... its been a while since we've seen our friend the chicken head. Shocking! I've missed him ... and, admit it, you have too. He returned to Diva-land on Friday night at my soirée and he was glorious and crunchy.
I threw a little dinner party for a friend who was in town and what with the summer heat and all, it seemed like a good night for chicken. The menu was as follows:
- Red Bell Pepper Gazpacho
- Pecan Chicken Breasts over mixed greens with Shallot Vinaigrette
- Barley Risotto
- Peach, Nectarine & Blueberry Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream
Aside from that crisp, the rest of the menu was 100% South Beach "legal" and 100% delicious. Naturally, I fiddled with the recipes a bit to achieve legal status. I removed the sugar called for in the gazpacho recipe and substituted a whole grain cereal for the Special K that was suggested for the chicken coating. Again, no one was any the wiser and no flavors were compromised in the making of this dinner. A good time (and a very good meal) was had by all.
Pecan Chicken Breasts:
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- low-fat buttermilk
- 4 cups whole grain cereal (I used Flax Plus)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 2 tsp. lemon pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
- chopped fresh parsley
- 6 wedges of lemon
Pre-heat the over to 375 degrees.
Using a food processor, crush the cereal to form coarse crumbs. (Or you can use a resealable plastic bag, and crush them with a rolling pin, etc.) Add the pecans, lemon pepper, poultry seasoning, paprika and salt to the food processor and pulse briefly to combine.
Pour the cereal mixture into a large, shallow dish and removed the chicken from the fridge. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk, one piece at a time, and dredge in the cereal mixture to coat on both sides. Press the crumbs onto the chicken so they will adhere - and place the coated chicken on a large, lightly oiled, baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
Bake in the oven for @ 45 minutes or until an instant-read meat thermometer (inserted into the thickest part of the breast) registers 165 degrees. Dust the cooked chicken with the chopped parsley and serve with a garish of fresh lemon to be sprinkled over the chicken at table.
* Notes: My version of this recipe was adapted from one that appeared in Prevention Magazine several years ago. You can use whatever kind of cereal flakes you enjoy, but watch the sugar content if you're carb conscious. I like to serve the chicken over a bed of mixed baby lettuces, or mixed greens, dressed with my version of a classic vinaigrette.
Mixed Greens with Shallot Vinaigrette:
- 1 large Shallot, minced
- 1/3 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. good quality Sherry wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. good quality red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
- generous grinding of fresh black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. dried Basil
- 8 cups organic mixed salad greens, or mixed baby lettuces
Pour the finished vinaigrette lightly over your greens and toss to coat evenly. Do not drown the greens, just coat them lightly and pass the reserved dressing at the table if you wish.
As written, both of these recipes will serve six very happy people. Send out some invitations of your own and make your next dinner party ... Divalicious!