July 31, 2011

Healthy Eating

Have you ever become so bored with the same old meal plans that you actually lose your appetite? I know the feeling when nothing seems appealing, and unfortunately those are the times we either order out, or go off track in our quest for healthy eating.

I'm trying to get into the habit of having ingredients in the fridge that can be combined with any type of meat or veggie. One of the staples I always keep on hand are cooked, organic lentils.

I like to simmer them in a little vegetable broth and water, along with sliced onion, shallots, or leeks. Usually 4-6 cups of these premade sweeties helps me get through a few lunches or dinners.

It so happened that tonight was one of those times that we would all be eating at different times due to work and social schedules. Having the lentils ready to go helped me pull this all together by using what I had on hand. Be creative when you cook, and use foods that you love!

Chicken, Lentils and Veggies
(makes 6-8 servings)

6 large boneless chicken thighs
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
3 peppers (ass't. colors and types)
1/2 medium onion
1 and 1/2 cups cooked, pearled couscous (unseasoned)
2 cups cooked lentils
1 pound fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup organic chicken broth
olive oil
sea salt/fresh cracked pepper
minced garlic
Italian seasonings

Prepare the lentils and couscous, then set aside. If you haven't tried lentils, please give them a shot. They're delicious in just about any dish..
Also note, I used "pearled" couscous, which is much larger than the regular kind you see in most recipes.
Rinse the chicken thighs in cold water, place on dry paper towels. Cube the chicken thighs into 1 inch pieces, removing any visible fat.
Place the cubes in a glass bowl, add the minced garlic and teriyaki sauce. Season to your own liking with the Italian herbs, or whatever you prefer (suggestions: red pepper flakes, dried basil). Chill, covered, for at least one hour.
Prepare the peppers and onions: rinse with cold water, slice into thin strips. (I used a red onion for this recipe, but choose what you'd like)~
Once the chicken has marinated, saute in a little olive oil until the cubes are thoroughly cooked. Remove from the pan to a clean plate.
Discard the fat and oil, and wipe the pan clean with a paper towel.
Add a bit of fresh oil to the pan, then quickly saute the peppers and onions until softened and caramelized. *You could also grill the chicken and vegetables outdoors.
To the same pan as the peppers and onions, add the fresh spinach.
Season with salt and pepper, than pour in the broth.
Simmer until the spinach has wilted.
Add the cooked lentils and couscous. Give the pot a stir and spoon in the cooked chicken. Gently fold it all together...
then cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
While simmering, may I suggest a frosty glass of Pinot? Mr. Grumps and I really like Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio. It's delicious and fruity, and goes well with fish, pork and poultry dishes.
When you're ready, serve this healthy dish, loaded with protein and vitamins, with your favorite multi-grain bakery rolls. (Also delicious with a few shakes of hot sauce.)  Cheers!

Food For Thought:

A cup of lentils contains nearly 16g of fiber, more than half of the recommended daily requirement. Soluble fiber in the lentils helps with regularity and cleans the digestive tract and helps you to stay full longer.
Lentils contain nearly 90 percent of the daily recommendation of folate, which helps produce new cells and is essential to iron production in the body. They also contain magnesium, which is important to muscle and nerve function, strong bones and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Lentils are very low in sodium and may help lower the risk of high blood pressure. Lentils contain vitamin B6, which helps the body break down sugars and starches and supports functioning of the nervous system.

~ www.livestrong.com


bevkimmel said...

Okay, you have done a very good job of convincing me to use all those lentils I have stored in my kitchen for the last year. I always thought of lentils as cold weather food, but this recipe looks good in the hundred plus temps we are having. Thanks!

"Vanilla and Thyme" said...

They're really good Bev, and good for you too! I love mixing them with rice, broth and leeks~