Post 1.16 - Captivating Crescents

This week's recipes aren't the healthiest, but I've done my best with them.

Croissant dough is available in your refrigerator case in both name brand and store brand varieties, called by the more English sounding "Crescent Rolls". In fairness, these versions, while tasty, are nothing like their French counterparts: definitely more doughy, less flaky, less buttery. However, working with this dough is very easy, and lends itself well to various recipes. I've used the dough to make pockets full of chicken and vegetables, sweet breakfast treats, and of course, dinner rolls.

The real problem with the dough are the fat and calories. Even if you buy the reduced fat version, they are 100 calories per crescent, and they're small. So if you're planning to use any kind of filling, you've got to be mindful of what you're using or you could end up with a very high-calorie, high-fat snack. Needless to say, for today's recipes, I have used the reduced fat version of the dough.

When you unroll the dough, you are presented with pre-cut dough triangles, and these are very easy to work with, no matter what filling you're using. I decided to try two different types of filling this weekend -- ham & swiss cheese, and chicken taquito filling.

Yes, I used a Mexican chicken filling in a French-inspired pastry -- but it worked! Very tasty.

But before we talk about that -- a word about deli meats. I rarely buy them. The sodium content is usually very high because salt is used as a preservative, and the fat is always difficult to gauge. This is true of both meats and cheeses. When I do buy deli meats, I buy Boar's Head. They have an extensive selection of low sodium, low fat, reduced calorie products. I have four supermarkets near my home, and two sell Boar's Head and two don't, so you may need to look around for it. Even for sandwiches on whole grain bread, the difference is worth it for your health.

For this recipe, I used Boar's Head Low-Sodium ham, sliced very thinly, which according to the website is 60 calories, 460 mg of sodium, and 25 mg of cholesterol per 2-oz serving. I use probably a half to 1-oz per crescent in this recipe, so about 40 calories worth from the ham. For the cheese, I used Boar's Head Lacey Swiss Cheese, which is listed at 90 calories, 35 mg of sodium, and 15 mg of cholesterol per 1-oz serving. Here again, I probably used about 40 calories worth.

And let me tell you, these products are very flavorful, so a little does go a long way, especially in this recipe.

In a dough triangle, I lay out the cheese on the dough (within the area of the triangle), then the ham on that. Roll up the triangle from the wide end to the narrow end, spray the rolled dough with spray butter, and bake according to package directions. It's that easy.

For the chicken taquito filling, I used a recipe (which I also recommend) from Kelly Hunt of the Eat Yourself Skinny blog. I use this filling also for quesadillas, or even as a standalone chicken salad -- and it's only four ingredients:

One 9.75-oz. (or 10-oz.) can 98% fat-free chunk white chicken breast in water, drained well
1/2 cup salsa, fresh salsa is best
1/3 cup shredded fat-free cheddar or mexican cheese
1 tsp. dry taco seasoning mix (I make my own, but store brand is fine).

Mix the chicken and salsa together thoroughly, then leave in the fridge for 20 minutes before adding the other two ingredients. Blend it all together thoroughly, and your filling is done. I put about a teaspoon on the unrolled dough triangle, maybe a little more (depending on the size of the triangle), then roll it up, wide end to narrow end. Spray it with spray butter and bake according to package directions.

Delicious.

But be careful. These really are delicious, and it's hard to eat just one. I might suggest these better as appetizers, or maybe an afternoon snack rather than for a meal. Too small to be a meal, really, and it's really tempting to eat too many.

But hey, they're something different!

Have a question or a suggestion for a future topic? E-mail me at facetsblog@gmail.com.

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