1 protein – 2 vegetables – 1 starch
I mentioned recently that I was in the middle of moving. I’m pretty sure that moving has to be the worst thing ever. Ever. I chose to downsize a bit for many reason, the biggest being that I simply wasn’t using all of the space that I had in my previous house. As a result, I took a serious hit in the kitchen department. For the first time in decades, I don’t have a walk-in pantry.
I really struggled with this prior to the move, until I started thinking about the kinds of foods I don’t really use anymore. Canned tomatoes? I used to stock eight varieties, but I almost always use fresh tomatoes now. Canned beans and corn? Ancient history. Pasta? That’s funny. In cleaning out my pantry prior to our move, I realized that a lot of the food I had in there had expired and had to be thrown away. Other things, I gave away. I was really surprised at how different my pantry profile is from just 18 months ago.
One thing that has not changed, however, is my need for a robust spice collection (I think I have something like 90 jars of spices). This week’s recipe uses a few of my favorite bold spices, including cumin, paprika and saffron.
Saffron is a spice from the crocus flower. Each flower bears just three vivid red stigmas, which are dried and can be used in a variety of dishes for both seasoning and coloring. The stigmas are harvested by hand, making saffron the most expensive spice in the world. Luckily, you only need a little bit for a big impact. And this is NOT a spicy dish. If you want some added kick, feel free to increase the amount of jalapeno you use or incorporate some red pepper flake to the rice mixture. I also hope you enjoy the three options for cooking methods–stovetop, oven or slow cooker.
- 1 lime, zest removed and juiced
- 1/4 C. cilantro stems, chopped
- 1/2 jalapeno or serrano chili, seeds and veins removed and coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. paprika, divided
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp. Morton® Lite Salt, divided
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. Splenda® brown sugar blend
- 12 oz. chicken breasts, cut into 3-ounce pieces
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 5 green onions, cut into half inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 C. under-cooked brown rice
- 1 C. water
- 1 package SlimGenics Chicken Bouillon
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- Pinch saffron
- Lime wedges
- 1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
To make marinade, add lime zest and juice, cilantro stems, jalapeno (or serrano), olive oil, one teaspoon of paprika, thyme, half of salt and pepper, cumin and brown sugar to a food processor or blender. Process until well combined.
Add chicken to a zip-top bag with marinade, seal and massage to coat. Refrigerate chicken with marinade for 8-24 hours.
Heat a large skillet over high heat. When hot, coat with cooking spray and add chicken pieces, reserving marinade in bag. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, until well browned. Remove to a plate, leaving skillet on heat.
To hot skillet, add red pepper and sauté for 3 minutes. Add green onions and garlic, stirring and cooking for an additional 3 minutes, until fragrant, scraping any bits stuck to the pan. Add rice, water and chicken bouillon. Stir well. Add tomato, smoked paprika, saffron and reserved paprika, salt and pepper. Stir well and bring to a boil.
At this point you can:
1) Return chicken pieces to rice mixture along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 30-45 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
2) Add rice to a casserole dish and top with chicken pieces. Cover and roast in a 325 degree F oven for one hour.
3) Add chicken pieces to slow cooker and top with rice mixture. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
No matter how you finish the chicken, serve in a shallow bowl with wedge of lime and fresh cilantro leaves. You can also add some additional roasted red pepper that had been splashed with vinegar for an extra layer of flavor.
Makes 2 servings