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Olives make for heart-healthy chicken recipe

The Food and Drug Administration has agreed to let foods containing olive oil carry the claim that they might reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Here's a heart-friendly recipe from the California Olive Industry that uses both olive oil and whole, pitted olives:

Season 4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts with 2 teaspoons each of thyme and oregano and { teaspoon salt. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Place chicken in pan and brown for 2 minutes to 3 minutes. Flip over and brown for 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to a high-sided baking sheet and cook at 450 degrees for 8 minutes or until cooked through.

While chicken is roasting, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 4 cups of cauliflower florets (quartered and blanched) and cook for 2 minutes to 3 minutes until golden, stirring occasionally.

Turn heat down to medium-low, add 3 tablespoons pine nuts and 3 thinly sliced cloves of garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute to 2 minutes.

Toss in 6 ounces of green beans (trimmed and blanched) and 1 cup of ripe, whole, pitted olives, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and \ teaspoon pepper.

Cover and cook for 2 minutes until heated through, then season with \ teaspoon salt and a teaspoon each of thyme and oregano.

Place vegetable mixture on serving plates and top with chicken. Serves 4.

Per serving: 345 calories; 14 grams fat; 98mg cholesterol; 513mg sodium; 11g carbohydrate; 43g protein.

Kitchen tips

How many times have you found yourself in the midst of cooking only to discover you're out of a particular ingredient?

Here are some helpful substitutions suggested by McCormick & Co.:

+ 1 teaspoon of apple-pie spice is equal to } teaspoon ground cinnamon, \ teaspoon ground nutmeg and [ teaspoon allspice.

+ 1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice is equal to { teaspoon ground cinnamon plus \ teaspoon ground ginger and [ teaspoon each ground cloves and ground nutmeg.

+ 1 teaspoon fresh chopped ginger equals \ teaspoon ground ginger.

+ 3 teaspoons of chopped herb leaves such as basil, dill, tarragon and thyme equals 1 teaspoon dried.

+ 2 teaspoons fresh chopped sage, rosemary, marjoram, mint and oregano is equal to 1 teaspoon dried.

+ + +

Roasting meat on the bone keeps meat moist and improves its flavor. Pan-searing before roasting is the way to get a great burnished crust on lean meats that would otherwise dry out if left to brown solely in the oven.

+ + +

Oil-packed tuna is more flavorful and has a nicer consistency than its water-packed cousin. Look for Italian ones for a special treat.

These tunas are in a totally different class than the flaky canned ones, and are ideal for Nicoise Salad.

+ + +

To remove burnt food from a cast-iron or stainless-steel skillet, add a lot of coarse salt with a little water and scrub.

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