Read an Excerpt
Patti Labelle's Lite Cuisine
By Patti LaBelle
GothamCopyright © 2004 Patti LaBelle
All right reserved.
Chapter OneStunningly Delicious
Salads, Soups, and Sandwiches
Out-of-This-World Watercress Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
Thanks to bagged watercress, putting this salad together doesn't get any easier. When you're preparing it, remember that watercress is very perishable, so try and buy it the same day you're planning to serve this salad.
Makes 12 servings
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives 1 tablespoon minced shallots 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 garlic clove, minced 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon white or black pepper
1 pound watercress, tough stems trimmed 2 large red tomatoes, cut into bite-size wedges 1 large yellow tomato, cut into bite-size wedges 1 sweet onion, such as Vidalia, thinly sliced 1 large cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and sliced 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into short strips 1 cup radishes, cut into bite-size pieces 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, quartered 1/2 cup hearts of palm, cut into bite-size pieces
To make the vinaigrette: Combine the oil, vinegar, basil, chives, shallots, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper in acontainer with a tightly sealed top (a small canning jar works well). Cover tightly and shake well, until dressing is well blended. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. Shake well before serving.
To make the watercress salad: In a large bowl, toss the watercress, red tomatoes, yellow tomato, onion, cucumber, bell pepper, radishes, mushrooms, and hearts of palm. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss to coat.
Patti's Pointers: I like to buy bagged watercress because it's triple-washed and nearly ready to serve. Look for it near the herbs or lettuces in most supermarkets. I like to eat watercress because it has a delicate peppery taste-a refreshing change from plain ol' iceberg lettuce. To trim, tear off (or cut off) any thick, tough stems. But leave the smaller stems intact. They add crunch to the salad. Look for hearts of palm in the canned vegetable aisle of the supermarket. They are the tender "heart" of the tropical cabbage palm tree and taste a bit like an artichoke heart. If you can't find hearts of palm, you can use chopped artichoke hearts instead.
Per Serving: 110 calories, 2 g protein, 5 g carbohydrate, 10 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g dietary fiber, 105 mg sodium
Diet Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 2 fats, or 0 carbohydrate choices
Sensational Salad Nigoise
This recipe is full of so many great ingredients it's not a side salad, Sugar, it's a meal. When serving Salad Nigoise, I know most people like to arrange all the different ingredients in separate little piles. Me? I like to put mine in a big bowl and toss them all together. If you're a spicy food lover like me, here's a great trick to try: swap the Nigoise olives for one 2.25-ounce can of well-drained sliced black olives-with jalapeqo. Yum!
Makes 6 servings
1/3 cup chopped shallots cup low-sodium chicken broth 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 ounces thin French green beans (haricots verts) or regular green beans, trimmed 8 ounces small red potatoes, thinly sliced, skin left on One 12-ounce can reduced-sodium white tuna packed in water, drained and flaked 1/2 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved, or 1 pint grape tomatoes, left whole 1/2 cup Nigoise olives 1 head romaine lettuce, torn into leaves 2 large hard-cooked eggs, each peeled and cut into quarters
To make the dressing: Mix the shallots, broth, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, basil, oregano, salt, black pepper, hot pepper sauce, and red pepper flakes in a 2-cup jar or bowl. Cover and shake or whisk (if using a bowl) until well mixed. Refrigerate until the salad is ready.
Bring two pots of water to a boil. In one, cook the green beans until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. In the other, cook the potatoes, covered, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the beans and potatoes and run under cold water until cooled. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add the tuna, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, and olives to the bowl. Drizzle the dressing evenly over the salad. Using your hands or two large spoons, gently toss the salad to coat. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Before serving, bring to room temperature and serve over lettuce leaves garnished with the egg quarters.
Patti's Pointers: If your market carries seedless English cucumbers, buy that instead of a regular cucumber. No seeding required! And English cucumbers tend to be less bitter than regular cucumbers. You'll need 1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped.
Also: To trim the green beans quickly, line up all the ends on a cutting board (as many as will fit on your board!) then make a single cut across the ends with a large knife. And last but not least, to make perfect hard-cooked eggs, place the eggs in a single layer in a small saucepan and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Just when the water boils, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain and run cold water over the eggs until cooled. Let sit in cold water until completely cooled.
Per Serving: 240 calories, 19 g protein, 17 g carbohydrate, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 95 mg cholesterol, 4 g dietary fiber, 640 mg sodium
Diet exchanges: 3 meats, 2 fats, 1 starch, or 1 carbohydrate choice
Cajun Chicken Caesar Salad
Makes 6 servings
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning Four 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium chicken broth or water 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 3/4 teaspoon red pepper sauce, such as Tabasco 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 1 head romaine lettuce
To make the chicken: Preheat the oven to 3750F. Coat a baking sheet with fat-free cooking spray.
In a small bowl, mix together the Cajun seasoning and poultry seasoning. Sprinkle evenly over both sides of the chicken breasts.
Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake until an instant-read thermometer registers 1600F in a breast and juices run clear, about 25 to 30 minutes.
To make the salad: In a large bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, broth or water, sour cream, mustard, red pepper sauce, and Parmesan.
Tear the lettuce into large leaves and toss with the dressing to coat evenly.
Divide the lettuce among 6 salad plates. Slice the chicken into strips and divide among the plates.
Option: This dish tastes great as a wrap sandwich (even the next day!). Heat up some of the chicken strips and a large tortilla in the microwave oven, about 30 seconds. Then roll up with the dressed romaine lettuce.
Per Serving: 190 calories, 24 g protein, 3 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 60 mg cholesterol, less than 1 g dietary fiber, 370 mg sodium
Diet Exchanges: 3 very lean meats, 1 1/2 fats, or 0 carbohydrate choices
Luscious Lobster Salad
Make sure you refrigerate this dish at least four hours before serving-longer if you have the time. That way the flavors can really come together and develop. If you cover tightly and refrigerate it overnight, you'll have a seriously great salad, not just a seriously good one. And for the price of lobster tails these days-I almost fainted the last time I bought some!-great is exactly what this salad should be.
Makes 4 servings
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise, such as Hellmann's Just 2 Good! 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper 1/8 teaspoon paprika 2 lobster tails, thawed if frozen (about 1 pound total) 4 cups arugula or other lettuce leaves 1 tomato, cut into 8 wedges
In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, tarragon, salt, black pepper, red pepper, and paprika.
Bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil. Boil the lobster tails until just firm and opaque throughout, 8 to 9 minutes.
Drain and rinse the tails under cold water (it's easiest to do this with tongs). Cut each tail in half lengthwise right through the shell (if the meat is not opaque all the way through, boil the halved shells for another minute or so).
Scoop the lobster meat from the shells with your fingers. Cut into bite-size pieces (you should have about 2 cups lobster meat). Gently fold the lobster meat into the mayonnaise mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
Put the arugula or other lettuce on a platter or plates. Top with the lobster salad and garnish with the tomato wedges.
Patti's Pointers: It's easier to cut the lobster tails if they don't curl up during cooking. To keep the tails from curling as they cook, skewer them lengthwise with short metal or bamboo skewers. I use arugula in this recipe because its peppery bite is the perfect complement to this mild and creamy lobster salad. But if you don't like the taste, try romaine lettuce instead. It has six times as much vitamin C and up to ten times as much beta-carotene as iceberg lettuce. Just remember: generally speaking, the greener the lettuce leaves, the more nutrition they contain.
Per Serving: 150 calories, 14 g protein, 6 g carbohydrate, 7 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 60 mg cholesterol, less than 1 g dietary fiber, 670 mg sodium
Diet Exchanges: 2 meats, 1 fat, or 1/2 carbohydrate choice
Makes 8 servings
1 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise, such as Hellmann's Just 2 Good! 1/2 cup chili sauce 1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions 1 1/2 teaspoons prepared horseradish 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded (about 8 cups) 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes 2 pounds fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over to remove shells
In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, chili sauce, red pepper, green onions, horseradish, salt, and red pepper.
Arrange the shredded lettuce on a platter and decorate the edge of the platter with the tomatoes. Gently scoop the crabmeat on top of the lettuce, being careful not to break up the lumps. Spoon 1/2 cup of the dressing over the crabmeat. Serve the remaining dressing in a small bowl.
Patti's Pointers: You can make this dish ahead of time, then assemble just before serving. Refrigerate the dressing for up to 2 days. Prepare the platter of lettuce and tomatoes, cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Then simply top with the crab and dressing, and you're good to go.
Per Serving: 290 calories, 37 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 10 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 170 mg cholesterol, less than 1 g dietary fiber, 880 mg sodium
Diet Exchanges: 3 meats, 1 1/2 fats, 2 vegetables, or 1/2 carbohydrate choice
Berry Cool Chicken Chili
I got this recipe from one of the most gorgeous and talented women on the planet-Halle Berry. You know that commercial where the model says, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful"? Well, I won't lie: If the child weren't so sweet, I would have to hate her. But I can't. She's as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside, and when you've got a face and body like hers, that is saying something, right? The night she won the Academy Award for best actress, you would have thought I had won a Grammy Award for best album (Note to the Recording Academy: yes, that is a hint). When they announced Girlfriend's name on that stage, I was so happy for her I started screaming and shouting so loud I woke the whole neighborhood up. But it was her acceptance speech that had me crying like a baby. It was just like her-beautiful and gracious and real.
While everybody knows Halle is as talented as she is gorgeous, here's something you may not know about her: she's diabetic. She found out several years ago when she went into a diabetic coma on the set of her first TV show, the long-canceled sitcom Living Dolls. Like millions of people, Halle didn't know she had the disease. Which is why it is so important for all of us to ask our doctors about getting tested for it. When you make Halle's fabulous chili, why don't you make an appointment to do just that? Halle would like that. And so would I.
Makes 8 servings
1 teaspoon olive oil 1 cup chopped onion 1 cup chopped green bell pepper 3/4 cup chopped carrots 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 pounds ground chicken 1 tablespoon chili powder 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes One 14.5-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained One 15-ounce can great northern beans, rinsed and drained One 14.5-ounce can fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth One 6-ounce can low-sodium tomato paste
Coat a large soup pot with fat-free cooking spray and add the oil. Heat over medium heat until the oil is hot. Add the onion, bell pepper, carrots, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the chicken and, breaking up the meat with a spoon, cook until the chicken is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Pour off any fat.
Stir in the chili powder, oregano, basil, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook about 2 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, beans, broth, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the flavors come together, about 45 minutes.
Excerpted from Patti Labelle's Lite Cuisine by Patti LaBelle Copyright © 2004 by Patti LaBelle. Excerpted by permission.
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