You are here

Resolution-Ready Recipes from a Slimmed-Down Top Chef

You've seen her donning a chef's coat on Next Iron Chef and with fork in hand as a judge for Chopped, but you've never seen Food Network personality Amanda Freitag quite like you will on page 44 of the January issue! Because of her career, she is inundated with on-the-house samples at restaurants. She also travels frequently to tape the Cooking Channel show Unique Eats. So FITNESS stepped in with a team of experts who worked with Freitag and passed along the ingredients for a healthy, balanced lifestyle while keeping up with her fun job requirements. Pick up the magazine, on newsstands now, for all of the details! Since Freitag is a culinary pro, we couldn't let this opportunity pass without stealing a few kitchen secrets. It turns out, she was inspired by this project to create many new, diet-friendly recipes that are perfect for your healthy eating resolutions. Why wait until January 1 to start? Here are two of her favorites that are sure to amaze your tasting panel!

Cornmeal-Crusted Chicken with Jamaican Spice Serves 4

Chef Freitag says: "I really prefer the dark meat of the chicken, so while trying to trim down, I eat the thighs, but want my small portion to have incredible flavor and texture. This is a soul satisfying meal that also tastes great as a leftover!"

The crispiness comes from cornmeal, not frying. (Photo by Barrett Washburne)

  • 4-6 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
  • 1 cup instant polenta or finely ground cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander seed, ground
  • pinch cayenne
  • salt to taste
  • 2 baked sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups cooked kale
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a shallow baking dish combine the cornmeal and the spices thoroughly.
  3. Season the chicken legs with salt if desired.
  4. Place the thighs into the cornmeal mix skin side down and then flip over to coat the other side.
  5. Place the crusted thighs into another shallow baking dish skin side up and place in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes turn the oven down to 350 degrees and cook for 15 more minutes or until juice of the chicken run clear when poked with a fork.
  6. Serve the thighs with a baked sweet potato and kale.

Organic Lamb Burger with Fresh Mint Yogurt and Quinoa Serves 4

Chef Freitag says: "This dish is packed with flavor and low on carbohydrates. The addition of quinoa adds so many nutrients and lots of fiber."

  • Post-workout protein helps to repair hard-working muscles. (Photo by Barrett Washburne)

    1 pound organic lamb meat, ground
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked (prep notes below)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small Spanish onion (or ½ large), diced small
  • 1 garlic, clove minced
  • 2 tsp. cumin, ground
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  1. Place dry quinoa into a large fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water.
  2. Place rinsed quinoa into a small saucepan and cover with 2 cups cold water.
  3. Bring the quinoa to a boil and turn down to a low simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and cool before mixing into lamb.
  5. In a large bowl combine lamb, quinoa, egg, onion garlic and spices. Mix thoroughly until the mixture comes together and is smooth.
  6. Prepare the lamb burgers by forming them into 4 balls. Flatten down into a patty and place on a sheet pan.
  7. Place a large non-stick sauté pan over high heat for 1 minute. Add the patties into the hot pan and brown on each side. Cover and cook on low heat for 10-12 minutes.
  8. In a separate bowl mix together the fresh mint and yogurt and season with salt to taste.
  9. To plate the dish place the lamb burger over your favorite salad or a fresh tomato puree. Top with a dollop of yogurt and serve.

For more from the fit chef, check out