Don't diet - eat smart - The Times and Democrat

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For years, I was able to eat without regard to caloric intake and didn't gain weight. Boy, those were the days! All that has changed, so I am making changes in my eating habits little by little instead of going on crash or fad diets.

According to a nutrition magazine article that I recently read, carbohydrates are the main source of energy in our diets, with fats coming in second. If you want to lose weight, reducing their intake is a good way to do it, but cutting them out as much as possible is neither sensible or practical, as you will also be cutting out important nutrients.

Maintaining a balanced diet, with a slight reduction of carbs and fats, and cutting out fat- and carb-laden snack foods is a much more common-sense approach to losing weight. With that in mind, I want to share with you a flavorful two-dish meal. I got the recipes many years ago from the National Honey Board.

Calypso rice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cups long-grain white rice

4 tablespoons honey

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed

Two 14-1/2-ounce cans chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

3 cups finely chopped mustard greens

2 cups chopped yellow squash

1 cup chopped ripe tomato

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the rice and cook it, stirring continually for four minutes, or until the rice begins to "brown." Add the honey, garlic, salt and thyme. Cook and stir this mixture for two minutes. Add the broth, Tabasco sauce, greens, squash and tomatoes. Bring this mixture to a boil. Cover the saucepan tightly and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand for five minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

This recipe makes eight servings.

Honey-spiced chicken with zesty mango

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel

2 ripe mangos, peeled and diced

1 medium yellow onion, peeled, cut in eight sections

2 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved and seeded

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 teaspoons garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs

Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Spread two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a 9x13-inch-baking pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the honey, lemon juice and lemon peel, and whisk until well-blended. Remove 1/2 cup of the mixture and put it in a food processor or blender. Set aside.

Add the mango to the honey-lemon mixture remaining in the bowl. Toss until well-coated, and store it in the refrigerator.

To the honey-lemon mixture in the food processor or blender, add the onion, jalapenos, paprika, 1 tablespoon of oil, garlic salt, cinnamon, pepper and allspice. Process until very finely chopped, scraping down the sides when necessary. Spread evenly over both sides of the chicken pieces.

Arrange the chicken in the prepared baking pan, and bake for 30 minutes. Place the chicken on a serving platter and top each piece with a portion of the reserved mango. Serve with plain rice or Calypso rice.

This recipe makes eight servings.

Contact the writer: 179 Cherry Lane, St. George, SC 29477, or

07 Sep, 2011

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