeting was that I recently had a blood test for my medical insurance and the results weren’t quite what I expected. My cholesterol was a little high (225) and my Body Mass Index was 25.3 (the normal range for men is 18.5 to 24.9). I do get plenty of exercise because I’m kind of a gym rat, and I run pretty hard 4 days a week. I don’t need to change what I work out, just what I put in. So I’ve decide to cut back on the decadence and lighten up my meals during the week.
I learned two things at that meeting. One: my ex has a heck of a right cross, and two: I need to eat better. Even though I usually go for the gusto, a little moderation might not be such a bad thing. I just need to make better choices. Like they say, making the right choice comes from experience. And experience comes from making bad choices. (Believe me; I know a thing or two about making bad choices!)
Don’t freak. It’s gotta taste good. Oh, I’m still going to eat fried foods and butter sauces, just not every day. I’ve gotta concentrate on portion control. Nothing on my plate should be bigger than my fist and no more refilling multiple times. One plate per meal and (here comes the hard part), ONE drink per day. Of alcohol. Any alcohol. That means no more Nyquil shots before bed.
So here’s a dinner recipe for a lighter version of my pan-fried chicken and linguine dish. Yeah, it’s still fried but there’s no flour coating for the chicken; it’s only seared, and then finished in the oven. This actually tastes so good that the hard part is the portion control. And I don’t just mean for the alcohol.
Katt’s Lemon-Leek Linguine with Chicken
8 ounces uncooked linguine
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast or thighs
Fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves minced
2 leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
¾ cup of chicken broth
Juice of a freshly squeezed lemon ( 5-6 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped Italian parsley
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and then cook the pasta ‘your way.’ Everyone I know has their own method of cooking pasta, as well as what type of pasta they use (boxed or fresh), so you certainly don’t have to follow my technique. I don’t add oil to my water but I do like it salted. I also don’t drain or rinse my pasta anymore, but we can debate that at another time. Just get the pasta cooked.
Then, place the chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound it thin using a mallet or a small heavy skillet. Sprinkle the chicken with the salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat and sear each side of the chicken. Place the chicken in a shallow, oven-proof pan and bake for 20 minutes, then check the chicken. In the past I’ve had it all cook in 20 minutes, but there have been a few times when it took an additional 10 minutes of baking to ensure that all of the pieces were fully cooked.
Meanwhile, add the second tablespoon of olive oil to the pan over medium heat and sauté the garlic and leek for about 3 minutes. Add the broth and lemon juice, increase the heart to a rolling simmer and let it cook for about 5 minutes (it will reduce slightly). Check the taste and add salt if needed, and then add the tablespoon of butter.
Once the butter has melted remove the pan from the heat, add the pasta to the skillet and toss well. Serve the chicken over the pasta and sprinkle with parsley. If you need a little decadence, add some parmesan cheese to the pasta before you take it out of the skillet. Either way, there’s not a lot of fat in this dish so live a little—just don’t eat the whole thing in one sitting!