Monday, September 18, 2017

Ramen Noodle Bowls


Maybe it's my age, but I had never before eaten ramen noodles--not those little packages loaded with sodium, or the real thing from a noodle shop. Because I have come to trust the recipes at Cook's Country magazine, as soon as I saw the recipe for ramen noodle bowls, I knew I had to try it.

I made the recipe (almost) exactly as written, but will add a few ingredients and streamline the instruction next time. Oh, yes! There will be a next time.

Ingredients
2 tbs hoisin sauce (I reduced the amount from their 1/4 cup)
3 tbs soy sauce (I use low sodium)
2 tsp cornstarch
1 (12 oz) pork tenderloin, trimmed halved lengthwise, and sliced crosswise into 1/4" slices
2 1/4 cups chicken broth (I use fat free, low sodium)
2 tbs vegetable oil
4 oz white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thinly
1 tbs grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, grated
3 (3 oz) pkg ramen noodles (save the seasoning packets for another use; or, discard)
12 oz broccoli florets, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 scallions, sliced thinly on the bias

Instructions
Whisk 1 tbs hoisin, 1 tbs soy sauce, and cornstarch together in a medium bowl. Add sliced pork and toss to coat. Set aside.

Whisk broth, remaining 1 tbs hoisin, and remaining 2 tbs soy sauce together in a large measuring cup and set aside.

Heat 1 tbs oil in large, nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.


Add broth mixture and bring to a boil. Arrange the noodles in skillet in a single layer; cover, reduce heat to medium.  Cook about 3 minutes. Noodles will be soft on bottom, but still dry on top.


Uncover skillet and use tongs to flip noodles and stir to separate. Spread noodles in an even layer and scatter broccoli over the top of them. Cover and cook until noodles and broccoli are tender, about 3 more minutes, tossing halfway through.

Divide mixture evenly among 4 individual bowls and tent with foil.*

*The purpose of doing this is to make this a one-skillet dish. In the future, I will use a second skillet and cook the pork at the same time.

Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Add the other tbs oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the pork in a single layer and cook until browned on one side (1-2 minutes). Flip each slice and brown the other side, then stir to make sure pork is cooked through. Divide among the 4 bowls and top with the scallions.

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TASTE NOTES
Let's just say, this was love at first bite. OMG! I couldn't believe how unbelievably delicious (and low in points) this dish was. Yes, there is a bit of preparation involved. In the future, I'll do all the chopping well in advance. It wasn't a difficult dish to make and it will go more smoothly the next time using a nonstick wok AND a nonstick skillet. My decision to decrease the amount of hoisin was a good one; I think it would have been cloying with more. I will probably add some shredded carrot, some chopped water chestnuts, and some shitake mushrooms in the future. I might even add some nuts.  However, this dinner was enjoyed with lots of yummy noises just as it was.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Cinnamon Chip Scones (Panera Copycat Recipe)


I love all things cinnamon, so when cinnamon chips burst upon the baking scene, I made Snickerdoodle cookies, breads, and cupcakes. One day, I tasted DSO's cinnamon chip scone at Panera's and it was love at first bite. An internet search brought up many recipes and I tinkered a bit and this was what I came up with.

INGREDIENTS
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup reduced fat buttermilk
1 pkg (10 oz) cinnamon baking chips
2 tbs melted butter and 3 tbs sugar (for brushing tops of scones)

DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk until just moistened. Fold in the chips.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently, 12-15 times, until dough is no longer sticky. Divide in half.

Gently pat each portion into a 7 inch circle. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Then, cut each circle into 8 even wedges.

Separate the wedges and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake* at 425 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browed. Serve warm.

*I prepared these a day ahead and refrigerated them right on the baking sheet. I baked them in a 425 degree F oven, but it took 28 minutes for them to be done. I also drizzled half of them with a simple glaze made of confectioners sugar, 2 tbs brewed espresso, and enough milk to make the mixture drizzle easily.
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TASTE NOTES
I made these scones for my quilt guild's business meeting and they were met with great enjoyment. The one I sampled was absolutely perfect--a great crumb and the icing was just enough. In fact, I thought they were better than Panera's--not as dry.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Lemon Chicken over Rigatoni



Yes, there are other recipes for this dish on The Food of Love, but I'm always striving to improve old favorites, both in terms of their flavor and of their healthfulness. This recipe for lemon chicken--which begs to be served over pasta--addresses both issues with the added benefit of being simple enough to be a weeknight dinner.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
6  boneless, skinless four ounce chicken breasts
all purpose flour for dusting (about 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tbs)
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbs olive oil
3 tbs unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
juice of 1 large lemon

DIRECTIONS
*Cook the pasta as you complete the steps below.
Season each chicken breast with salt and pepper, then dust with flour.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Dip each breast in the egg, then slip into the skillet and saute for a few minutes per side.
Remove chicken from skillet and cover loosely.
Add the butter to the pan, then the 1 1/2 tbs flour. Stir as the butter melts.
Add the wine and the parsley and cook for a minute.
Add the lemon juice and chicken broth, stirring to combine.
Return the chicken pieces to the pan.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until sauce is thickened and chicken is cooked through.
Serve over pasta.
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TASTE NOTES
Each time I make this dish, I marvel anew at how flavorful and satisfying such an easy meal can be! The chicken can be cut with a fork and the delicate flavor of the sauce is perfect over a tubular-shaped pasta like rigatoni.



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

S'mores Pie

Image may contain: food and indoor

I have a confession to make. I don't like s'mores. I like graham crackers and marshmallows and I love chocolate, but the sandwich-type s'mores are impossible to eat and really don't do it for me. I've made s'mores cupcakes and found them much more to my liking, so I thought a s'mores pie would be a perfect dessert for a Fourth of July barbecue.

My search for a recipe produced any number of versions, but the one that most appealed was on a blog called Gimme Some Oven. While the baking time in the original recipe was way off, the flavors didn't disappoint. This is a very simple recipe. I do think there could be more crust, but it was still delicious.

INGREDIENTS

CRUST INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

FILLING INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 10 -20 large marshmallows cut in half OR mini marshmallows

DIRECTIONS:

TO MAKE CRUST:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until evenly coated. Press mixture into a greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

TO MAKE PIE:

In a medium saucepan, whisk together cream and milk. Warm over medium-low heat. Add in chocolate and stir until chocolate has completely melted and is smooth. Slowly add in vanilla and whisked eggs, and whisk until smooth.
Pour chocolate filling into baked pie crust. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until chocolate filling is set and does not jiggle when pie is lightly shaken. Remove from oven.
Using a kitchen shears or a knife, cut marshmallows in half. Place halves in concentric circles over the top of the pie until covered.
Lower oven rack to the middle position, and set oven to the lowest broil setting. Place pie on the rack and lightly toast the marshmallows. (I recommend pulling them out the second you see them beginning to turn slightly golden.) You can also use a kitchen torch to toast the marshmallows instead.
Chill pie in the refrigerator to set for 2-3 hours. 
TASTE NOTES
This was an easy, delicious dessert. The pie took 40 minutes to cook to the stage where it looked dry on top and had just a slight jiggle. The taste was phenomenal and just a small slice satisfies.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Broccoli, Cheddar and Potato Soup



Cold winter days are made for soup--the heartier, the better. This chowder-like soup is stick-to-your-ribs good, but easily fits into a healthy lifestyle. Thanks to Skinnytaste for the base recipe.

INGREDIENTS
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour 
2 1/2 cups less sodium chicken broth 
1 cup fat free milk
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced small
1/4 tsp kosher salt and fresh pepper
cups (about 2 heads) broccoli florets, chopped into small pieces
1-1/2 cups reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar
2 slices 2% American cheese
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
DIRECTIONS

Chop onion, carrot, celery,and garlic .

In a large pot, melt butter.  Add chopped vegetables and sauté on low heat until soft, about 10 minutes.

Add flour, salt and pepper to the pot and stir until smooth.

Add chicken broth, milk and potatoes and set heat to high until it comes to a boil, then cover and cook on low until potatoes are soft, about 10-15 minutes.

Add broccoli florets, parmesan cheese, and stir well. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

 Cook uncovered until broccoli is cooked, about 15 minutes.

Add cheddar and American cheese, stir well and remove from heat.

Use an immersion blender to achieve desired consistency.
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TASTE NOTES
At 7 SP per 1 1/3 cup serving, this soup is a real winner.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Best Brownies Ever


I love brownies! I don't make them often because...I love brownies. I do make them at least once a year for DSO's hunting camp Opening Day dinner. This year I decided to try a new recipe and found this one on the King Arthur website.

I had to sample half of one to make sure they were good. Oh, my, were they ever! I know this will be my go-to brownie recipe from now on. I can imagine one with Godiva chocolate syrup and vanilla bean ice cream on top. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Hasselback Apples Lite


Hasselback potatoes are a fun side dish that I've enjoyed, so when I saw a recipe for Hasselback apples, I thought, "Why not?" The original recipe called for an oatmeal crumble, making the dish something like an apple crisp. While I'm sure that recipe would be delicious, it wouldn't be something that I could indulge in on a regular basis. I decided to eliminate that topping and just kick these baked apples up a notch.

  • 3 large apples, peeled and cored
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°.
  2. Starting at the outer edge, make thin slices at 1/8"-1/4" intervals cutting most (but not all) of the way through each apple half.
  3. Place apple halves, cut side down, in an 8-inch square pan sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. Combine butter, sugar and cinnamon and brush evenly over each apple piece.
  5. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes
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TASTE NOTES
These apples were delicious and with just a bit of butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon on them, they were very figure-friendly. I may add a lightened oatmeal crumble next time.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Blueberry Buckle Coffeecake



If you've never been on the King Arthur Flour blog, please put it on your list of things to do. This blueberry buckle coffeecake is a straightforward recipe that doesn't disappoint. Use fresh blueberries whenever possible or substitute frozen when you must.

I ran this recipe through the Weight Watcher recipe builder and it comes in at 7 SP per serving, based on cutting the cake into 16 servings. It's an indulgence for me, but well worth it.

The recipe is here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Chicken Enchilada Casserole



I love Mexican flavors and when I can have that taste without a lot of fat and carbs, it's a win-win situation. I've made a number of versions of this layered chicken enchilada casserole, but what separates this version (based on one I saw on the blog Skinny Chicken) is the sweetness from the honey which contrasts nicely with the acidity of the lemon juice.  Here is my take on the SK recipe.


6 servings - 9 SP per serving
Ingredients
2 tablespoons honey
⅓ cup lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, separated
1 teaspoon cumin, separated
1  teaspoon garlic powder, separated
1 teaspoon salt
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
¾ cup fat-free cottage cheese
½ cup fresh corn (off the cob) or frozen and defrosted
12-thin corn tortillas, cut in half
1 cup light cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons scallions, sliced or chopped
1 (10-12 oz)  can red enchilada sauce 
OPTIONAL: light sour cream 

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a 9 X 13 baking pan and using half the amount of spices listed above, season the chicken thighs on both sides. Roast for 20 minutes, turn chicken, then roast for an additional 20 minutes or until thighs are cooked through. Set aside to cool.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together honey, lemon juice, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and salt. Shred the chicken and add it along with the cottage cheese and  corn, mixing well. Let it marinate in the fridge for at least 15 minutes or longer.
3.. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
4. Coat the bottom of the pan with ¼ cup enchilada sauce. Spread around.Cover bottom of pan with tortilla slices  Spoon ⅔ cup of the marinated chicken with some of the juice over the top. Add 4 corn tortillas to cover bottom. They will overlap a bit. Spread ⅔ cup more chicken mixture evenly over tortillas, top with ½ cup shredded cheese. Add another layer of tortillas.  Spread with ½ of remaining sauce, add remaining chicken and add a final layer of tortillas. Spread remaining sauce all over top. Sprinkle with ½ cup shredded cheese and scallions. Cover casserole with foil. Bake for 30 minutes.
5. Cool a bit and cut into 6 slices.
6. Serve each with 1 tablespoon of sour cream or yogurt dolloped over the top.
Makes 6 servings
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TASTE NOTES
This casserole is a winner. Easy to put together, a mere 30 minutes in the oven, and a generous serving for a light entree--what's not to like? Next time I'll up the protein by including some black beans.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Lemon Chicken Pasta




I have definitely been on a chicken Francese kick, so when I saw this lightened dish from Taste of Home, I decided to give it a try.

Serves 4-6
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 oz each)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
8 oz angel hair pasta
3 tbs olive oil, divided
1/4 cup peeled and thinly sliced garlic cloves (10-12 cloves)
1 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced

Pound chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour, shaking off excess.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tbs olive oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook 2 -3 minutes on each side (until lightly browned). Remove and keep warm.

In same pan, heat remaining 1 tbs oil. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute, until lightly browned. Add wine to pan and increase heat to high. Cook, stirring to loosen browned bits, until reduced by half. Stir in lemon juice.

Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Place pasta in large bowl. Add cheese, parsley and toss to combine. Add reserved pasta water as needed to moisten pasta.

Serve chicken over pasta.
N.I. per serving:  403 cal; 12g fat (3g sat); 35g carb; 2g fiber; 31g prot
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TASTE NOTES
Moist chicken over a garlicky-lemon pasta was a nice alternative to a heavily-sauced, buttery chicken Francese. It was certainly a reasonable weeknight alternative. My only complaint is that dividing 4 breasts into 6 servings seems ridiculous. Next time I'll get 6 four-ounce breasts instead.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Arroz con Pollo


Rice with chicken can be found in many cuisines, though most people associate it with Spanish cooking. It's a dish that I've cooked many times, but this particular version, Latin American-style, knocked my socks off. Midway through my preparation, I began to wonder whether this more labor intensive version was worth the trouble. It is! It is! It is! I almost left out the mayonnaise-herb sauce; am I glad I didn't.

from Cook's Country magazine

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 Cubanelle pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup mayonnaise
juice of 2 lemons (about 3 1/2 tbs)
6 (5-7 oz) bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed
1 tbs vegetable oil
2 cups medium grain rice, rinsed
1 tbs (2 packets) Sazon with coriander and annatto
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup pimento stuffed green olives, halved
2 tbs capers, rinsed
2 bay leaves
optional:  1/3 cup frozen peas (I dislike peas, so I omitted them)

Adjust  oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.

Process cilantro, 1/2 cup onion, Cubanelle, garlic, and cumin in food processor until finely chopped. Transfer sofrito to bowl.

Process mayonnaise, 1 1/2 tbs lemon juice, 1/4 tsp salt, and 2 tbs sofrito in now empty processor until almost smooth. Transfer this mayonnaise-herb sauce to a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pat chicken dry with paper towels, season on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken skin side down and cook without moving it until skin is crispy and golden (7-9 minutes). Flip chicken and cook until golden on that side (another 7-9 minutes). You may need to cook chicken in 2 batches depending on size of your Dutch oven. Transfer chicken to plate and discard the skin.

Remove all but 2 tbs of the fat from the pot and heat over medium until shimmering. Add remaining 1/2 cup onion and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in rice and Sazon and cook until edges of rice begin to turn translucent, about 2 minutes.

Stir in broth, olives, capers, bay leaves, remaining sofrito, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper, scraping up brown bits. Nestle chicken into pot along with any accumulated juices and bring to a vigorous simmer.

Cover, transfer to oven, and bake for 20 minutes.

Transfer pot to wire rack and let stand covered for 15 minutes. Fluff rice with fork and stir in peas, if desired. Remove bay leaves.

Serve with mayonnaise-herb sauce and lemon slices.


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TASTE NOTES
I could have eaten much, much more than my cup of rice and 2 thighs (I'd planned on one, but couldn't resist). The brine of the capers and olives, the citric note of the lemons, and, more than anything else, the tantalizing flavors of the sofrito, made this the best arroz con pollo I've ever made or tasted. This Puerto Rican spin on a Latin American classic will remain my signature rice with chicken dish from now on. The leftovers are calling, but I must remain strong!

Crockpot Salisbury Steak Meatballs



I think it's ironic that all the years I worked I didn't even own a crockpot. While I still don't use one more than once a month, if that, I'm always on the lookout for healthy recipes I can prepare early in the day. The advantage is that I get most of the clean up done early, I have the whole day to do whatever, and dinner is ready (and usually includes leftovers) at whatever time I choose.

I saw a recipe for these meatballs on Skinnytaste, a blog I follow whose recipes have always been reliable. I knew right off the bat that I would make these in a crockpot--not an instant pot since I don't have one--and that I would double the recipe and freeze a meal for next week. In reviewing the recipe, I also decided not to fry the meatballs, but to bake them, and to add some Mexican crema and cornstarch at the end to make a gravy as opposed to a watery au jus. I made a few other small tweaks from the original recipe.


Here follows the recipe I used with my adaptations:

Ingredients
2 tsp oil
1 cup minced Vidalia onion
1 lb each 93% lean ground beef and turkey
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
2 large eggs, beaten
4 tbs tomato paste, divided
kosher salt
ground black pepper
2 tbs all purpose flour
1 tbs red wine vinegar (don't skimp; this really makes a difference in taste)
1 tbs plus 1 tsp Worcesteshire sauce
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
10-12 oz sliced mushrooms
2 1/2 cups reduced sodium beef broth
1 tbs corn starch
2 tbs crema or sour cream
chopped parsley (for garnish)

Directions
Finely chop 2 oz of the mushrooms and set aside.

In a nonstick skillet, add the oil and saute the onions until golden brown. Divide in two.

In a large bowl combine half the sauteed onions with the ground beef, ground turkey, chopped mushrooms, bread crumbs, egg, 2 tbs tomato paste, 1/2 cup beef broth, 1 1/4 tsp salt, and pepper to taste.

In a small bowl blend flour and 2 cups of broth until smooth. Mix in other half of sauteed onions, remaining 2 tbs tomato paste, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon mustard.

Gently shape into 40 small meatballs.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake meatballs 10 minutes. Turn over and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Place meatballs in crock pot. Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then pour the sauce over all. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Mix the cornstarch and crema with 1/3 cup of the sauce. Pour slowly back into crockpot, stir, and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Garnish with parsley and serve over rice or noodles.

Makes 8 servings (5 meatballs per serving for 6 SP)

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TASTE NOTES
I was pleased with this dish. I'd thought the 5 meatballs would be a skimpy serving, but with a half cup of rice and some carrots, it was quite filling. I look forward to the leftovers. I would not have enjoyed the dish without thickening the gravy. It was basically a watery beef broth until I made the slurry. It reminded me of Swedish meatballs, but the vinegar and Dijon added an extra dimension.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Sirloin and Parmesan Meat Loaf


I've had a subscription to Cooking Light for a very long time and I'm seldom disappointed when I try one of their recipes. Some may argue that meatloaf is meatloaf, but there are subtle differences and this version is a winner in my book.

Serves 8 (8 SP per slice)

1 tbs olive oil
2 cups chopped red onion
6 garlic cloves, minced
 1/2 cup ketchup, divided
1 3/4 lb 93% lean ground sirloin


1 1/2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tbs spicy brown mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil, swirl to coat, then add onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Cool slightly.

Combine onion mixture, 1/4 cup ketchup, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Mix just until combined.

Press mixture into a 9 X 5 loaf pan. Invert onto foil lined baking sheet and remove pan.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Brush top with remaining 1/4 cup ketchup and cook for 10 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes, then slice into 8 pieces.
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TASTE NOTES
This is a robust meatloaf that is equally delicious served hot with mashed potatoes and carrots or lukewarm on a Brooklyn Bred bistro roll. The red onion and garlic is assertive, but not overly so, The combination of mustard and ketchup adds a nice balance and the grated cheese is just a subtle afterthought. I will definitely make this again.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Arroz con Pollo (Weight Watcher friendly version)


One dish dinners seldom disappoint. Spanish-style chicken and rice is no exception, but the calorie count can be daunting. When I found a recipe for arroz con pollo on Skinnytaste, I decided to give it a try. Here is my version--just a few changes made it more to our taste.

Serves 8 (1 thigh with 1 cup of rice) 11 SP
Ingredients:
  • 8 skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 pkg Sazon
  • 1/2 tsp Adobo (without pepper is my preference)
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5 scallions
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups long grain rice
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • salt to taste (about 2 tsp)
Directions:
Season the chicken thighs with vinegar, Sazon, Adobo, and garlic powder and let it sit 10 minutes. Heat a large deep heavy skillet or a Dutch oven on medium and add 2 tsp oil when hot. Add chicken and brown 5 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.

Place onion, cilantro, garlic, scallions and pepper in the bowl of a food processo and pulse 4-5 times. Add remaining teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet and sauté onion mixture on medium-low until soft, about 3 minutes. Add rice, mix well and cook another minute. Add broth and bouillon (be sure it dissolves well), scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add salt to taste.
Add chicken and nestle into rice, bring to a boil. Simmer on medium-low until most of the water evaporates and you see the liquid bubbling at the top of the rice line, then reduce heat to low heat and cover. Make sure the lid has a good seal, no steam should escape.
Cook 20 minutes without opening the lid. Shut heat off and let it sit with the lid on an additional 10 minutes. Fluff rice and serve.
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TASTE NOTES
I couldn't wait for the rice to cook, this smelled so wonderful. The rice is very flavorful, but not overpowering. The combination of Sazon, Adobo, cilantro, onion, and garlic along with the flavor of the very moist chicken did its magic. That little bit of vinegar that you use to flavor the chicken adds just the right amount of acidity. I would serve this dish to company with no apologies for how it's been lightened.