Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
CAJUN CHICKEN BREASTS
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 minced cloves garlic
1 green pepper, cut in ¼-inch dice
1 cup diced onion
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 tablespoon red vinegar
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 (4-ounce) chicken breast cutlets, pounded to even ½-inch thickness
1 teaspoon Cajun spice blend
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium high in a large nonstick skillet. Add the garlic, green pepper, onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and cook, stirring until the liquid is gone, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are softened and wilted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl.
2. Season the chicken on both sides with the Cajun blend. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and heat over medium high. Add the chicken and cook until well browned and firm on the undersides, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally in the center of the thickest breast registers 160 degrees, about another 5 minutes. Serve with the vegetable topping. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 215 calories, 24 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 10 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 220 mg sodium
TIP: Cajun spice blend can be found with the dried herbs and spices in most grocery stores.
GOLDEN CHICKEN WITH LEMON AND FETA
3 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 (4-ounce) chicken breast cutlets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
? cup crumbled feta
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1. Combine the flour, salt and pepper on a plate; dredge the chicken lightly on both sides in the mixture.
2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned on the undersides, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 160 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the largest piece. Transfer the chicken to a plate and drape loosely to keep warm.
3. Melt the butter in the skillet; add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Add the wine and lemon juice and boil until somewhat thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, again bring to a boil and cook until somewhat thickened, about 1 more minute. Return the chicken to the pan. Sprinkle the feta, cover the pan and cook 1 minute, until the cheese is slightly melted and the chicken warmed through. Sprinkle with the parsley, spoon the pan sauce over the chicken and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 279 calories, 27 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 13g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 566 mg sodium
GRILLED CHIPOTLE- HONEY CHICKEN BREASTS
2 tablespoons plus ¼ teaspoon lime juice, divided
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle in adobo sauce
½ avocado, mashed
¼ cup canola mayonnaise
Pinch salt (if desired)
4 (4-ounce) boneless chicken breasts cutlets, pounded to ½-inch thickness
1. Coat the grill rack with cooking spray. Heat the grill to medium high (450 to 550 degrees).
2. Combine 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, honey, soy sauce and chipotle in a small bowl.
3. In another bowl, combine the avocado, mayonnaise and remaining ¼ teaspoon lime juice (and salt, if desired), mashing with a fork until fairly smooth.
4. Place the chicken on the grill and cook 4 minutes, until it is well marked and easily releases from the rack surface. Turn and cook another 4 minutes. Brush with the chipotle mixture and cook 1 minute; turn and brush again, this time cooking until the breasts reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
5. Serve the chicken with a dollop of the avocado crème. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 284 calories, 24 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 17 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 308 mg sodium