2015-11-20 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

‘Tis the season … to rush, rush, rush
By Connie Wendell Special to the Post

This is the busiest season of the year and it is so important to eat right so stress doesn’t get strike us ill. I have included some very healthy and very delicious recipes this time. They are all skillet dinners and designed for busy people as they are very quick to prepare.

Lemon-ginger fish

1 pound cod, haddock or other firm white fish; 2 small lemons; 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger; 2 teaspoons sugar; ¼ cup butter; 2 (5 ounce) bags baby spinach; 2 tablespoons water; ¼ teaspoon salt; and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper.

Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. Cut fish into 4 pieces; set fish aside. Thinly slice one lemon; set aside. Finely shred peel from remaining lemon; juice the lemon and in a small bowl combine the lemon peel and juice, ginger and sugar and set aside.

In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add fish to skillet. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until browned. Turn fish and add lemon juice mixture. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until fish flakes when tested with a fork. Using a slotted spatula transfer fish to platter; cover to keep warm.

Add lemon slices to the skillet. Cook about 2 minutes or until lemon slices are softened and sauce is slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, place spinach in a very large microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle with the water. Microwave on 100 percent power for about 2 minutes or just until wilted, tossing once after 1 minute.

To serve, divide spinach among four shallow-serving bowls. Top with fish and sauce. Add lemon slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serves four.

Mediterranean lamb skillet

½ cup dried orzo; 8 lamb rib chops, cut 1-inch thick; salt and pepper to taste; 2 teaspoons olive oil; 3 cloves garlic, minced; 1 (14.5-ounce can dice tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, undrained; 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar; 2 teaspoons snipped fresh rosemary; and 1/3 cup halves, pitted Kalamata olives.

Cook orzo according to package directions; drain and keep warm. Meanwhile, trim fat from chops. Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chops; cook in hot oil for 9 to 11 minutes for medium (160 degrees) turning once halfway through cooking. Remove chops from skillet.

Stir garlic into drippings in skillet. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in undrained tomatoes, vinegar and rosemary. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Stir in orzo and olives. Return chops to skillet and heat through.

Serves four.

Chicken dijonnaise

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 1¼ - 1½ pounds total); ¼ cup flour; ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper; 2 tablespoons butter; 2 tablespoons chopped scallion; 1/3 cup whipping cream; 3 tablespoons dry white wine or chicken broth; 3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard; and fresh thyme.

Place each chicken breast half between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, light pound chicken to ¼ to -inch thickness. Discard plastic wrap. In a shallow dish combine flour and pepper. Coat chicken pieces with flour mixture.

In a 12-inch skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add chicken to skillet. Cook about 6 minutes or until no pink remains in chicken, turning once.

Transfer chicken to a platter, reserving drippings in skillet. Cover to keep warm.

For sauce, add scallion to the drippings in the skillet. Cook and stir over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in whipping cream, white wine and mustard. Cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth and slightly thickened. Spoon sauce over chicken. Snip fresh thyme to sprinkle over chicken and garnish with thyme springs.

Serves 4.

Enjoy the holiday season. Until next time, keep Cooking on Purpose.

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

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