Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chicken Divan

Adapted from: Skinny Taste

Neither of us have ever had this French cuisine-inspired dish before, but it sounded great when I came across it while recipe hunting. Having the broccoli in there as a vibrant green didn't hurt either, since it is St. Pat's Day and we're both all for being festive on holidays! The sauce turned out great, nice and cheesy, and it filled up our kitchen with tempting smells of white wine, parmesan, garlic, and shallots as it baked in the oven. Outcome: it was every bit as good as it smelled. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  • 3/4 lb broccoli (1 12 oz steamable bag or 2 large heads), chopped
  • 12 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 18 oz cooked)
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp shallots, minced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/8 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat swiss cheese
  • 1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • cooking spray

Microwave a steamable bag of broccoli for about one minute under the recommended time, then remove from bag and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
*Note: if you're using fresh broccoli, you will need to "blanch" it in boiling water for three minutes and rinse with cold water immediately to stop the cooking. I had never heard of blanching, but here's a helpful article that explains it: learn how to blanch.

Preheat oven to 350°. Use cooking spray to lightly coat a 8x8-inch baking dish.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. On medium-low heat, saute the chicken until browned, and just about cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from heat and transfer to a cutting board. When cooled, cut chicken into bite-size pieces.

Add butter and oil to a skillet on medium heat. Once melted, add garlic and shallots. Sprinkle the flour and stir until smooth. Mix in broth, milk, and wine. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and mix in half of the swiss cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange the broccoli in a casserole dish and pour half of the sauce over the broccoli. Arrange the chicken on top and cover with remaining sauce. Top with the remaining swiss cheese, parmesan, and breadcrumbs. Spray a little oil on top and it's ready for the oven!

Bake 30 minutes and serve.

Yield: 3 servings

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tomato Basil Pasta with Zucchini and Squash

Adapted from Whole Foods Market

Who doesn't love tomatoes and basil? Add some pasta and fresh veggies and you have one delicious meal! We had never heard of grating zucchini and squash, but it's not as difficult as it sounds and provides a great twist to pasta with vegetables.

  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil, divided
  • 1/2 lb. farfalle
  • 1 zucchini and 1 squash, grated
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray and spread tomatoes on the tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Then season with 2 tbsp. parmesan and 2 tbsp. basil. Cook in oven for approx. 14 minutes.

While tomatoes are roasting, boil slightly salted water and cook pasta according to package directions. Once pasta is cooked, drain and mix together with zucchini, squash, lemon juice, and remaining parmesan and basil. Mix well.

Serve with tomatoes on top of pasta.

Yield: 4 servings

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lime and Ginger Shrimp Quinoa

Adapted from The New York Times

This is a delicious and unique dish that would serve best for lunch or as a side item for a dinner party. It also requires some non-traditional ingredients, but we found some substitutions that worked just fine. Nevertheless, a wonderful meal to be enjoyed again on a hot summer day!


For the dressing:
For the salad:
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa or 3/4 cup uncooked; note quinoa should be rinsed (it's easier to buy pre-rinsed but if you don't watch this video on how to rinse)
  • 4 scallions, sliced thin
  • 1 cucumber, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 16 medium shrimp (or 45 small), deveined, peeled and cooked


In a small bowl mix all ingredients for the dressing. In a salad bowl combine cooked quinoa, scallions, cucumber, cilantro, and shrimp. Then mix in dressing and it's ready to serve!

Yield: 3 servings

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Crockpot Pork with Apples and Sweet Potatoes

Adapted from Cheap, Healthy, Good

Spending all day in the clinic and coming home to a warm apartment smelling strongly of pork, sweet potatoes, and apples is wonderful. This crockpot dish is a hearty meal, and a cold weather cure! If you plan on cooking it, don't forget to marinate the pork the night before. Otherwise, you might find yourself like us, springing out of bed to make the brine at midnight! It is always nice to have the cooking done ahead of time though, so it's all ready to eat by dinnertime. The original recipe also suggests adding cinnamon, dried cranberries, or nutmeg, but we thought there was enough flavor without extra spices.

For the brine:
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 3 tbsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb. ice
  • 8 oz. pork tenderloin
For the crockpot:
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Golden Delicious apples, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into small squares
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch rings

Stir the vegetable broth, salt, brown sugar, and pepper for the brine in a medium saucepan. Turn to medium-high heat and cook until sugar and salt dissolve, stirring occasionally. Take pan off the burner and add ice, stirring until ice melts. Place pork in a gallon-size bag or dish. Pour in the brine, and refrigerate overnight, or about 8 hours.

Remove pork from bag or dish; discard the brine. Rinse the pork and pat them as dry as possible. Set aside. In a skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Cook pork on the skillet, 5-6 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix brown sugar with apples to coat. Save the leftover sugar for later.

Place sweet potatoes in the bottom of the crockpot; season with salt and pepper. Start layering the dish in this order: ½ the onion, ½ the apple slices, pork, other 1/2 onion, the rest of the apples, and finally sprinkle the leftover brown sugar. Cook on high for 4 1/2 hours. Lightly stir before serving.

Yield: 3 servings

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Linguine with Herb Chicken and Roasted Tomatoes

Adapted from Skinny Taste

We love delicious and easy pastas, and this meal definitely fits that description! This dish is a break from traditional spaghetti, with its own garlic and olive oil sauce perfected with grape tomatoes and chicken.

  • 2 skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil (and to taste)
  • salt and pepper for taste
  • 8 oz. linguine
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed and coarsely chopped
  • 4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil


Season chicken with oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and cook chicken on high heat for approx. 3-4 minutes, or until no longer pink. Once chicken is cooked, remove from skillet and cut into bite size cubes.

Boil water and cook pasta. While pasta is cooking, use the same skillet from the chicken and heat olive oil on medium heat. Add garlic and saute until golden brown. Then add tomatoes and sprinkle some salt and pepper. Let simmer on medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes. When pasta is cooked, drain, and add to the skillet. Toss well and add the chicken.

Serve with grated cheese and a sprinkle of basil on top if desired.

Yield: 4 servings