Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Home and Cooking

Looks like I'll be off the road for a little while, so I can actually totally unpack the suitcase and possibly dust. Fun. I love dusting.

Fall seems to be creeping up on us here in the South...after that 2+ week hell monsoon season...so I'm thinking more about comfort foods, especially dishes that you can make in one pot, like soups, stews, casseroles. Casseroles are nice in the cooler months, because you can heat the house with the oven as you cook, but we're not quite there yet.

So, how about a casserole of sorts on the stovetop? And, let's make it semi-healthy! Yes, I'm feeling the urge to try and get into some sort of shape before I go on my Thanksgiving holiday. I've worked out at least once this week (yes, I *know* it's only Tuesday, but give me a break...one has to work into these things), and I've been trying to watch what I'm putting in my mouth before I actually put it in there.

Perusing the cookbook shelves, I am suprised to find the American Heart Association's One-Dish Meals. How the hell did that get there? Probably during some other fit of "get healthy." And look, the binding doesn't even look cracked...ha!

Of course, it's high on chicken, which is okay, because I like chicken...mostly fried or roasted with skin on, but I am trying to go healthier, so boneless, skinless it is! And, it looks like these recipes actually have some flavor/spices. They still seem to be undersalted, but I figure I can remedy that, tableside!

Chicken and rice are pretty much universal comfort combos, and this one is perked up a bit with the addition of some poblano chile peppers. I like poblanos, because they have just enough oomph to wake up your taste buds without ruining your sense of taste for hours, like habaneros. They are from opposite ends of the spectrum, but I fully believe food shouldn't cause you pain.

Poblano Chicken and Rice

2 poblano peppers

Vegetable oil spray

2 medium onions, chopped

2 medium ribs of celery, sliced thin

2 cups chicken broth (use low sodium if you really are counting sodium intake)

3/4 cup uncooked rice

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

12-16 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 to 1/4 crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Remove stems from the peppers. Cut peppers in half, lengthwise. Holding the peppers under running water, remove seeds and ribs. Shake off excess water, and cut peppers into thin strips.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and spray with vegetable oil spray; use caution if using gas flame for cooking. (I cheated here and used this new Land O' Lakes butter and olive oil blend that I got on sale...about a tablespoon was enough.) Cook the onions, peppers, and celery for 8-10 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften and gain color, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the broth, rice, and turmeric. Increase heat and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 12-15 minutes.

Uncover and stir in the chicken. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, the rice is cooked, and most of the liquid is absorbed. (I actually had to add a little liquid, more broth if you have it, but water is fine, when I added the chicken.)

Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. (Again, I went off the reservation. I put in about half the cheese to mixture in the pan, then I used the remainder on my actual serving. It seemed a little more decadent that way!) Makes 4 servings.

If you make it strictly by the book, the nutritionals are as follows: 337 calories per serving; 5.0 grams fat; 526 mg sodium ; 40 grams carbs; 3 grams fiber; 7 grams sugar; and 31 grams protein.

It was pretty tasty...and I did add more salt than called for originally. I seasoned the chicken bits with salt and pepper and then added a little more at the end of cooking. I compromised by drinking a large glass of water with my meal, reasoning that it might help flush out the extra salt!

I would also add another poblano to the mix, since this batch was so mild, to boost the flavor a little more. All in all, I thought it turned out pretty well...I'll have time to re-evaluate it a little more, since it's going to be leftovers for the next couple of days.


LinC said...

Sounds yummy! I would have put the whole amount of cheese on my one serving. Can't have too much cheese! This would also work with left-over chicken. I'm always looking for ways to use up yesterday's grocery store rotisserie chicken. In fact I have a cookbook called "Rotisserie Chickens to the Rescue!" Definitely the season for crockpot cooking.

J said...

Let's try and motivate each other. I am also trying to watch.