There are times when a brilliant idea just comes to you. In my quest to start creating more figure-friendly meals (please don’t judge.. It’s not my fault I cook fat so well) .. well, chicken is King Cluck! But the brilliant idea didn’t come by way of planning, it morphed out of a request for a kid friendly shrimp recipe from my friend Nicole (aka
cellmate / cubicle neighbor at My J.O.B.). Somehow the request took on a life of it’s own in my brain and instead of shrimp came chicken and then forget the Alfredo sauce and how about risotto (Wait! do I even know how to cook risotto??) and then let’s add some heat and now there’s pig fat because bacon rules and oh yeah, green veggies and BOOM… POW… MORPHED!!!!…
Yup, just like THAT!
It’s not always easy to find a healthy meal that fits in with a busy lifestyle and also tastes great. There are so many different directions to go in with what is considered ‘healthy’ that sometimes you just have to throw your hands up and speed dial your favorite pizza joint. There’s nothing wrong with making that call but unless you have the metabolism of a space alien (they are always so skinny in the CLASSIFIED pictures, aren’t they?) you have to incorporate healthy choices into your daily routine. And considering it’s impossible to get a clear consensus on what is considered ‘healthy’, I’m a big believer in common sense and practicality. If I had a quarter for every time THIS girl vowed to just eat lean meat and veggies.. well.. I would be sharing this time with you from a sandy beach in the Virgin Islands. Good intentions are great but sometimes they just don’t always fit into your everyday plan. So celebrate the small victories and eventually those victories and smart choices will win the war against too tight jeans and bathing suit shopping.. at least, that’s what I tell myself when veggies win out over double cheese with pepperoni.
Chicken with Spicy Poblano Risotto
You will need:
32 oz carton of chicken broth
5 tbl olive oil
3 chicken breasts – cubed
1 tsp lemon pepper
1 large poblano pepper – diced
6 green onions -diced
6 strips of cooked bacon (diced) or 1 pouch of pre-cooked pieces
9-12 asparagus stalks
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp onion pepper
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
4 cloves garlic – minced
12 oz Arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese – grated
Part One – There are three separate steps to this dish and then they all come together at the end.
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry your asparagus stalks and snap in half, discarding the ‘woody’ end. Line your asparagus up on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10-12 minutes and then remove and set aside.
Part Two – In a large pot, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and your chicken breasts, cut into bite sized cubes. Lightly saute the chicken and while cooking, sprinkle the meat with the lemon pepper and continue to cook the chicken until cooked through. Remove the chicken (and residual juice) from the pot and set aside.
Part Three – In the same pot you cooked your chicken in, add in 1 tbl olive oil and your diced poblano and minced garlic. Stir continuously for 1 minute and remove to a small bowl. If you are using real bacon, add your diced pieces to the ‘pepper bowl’.. if you are using pre-cooked pieces, add them to the pot and stirring continuously, cook for 1 minutes to waken up the flavor. Remove and add to the bowl with the peppers. Once that is done, add in your 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot and over medium heat, add your Arborio rice. Stir continuously to coat the rice with the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour in your dry white wine and once absorbed, begin adding in your chicken broth to the rice, 1/2 cup at a time. As your broth is added, continue to stir until all of the broth has been absorbed before adding in the next 1/2 cup. Repeat this process until all of the broth has been added. Add in your onion powder, salt and pepper to taste, and ground red pepper. Check your rice, it should be firm but not hard. Continue cooking your rice if needed but if you feel that it is done and the consistency you like. Add in the juice of your lemon, the green onion and your Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. Then add in the chicken pieces and juice, garlic, poblano and bacon from your ‘pepper bowl’ and stir. Last but not least, chop your asparagus into bite sized pieces and stir them in, as well. Garnish with some left over Parmesan cheese.
I love love love this meal. Its relatively quick to make and it tastes amazing, especially for food that is much healthier than hitting up a drive-thru or calling for delivery. If you are not a fan of asparagus, substitute it with broccoli or peas or even green beans. Tired of chicken?… Add in 1 lb of cooked shrimp instead. Make this recipe your own and I bet you find that eating healthy just got a little bit easier.