I’ve sung the praises of Cooking Light magazine to enough people that the company should either hire me or give me a free subscription. I wonder who else out there is as avid a fan about this (probably often overlooked) magazine…? To keep it short and sweet – I have yet to try out a recipe that I didn’t enjoy.
My standards for diet food are simple: it’s gotta taste good.
The easiest way to maintain a diet is to be on one where you are eating foods that you enjoy. Where it doesn’t walk, talk, taste, or smell like diet food, and yet every scrumptious meal is another accomplishment in establishing your new, healthier lifestyle.
That being said, here’s one of my favorite recipes:
- 6 chicken drumsticks (about 1 1/2 pounds), skinned
- 6 chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds), skinned
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup diced ham (*I’ve always omitted the ham. No special reason.)
- 2 1/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (*If I’m being completely honest, I sub regular chicken broth for this. One of the biggest lessons I learned in culinary school is the magic of salt. It makes a world of difference in how your food tastes. I had the lower sodium broth version of this dish the first time I made it. It was good – but it lacked the flavor that the regular broth brings. I rationalize this deviation in my mind by reminding myself that I don’t use the olives or the diced ham, which both contain sodium. So it “all evens out in the wash”, as they say.)
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1/2 cup frozen petite green peas, thawed
- 1/2 cup chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives (*I also leave these out. I don’t care much for green olives.)
- Sprinkle chicken with salt, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon oregano. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 8 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove chicken from pan; drizzle with lime juice. Cover; keep warm.
- Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to pan. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon oregano, turmeric, and cumin, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in rice and ham; cook 1 minute. Increase heat to medium. Add broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Add chicken, nestling into the rice mixture. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 18 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed. Stir in peas; cover and cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand, uncovered, 5 minutes. Sprinkle with olives.
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 6 (4-0z) turkey cutlets, pounded 1/4 in. thick (*my local grocery store sold “turkey scallopini cutlets so I skipped this pounding part since the cutlets were already nice and thin)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 shallots, sliced thin (*or just some onion if you don’t feel like bothering with shallots)
- 1 garlic clove, minced (*or 2 or 3 cloves if you’re me…)
- 1 tsp minced fresh thyme (*or a little more… cooking is not an exact science, people.)
- 1 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup dry red wine
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth (*again, I always use regular chicken broth. I’m sorry. I can’t help it.)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 tsp honey
- salt and pepper (for general seasoning purposes)
- For the cutlets: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Spread the flour in a shallow dish. Pat the turkey cutlets dry with paper towels and season with the salt and pepper. Dredge the cutlets in the flour to coat and shake off any excess flour.
- Heat 1 tablespoon or the oil in a 12-in. skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the cutlets to the pan and cook until light golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Transfer the cutlets to a plate and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining cutlets. Do not wipe out the skillet.
- For the sauce: Add the shallots to the skillet and cook over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tablespoon of flour and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in the wine, broth, cranberries, and honey, scraping up any browned bits.
- Bring it to a simmer and cook until the sauce has reduced by 1 cup, about 3 minutes. Stir in any accumulated turkey juice, season with the salt and pepper to taste and serve with (over) the cutlets.