Thursday, August 9, 2012

Spicy Raspberry Balsamic Chicken Breasts

Yum!  That's the best word for this recipe: yum.  I am loving it, and I'm looking forward to loving it later on this week as leftovers-for-lunch.  There are recipes I make once and mark as recipes I should make again, but never seem to get around to it.  This one won't be one of those, I can tell.  It's just complex enough to tempt the taste buds, but simple enough to get ingredients and whip together.

I used my Pampered Chef rice cooker to do the bulgur instead of my saucepan, so that I could do it at the same time as the chicken without having to keep a strict eye on it.  I had a little panic moment when I thought I'd over-cooked the bulgur, but after adding a few tablespoons of water and giving it another zip in the microwave, it came out marvelously.  The hardest part, surprisingly for me, was finding raspberries.  My local grocery store was completely out, and the next store I tried had some questionable ones... I supposed if I had been really stuck I could have thawed some frozen ones to use, and just given them a little less time.

Normally I make a recipe, and wait until I find a convenient moment to blog it.  This recipe I couldn't wait to blog! I barely had time to put down my fork before zipping over to my computer to share it with you.  If it looks even half-ways tempting, I'm telling you, don't wait -- make it for your next meal!  You won't regret it!

Spicy Raspberry Balsamic Chicken Breasts
Makes: 4 servings

1/2 bulgur
1 cup small broccoli florets
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
1/8 tsp sea salt
4 4-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp safflower oil
1 cup diced shallots
2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp low-sodium soya sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp raw honey
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 cup fresh raspberries

Cook bulgur according to package directions; add broccoli to last 2 minutes of cooking time.  Remove from heat and stir in salt and zest; set aside.

Meanwhile, season chicken on all sides with black pepper and onion powder.  In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil on medium-high.  Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes.  Turn chicken and add shallots.  Cook for 5 additional minutes, stirring shallots occasionally, until chicken is cooked through.  Transfer chicken to a large plate and cover to keep warm; keep shallots on medium-high heat.

To shallots, add vinegar, soya sauce, honey, and red pepper flakes.  Stir to combine and cook until slightly thickened, about 30 seconds.  Stir in raspberries and cook for 30 more seconds, until berries soften slightly.  Divide chicken and bulgur among serving plates and spoon berry mixture over chicken.

Source: Clean Eating Magazine, August/September 2012. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Roasted Beet & Eggplant Salad

After the weekend, since it was a long weekend, I was craving something a little more... healthy?  I'd had restaurant dinners and junk food a few times over the weekend and was feeling the need to start over fresh.  This recipe, from the latest issue of Clean Eating magazine caught my eye, because it fit the bill exactly -- it's grease-free, yet protein rich, veggie full, and filling.

This recipe comes together fairly quickly.  The longest parts for me were peeling the beets and waiting for the lentils to cook.  But, if it was timed right, or used leftover lentils, this recipe would really fly.  It's fairly simple, just chop, mix, and go.  One thing I will do if I make it again, is to skip on the lettuce.  After everything was tossed together, I didn't feel the lettuce was necessary.  The meal itself is filling without it.

Roasted Beet and Eggplant Salad
Makes: 4 servings

1 lb eggplant, trimmed and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 1/4 tsp olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
1/2 lb beets, trimmed, peeled, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils, picked over
1 field-grown cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
16 large leaves red leaf lettuce
3 oz soft herbed goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a large bowl, toss eggplant, 3/4 tsp oil and 1/4 tsp salt.  Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  In a second bowl, toss beets, 3/4 tsp oil and remaining 1/4 tsp salt.  Spread on a second parchment-lined baking sheet.  Transfer both sheets to oven and bake until eggplant is golden brown and edges of beets brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium pot, add lentils and enough water to cover by 2 inches.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, until tender; add additional water as necessary to keep lentils covered.  Drain well.

In a medium bowl, combine cucumber, zucchini, lentils, vinegar, and remaining 3/4 tsp oil; toss well.  Divide lettuce among serving plates and top with eggplant, lentil mixture, beets, and cheese.

Source: Clean Eating Magazine, August/September 2012.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Sweet Mustard Dressing

I recently hosted a Pampered Chef party.  It was a lot of fun, with a great recipe to boot!  In all the preparation and excitement, I completely forgot I had a Pampered Chef recipe book from a previous party.  I found it shortly after the party and flipped through looking for something to eat.  It wasn't long before this one caught my eye.  With a few small variations, I got a great meal out of it!

I can't wait -- by Tuesday my new order of PC supplies should have arrived, and I'll be able to share with everyone!  As much as I want to enjoy this long weekend, I've got something to look forward to when it's time to get back to work.

Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Sweet Mustard Dressing
Makes: 4 servings

1 egg white
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) pecans
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 lb chicken breast
1/4 cup vegetable oil

dressing and greens:
1/4 cup peach preserves
2 Tbsp prepared stone-ground mustard
1 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 cups baby greens

For chicken, lightly beat egg white, place into tray.  Finely chop pecans, place into second tray.  Combine salt and pepper in small bowl.  Slice or tenderize chicken breasts to make four equal servings.  Sprinkle cayenne pepper mixture over chicken.  Dip chicken into egg white then pecans, pressing pecans into chicken.

Add oil to 12-inch skillet; heat over medium-low 1 - 3 minutes or until simmering.  Cook chicken 2-3 minutes or until deep golden brown.  Turn chicken over; cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until centres of chicken are no longer pink.

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing.  Whisk together preserves, mustard, vinegar, salt, black pepper, pressed garlic and oil in a small bowl.

To serve, toss greens with 2 Tbsp of the dressing; divide among serving plates.  Drizzle remaining dressing around edges of plates.  Arrange chicken around each salad.

Source: The Pampered Chef.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chips Cookies

Of all the differences between Canada and the United States, one that I dislike the most is how varied the selection of food is.  The Americans have a lot of the same brands we do in Canada, but have more selections for flavours and options.  One example: Hershey Cinnamon Chips.  We simply don't have them.  One Christmas, two or three years ago, Bulk Barn had a shipment of them, and the next year Zellers had them, once.  But they are definitely not a regular in the grocery store, and they are unfortunately the kind of thing that once you have had them, you can't do without!

A dear friend of mine was recently in Pennsylvania visiting, and brought me back some Cinnamon Chips as a treat.  It's win-win you see, because he usually gets some of the treat as reward for his forward thinking :)  I wasn't the most original with this baking session -- I stuck to the recipe on the back of the package -- but if they post it on the package it is probably time-tested to be a good recipe, and will show off the chips in their best light.  The only change I made was to swap out the all-purpose flour for white whole-wheat flour -- another 'treat' from my friend returning from the states.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chips Cookies
Makes: 4 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 2/3 cups (10-oz pkg) Hershey's Cinnamon Chips
3/4 cup raisins

Heat oven to 350F.

Beat butter, sugar, and granulated sugar in a bowl until creamy.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.  Combine flour and baking soda; add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in oats, cinnamon chips, and raisins (batter will be stiff).

Drop by heaping teaspoons onto greased baking sheet (or by small ice cream scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheet).  Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.  Cool 1 minute; remove from baking sheet onto wire rack.  Cool completely.

Source: Hershey.