2015-01-23 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

Quick, tasty and oh, so healthy meals
By Connie Wendell
Special to the Post

The most popular New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier. Usually resolutions will wane after several weeks.

However, in order to make yours stick this year you need to be armed. Armed with recipes that are healthy, low in calories and does not take an entire staff to prepare them.

This time I have include three of those recipes. Even if you don’t want to eat healthier, I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

Lemony chicken

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice; 1 tablespoon minced garlic, divided; 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano, divided; ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided; ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided; 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided; 4 (6 ounce) boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes; 1 cup fresh parsley leaves; and 2 cups chopped tomatoes.

Combine 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 teaspoons garlic, 1 teaspoon oregano, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken and stir; marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours, covered.

Remove chicken from bowl and discard marinade. Thread chicken onto 4 (10- inch) skewers. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Add skewers and cook for 6 minutes or until done, turning often.

Combine remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon garlic, ½ teaspoon oregano, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons oil, stirring well with a whisk. Add parsley and tomatoes; toss to coat. Serve chicken on top of salad.

Serves four.

Roasted shrimp with white beans and feta

2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided; 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided; ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided; 1 pound peeled, and deveined large shrimp; 1 cup finely chopped red onion; 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained; ¼ cup unsalted chicken broth; 1 teaspoon, finely grated lemon rind; 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar; ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard; ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; ¼ cup chopped, fresh mint (optional); and 1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled (about ¼ cup).

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine 2 teaspoons oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a dish. Add shrimp; toss to coat. Set aside.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, sauté 2 minutes. Stir in beans, broth and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt; cook for 3 minutes.

Arrange shrimp on a baking sheet and roast at 450 degrees for 4 minutes.

Combine remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, rind, vinegar, mustard and black pepper in a bowl. Pour half of oil mixture over beans; toss. Stir in mint.

Divide evenly among 4 plates, sprinkle with feta. Arrange shrimp alongside. Top with remaining oil mixture.

Serves four.

Beef Tagine with butternut squash

2 teaspoons paprika; 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon; ¾ teaspoon salt; ½ teaspoon ground ginger; 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper; ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; 1 (1-pound) shoulder roast or petite tender roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes; 1 tablespoon olive oil; 4 shallots quartered; 4 garlic cloves, chopped; ½ cup fat-free, lower sodium chicken broth; 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-saltadded diced tomatoes, undrained; 3 cups (1-inch) cubed, peeled butternut squash (about 1-pound); and ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro.

Combine paprika, cinnamon, salt, ginger, red pepper and black pepper in a medium bowl. Add beef and toss well to coat.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over mediumhigh heat. Add beef and shallots; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes. Add squash; cover and reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until squash is tender. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Serves four.

Ready. Set. Resolute. Until next time, keep Cooking on Purpose.

Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com.

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