If you are A self-confessed balanced foodie you will love these waistline friendly recipes that are full of flavour. Life is too short for bland and boring. It’s about finding balance and falling in love with food all over again!
Below you’ll find a variety of easy to make, healthy food with simple ingredients. What does that mean exactly? It means Weight Watchers friendly, sometimes low fat, sometimes low carb and sometimes cheat foods. Recipes that feel like an indulgence without the regret.

By Cafe Delites

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Creamy chicken francese

Chicken Francese, also know as Chicken Francaise — a popular recipe found in many restaurants in the United States — was originally developed in America by Italian immigrants. Just as good as a Piccata, the flavours in a traditional Francese are absolutely incredible. Now they are EVEN BETTER by adding a kick of garlic and a splash of cream to the sauce! This one is no exception. The traditional Chicken Francese was originally created for veal — also like a piccata — but in our opinion tastes a lot better with chicken. The difference between a Francese and a Piccata is in a Francese recipe, the chicken breast is first dipped in flour, then a beaten egg mixture, before being cooked lightly in a tangy lemon buttery sauce. With a piccata, however, the batter is done in reverse: first the egg and then the flour. The other difference is a piccata has the addition of capers. However, adding my own twist to this Francese, I gave a good squeeze of lemon juice and parmesan cheese to the EGG mixture, PLUS a good amount of garlic and the addition of cream to the sauce, to elevate it to a whole new level BETTERthan anything you’ll find in a restaurant! Also, the sauce includes a dry white wine, which gives it an unbelievable flavour, BUT you don’t have to add it if you’re hesitant to try it with the wine. Simply substitute it with chicken broth. Having said that though, the wine does get cooked down so it has a mild hint of taste throughout the sauce. Ingredients * 2 large boneless and skinless chicken breasts,cut in half horizontally to make 4 fillets * 2 large eggs * 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated * 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed * 1/4 cup flour * 2 tablespoons unsalted butter * 4 tablespoons olive oil * 6-8 cloves garlic crushed * 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)* * 3/4 cup chicken broth * 1 cup half and half, (or heavy cream or thickened cream) * 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper * 1/2 teaspoon salt, (add more to suit your tastes) * 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped * 1/2 a lemon juiced * 2 teaspoons parsley (extra), to garnish 1. Pound each fillet to 1/2-inch thick, if needed.

 2. Beat eggs, parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and some black pepper in a shallow bowl.

 3. To another shallow bowl, add the flour and season with salt and pepper. Mix with your hands.

 4. Heat the oil and butter in a skillet or nonstick pan over medium-high heat. When the oil/butter is hot enough for frying, dredge the fillets in the flour first, coating completely, then coat in the egg wash. Allow any excess egg mixture to drip off, then fry fillets in batches of two if you need to for about 4 minutes each side until nice and golden brown. Place each cooked fillet on a paper towel lined plate.

 5. To the same frying pan, add the crushed garlic, and cook for one minute until fragrant. Add in the white wine, chicken broth and parsley. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes on high heat to reduce down, while swirling the pan occasionally. Reduce heat and add the cream. Simmer on low until slightly thickened. Taste test and season with salt and pepper, as desired.

 6. Stir in the juice of half a lemon, and return the chicken to the sauce to heat through on low heat for two minutes. 

 7. Serve the chicken and sauce together over rice or pasta and vegetables, if desired. Garnish with extra parsley.

 Recipe Notes *If you don't like the wine, substitute it with chicken broth. The wine flavour is not strong, however! **(Thicken the sauce with cornstarch if needed: 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to 1 tablespoon of water; mix well and add to the centre of the pan for a thicker sauce.)**

Source: By cafe delites

Easy cheesy garlic bread

* 14 ounces (400 grams) loaf French bread, (or Italian), sliced in half horizontally (lengthwise) * 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened * 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic) * 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped * 1/4 teaspoon salt, (or to taste) * 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese * 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese * 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley, * 1. Preheat oven to 200°C | 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (baking paper), or foil. Arrange bread on baking sheet, cut-side up.

 2. In a small-sized bowl, combine together the butter, garlic, fresh parsley and salt. Mix ingredients together until well blended. Evenly spoon the garlic butter mixture evenly over both bread halves right to the edges. Top with the cheeses and sprinkle with the dried parsley.

 3. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Broil for about 2 minutes, or until the top is golden and crispy. 
 4. Slice and serve warm.

Creamy salmon

* 4 salmon fillets, skin off (or Trout or any white fish) * Salt and pepper, to season * 2 teaspoons olive oil * 2 tablespoons butter * 6 cloves garlic, finely diced * 1 small yellow onion, diced * 1/3 cup dry white wine (OPTIONAL) -- (do not use a sweet white wine) * 5 ounces (150 g) jarred sun dried tomato strips in oil, drained of oil * 1 3/4 cups half and half *SEE NOTES * Salt and pepper, to taste * 3 cups baby spinach leaves * 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, (do not include for dairy free option) * 1 teaspoon cornstarch (cornflour) mixed with 1 tablespoons of water (optional)** * 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped * 1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the salmon filets (or fish if using) on both sides with salt and pepper, and sear in the hot pan, flesh-side down first, for 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked to your liking. Once cooked, remove from the pan and set aside.

 2. Melt the butter in the remaining juices leftover in the pan. Add in the garlic and fry until fragrant (about one minute). Fry the onion in the butter. Pour in the white wine (if using), and allow to reduce down slightly. Add the sun dried tomatoes and fry for 1-2 minutes to release their flavours.

 3. Reduce heat to low heat, add the half and half (or heavy cream), and bring to a gentle simmer, while stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

 4. Add in the spinach leaves and allow to wilt in the sauce, and add in the parmesan cheese. Allow sauce to simmer for a further minute until cheese melts through the sauce. (For a thicker sauce, add the milk/cornstarch mixture to the centre of the pan, and continue to simmer while quickly stirring the mixture through until the sauce thickens.)
 5. Add the salmon back into the pan; sprinkle with the parsley, and spoon the sauce over each filet.

 6. Serve over pasta, rice or steamed veg.
 *Half and half is an American product, made from equal parts light cream and milk. Feel free to use half light cream and half 2% milk (or full fat if not worried about calories and fat counts), in place of half and half. Alternatively, use all light cream or heavy cream. **For a gluten free option, find GLUTEN FREE Cornstarch where available

Garlic-parmesan browned butter mashed potatoes! 

* 10 large potatoes of choice (1.4kg | 3lbs) (Chat Washed, Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes), peeled * 3/4 cup butter * 4 cloves garlic , crushed * 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese * 1 cup milk (more if needed) * Instructions 1. Peel potatoes and cut into large chunks. Cover with water in a large saucepan/pot, add a good amount of salt and bring to the boil for 20 minutes or until soft and tender but not falling apart.
 2. Halfway through cooking time, heat butter in a small pan over medium-heat. When butter begins to foam, add the crushed garlic, lower heat to medium and stir continuously until it begins to change colour and turn brown (it's normal to see crispy little brown bits at the bottom of the pan). Remove immediately from heat.
 3. Drain potatoes, transfer them back into the pan/pot. Strain the butter through a sieve straight into the potatoes (reserve the crispy garlic pieces to serve later), and add the cheese and milk. Beat with a hand beater until smooth and creamy (it takes about 1-2 minutes) -- or use a potato masher. Add a small amount of milk if you like a thinner mashed potato consistency. Taste and add more salt if needed.
 4. Serve with more parmesan, chopped parsley and the crispy pieces of garlic.
 Recipe Notes *If using a hand beater, it's important not to over beat them, as they can turn gooey.

Churro French toast and ice cream

How did I make them? Using a French baguette. Looking at more Churro Ice Cream pictures than I cared for, I needed a round type of bread. This was my option. Sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices to maintain that ‘churro’ shaped disc most famous on these sandwiches; dipped in an egg wash full of cinnamon and vanilla churro flavour; pan-fried in butter because, well, butter…. and coated in cinnamon sugar. Then from here…you can choose to use your favourite ice cream flavour or frozen yogurt, depending on your dietary needs and preference (and cravings). Sandwich those Churros together with the ice cream and watch your ice cream melt in a puddle of cinnamon sugar heaven. You’re welcome.

Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Parmesan is Chicken Parmigiana – inside out!

Ingredients * 4 chicken thigh fillets, boneless, skinless (or 2 chicken breasts, halved to make 4 thinner fillets) * Pinch of salt, to taste * 4 tablespoons garlic and herb flavoured tomato paste (or flavour of choice) * 2 teaspoons dried parsley * 2 teaspoons garlic powder * 1 teaspoon salt, divided * 8 thin slices Mozzarella cheese, divided * 1 egg * 1 teaspoon garlic powder * 1/4 cup breadcrumbs * 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs * 1 teaspoon dried basil * 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese * 2 teaspoons olive oil * 1 bottle Pasta/Marinara Sauce * Method 1. Preheat oven to 230C | 450F. Lightly pound fillets between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4-inch thickness using a mallet. Pat chicken dry; season with salt.

 2. Spread 1 tablespoon tomato paste over one side of each fillet; sprinkle with parsley, garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Place one slice of mozzarella onto each half of a fillet and roll (starting from the cheese end) and place seam side down. (Seal with a toothpick if needed).

 3. In a shallow medium-sized bowl, whisk the the egg, garlic powder and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt together; set aside. In another shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, panko, basil and parmesan cheese.

 4. Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet (or oven-proof frying pan) over medium heat. Evenly coat the rolled chicken fillets into the egg mixture, then into the breadcrumb mixture.
 5. Place the chicken (seam side down again) into the preheated skillet/pan and cook on each side for 4-5 minutes until the coating is golden brown and the cheese on the inside has melted.
 6. Reduce heat to low and pour in the pasta sauce. Move the chicken around with tongs so the sauce is evenly covered over the base of the pan; allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
 7. Pour some sauce from the pan over each chicken; place skillet/pan in the oven to cook for a further 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven; top each chicken roll with remaining cheese slices; return to oven and allow to grill/broil on medium heat until cheese has melted over the top. Garnish with extra dried parsley and Italian herbs.
 8. Serve warm over pasta; mashed potatoes or with a salad.

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