Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dinner in a Flash ...

As a long-time reader of Prevention Magazine, I've often enjoyed their simple and healthy recipes. When Prevention began touting their new "Flat Belly Diet" some months ago, I was intrigued - enough so that I ordered the cookbook.

While I'm all in favor of having a flatter belly - I'm not necessarily leaving the Beach for this diet. SB works for me and if it ain't broke, I won't fix it. That being said, "The Flat Belly Diet Cookbook" is full of some great, healthy recipes that will fit beautifully into my own style of eating ... with a little tweaking, of course.

I finally had a chance to page through the book the other night and one recipe grabbed my attention immediately: Mediterranean Chicken. Though, I'm thinking of changing the name to Holiday Chicken ... its not simply the beautiful red and green color of the dish, more so its the fact that it took less than 25 minutes to prepare! Who couldn't use another quick and easy, one-pot meal for these busy December nights?

I increased the amount of spinach, reduced the amount of olives and, because of the season, I swapped some canned tomatoes for the fresh. I've also chosen to add the tomatoes earlier on in the process to allow them to simmer and break down a bit. This is my adapted version of the recipe.

Chicken with Spinach and Orzo:
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to @ 1/2 inch thickness
  • 2 cups of non-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup of whole wheat orzo
  • 1 whole lemon, peeled, roughly chopped, seeds removed
  • 1/2 of a 14.5 oz can of Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. of dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. of dried basil
  • 1/2 cup of chopped, pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup of chopped roasted red peppers
  • one 5 oz. package of baby spinach
  • some crumbled Feta cheese for garnish
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy bottomed skillet. Dust the chicken breasts with a bit of ground black pepper and add to the pan. Brown the chicken on both sides, turning as needed, for about 6 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve.

To the same skillet, add the broth, lemon, tomatoes, oregano and basil and allow the mixture to come to a boil. Add the orzo, stir well to combine, return the chicken breasts to the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer for about 10 minutes or until the orzo is tender and the chicken has cooked throughout.

Add the olives, roasted red peppers and spinach to the pan, stirring well to allow the spinach to wilt - about 2 minutes, adding a bit more broth to the pan as needed to keep the dish moist.

To serve, place one breast of chicken atop some of the orzo and vegetable mixture, sprinkle with a bit of Feta cheese and enjoy!

As written, this recipe will serve 4.
This dish was absolutely magnificent and received rave reviews from the husband. Its going straight into our regular rotation. We loved it! What a great introduction to what I'm sure will be a fine compliment to my Beachy ways. I hope you'll try it!

So, do you have a quick and easy go-to meal for this busy season? Hungry Diva wants to know.

Bon appetite!


Deb said...

Where did you find WW orzo? I can never find enough WW pasta shapes! I am in the market for some wholesome chicken recipes to appeal to the patient so this could be a tasty addition to my little carnivore's meal plan. I'll have to look for that cookbook - sounds like a great complement to the beach.


Deborah said...

That looks great, it has everything I love (which means...tomatoes). I'm going to try it sometime this week!

Juliet said...

Oooh rave reviews is good! Thanks for posting it.. we'll try it!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Deb - Fortunately, one of my markets stocks the WW orzo. The brand is: RiceSelect. I wonder if you could ask your market to carry it? Or maybe do a search. I love it! As for the book - some of the recipes contain sugar a/o white flour, but I know you're an expert tweaker like me! :)

Deborah - I think this one is similar to your chicken and olives, yes? I think you'll really like it.

Juliet - yes, gotta love the rave reviews. I hope you'll like it too!

Sophie said...

Your adapted recipe sounds so healthy and light. I've found that canned tomatoes can actually be sweeter :). I'd like to share your adapted recipe with our readers! Please let me know if you're interested.

Happy New Year!
Sophie, Key Ingredient Chief Blogger

The Diva on a Diet said...

Sure, Sophie, I'd be honored. Go right ahead. Thank you and happy new year to you as well! :)