Originally created 02/26/97

Cut fat but not creamy flavor in chicken dish



Adopting a healthful, low-fat diet doesn't mean swearing off creamy, indulgent foods for the rest of your life. Instead, it means indulging only occasionally in rich meals and making an effort to enjoy smaller portions when you do indulge. At home, adopting low-fat cooking habits means skimping on butter and cream and substituting lower fat ingredients whenever possible.

For example, this streamlined recipe for Light Lemon Chicken with Mushrooms and Artichokes has lots of creamy, rich flavor, but only 29 percent of calories come from fat. In the original recipe, sent in by South Carolina reader Sue Smith, 47 percent of the 1,147 calories per serving came from fat. The original recipe called for butter, cream and olive oil. The revised recipe omits the butter, reduces the amount of cream by three-quarters and cuts the amount of oil in half to save 42 grams of fat and 559 calories per serving.

The dish also saves calories by reducing portion size. The original recipe dished up gargantuan servings of pasta, which were drenched in cream and topped with an entire chicken breast per serving. The new recipe still features a chicken breast per person, but the meat is served with a more reasonable amount of linguini. Chicken broth is the foundation of the sauce instead of cream, but there is still enough cream to satisfy the senses.

Like the original recipe, Light Lemon Chicken with Mushrooms and Artichokes is a dish to prepare on special occasions because each serving contains close to 600 calories. Yet, the recipe has been tailored so health-conscious diners can indulge themselves without blowing their diets.

LEMON CHICKEN WITH MUSHROOMS AND ARTICHOKES

2 whole chicken breasts, split, boned and skinned

Juice from 1 lemon

4 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 cup flour

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup chicken broth

1 (13 3/4-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon basil

1 pound linguini, cooked according to package directions

Parmesan cheese to taste

Cut chicken into strips and marinate overnight in lemon juice. In a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil. When hot, add garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Do not let brown. Remove and discard the garlic. Dredge the chicken in the flour and add to the hot oil mixture. Saute until the chicken is done, about 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Saute the mushrooms and green onions for 3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the wine and scrape up any particles remaining in pan. Cook for 1 minute. Add the cream and broth and simmer for 2 minutes. Return the chicken, onions and mushrooms to the pan. Add the artichoke hearts, red pepper, black pepper, salt and basil and simmer for 3 minutes longer. Serve over linguini and top with Parmesan cheese. (Makes 4 servings)

(Nutritional information per serving: Calories, 1,147; fat, 61 grams (47 percent of calories from fat); protein, 47 grams; carbohydrate, 108 grams; cholesterol, 230 milligrams; sodium, 822 milligrams.)

LIGHT LEMON CHICKEN WITH MUSHROOMS AND ARTICHOKES

4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 4 to 5 ounces each

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed through a press

3 green onions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

4 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup dry white wine or dry sherry

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

1/8 teaspoon ground hot red pepper

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried basil leaves

1 (13 3/4-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained

1/4 cup heavy cream

6 ounces linguini, cooked according to package directions

Cut the chicken into strips and marinate at least 30 minutes in lemon juice. The chicken can marinate overnight, if desired.

Drain the pieces and dredge lightly in the flour. In a 12-inch, nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and saute for 5 minutes. Remove the chicken and transfer to an oven-safe platter; keep warm in a 250-degree oven.

Add the garlic, green onions and mushrooms to the pan and saute for 5 minutes or until the onions are soft and the mushrooms are beginning to brown. Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom or sides. Add the broth, red pepper, salt, basil, artichoke hearts and cream. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer together for 5 minutes. Serve over linguini. (Makes 4 servings)

(Nutritional information per serving: Calories, 588; fat, 19 grams (29 percent of calories from fat); protein, 56 grams; carbohydrate, 49 grams; cholesterol, 141 milligrams; sodium, 835 milligrams.)

If you have a recipe you would like streamlined to contain less fat and fewer calories, send it to Eat for Life at 2411 A Rice Ave. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104. Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope and the name of your newspaper.