Thursday, August 31, 2006

Branching Out Again: FOOD!

I made Chicken Picadillo from a recipe I got from Cooking Light the other day. More on that in a minute.

*Shameless Plug for Cooking Light*
If I could buy a magazine for every newlywed, it might be this one. Especially newlyweds who, like me, had a rather limited repertoire of dishes at which he or she is an expert. (Mine consisted of Pop Tarts, spaghetti--I was proud of that one--a mean batch of brownies from a mix, and Lean Cuisine pizzas.)

Enter Cooking Light. And no, I'm not on their payroll (though if they'd like to give me a free lifetime subscription, I am all ears.) I would really say that this magazine taught me to cook; I blossomed, in about a year, from Pop Tart Queen to Ardent Recipe Disciple. Now that's progress!

CL just draws you into becoming a foodie. As you experience new tastes and aromas, and as you see how wonderfully one spice or dish can complement another, you join the ranks of folks who are no longer just diners: they're Epicureans (not in the sense of 'devoted to sensual pleasure', but in the sense of 'one with sensitive and discriminating tastes, especially in food or wine').

One of my favorite CL features is their travel section, in which the writer details a trip you could take, giving dining and sightseeing suggestions for your itinerary. The photography and reviews make you feel as though you have a real sense of the place, the community, being described.


I made Chicken Picadillo (except that mine was turkey). Here's the recipe, but you can also find it here.

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast [I used lean turkey]
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup bottled salsa
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Fresh cilantro sprigs (optional)

Place chicken in a food processor; pulse until ground. [That's for the birds! Buy it ground and save yourself time!]
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken, cumin, salt, cinnamon, and garlic, and cook for 3 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring frequently. Stir in salsa and raisins. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in almonds and cilantro. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

CALORIES 257(26% from fat); FAT 7.5g (sat 1g,mono 4.2g,poly 1.5g); PROTEIN 29.6g; CHOLESTEROL 66mg; CALCIUM 74mg; SODIUM 762mg; FIBER 3.2g; IRON 2.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 19g
Here's the review I wrote for the website:

"This was simply of my favorite recipes, ever. I made it with ground turkey and upped the amount of raisins and almonds. The cinnamon is a KEY ingredient and lends excellent flavor! I served the dish over brown rice with garbanzo and black beans, with a generous dollop or two of reduced-fat sour cream. My husband asked me to double the recipe next time so we'll have tons of leftovers! Very easy to reheat."

Let me reiterate that part about the sour cream. USE LOTS. MMMMMM.

Anyone think this would work with beef? I'd like to make it for my mom and dad, but dad has some kind of poultry grudge.