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LifestyleColumnistsMarge Perry

3 Simple chicken-breast recipes

Chicken breasts with peas and mushrooms in Marsala

Chicken breasts with peas and mushrooms in Marsala cream sauce. Credit: Marge Perry

CREAMY CHICKEN MARSALA WITH MUSHROOMS AND PEAS

4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, lightly pounded to an even thickness

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1 medium shallot, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup dry Marsala wine

1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup heavy cream

1. Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Spread the flour on a plate and dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned, turning once, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and reserve.

3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet and add the mushrooms and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release their liquid and start to brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the shallots and garlic; cook until somewhat softened, 2 minutes. Pour in the Marsala wine, bring to a boil and cook 1 minute until slightly reduced. Pour in the chicken broth, return to a boil and cook 1 minute. Stir in the peas and cook until bright green, 1 minute.

4. Return the chicken and any juices that have accumulated on the plate to the skillet. Add the cream, bring to a boil and cook, turning the chicken twice, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each breast half registers 160 degrees, about 2 to 3 minutes. Divide the chicken among 4 plates and serve with the sauce, mushrooms and peas. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 381 calories, 39 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 16 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 0 added sugar, 402 mg sodium

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CHICKEN BREASTS WITH APRICOTS AND OLIVES

Serve over couscous

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup

3 cloves garlic, minced

16 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch chunks

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, lightly crushed

1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup dried apricots, cut in half

1 15-ounce can lower-sodium chickpeas, drained

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/3 cup green stuffed olives, halved

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (parsley may be substituted)

Heat the oil in a deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is somewhat softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken, salt, ground ginger and saffron and stir to thoroughly combine. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is lightly browned. Add the broth, orange juice, apricots and chick peas and simmer over medium low heat 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, olives and cilantro. Makes 4 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 315 calories, 29 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 added sugar, 637 mg sodium

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SHORTCUT PHO GA (VIETNAMESE NOODLE SOUP)

4 ounces rice stick noodles

4 teaspoons sesame oil, divided

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped, about 1 cup

3 garlic cloves, chopped

8 cups unsalted chicken broth

6 thin slices peeled ginger

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 cup cilantro sprigs

1 2-inch cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

16 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in thin strips

1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce

1 cup bean sprouts

1 lime, cut in 8 wedges

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice sticks and cook according to package directions; drain.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons of the sesame oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until somewhat softened but not browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the broth, add the ginger, about 3/4 of the scallions, half the cilantro, the cinnamon stick, and salt. Bring to a boil; immediately reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 15 minutes. Strain the broth and return to the pot; cover and keep warm over low heat.

3. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the mushrooms, chicken, and soy sauce and cook, stirring, 5 to 6 minutes, until the mushrooms have given off their liquid and the chicken is no longer pink. Add to the broth and simmer 5 minutes.

4. Place the noodles in four bowls. Ladle the soup over the noodles and accompany with the remaining scallions and cilantro, the bean sprouts, and lime. Makes 4 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 353 calories, 38 g protein, 35 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 added sugar, 764 mg sodium

TIP: To pound chicken breasts neatly and efficiently, place them, smooth-side up, under a sheet of plastic wrap.

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