Chicken Apple Salad (Not as Dull as It Sounds)

Chicken Apple Salad… I am not scoring any winning points with that title, am I?

Hear me out: This is a delicious recipe that offers full satisfaction, great nutrition and pretty colors on the plate. What else do you want?

I consume about 1,700-2,000 calories daily (except on those days I drink wine) and this makes a phenomenal dinner or lunch. The dish tastes fresh and it fills up a plate. So, you get the satisfaction of good taste, volume and color.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. boneless and skinless chicken breast, cut into 1- to 2-inch thin strips
  • 1 Tbsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 small apples (any kind… I use one granny smith and a sweeter kind for the other), sliced thin (no need to peel)
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, juiced and zest
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil (reduce this to 1 Tbsp if you are watching fat grams)
  • 1 Tbsp. mixed nuts (OPTIONAL… The nutrition facts assume you are using them… hence the higher fat content. Skip if fat gram conscious)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Soak the chicken in the water with the baking soda for 15-20 minutes. This will make the chicken ridiculously tender. Baking soda soak is the secret to the tender meats in Chinese restaurants. They soak their meats in soda (sounded dirty, didn’t it?) for at least an hour to achieve than silky yet crunchy taste. For the soak to work, the chicken has to be in small bite size chunks. So do not get lazy. If you have a full hour to soak, you can reduce the baking soda to 1 tsp instead.

Rinse the chicken well.  Pat dry.

Spray a non-stick pan with oil and heat until hot on medium heat. Cook the chicken until well done, approximately 8-10 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, mix the lime juice, zest, jalapeno, olive oil in a small bowl to make the dressing.

Combine the chicken, all other ingredients in a large bowl and then toss with dressing. Serves 2.

Here are the nutrition facts, courtesy of the recipe calculator at SparkPeople:

 

Chicken Apple Salad nutrition facts

Slow-cooked Green Beans with Tomatoes (Zeytinyagli Fasulye)

I saw an article about braised vegetables on NY Times earlier in the month. It was dedicated to three vegetables dishes (served cold) from the Turkish kitchen. Pretty good article. I will have to admit that although I am very familiar with the ‘served cold’ vegetables of Turkish cooking (heck, I grew up on it and I even posted some here, like Barbunya, for example), I didn’t know about the three dishes in the article… I know familiar or similar ways of servings these dishes but with very different spice combinations… So, I decided to give it a try, for variety’s sake and also to make sure I can cook them with a 20/20 Lifestyles twist so they can be delicious and healthy. It only took one try to get this one right, in my opinion.

You can stick to the original recipes in the article or you can try mine. The difference is the calories and the serving method. By the way, I am getting good at taking pretty pictures of the food on my cell phone. I had two good ones for this one so I am posting both.

The flavors in the recipe are not bold (I prefer bolder) but they are fine.

Slow-cooked Green Beans with Tomatoes (Turkish recipe, 20/20 appropriate)

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut in half widthwise
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt – OPTIONAL. DO NOT USE IF ON 20/20
  • Black pepper
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped mint
  • Thick yogurt, for serving – OPTIONAL
  • Lemon wedges, for serving – OPTIONAL

In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onions and stir occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Add the beans, tomatoes, 1 cup water, sugar, salt and pepper and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to low, then cover and simmer until the beans are very tender, about 45 minutes.

Remove from heat, adjust the seasoning to taste and cool to room temperature, uncovered, about 45 minutes. Stir in the mint and serve with lemon wedges. You can serve with some nonfat thick Greek yogurt but I don’t think it needs it.

Makes 6 side-dish servings.

The nutritional information on the dish (without the yogurt) is as follows:

Grilled Chicken Breast in Honey Lime Marinade

This is something Rich made and it is really really good. The marinade is simple and goes a long way and low calories mean you can eat honey and feel good too.

Grilled Chicken Breast in Honey Lime Marinade

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • Fresh mint, chopped, to taste
  • 36 oz chicken breast, skinless and boneless

Mix the first three ingredients to make the marinade. Wash and pat dry the chicken and put them in a gallon size freezer bag. Pour in the same bag the marinade. Move the chicken around in the bag to make sure they are coated with the marinade. Close the bag and let it sit on the counter for 20-40 minutes. Or you can refrigerate overnight.

Heat the grill. Grill the chicken until it is done, about 4-5 minutes on each side.

Serves 6.

Here are the nutritional facts, thanks to SparkPeople Recipe Calculator:

chicken with honey and lime juice nutritional facts

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Rhubard Chutney

This is a recipe that Rich used for Sunday BBQ last week. A bit of an indulgence but worth it.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Chutney

Ingredients

For the Chutney

  • Sugar, 3/4 cup
  • Cider vinegar, 1/3 cup
  • Fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon minced peeled
  • garlic, 1 tablespoon ground or 2 cloves minced
  • Cumin, 1 teaspoon
  • Ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon or to taste
  • Fresh rhubarb (about 1 1/2 pounds making 4 cups of 1/2-inch cubes)
  • Red onion, 1/2 cup (generous) chopped
  • dried tart cherries or golden raisins,1/3 cup (about 2 ounces)

For the Pork

  • Pork tenderloins, 2 of them totaling about 1 1/2 pounds total, the fat trimmed
  • Ground cumin,2 teaspoons 
  • Fresh cilantro sprigs

To make the chutney, combine the first 8 ingredients in heavy large Dutch oven. Bring to simmer over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add rhubarb, onion and dried cherries; increase heat to medium-high and cook until rhubarb is tender and mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.)

Fire up the grill.

Sprinkle pork with cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Grill it until done (not sure how long). Garnish with cilantro and serve with the chutney.

Serves 4.

Here are the nutritional facts:

Turkey Breast Tenderloins with Kale, Faro and Mushrooms

This dish is a byproduct of desperation. I had purchased some turkey breast tenderloins (impulse) and some kale and mushrooms to do my standard kale soup. Well, I ended up not making the soup and I had to use the turkey breast tenderloins… So, after raiding the fridge for other ingredients, I made this dish. It turned out well. It is pretty tasty (not the tastiest dish ever though… it is after all turkey. Turkey meat is great the first day but, however you slice it, dries after that first day) and it is healthy (kale… so good) and low calorie (290 per serving) and essentially bests, in taste, calorie count and nutrition, any old boring sandwich you can get at lunch.

Turkey Breast Tenderloins with Kale, Faro and Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 20 oz turkey breast tenderloins, (i used Jennie-O brand), cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 medium yellow onion, 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 small green bell peppers, 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Pepper paste, 1 teaspoon – OPTIONAL
  • Rosemary, few twigs if using fresh, 1 tsp or to taste if using dried
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Red chili flakes, to taste
  • 1 bunch kale, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces white or brown mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup faro

Spray a 12-inch skillet or a 5-quart pan and heat on medium high. Brown the turkey slightly. Remove from pan.

Pour the wine in the skillet and add the onions and peppers. Saute stirring occasionally on medium high for about 10 minutes. Cover to retain juices when not stirring.

Add the pepper paste if using. I find that pepper paste adds some substance, spice and rounded-ness to some of my dishes. Break the paste and stir to make sure it colors all ingredients. Saute for another 5 minutes.

Bring the turkey back into the skillet and add the chicken broth. Add the rosemary, black pepper and the red chili flakes and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Add kale and stir to coat. Juices won’t be ample so work to wet the kale. Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and the faro (if you’d like you can add more broth and faro to make more of a grain dish out of this… it sounds great because the faro taste comes across even in small quantities… I held back to avoid a carb explosion. In the future, I would put about a cup of faro and more broth, which would bring the calorie count from 290 to about 380 per serving).

Simmer for another 10 minutes. Wait another 10 minutes before serving to let faro fully cook. It should be firm but not hard.

If you can afford the calories, serve it with 1 oz of shredded cheese and several drops of lemon.

Serves 3.

Here is the nutritional information (without the cheese, extra faro or broth that I mention towards the end of the post):

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