Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Braised Italian Chicken with Green Beans, Tomatoes, and Olives

From Fine Cooking magazine.

2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and each cut into 3 uniform pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 to 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut in half
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 14-1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup pitted, quartered Kalamata olives

Season the chicken with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Spread the flour on a plate, and lightly dredge the chicken in the flour.

Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a large Dutch oven or casserole over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering hot. Cook the chicken in two to three batches (to avoid crowding the pot) until well browned on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer each batch to a plate as it finishes, and if the pot looks dry between batches, add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil.

Return the chicken to the pot, add the green beans, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the red wine and cook until it almost completely evaporates, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a steady simmer. Cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.

Add the olives, and continue simmering with the lid ajar until the chicken and green beans are very tender, about 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions
The dish is complete as is, but nice with a crusty bread, or keep it Italian and serve Garlic-Parmesan Bread.

Nutrition information (per serving):
Size: based on four servings; Calories (kcal): 500; Fat (g): 27; Fat Calories (kcal): 250; Saturated Fat (g): 6; Protein (g): 44; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 14; Carbohydrates (g): 17; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5; Sodium (mg): 1060; Cholesterol (mg): 150; Fiber (g): 3;
photo: Scott Phillips

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sausage, Cannellini, and Spinach* Soup

(*original recipe calls for kale, which we didn't have so we used spinach)

1-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (1-1/2 cups)
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped (3/4 cup)
1 medium celery stalk, finely chopped (3/4 cup)
1-1/2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 large cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
1 quart homemade or lower-salt chicken or vegetable broth
Two 15-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
6 oz. Lacinato kale, center ribs removed, leaves chopped (about 4 firmly packed cups)
1 Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (1x3 inches; optional)
1-1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2/3 lb. sweet or hot bulk Italian sausage, rolled into bite-size meatballs

Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a 4- to 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and garlic and cook until fragrant, 45 seconds. Add the broth, beans, kale, and Parmigiano rind (if using). Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1/2 Tbs. oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the sausage meatballs, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Add the sausage to the soup and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook 5 minutes more to meld the flavors. Stir the cider vinegar into the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper.

The broth was so good. We used homemade chicken stock, and that may have been why. This soup was easy, inexpensive, and really tasty.

The next time we make we're going to make a few changes:

- andouille sausage. We used mild Italian and the soup could have used a little more flavor. Plus I don't like fennel at all, which the Italian sausage had in it.
- um, kale, as the recipe calls for, if we can find it anywhere.
- possibly dried beans instead of canned.

Variations:To serve 1 vegetarian and 3 meat lovers: Use vegetable broth for the soup. Reduce the sausage to 1/2 lb. and cook the meatballs in the same fashion. After stirring the cider vinegar into the soup and seasoning to taste, set aside 1-3/4 cups of the soup for the vegetarian before adding the meatballs.

Calories (kcal): 430; Fat (g): 18; Fat Calories (kcal): 160; Saturated Fat (g): 5; Protein (g): 20; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9; Carbohydrates (g): 48; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 1160; Cholesterol (mg): 25; Fiber (g): 12;

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Macaroni and Pimiento Cheese

This is a marvel - a rich, creamy cheese sauce that is made from low-fat milk. No butter, no cream, and it is so very good.

1/2 (16-oz.) package penne pasta
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 (4-oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of paprika


1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.

2. Whisk together flour and 1/4 cup milk. Add flour mixture to remaining milk, whisking until smooth.

3. Bring milk mixture to a boil in a large skillet over medium heat; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, whisking constantly, 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth. Stir in cheese and next 4 ingredients until smooth. Stir in pasta, and cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Serve immediately.

Easy Skillet Green Chile Mac 'n' Cheese: Substitute 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese for Cheddar cheese and 1 (4-oz.) can chopped green chiles, undrained, for diced pimiento. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Per serving: Calories 251; Fat 7.3g (sat 4.6g, mono 0.2g, poly 0.1g); Protein 11.6g; Carb 34.1g; Fiber 1.5g; Chol 22mg; Iron 1.7mg; Sodium 491mg; Calc 229mg

Easy Skillet Whole Grain Mac 'n' Cheese: Substitute 1/2 (13.5-oz.) package whole grain penne pasta for regular. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Per serving: Calories 215; Fat 7.9g (sat 4.4g, mono 0.2g, poly 0.9g); Protein 11.1g; Carb 29.8g; Fiber 3.8g; Chol 22.4mg; Iron 1.5mg; Sodium 444mg; Calc 222mg

Recipe from Southern Living