Simple chicken sliders give holiday cooks a break

For the many people trying to start out the new year on a healthy note, these heart smart chicken and spinach sliders are ideal because they use lean ground chicken breast. Serve with broccoli and carrot slaw.
Jarrad Henderson | MCT
For the many people trying to start out the new year on a healthy note, these heart smart chicken and spinach sliders are ideal because they use lean ground chicken breast. Serve with broccoli and carrot slaw.
Posted Jan. 17, 2012, at 4:52 p.m.

With the Christmas and New Year’s holidays a fading memory, I’m hearing this question and answer over and over:

“How was your holiday?”

“Great! But, boy, did I eat too much.”

Don’t we always overindulge this time of year? I know I didn’t pass on any cookies or candies this holiday season. I also had my fair share of appetizers and lovely dinners.

Then come rounds of gatherings and potlucks to huddle warmly inside, or perhaps to watch professional sports.

Either way, these simple chicken sliders paired with a citrus broccoli slaw fit the bill. They’re easy on the host or the cook who needs a break from holiday feasts.

And for the many people trying to start out the new year on a healthy note, these sliders are ideal because they use lean ground chicken breast. You can also substitute ground turkey breast.

Keep an eye on the label when buying ground chicken or turkey. For the leanest choice, the package should be labeled ground chicken or turkey breast. Some ground turkey products can have as much fat in them as ground beef.

Color is a good indicator to tell how lean poultry is. The pinker (or the darker the pink) the raw product is, the more dark meat it contains.

When you use lean sources of protein such as ground chicken or turkey breast, the burgers can dry out quickly. So it’s a good idea to add other ingredients to provide moisture. The frozen and thawed leaf spinach lets you slip a little fiber into each one, and it also helps keep them moist.

Besides the spinach, I added Dijon mustard, which also adds a tangy note.

The citrus slaw is as easy as the sliders. I used a bag of broccoli slaw, but you also can use cabbage.

For the dressing, mix together 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice with 3 tablespoons orange juice, 2 tablespoons canola oil, 1 tablespoon Dijon, ½ teaspoon of sugar and salt and pepper to taste. For an added kick, add a few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes. Empty a 10-ounce package of broccoli slaw into a bowl, pour the dressing over and toss to coat. This slaw is better if you chill it an hour before serving.

Chicken and spinach sliders

Makes: 8 / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 30 minutes

½ cup frozen leaf spinach, thawed, squeezed of excess water

16 ounces ground chicken or turkey breast

1 heaping tablespoon Dijon or other tangy mustard

1 teaspoon garlic and herb seasoning blend

1/3 cup dried tart cherries, optional

1/3 cup shredded Italian-blend cheese

For serving:

3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

8 mini thin 100 percent whole-wheat sandwich buns (such as Arnold Sandwich Thin Minis)

Bibb lettuce

Thinly sliced red onion, optional

Preheat the broiler.

In a large bowl, combine spinach, chicken or turkey breast, mustard, seasoning and dried cherries, if using. Mix well. Shape into eight patties about ½-inch thick.

Place the patties on a broiler pan and broil 6 inches from the heat, about 6 minutes per side or until thoroughly cooked. The sliders are done when an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees.

Sprinkle 1 heaping teaspoon of shredded cheese on each burger. Broil one to two minutes more or until the cheese melts.

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and mustard.

To assemble, lightly toast the buns, if desired. Place lettuce on the bottom of each bun. Top with a slider, some red onions slices if desired and a dollop of the mayonnaise mixture. Place the other bun half on top and serve.

From and tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

173 calories (22 percent from fat), 4 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat), 13 grams carbohydrates, 22 grams protein, 234 mg sodium, 52 mg cholesterol, 3 grams fiber.

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