Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The latest and greatest...

(Post preface:  While I did have some food classes in college, the majority of what I studied was: "What's in the human body?  How does it work?  How do nutrients, vitamins, and minerals affect body processes?"  I am not a chef.  However, I am a very willing cook.  This means a few things:  1.  I don't usually create my own recipes.  2.  I spend a lot of time looking up other people's recipes.  3.  It might not always taste the best, but I can tell you 10 solid health reasons why we should eat it anyway.)

As I plan my menu each week, I usually peruse my favorite cooking sites or the latest Taste of Home magazine to find new recipes to try.  Each week, I'm going to try to recommend to you at least one recipe that I've found and prepared.  So without further ado...

Healthified Chicken and Broccoli-Parmesan Pasta

Find the full recipe here at Eat Better America.

Prep time:  10 minutes
Start to finish:  30 minutes
Makes: 6 servings
8 oz. dried whole wheat pasta (2 1/2 cups) - I used penne
3 cups fresh broccoli florets (you could definitely use frozen though)
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp adobo seasoning (homemade)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/8 tsp black pepper
Shredded Parmesan cheese

1.  In a Dutch oven cook pasta according to package direcctions, adding broccoli for the last 5 minutes.  Drain well.  Return to hot Dutch oven.
2.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine chicken pieces and adobo seasoning; toss to coat. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add garlic; cook and stir for 30 seconds.  Add chicken; cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, stirring occasionally.
3.  Add chicken to drained pasta and broccoli.  Stir in mayonnaise and pepper.  Cook over low heat until heated through, stirring occasionally.
4.  To serve, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Nutrition Analysis:  Calories 320, Total Fat 10 g (Saturated Fat 1.5 g), Sodium 380 mg, Total carb 33 g (Fiber 3 g), Protein 24 g.

In an effort to save money and to prevent an unnecessary intake of preservatives, I have been trying to make my own seasonings when possible.  I had never heard of used adobo seasoning, a Latin spice blend, until I tried it in this recipe.  I found a recipe for the seasoning here.  It was great!  It definitely gave it an unexpected flavor that prevented this from being another boring pasta recipe.  This is not considered a low-sodium dish, but with most of the sodium coming from the seasoning, it would be easy to decrease the amount of salt you use in the adobo seasoning.

This was a very quick dish to make.  I appreciated that the chicken was prepared with the meal and did not need to be pre-cooked.  I liked this recipe so much that I have made it two weeks in a row!

Health Bonus: 
Fiber from the pasta and broccoli
Calcium from the broccoli and cheese
Lean protein from the chicken
Heart-healthy fats from the olive oil and mayonnaise

Word of warning:The recipe calls for adding the broccoli to the pasta for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.  This is a very long time and results in broccoli that falls apart.  I actually liked that the broccoli fell apart because it made for a more cohesive dish and gave it a nice green color.  But if you want to keep the broccoli fully intact, I would recommend adding it only 2-3 minutes before the end of cooking time.

Hubby's reaction:  Although he was leary at first and didn't really like that the broccoli was added to the pasta when it was cooked, he ate all of it and really liked the seasoning too.

Let me know if you make it and/or how you would change it!


Annette said...

I am going to try this soon. Tim and I are trying to diet and he is diabetic so looking for great recipes so thanks!!!

Morgan said...

YUM!! I will be making this...thanks!

sabrina said...

yay for recipe sharing!!! Thanks! I have never heard of adobo seasoning.

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