DEAR JEANNE: This recipe sounds easy to make for a get-together, but can we reduce the fat and calories? Thank you! — Sharon Bound, San Diego

CHICKEN STRATA

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, diced

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces

1 small loaf (12 ounces) French bread, torn into bite-size pieces, or unseasoned croutons

8 ounces Fontina cheese, grated

8 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

8 eggs, beaten

3 cups milk

1 cup half-and-half

1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add chicken to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside. Place bread in a greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish; spoon chicken mixture evenly over bread. Sprinkle cheeses over chicken mixture.

Beat together the eggs, milk, half-and-half, mustard and sage in a medium bowl; pour over chicken mixture in baking dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste; refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Heat oven to 350 F. Bake strata until a knife blade inserted near the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Makes 8 servings.

 

DEAR SHARON: This is a great recipe for using leftover chicken or turkey. If you don’t have any leftovers, you don’t need to add the chicken, but of course you can cook it just for this recipe. Breasts add 13 grams of protein, only 1 gram of fat and 62 calories, so it’s a good way to improve the nutritional value of the meal. I used my old standby, the reduced-fat Italian cheese mixture, as a substitute for the Fontina, but any reduced-fat cheese would work. I also used a garlic-and-herb goat cheese, which added a lot of flavor without added calories.

REDUCED-FAT CHICKEN STRATA

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

2 cloves garlic

12 ounces (about 8 cups) light high-fiber bread, cut into bite-size pieces

6 ounces reduced-fat four-cheese Italian blend

6 ounces goat cheese

2 cups liquid egg substitute

2 1/2 cups low-fat milk (1 percent)

1 can (12 ounces) fat-free evaporated skim milk

1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about a minute.

2. Add the raw chicken and cook until cooked through and slightly browned, 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. Add the garlic toward the end of the cooking time, then remove from the heat.

3. Place the cut-up bread pieces in a 9-by-13-inch pan that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon chicken mixture evenly over the bread. Evenly distribute the cheeses over the chicken.

4. Beat the egg substitute, milk and evaporated milk with the mustard, sage and pepper. Pour over the bread mixture and push down anything protruding from the milk mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 5 hours, or overnight.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 and cook, uncovered, for about an hour, or until a sharp knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Makes 8 servings.

Each serving contains approximately: Original recipe: 605 calories; 35 g fat; 339 mg cholesterol; 898 mg sodium; 31 g carbohydrates; 40 g protein; 2 g fiber. Revised Recipe: 359 calories; 11 g fat; 53 mg cholesterol; 707 mg sodium; 31 g carbohydrates; 37 g protein; 7 g fiber.

 

Jeanne Jones is the author of 33 cookbooks, most recently “Cooking From the Cupboard” (Rodale Press). For more information, you can go to her website, jeannejones.com. Send your recipe for revision to: Cook It Light, P.O. Box 1212, La Jolla, CA 92038. Please include a stamped (61 cents), self-addressed envelope.

 

– King Features