Blogging is making me fat

I have been saddled with the Eastern-European, potato-eating, worry-wart peasant metabolism. My metabolism is so freaked out that I won’t be able to get through the winter, that I will waste away to nothing, that it clings desperately onto every last calorie it meets. In recent years, my metabolism has expanded it’s area of concern from just winter to encompass all the seasons.

Despite repeated assurances that there is no chance of my wasting away to nothing, my metabolism persists in it's storage efforts (on the off chance that I did actually waste away to nothing, no one would likely notice, since they’d be so preoccupied watching the pigs fly.) Blogging has sent my peasant metabolism into an over-the-moon, glorious tailspin. Always on the hunt for more to write about, I’ve been feeding it such a wealth of wonderfully delicious calories that it’s gone into hyper-storage overdrive. Which basically means my jeans are getting tight.

It is in these times of impending chunkiness that I turn to an old friend: Cooking Light.

Cooking Light
has a surfeit of excellent “lightened” recipes that actually taste like food you’d seek out when the fit of your Honeys isn’t an issue. But don't be fooled: the main reason a lot of Cooking Light’s recipes fall into the “light" category, is because the suggested serving size is miniscule, barely bite-sized. These are not the kinds of serving sizes that people who have been driven to seek “light” recipes normally abide by. If we found skimpy servings satisfying, we wouldn’t be in the market for “light” recipes, now would we?

In Cooking Light’s defense, their creations are lower in fat and calories than regular versions of the same things. And at least the presence of the nutrition information encourages me to stop and think about how much I’m packing in. This is one of my favorite Cooking Light recipes, because you could conceivably eat two of their so-called servings and still maintain a very reasonable calorie count for a satisfying dinner.

I love this recipe because it tastes a lot like the excellent chicken satay served at our local Thai place. The accompanying cucumber salad is also really tasty, and plays the perfectly cool, crisp, slightly sweet foil to the peanut sauce. Served with a side of rice-noodles, this is a excellent meal that won't convince your tastebuds that you're eating light, but it should be able to pull one over on the metabolism.

Chicken Satay
Courtesy Cooking Light, July 2005
Serves 4

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 8 strips
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons ground fresh ginger (the magazine recommends bottled ginger, but I keep a knob of ginger in my freezer - it lasts for ages - and just use the microplane to take off as much as I need for a given recipe)
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced

Peanut Sauce:
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons natural-style, reduced-fat creamy peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

1. Combine chicken and next 6 ingredients (through 2 garlic cloves) in a medium bowl. Let stand 10 minutes.

2. In a separate medium bowl, combine 1 tablespoon brown sugar and the next 5 ingredients (through 1 garlic clove), stirring until sugar dissolves.

3. Thread chicken strips onto each of 8 (8-inch) skewers (I didn’t bother with the skewers). Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 5 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Serve chicken with sauce.

Nutritional Information (serving size: 2 skewers and 1 tablespoon sauce)
CALORIES 205(20% from fat); FAT 4.5g (sat 1g,mono 0.4g,poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 29.3g; CHOLESTEROL 66mg; CALCIUM 26mg; SODIUM 672mg; FIBER 0.8g; IRON 1.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 11.2g

Cucumber Salad

Courtesy Cooking Light, July 2005

1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeño pepper
1 teaspoon grated lime rind in a large bowl.
3 cups thinly sliced English cucumber
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss to coat.

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