Chicken with Roasted Garlic and Balsamic Vinegar

4 boneless chicken breastsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
1 jar whole mushrooms
2 Tbsp flour
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled
4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp butter

Season flour with salt and pepper and dredge chicken breasts in flour mix.  Heat olive oil in heavy skillet and brown chicken on one side, approx. 4 minutes.  Add whole garlic cloves.  Turn chicken pieces and scatter the mushrooms all over.  Continue cooking, shaking skillet.  Cook approx. 4 minutes and add the balsamic vinegar and broth.  Add bay leaf and thyme.  Cover closely and cook over medium low heat, about 10 minutes.  Turn pieces occasionally as they cook.  Transfer pieces to warm serving platter and cover with foil.  Let the sauce with the mushrooms cook uncovered, over medium high heat about 5-7 minutes.  Swirl in butter.  Remove and discard bay leaf.  Pour sauce over chicken and serve.

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Wintertime Chili

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 small yellow onions, diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (16 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small can whole kernel corn
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Shredded parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

Warm olive oil in large pot over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, squash, and celery; cook 8 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add remaining ingredients, except cheese.  Increase heat to high; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered 45 minutes.  Sprinkle each serving with cheese.

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Audrey’s Almond Clusters

1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut chips
2 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar

Use a fork to beat the egg whites with the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add sliced almonds, walnuts, and coconut and mix by hand until thoroughly coated. Make into clumps or mounds on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 275 for 18 minutes. Then continue baking at 325 for about 8 minutes until golden. Rotate the cookie sheet half way through and watch closely to avoid overcooking as oven temperatures can vary.

Yields 18-20 clusters.

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Black Bean Burgers

1/2 cup rolled oats
1 15.5-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large egg
1 tsp. ground cuminSAM_0229
Kosher salt
½ cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
1 medium shallot
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns

Put the oats in a small food processor and pulse four times to roughly chop. Add half the beans and pulse into a course paste, about 6 pulses. Add the egg, cumin, and ½ tsp. salt and process to mix well, about one minute. Transfer the bean mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the remaining beans, the cheese, shallot, and cilantro.

With wet hands, form the bean mixture into four patties and transfer to a lightly oiled plate. Refrigerate briefly to let the burgers set.

Heat a large heavy skillet on high heat; add the oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Cook the burgers until brown with a good crust, about 3 minutes on each side. Serve the burgers on buns, topped with sliced tomato and avocado, or your favorite garnish.

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Thai Chicken Salad

 

Thai Chicken Salad

1 cup long-grain brown rice
2 cups shredded/pulled rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts, divided
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced or put though garlic press

Cook rice according to package directions.  Transfer rice to a large bowl; fluff with a fork. Cool. Add chicken, carrot, onions, 2 tablespoons peanuts, 2 tablespoons cilantro, and salt to rice; toss to combine. Combine juice and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; drizzle over rice mixture and toss to combine.  Sprinkle each serving with remaining peanuts and cilantro; serve with lime wedges.

 

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Fusilli with Spinach, Chickpeas, and Feta

1-16 oz. box fusilli (spiral-shaped) pasta

Fusilli with Spinach, Chickpeas, and Feta

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2  teaspoon salt

1/2  teaspoon black pepper

2 (15-oz) cans chickpeas, drained

9-ounce bag fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

In a large serving bowl, combine crushed garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and chickpeas.  Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. While pasta is cooking, chop spinach leaves and add to bowl.  Add crumbled feta and toss well.  Drain pasta and add to bowl; toss again.  Serve warm.  (10-12 servings)

This is one of my favorites and makes a  frequent appearance at family barbecues. It is simple and most of the steps can be completed well in advance of the crowd’s arrival (just short of cooking and adding the pasta).  Make sure you cook your pasta just until firm (al dente) as over cooking pasta causes the starch to be broken down into sugar more readily.  Chickpeas are legumes; they are a healthful carbohydrate with a low glycemic index (producing very little blood sugar).  They are a healthful source of  protein,  folate, magnesium, and zinc, and they are low in fat.  Spinach is rich in iron, calcium, and lutein (good for eye health).

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