2011 will be about trying new healthy recipes. I am feeling very good about my training as a runner these days and am convinced that healthy eating is an integral part of this. Since I am terrible at meal planning, this is how I came up with this recipe. I went to Costco yesterday to stock up on all the necessities for the week. I spotted packaged fresh organic chicken breasts and couldn't resist-especially when the cost was considerably less per pound than at Publix. As I was about to check out at Costco, I spotted the dried fruits and suddenly had a craving for dried cherries. Oh, how much I love dried cherries.
So, as I was munching on some cherries while on the computer, I decided to google dried cherries and chicken. I came across several recipes that all seemed similar. One in particular was Persian but I didn't have all the ingredients. So, I decided to combine ideas and this recipe was what I came up with.
I hate dry chewy chicken...
In general, baking boneless skinless chicken breasts scares me. So many times, the chicken ends up being too dry and chewy which can basically ruin a meal. I am 100% convinced that using organic chicken made all the difference. I was very pleased with how this chicken came out. It was moist, flavorful, and the paprika gave it a pretty color. My son Grant LOVED it and wanted it packed in his lunch for the following day.
Good carbs vs bad carbs...
I love my unhealthy carbs and if you read my blog, you already know this- white bread (specifically french baguettes) and pasta in particular. Even though I am a runner and weight management is not an issue for me, my New Years resolution is to focus on the good carbs-not only for my own overall health but also for my weight conscious husband. I cannot tell the difference between whole wheat and white couscous and I noticed other similar cherry chicken recipes are served with couscous. It was perfect.
Oh, how I love asparagus...
The easiest way to serve asparagus is steamed. But, because I have a double oven and some time on my hands waiting for the chicken, I decided to roast it. I pre-heated the oven to 450 degrees, snapped off the ends of the asparagus (no mom, I didn't feel like peeling it), coated it with olive oil, salt and pepper, and threw some sliced onions on top. Cooking time is usually about 15 minutes but check it and make sure it doesn't stick. Also, be sure not to overcook it. No one likes mushy asparagus (except for my husband but he grew up on canned asparagus. Ewww...).
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1.4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts-I prefer organic
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small vidalia/sweet onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (less if you don't like too much heat)
preheat the oven to 400 *F
In a small bowl, combine the paprika, salt, and black pepper. Place the chicken in a large shallow roasting pan. Brush with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with the paprika mixture.
Bake for approximately 45 minutes. It is very important to check the chicken by cutting into a piece. Ovens and size the size of chicken can vary. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the broth, cherries, capers, honey, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the cherries are plump and the sauce has thickened.
When the Chicken is cooked, for extra flavor, if desired, drain off any pan juices and stir them into the cherry sauce. Place the chicken on a serving platter and top with the sauce.
If you decide to make this, let me know what you think!