Sprucing Up that Diet Chicken Dinner with a Smirky Smile- a 3 part delight

diet chicken dinners - scamper

No one takes kindly to the D word. Dieting stinks… at least in theory. The truth of the matter is that if you look at it as a short term fix, you’re doomed. You’ll hate the cardboard rot gut that you feel obligated to force down your gullet. You’ll feel sorry for your pitiful existence. Your family and friends won’t empathize with your deprivation agony and right after you rip everybody in your life a new one, you’ll wash your guilt away with a high fat friend. The most aggravating part is that for all your trouble, you’ll end up with a couple of pounds of extra padding.


Here’s an alternative plan.

Disguise that bland chicken as a gourmet meal and serve it to the whole family. Only you will know that it’s diet food, which should put a smile of satisfaction on your face but if they gripe about the missing carbs, feel free to introduce them to some ramen noodles because they’re just being unappreciative.

Part 1

Pepping up Poached Chicken

Poached Chicken Breasts

Poaching chicken breasts couldn’t be easier. Flavor the water with herbs or lemon. Just consider what you are serving it with so the flavors are complimentary. 

poached chicken


  • 2 or more boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Cold water
  • Seasonings of choice


  • Place the breasts in a pot
  • Cover with cold water
  • Bring to a boil
  • Reduce to a gentle simmer for about 12 min
  • Check to make sure they are cooked through

Poached Chicken with Spaghetti Squash

This dish is both simple and surprisingly tasty. It’s also filling. Spaghetti squash is low in calories and carbs. It’s not pasta but it’s really good.

chicken and spaghetti squash


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 lg spaghetti squash
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter ( 102 cal per Tbsp)
  • 2 bell peppers, 1 red, 1 yellow
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan ( 22 cal per Tbsp)


  • Preheat oven to 400
  • Place the whole peppers on a foil lined baking sheet
  • Slice squash in half and clean out the seeds
  • Slash the flesh with a knife and dot each 1/2 with a Tbsp of butter
  • Place the squash on the baking sheet too
  • Roast them in the oven for about 40 min or until tender
  • Turning the peppers over halfway through
  • Poach the chicken as the vegetables near the end of roasting
  • Slice and seed the peppers
  • Scrape the flesh from the shell of the squash and toss to mix in the butter
  • Adding salt and pepper to taste
  • Add 1 Tbsp of Parmesan to each half and toss again
  • Place half of the squash on each plate in a mound
  • Slice the warm chicken and place it in top
  • Garnish with sliced roasted pepper and enjoy

Pear, Nuts, and Blue Cheese

Warm pears and chicken on a large bed of salad make a delicious and filling dinner with a touch of elegance.

chicken and pear


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 firm, ripe pears, peeled
  • 6 Tbsp crumbled blue cheese (3Tbsp= 110 cal)
  • 1/4 c coarsely chopped roasted almonds (135 cal per 1/8 cup)
  • 4 c mixed baby greens
  • Low cal balsamic vinaigrette.
  • 2-3 c red wine (optional)
  • 2-3 c water
  • 2 bay leaves


  • Combine the water, bay leaves and the wine in a sauce pan and bring to a boil
  • Place whole peeled pears in the liquid and simmer for 20 min or until tender
  • Remove from heat and let stand
  • Poach the chicken breasts
  • Toss the salad greens with vinaigrette
  • Slice the chicken breasts and place each one on a bed of tossed greens
  • Slice the pears and place them on the salad with the chicken breasts (the more appealing you make it look, the more you and your family will appreciate the meal)
  • Top each chicken/ pear display with 3 Tbsp of blue cheese and 1/2 of the crushed almonds

Portobello Mushrooms and Mashed Cauliflower

This meal more closely approximates an old fashioned steak and potatoes type meal. If you are easing your family into healthier eating, this is a good one to start with. 

If anyone feels the need to pipe up with sass, just remind them that squawking isn’t talking and tell them to give the meal a fair chance. (if they still gripe, there’s always gruel)



  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 lg portobello mushrooms, stems removed
    1 head of cauliflower, cut in half
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 400
  • Combine the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, ginger, 1/4 tsp minced garlic and olive oil and whisk thoroughly
  • Place the portobellos in the mixture and marinate in an oven safe dish for 15 min
  • Bake for 15 min
  • Turn and baste the mushrooms and bake for another 15 min
  • In the meantime
  • Poach the chicken breasts and steam or boil the cauliflower until soft, about 15- 20 min
  • Remove the cauliflower from the water and place it in a food processor
  • Add butter, a pinch of sea salt and garlic
  • Process until smooth
  • Place a large spoonful of mashed cauliflower on each plate
  • Top each one with a sliced, warm, chicken breast
  • Decoratively place 1 sliced mushroom on each and spoon on any remaining sauce from the mushrooms
  • You are going to love this one!

Next time… The baked beauties

Enjoy your delicious diet delights.

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The Scamper

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