Kitchen Confidential

We’re unveiling some secret ingredients that take simple dishes from good to great. And—surprise!—they’re all grocery staples you might already have on hand.


Creamy Basil-Rosemary Chicken and Rice
SERVINGS: 4 (1 cup each)
PREP: 25 minutes COOK: 30 minutes


1 teaspoon canola oil
1.5 cups chopped yellow onions (2 to 3 medium)
1 cup thinly sliced celery (2 stalks)
1 14.5-ounce can reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup instant brown rice
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
4 ounces light semisoft cheese with garlic and fine herbs, such as The Laughing Cow brand
1⁄4 cup water
1 clove garlic, minced
1⁄4 cup snipped fresh basil
1 tablespoon snipped fresh rosemary


1. In a medium nonstick skillet heat oil over medium-low heat. Add onions; cook for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Stir in celery; cook for about 4 minutes more or until celery is
tender. Stir in broth and rice. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
2. Stir in chicken, cheese, water and garlic; heat through, stirring occasionally. Stir in basil, rosemary, and 1⁄8 teaspoon salt. If desired, sprinkle with additional fresh basil and/ or rosemary.


PER SERVING: 294 cal., 10 g total fat (5 g sat. fat), 80 mg chol., 559 mg sodium, 21 g carb. (3 g fibre, 4 g sugars), 29 g pro.
EXCHANGES: 1 vegetable, 1 starch, 3.5 lean meat, 0.5 fat.

Yellow Onions: Once they’re cooked, the onions melt into the base of this dish to help create a creamy texture and add a sweet richness to the flavour.



Smoky-Hot Raspberry Shrimp
SERVINGS: 4 (6 to 8 cooked shrimp, 1 cup lettuce, 1⁄4 cup jicama, and 1 tablespoon sauce each)
START TO FINISH: 30 minutes

12 ounces fresh or frozen medium shrimp
1 8-ounce can pineapple chunks (juice pack)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ⁄3 cup raspberry spreadable fruit
1 1 ⁄2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chopped canned chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce*
4 cups shredded lettuce
1 ⁄2 of a small jicama, peeled and cut into matchstick-size strips (1 cup)
1 tablespoon shredded coconut, toasted.

1. Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact if desired. Rinse shrimp; pat dry with paper towels. Drain pineapple, reserving 3 tablespoons of the juice; set aside. In a small bowl combine chili powder, cumin, and 1 ⁄2 teaspoon black pepper. Sprinkle mixture evenly over shrimp; rub in with your fingers.
2. For sauce, in a small microwavesafe bowl combine spreadable fruit, 2 tablespoons of the reserved pineapple juice, the Worcestershire sauce, and chopped chipotle chile peppers. Microwave on high about 1 minute or until spreadable fruit is melted. Stir until smooth. Set aside 1 ⁄4 cup of the sauce for drizzling.
3. Lightly coat a grill pan with nonstick cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp; cook for about 5 minutes or until nearly opaque, turning occasionally. Brush the remaining sauce over both sides of the shrimp. Add pineapple to pan; cook shrimp and pineapple for 1 minute more. Discard any remaining sauce used as a brush-on.
4. Divide lettuce and jicama among four serving plates. Top each with 1 ⁄4 of the shrimp and pineapple. Stir the remaining 1 tablespoon pineapple juice into the reserved sauce; drizzle over servings. Sprinkle with coconut.


*TEST KITCHEN TIP: Because chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes, avoid direct contact with them as much as possible. When working with chile peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If your bare hands do touch the peppers, wash your hands and nails well with soap and warm water.


PER SERVING: 180 cal., 2 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 107 mg chol., 536 mg sodium, 29 g carb. (4 g fibre, 21 g sugars), 13 g pro.

EXCHANGES: 1 vegetable, 1.5 fruit, 2 lean meat.

Chipotle Chiles: A chipotle is a dried and smoked red jalapeño, which often comes canned in a spicy sauce called adobo. Even a small amount of chipotle adds tremendous smoky and spicy flavors to a dish.



Cinnamon-Spiced Cake
SERVINGS: 16 (1 slice and 1 tablespoon whipped topping each)
CARB. PER SERVING: 27 g or 26 g
PREP: 30 minutes BAKE: 50 minutes
COOL: 10 minutes

1⁄2 cup chopped pecans (2 ounces)
1 tablespoon sugar*
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2.5 cups chopped cantaloupe (11 ounces)
1 package 2-layer-size sugar-free yellow cake mix
3⁄4 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed
1⁄3 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla-butter-and-nut flavoring
1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed


1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Lightly coat a 10-inch fluted tube pan with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle pecans in the bottom of the prepared pan; set aside. In a small bowl stir together sugar and the 1 ⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon; set aside.
2. Place cantaloupe in a blender or food processor. Cover and blend or process until smooth. In a large bowl combine dry cake mix, cantaloupe puree, egg, water, oil, the 1 teaspoon cinnamon, the vanilla, nutmeg and ginger. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes or until well mixed.
3. Carefully pour batter over pecans in the tube pan; spread batter evenly. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.
4. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Immediately sprinkle with the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Cool completely before serving. Spoon whipped topping over slices; if desired, sprinkle with additional ground cinnamon.


*SUGAR SUBSTITUTES: Choose from Splenda Granular, Equal Spoonful or packets, Sweet’N Low bulk or packets, or Truvia. Follow package directions to use product amount equivalent to 1 tablespoon sugar.

PER SERVING: 158 cal., 7 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 237 mg sodium, 27 g carb. (1 g fibre, 4 g sugars), 2 g pro.
EXCHANGES: 1.5 starch, 1 fat.
PER SERVING WITH SUBSTITUTE: Same as above, except 26 g carb. (3 g sugars).

Cantaloupe: Pureed cantaloupe adds incredible moistness to this cake and a delicate sweetness while also cutting out fat. Tasters will never know it’s in there—unless you tell ’em!


Recipes by Nancy S. Hughes

Associate Editor
Easy reading is damn hard writing.