Chicken with White Beans

Buttery cannellini beans with earthy herbs, tart lemon juice and luscious chicken chunks.  This recipe is fab! but it takes a little while to make as there’s a do-ahead step for the marinade so that the chicken can soak up some flavors before being cooked.    It’s well worth the time, however, so go ahead and give it a try.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 sprigs fresh oregano leaves
4 sprigs fresh tarragon leaves
4 sprigs fresh basil leaves
4 sprigs fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups cooked white cannellini beans

Directions:

  • In the bowl of a food processor or blender, place olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, leaves of oregano, tarragon, basil, parsley, rosemary, and some ground black pepper
  • Blend all ingredients well until a smooth bright green paste is formed (you might need to add a few spoonfuls of water if the mixture looks too thick)
  • Marinate the cubed chicken in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or overnight
  • Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large pan over moderate heat until hot
  • Add cubed chicken, and allow to brown lightly without stirring
  • Begin turning chicken after 3 minutes, then add onion and Sauté for 2 minutes, until onion begins to soften
  • Add beans and continue to cook for 2 minutes longer, until chicken is cooked through and a light sauce forms around chicken pieces
  • Season with the salt and pepper

I opted to serve this over some orecchiette, sided by wilted collard greens.  The recipe was inspired by this post on Whole Foods Market.

J

Cod with Fennel and Cauliflower

What this dish lacks in color it certainly makes up for in flavor and aroma.  A little salty chicken broth, sweet  lemon & carrot, aromatic fennel, pungent garlic.  And the texture of the poached fish is very different than baked or fried fish.  It holds together well and is very moist.

Ingredients:

2 cod fillets

1 TBS fresh lemon juice

1TBS + 1 cup chicken broth

1 medium sized onion, cut in half and sliced thickly

1 large carrot, cut into 1½ inch pieces and quartered

½ head cauliflower, florets separated

1 medium-sized fennel bulb, sliced thin

5 medium cloves garlic, pressed

salt and pepper to taste

chopped fennel greens for garnish

Directions:

  • Slice onion and chop garlic and let sit for at least 5 minutes
  • Rub cod with lemon juice and season with a little salt and pepper. Set aside
  • Heat 1 TBS broth in a skillet and sauté onion in broth over medium heat for 5 minutes,stirring often
  • Add the rest of the broth and the carrots. Simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes, covered

  • Add the cauliflower, fennel, and garlic. Place cod steaks on top and continue to cook, covered, for about 11-12 more minutes
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Serve  sprinkled with chopped fennel greens

Cod served on a bed of quinoa

And with the left-over fennel bits I created a cocktail- 1/4 lemonade : 3/4 seltzer : fennel stalk

Fennelade bubbly

The recipe was inspired by this post on World’s Healthiest Foods.

J

Black & Pinto Bean Salad

Looking for an easy, low-fat side dish to bring to a party?  Or something that could be either a salad or a dip for tortilla chips?  Maybe a make-ahead dish that will be fantastic as left-overs for lunch for the week?  Or a vegetarian main?  I’ve got all of your bases covered.  Creamy beans, sweet red pepper chunks and corn niblets, crunchy pepitas, bangin’! cilantro flavor.

Ingredients:

½ cup minced onion

2 medium cloves garlic, pressed

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

½ cup diced red bell pepper

2 TBS pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil

3 TBS fresh lemon juice

salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Mince onions and press garlic and let sit for 5 minutes
  • Mix all ingredients together and serve

We had this as a side to some ribs that I’ll post about another day 😉  The salad really added to the color pallet.

Inspired by this post on World’s Healthiest Foods.

J

Farfalle with Tomatoes, Basil and Hot Italian Sausage

That’s right, I said sausage.  And not those greasy pork sausages either.  Nice, lean chicken sausages.  Still packed with flavor, but literally half of the fat (8 g versus 16).  Imagine the spicy and salty flavor of the sausage with the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes, and the zestiness of the lemon, balanced with the mild basil and you’ve got a very tasty dish to fancy!

Ingredients:

3/4 pound farfalle (bowtie) pasta

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

3  hot Italian chicken sausages

3 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 bunch basil, torn

1 pound cherry , halved

2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente
  • Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet. Brown the sausages, then slice into coins
  • Add garlic and cook until sausage is cooked through, just another minute or so

  • Toss cooked sausage with pasta, a bit of olive oil, torn basil, tomatoes, cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper
  • Serve warm

I believe that this would also make for a fantastic cold pasta salad.

Inspired by this post by Whole Foods Market.

Cod fillets with pea puree

So the title of this dish may not seem so catchy, but the flavor is great!  By using both the zest and the juice of the lemon you get a super flavor that holds up well after the fish has baked.  And because it only cooks for 15 minutes, the lemon doesn’t get that bitterness to it that it sometimes can after cooking.  As for the pea portion, imagine sweet and earthy and bright.  The onion and the garlic mellow out after cooking, and the peas really are the super-star.   I served this with jasmine rice that had been cooked in chicken broth and water, and the pea puree was great on its own, and mixed with the rice.

baked lemon-parsley cod with pea puree and jasmine rice

Ingredients:

1 lb cod filets (thick cut)

Zest of one lemon

Juice of one lemon

3 TBS chopped fresh parsley

1/4 tsp salt

pinch cayenne

1 medium onion, chopped

4 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced

4 TBS chicken (or vegetable) broth

15 oz frozen sweet peas

4 TBS sunflower seeds (raw and unsalted)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F
  • Chop onion and mince or press the garlic and let sit for 5 minutes
  • Mix together lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped parsley, salt, and cayenne in a small bowl
  • Rub cod filets with the marinade and place it in a baking dish. Place the fish in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes
  • While the fish is baking, heat 1 TBS broth in a skillet. Sauté onion in broth over medium heat for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent
  • Add garlic and continue to sauté for another minute
  • Add remaining broth, peas, sunflower seeds, salt and pepper, and heat for about 3 minutes

onion, garlic, chicken broth, peas, and sunflower seeds in the sauté pan

  • Puree the pea mixture in a blender

*Inspired by a post on World’s Healthiest Foods

J