It's Winter, Add Some Spice To Your Meals - 27 East

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It’s Winter, Add Some Spice To Your Meals

Number of images 4 Photos
Plated chicken breasts with peppers and tomatoes.

Plated chicken breasts with peppers and tomatoes.



Sauteed peppers and tomatoes.

Sauteed peppers and tomatoes. JANEEN SARLIN

Sauteed chicken breasts

Sauteed chicken breasts JANEEN SARLIN


Seasonal Chef

  • Publication: Food & Drink
  • Published on: Feb 1, 2020
  • Columnist: Janeen Sarlin

Here’s a menu that is in keeping with a healthy lifestyle. Lean protein, plenty of vegetables and grains, with fruit for dessert, is easy to prepare for a weeknight dinner or weekend company.

During the winter months, I like spicy food ... to keep me warm! Thus add your favorite spicy peppers (jalapeño, poblano, red chili pepper, etc.) to the chicken recipe.

An ancient grain, vitamin and fiber-rich farro is the perfect side dish to accompany the entrée.

To embellish this menu, toss your favorite mixed salad greens with balsamic vinaigrette and top it with a few roasted almonds and shaved parmesan cheese and serve the salad after the main course. For dessert have fresh red Bartlett pears, blood oranges, and green and red grapes!

Bon healthy appetit!

Chicken Cutlets with Bell Peppers, Onions and Tomatoes

(Serves 4)

4 chicken cutlets, pounded thin

4 medium cloves garlic, minced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 teaspoon each thyme and Greek oregano or more to taste

Fresh lemon juice to taste

About 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, sliced

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced

1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced

1/2 cup fresh cherry tomatoes, halved

1 15-ounce can organic tomatoes, diced, with the juices

About 1/3 cup red wine or more to taste

Optional: Pinch red pepper flakes

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives

To prepare:

At least one hour before cooking, flatten chicken cutlets. Place in shallow glass dish large enough to hold the chicken. Add garlic, salt, pepper, herbs, lemon juice and olive oil, turn over to distribute the seasonings, cover and refrigerate until cooking time.

In a skillet over moderate high heat, lightly coat the bottom with oil; sauté the cutlets until light brown on both sides, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a side plate. In the same skillet, add more oil if necessary to coat the bottom, sauté onion until beginning to soften, add peppers and sauté until the vegetables are nearly tender, about 5 minutes. Add fresh and canned tomatoes (red pepper flakes, mushrooms, olives if using), wine, plus a pinch or two of oregano and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Return the chicken along with their accumulated juices to the skillet, and simmer until the chicken is heated through. Serve at once.

Farro Pilaf

(Serves 4)

1 cup farro, soaked in cold water for 2 to 3 hours (or overnight)

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

5 scallions, trimmed, green and white parts chopped

2 stalks fresh celery with leaves, chopped

About 1/4 cup dry vermouth

2 cups good quality chicken stock, boiling

Small handful of chopped fresh parsley for garnish

To prepare:

In a 1 1/2 quart heavy casserole with a lid over moderate high heat, coat the bottom with olive oil. Add scallions and celery and sauté until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Drain the farro, shake off excess water and add it to the casserole, along with more olive oil if necessary to coat all the grains. Stir gently to mix.

Add vermouth all at once and cook, stirring until it has evaporated then add the stock all at once, stir to blend, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the farro is tender and all the liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes, OR preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. and bake until the farro is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 30 to 40 minutes.

To serve, fluff with a fork and garnish with parsley.

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