Weekday dinner inspirations: Caprese-Style Chicken Breasts and more

Mon | Going meatless

Simple Bean and Pasta Parmesan Bake is a good go-to Monday dish. Preheat oven to 350. While a box of penne pasta is cooking, saute chopped onions and a garlic clove in olive oil. Add 2 cans diced tomatoes with herbs and a can of drained cannellini beans. Mix with drained pasta. Pour into casserole dish and sprinkle with a mixture of bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake until top is bubbly and brown, about 15 minutes. Serve with a green salad.

Tues | Right size, right taste

A new cookbook from the American Diabetes Association reminds us that portion size is important when you're watching what you eat. Caprese-Style Chicken Breasts (recipe below) might seem like a skimpy amount, but when you look at the calorie count, you'll say "heck yeah!"

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Now that it's lighter longer, you can move dinner outside, maybe to a park or even the back yard. Do it before bugs and humidity descend. For your Weeknight Picnic, grab a rotisserie chicken and take it home to carve. Pack it up with grapes and strawberries, plus pasta or a cold rice salad and French bread. How about cranberry juice and club soda spritzers? Don't forget the sweets.

Thurs | Louie, Louie

Make Shrimp Louie salads tonight with frozen salad shrimp, thawed but ice cold. On a bed of iceberg, mound shrimp in the middle then surround with tomato wedges, cucumber and sliced hard-boiled eggs. Put the Thousand Island dressing on the side with a stack of saltines.

Fri | A toast to pork

Beer-Braised Pork Chops can be served over mashed potatoes or buttered noodles. Add a green veggie, too. To prepare 4 boneless, center-cut chops, melt butter in a large skillet. Brown both sides and remove. Add a package of sliced mushrooms, some chopped onion, a chopped garlic clove and salt. Cook for about 2 minutes. Mix in a cup of beer. Return chops to pan and simmer for about 8 minutes. They're done when the internal temperature is 160 degrees. Stir in chopped parsley before serving.

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Caprese-Style Chicken Breasts

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 ounces each), sliced in half crosswise, yielding 4 pieces

Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 8 slices each

2 ounces part-skim mozzarella, shredded

1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped

4 cups cooked broccoli

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large, wide, oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chicken. Cook chicken 5 minutes per side, turning once, or until no longer pink.

Sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes over the chicken, and sprinkle lemon juice over the top. Preheat broiler.

Top each piece of chicken with 4 tomato slices and 1/4 of mozzarella. Place under broiler, and broil until cheese is golden (about 3 minutes).

Remove from oven, and top with fresh basil. Serve with 1 cup cooked broccoli.

Serves 4:

Nutritional information per serving: 250 calories, 9g fat, 480mg sodium, 5g fiber, 33g protein, 12g carbohydrates.

Source: The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook by Any Riolo (American Diabetes Association, $19.95)

Weekday dinner inspirations: Caprese-Style Chicken Breasts and more 03/30/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 5:30am]

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