Monday, December 22, 2008

Chicken Piccadillo Wraps

Wow! I'm so sorry I've been MIA so far in December. Things have gotten very busy here in Upstate NY! We've spent a weekend in NYC, had two Christmas parties and are attempting to get ready for a 12 day trip Down South! It'll be great to get away from thigh-high snow for almost 2 weeks! I also haven't been posting because my digital camera has been acting up. I haven't gotten many good photos of our dinners. I may start posting some recipes without pictures soon!

The recipe I'm posting today is decidedly NOT Christmas-y! I like to gear up for a week of ham and turkey with some spicey foods that I might not get for awhile while taking care of leftovers! I originally heard of piccadillo from my best friend Megan. She has a Master's degree in Spanish, and loves Latin America. She said that piccadillo is the Latin equivalent of hamburger helper. Then, back in May, Scott and I had another couple over, and I needed something quick and delicious. I stumbled upon this chicken piccadillo recipe in Cooking Light, and it was a huge hit!

The original recipe calls for raisins. Raisins are actually pretty high in sugar. If you're watching your glycemic index and sugars, just omit the raisins. Those in your family who aren't carb-conscious can use tortillas to wrap up their piccadillo filling. However, I really enjoyed mine wrapped up in a crispy butter lettuce. Enjoy!

Chicken Piccadillo
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. Place chicken in a food processor, pulse until ground.
2. Heat oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 3 minutes, stirring occassionally.
3. Add chicken, cumin, salt, cinnamon, and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes, or until chicken is done, stirring frequently.
4. Stir in salsa & raisins (if using). Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
5. Stir in almonds and cilantro.
6. Serve with tortillas or butter lettuce to wrap.

Carb options
I typically serve this with a chilled black bean and corn salad which is delicious. However, up until last Friday, I could have neither black beans no corn! Depending on your specific needs, this salad can be a healthy and delicious side dish for any Latin inspired dish!

Black Bean & Corn Salad
  • 1 can (about 16 oz) low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • frozen corn kernals
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • about 2 Tbsp canola or other light oil (I don't really recommend olive oil for this--it has too much of a distinct taste)
  • cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt all to taste (1-2 tsp each)
  • juice of 1/2 lime
1. Place drained and rinsed black beans in a serving bowl. Add the equivalent amount of frozen corn kernals (do not thaw before adding!). Add chopped red bell pepper.
2. Add oil, spices and lime juice. Stir well.
3. Leave out on counter while you prepare the rest of the meal. The corn will begin to thaw and will chill the other ingredients. Will be ready to serve in 20-30 minutes (depending on your room temperature!)

As I said before, I will be out of town until January 4th 2009! I will be sure to post more in the new year! I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Happy cooking!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Citrus Rosemary Pork Chops & Green Beans with garlic and onions

I've been making this recipe for years, and it is consistently one of the best meals EVER. It is always a husband pleaser, not to mention parents and friends! I got the recipe from Rachel Ray, so you know it's quick, too.

The pork chops are marinated in a mixture with molasses. You may be concerned about this, since it is made from sugar cane. 2 tsp of molasses as about 5 grams of sugars, and 8 grams of carbs. Molasses is used in the marinade and some of it will stay on the pork while you grill it. So if you're concerned about the sugars, you will want to find another recipe! The molasses makes it!!

The green bean side dish is super simple, and can go with most anything in a jiffy.

Citrus Rosemary Pork Chops
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary, coarsely chopped
  • 1 navel orange, zested (you only need the zest)
  • 4 pork chops
  • Montreal steak seasoning
1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl (molasses, vinegar, oil, rosemary, zest).
2. Pat chops dry with a paper towel and rub with Montreal steak seasoning
3. Turn chops in marinade to coat and let sit for 15 minutes. Occasionally rotate chops so each gets coated with marinade.
4. Sprinkle with a little more Montreal steak seasoning.
5. Grill on medium heat until done (about 7-8 minutes per side for a 1 1/2 inch thick chop)

Green beans with garlic and onions
  • frozen green beans
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small onion, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
1. Heat oil over medium heat in skillet.
2. Add garlic and onions. Saute about 3 minutes.
3. Add green beans. Stir to cover with oil.
4. Saute until heated through.

Carb options
This menu is made perfection with the addition of a baked sweet potato. Spare your loved ones the calories, and only offer butter and cinnamon as toppers (no one needs the brown sugar or marshmallows!!). Sweet potatoes are simple to make in the microwave. Wash them really well, and then stick them on a plate. Zap them for 5 minutes, and then increase in 2 minute increments until they're softened to your liking.

Crescent rolls are always yummy, too.