Oct 30, 2009

Chicken with Pancetta & Figs

This post marks the first of hopefully many weeknight recipes. Until now, I’ve cheatingly left the cooking for the weekends, which tend to be slower as far as work goes. But Luke and I just spent a wonderfully long weekend together in Petoskey, MI, celebrating our one-year anniversary. And while there was definitely a lot of food involved, absolutely none of it was cooked by me.

But boy did we eat. Let me brag just a little about the fine culinary offerings of Petoskey. First, there was the pizza at Papa Lou’s, which made its way into my personal pizza hall of fame with basil olive oil, grilled chicken, caramelized onion, bacon and so much cheese, my lactose-intolerant self had to pop double dairy pills. It was wonderful. Especially the part where they accidentally made us a large instead of a small. Then there were the buttery sandwiches and homemade bread at City Park Grill, a restaurant once frequented by the great Ernest Hemingway. Oh, and the slab of fudge from Killwins, literally dripping with caramel. And the humongous, technicolor, hippie made rice krispy treat made with cocoa puffs, fruit loops and golden grahams. 

But the best of all came from the bed and breakfast we stayed in. I had Chicken Hemingway, which was covered in Michigan sour cherry sauce and truffled mushrooms, propped on creamy garlic mashed, and Luke had chicken marsala to melt for. All washed down with fabulous falltinis, a.k.a. liquid Christmas, made special by the owner, and finished with hazelnut crème Brule with caramelized sugar, scorched right at the table. Let me tell you, it was all deliciously worth casting our diets to the wayside for romance’s sake.

But it wasn’t all so glorious. Ironically, we drove home on Sunday, our actual anniversary, and stopped for dinner at, ahem, Arby’s. You know you’re really in love when you can stare dreamily into your husband’s eyes while stuffing your face with curly fries smothered in Arby’s sauce.

Anyway, Monday came all too quickly and before I knew it I was back to work and back in the kitchen. Well, the grocery store at least, where for at least 30 minutes, the only thing running through my head was, “Garam Masala! Garam Masala! Where are you? Actually, what are you?” as I foraged through every inch of the store for the mystery spice. It was late, my cart was already full of pancetta, tawny port, chicken, figs and our usual fare, and I think I looked desperate because after I passed the same employee for the tenth time, she joined in on the hunt. We searched the spice racks, the international food aisle, the organic section, and alas, I put up my white flag and sadly postponed the cooking.

Fortunately, I have a wonderful husband, who did his own search online the next morning and found a nearby Indian grocer. And boy, you wouldn’t believe the things they sell in there. Rice in dog-food size bags. Chickpea cans the size of your head. The owner actually opened the freezer for Luke and started hard-selling unrecognizable meat to him, in an unrecognizable language.  But we got the stuff. And the stuff, I tell you, is glorious. Garam Masala means “hot mixture” (with “hot” referring to the spice’s intensity, not its heat), and is a beautiful blend of peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, bay leaves, star anise and coriander. Smells great, like Christmas in India.

So with all my ingredients finally in one place, the cooking began. Like always, I started with the prep. I mixed the dry rub, sliced the onion and pancetta and chopped the figs, parsley and thyme. By the way, thyme smells so good. Oddly reminds me of those scratch ‘n sniff pizza stickers, and at the same time, all the homegrown herbs and flowers my mom used to dry in our attic in Indiana when I was a kid. And it was going to take a strong whiff of nostalgia to get me through the next step.



The next step being the one thing I wasn’t looking forward to – removing all that fatty skin from the chicken thighs. I’ve only ever bought boneless, skinless chicken breasts that are ready to go, so this was something new.  I’ll spare you the slimy details, but to say the least, the thighs were 50% smaller when I was done, and my garbage disposal had a hard time choking down all that fat. Gross.

After the prep, the rest of the cooking went well, and I really enjoyed it. I sautéed the onion and pancetta, set them aside, then sprinkled the dry rub on the chicken and browned them. It smelled so amazing sizzling in the pan with all those spices. And every time I added something new, the aroma just got better. First the port and vinegar, then the onions, pancetta and broth, and finally, the figs and herbs.







I served it over jasmine rice with glasses of the tawny port. The dish was great. Very different, but great. Luke was in love. We’re both big fans of Indian food, and while I’m not sure if this dish actually classifies as Indian, it definitely tasted like it. Sweet, juicy, saucy, and full of all those great spices. (Which, I may double next time.) And great texture, too, thanks to the figs and onion. It would have been perfect if we’d only had some warm naan to go with.

We made a toast, and I took a sip of the port and thought, wow, this is incredibly sweet and strong. A quick scan of the bottle and I realized that it was a dessert wine, made to go in those little fancy glasses for microscopic sipping, not the oversized goblets on our table. Eh, oh well. I’m sure our sesame dessert from the Indian store soaked it all up just fine.


Last night we had leftovers, which were even better, as most leftovers are. And mid-meal, Luke asked with pleading eyes if I'd make this meal again. So of course I turned to him and said, "I do."

Chicken with Pancetta and Figs
Yeild: 4 servings (serving size: 2 thighs and about 2/3 cup sauce)

Pancetta--Italian unsmoked bacon found in the deli of many supermarkets--adds saltiness to this dish. If you can't find it, substitute lean cooked bacon. If fresh figs are available, stir them in just before serving, omitting the dried figs. Serve over basmati rice in rimmed soup bowls.

3/4  teaspoon  olive oil
Cooking spray
1  cup  vertically sliced onion
1  ounce  pancetta, finely chopped
2  teaspoons  garam masala
1  teaspoon  brown sugar
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
8  chicken thighs (about 2 1/4 pounds), skinned
1/4  cup  tawny port
2  tablespoons  red wine vinegar
1  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
12  dried Calimyrna figs, quartered
3  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley
1  tablespoon  chopped fresh thyme
Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)

Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion and pancetta; sauté 3 minutes. Remove from pan.

Combine garam masala, sugar, salt, and pepper; sprinkle evenly over chicken. Add chicken to pan; cook over medium-high heat 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Add port and vinegar; cook 30 seconds, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add onion mixture and broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Add figs; cover and simmer 8 minutes or until chicken is done. Stir in parsley and chopped thyme. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.
Nutritional Information

Nutritional Info: Calories: 392 (26% from fat), Fat: 11.5g (sat 3.2g,mono 4.4g,poly 2.3g), Protein: 32.3g, Carbohydrate: 42.3g, Fiber: 8g, Cholesterol: 125mg, Iron: 3.5mg, Sodium: 594mg, Calcium:125mg. Source: Cooking Light Complete Cookbook, 2008.

Pumpkin Dip

I’m going to keep this post short, simple and sweet, as a tribute to the qualities of this dip.

First off, I’ve never been much of a pudding/sweet dip person. And I’ve always slightly loathed those who try to pass off fruit as dessert. So making a fruit dip wasn’t high on my list of must-eat treats. But I do love pumpkin and anything with cream cheese, so I had the inkling to give this recipe a shot.

It’s quite a breeze to make. Six ingredients. Three steps. You gotta love that. I did, however, modify it a bit based on a review I read online, cutting the brown sugar down to 1/3 cup (you definitely don’t need more), and adding a little pumpkin pie spice. You just whip it all up with a little maple syrup and cinnamon, chill for 30 minutes, and voilà! A perfect fall treat. It came out fluffy, creamy and… oh so dreamy. (Sorry. I have Grey’s Anatomy on my mind from last night, which is becoming quite an annoying show, in my opinion.)

I served it with fresh Michigan apple slices and mini gingersnaps. This stuff is awesome. Like pumpkin cheesecake in an easy-to-pig-out-on form. We couldn’t get enough! I loved the way it complemented the crisp, juicy apples. Luke preferred the crunchy cookies. We both ended up eating most of it off our fingers.




Pumpkin Dip
Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 2 tablespoons dip/2 apple slices)

3/4  cup  (6 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/2  cup  packed brown sugar (I reduced to 1/3 cup)
1/2  cup  canned pumpkin
2  teaspoons  maple syrup
1/2  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
24  apple slices
(*I added a few shakes of pumpkin pie spice)

Place first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add syrup and cinnamon, and beat until smooth. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Serve with apple.
Nutritional Information

Nutritional info: Calories: 107 (27% from fat), Fat: 3.2g (sat 2g,mono 0.9g,poly 0.1g), Protein: 2g, Carbohydrate: 18.3g, Fiber: 1.4g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Iron:1mg, Sodium: 87mg, Calcium: 35mg. Source: Cooking Light, 2003.

Oct 22, 2009

Crisp Crusted Catfish & Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese and Garlic

As you're about to see, this wasn’t the most visually stunning meal to prepare. No fresh colors or interesting ingredients, just shades of tan and a lot of liquids. But then again, there are many foods that lack color and visual grace, but still reign victoriously when it comes to taste. Like deep fried candy bars. Not that this meal tasted anything like a fried candy bar. One could only wish that low-fat, un-fried foods could end up tasting like the divine concoctions of county fairs.

But doesn’t it seem like the foods we crave are usually the least beautiful? Sure, that salad is nice and colorful. And that sushi looks like art. But sometimes you just want a corn dog with a side of corn dogs. When I worked at Applebee’s, I remember one commonly ordered dish was the chicken fried chicken, which comes with mashed potatoes, garlic bread, and broccoli. And of course, people would always replace the broccoli with fries. Part of me felt guilty delivering that heaping plate of greasy brown carbs to the table. But just a small part. The largest part felt mostly jealous.

One thing I did get to do for this meal was visit the fresh seafood counter, which is always fun. It’s stuff like fresh seafood, and gourmet cheese and exotic produce that really make you feel like you’re going home to create something wonderful. Quite opposite to the feeling that’s induced after grabbing some mass produced, just-add-water, box of preservative-filled powder. Plus, fresh seafood is so exciting, with all those bright colors and crab legs spiking out everywhere, and huge slabs of salmon. I wish I could have snagged a few photos to liven up this post. But I did manage to snag the last four catfish fillets. Supposedly they’ve been selling like crazy.

At home, I started with the potatoes, which I predicted would cause a few problems because I don’t have a potato slicer or a Cuisinart or anything with the power to quickly and uniformly slice. But in actuality, they were a cinch. (Mother’s note: hold them steady with a fork. Those suckers are slippery!) The sauce was equally easy, which I layered between potato slices, then threw into the oven to forget about for an hour.






Next, the fish. Dip it, dredge it, then throw them in a hot pan of oil until golden brown. Don’t I wish! Instead, I sadly baked them. I think sadly is an appropriate descriptor because what I was really doing was denying the fish its right to be fried. And my right to eat it fried. There’s just something magical about the combination of fish, a bowl of batter and a vat of oil. That’s why no one ever hosts a fish bake. Or goes to Long John Silvers to order that one lonesome non-fried item on the menu.

But to my surprise, the fish came out looking deceivingly fried. And the potatoes came out looking deceivingly… pinkish. And rather void of life. I know it's hard to tell from the picture, but it looked kinda like potatoes in salmon pâté.





Baked fish and pink potatoes. Not quite the beg-for-seconds meal I’d set out to make. But I sucked it up and served it up, aside a salad and a couple Irish beers and…pretty good. Despite their lack luster appearance, the potatoes were actually very tasty. Very creamy and peppery. Much better than scalped potatoes from a box, and practically as easy. I'll make them again. The fish was good, too. Although, I couldn’t help but wonder out loud if frying them for a just a little bit might be worth the added calories. But the raised eyebrow from my husband kept me in my seat. So I just squirted on more lemon, and pretended it was oil.

I was going to say it was just an “eh” meal, as in good, but not something I’m all crazy about making again. (Like I am with that chicken from last week.) But Luke loved it, and kept hinting that I should make it soon. So, I guess I’ll say it’s a winner. At least in his book.

Crisp Crusted Catfish
Yield: 4 servings

2  tablespoons  light ranch dressing
2  large egg whites
6  tablespoons  yellow cornmeal
1/4  cup  (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
1/4  teaspoon  ground red pepper
1/8  teaspoon  salt
4  (6-ounce) farm-raised catfish fillets
Cooking spray
4  lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine the dressing and egg whites in a small bowl, and stir well with a whisk. Combine the cornmeal, cheese, flour, pepper, and salt in a shallow dish. Dip fish in egg white mixture; dredge in cornmeal mixture.

Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; bake at 425° for 12 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with lemon wedges.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 313 (26% from fat), Fat: 9.1g (sat 2.8g,mono 3.6g,poly 3.3g), Protein: 87g, Carbohydrate: 14.3g, Fiber: 1.1g, Cholesterol: 87mg, Iron: 1.2mg, Sodium: 348mg, Calcium: 101mg. Source: Cooking Light Complete Cookbook, 2008.

Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese and Garlic
Yield: 9 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup)

1  cup  half-and-half, divided
1  tablespoon  all-purpose flour
1  cup  (4 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
1  cup  1% low-fat milk
1  teaspoon  salt
3/4  teaspoon  black pepper
1/8  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
1  garlic clove, minced
5  cups  thinly sliced peeled Yukon gold potato (about 2 1/2 pounds)
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine 2 tablespoons half-and-half with flour in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add the remaining half-and-half, cheese, and next 5 ingredients (cheese through garlic), stirring with a whisk. Arrange half of the potato slices in a single layer in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour half of the milk mixture over potato slices, stirring the milk mixture immediately before adding. Repeat procedure with remaining potato slices and milk mixture. Bake at 400° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 193 (27% from fat), Fat: 5.8g (sat 3.8g,mono 1.6g,poly 0.1g), Protein: 6.4g, Carbohydrate: 28.4g, Fiber: 2.4g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Iron: 0.7mg, Sodium: 341mg, Calcium: 90mg. Source: Cooking Light Complete Cookbook, 2008.

Cream Cheese Brownies

I had high hopes for these little guys from the moment I saw them.  Brownies? I like brownies! Cheesecake? I like cheesecake! And I’ve never made either from scratch. In fact, I didn’t even know that brownies existed outside of Betty’s boxed powder world until not too long ago. Thanks, Grandma.

Not a lot to say about the steps. Although one thing that gets to me about baking in general is that there are always so many little ingredients that require measuring. And their own mixing bowls. And specific instructions. Like “gently spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level with a knife”. The fact that it has to be that precise in order to taste right scares me. And of course you have to add each ingredient separately. And gradually. Which, in my case, means while holding a speeding mixer in one hand and steadying the bowl with my elbow. And then, you beat or mix or whip just until it makes a very specific consistency. And don't overdo it, or you'll ruin it. Bah!

But ironically, it’s all those little steps that make baking the rewarding challenge it is. Since you’re not just clumsily dumping everything into the bowl, it creates a kind of allure. It’s the same deal with eating sushi, or crab legs. You have to sacrifice something in order for it to be great. (Although in my opinion, sushi can never be great, because what you’re sacrificing is all of your poor little taste buds.)





Anyways, I whipped up the brownie batter and spread it into the pan, let Luke have a heyday on the spoons, then whipped up the topping and poured it on top. Baked it. When it came out I thought I’d messed something up because there wasn’t as clear of a black/white layering like in the cookbook photos. Those darned photos. But after it cooled and I sliced it up, I found those beautiful layers on the inside.


And they are delicious. I highly recommend. But a note: I was expecting brownies the way I like brownies, which are gooey and fudgy and basically just plain under baked. But these came out more like cake. I’m sure I could have taken them out earlier, but I was scared I’d ruin the topping, which wasn’t set until the end. Maybe next time I’ll risk it for the love of fudge. Either way, it tastes like a layer of chocolate cake topped with a layer of cheesecake. And who can say no to that.

I dressed them up with red raspberries, which, in my opinion, should definitely be included in the recipe. So much better. Raspberries already go so great with chocolate and cheesecake, so putting all three together created very delicious results. And they’re light! As long as you don’t cheat and have seconds. Oops!


Cream Cheese Brownies
Yield: 36 Servings


Cooking spray
1/2  cup  butter, softened
1 1/2  cups  sugar
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
2  large egg whites
1  large egg
2/3  cup  unsweetened cocoa
1/2  cup  fat-free milk
1 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour (6 3/4 ounces)
1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
1/4  teaspoon  salt

1  (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1  tablespoon  cornstarch
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
1  (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1  large egg

Preheat oven to 350°.

Coat bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

To prepare batter, place butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Add sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add egg whites and egg, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add cocoa and fat-free milk; beat well (mixture will appear curdled). Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; stir with a whisk. Add to cocoa mixture; beat at low speed just until blended. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

To prepare topping, place cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add cornstarch and remaining ingredients; beat until smooth. Spread evenly over batter. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until set. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
Nutritional Information

Nutrition Info: Calories: 131 (29% from fat), Fat: 4.2g (sat 2.5g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.2g), Protein: 3.2g, Carbohydrate: 20.7g, Fiber: 0.7g, Cholesterol: 23mg, Iron: 0.6mg, Sodium: 88mg, Calcium: 51mg. Source: Cooking Light Complete Cookbook, 2008.

Oct 12, 2009

Gruyère, Arugula, & Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken w/ Caramelized Shallot Sauce, Herbed Mashed Potatoes & Chive Green Beans

Gruyère, arugula and prosciutto: Now that we’ve met, I just want to say one thing. I love you. That is all.

Let me tell you, this is delicious. And just look at it - I made that! Not a throw-it-together meal, but deliciously worth the time. Yes, it dirties up a few dishes. Yes, it requires a bit of prep. But with the right planning, you’ll forget all that. (The sweet, melty cheese and creamy potatoes will help you forget, too.)

It’s also not the lightest recipe in cooking light history. Maybe I shouldn’t have skipped the gym to stay home and make it. But I’ve skipped the gym for far less. Like when none of my cute gym clothes are clean. But if my reward is getting to eat food like this, I’ll go to the gym. It’s that good. And here’s how I made it.



First came shopping. Actually, first came dictionary.com. I checked the pronunciation of Gruyère so I wouldn’t look like a complete airhead asking for half a pound of “gruyerie”. (For those like me, it’s pronounced “grew-yair”.) But my new found knowledge was wasted because we went on a Saturday morning. Saturday. Morning. Never again, my friends. There was no way I was waiting in that line for a few slices of cheese. The prepackaged, pricier version would have to do. Same with the prosciutto. And in the future, I'm going to try Wednesday shopping.

The recipe suggests stuffing the chicken the day before, and I highly recommend. Not only does it save time, but refrigerating overnight also melds the edges of the chicken together, making them much more manageable later.

But if you plan to make them the night before like I did, a few questions: Do you live in the second level of an apartment? Are you making them past 9 p.m.? If yes, reconsider. My entire apartment shook every time my rolling pin slammed down on those poor, helpless chickens. The stove rattled. The dishwasher rattled. The floor rattled. And it wasn’t just a few whops, either. I had to give each of the six a good beating (partially because I used 8 oz. breasts instead of 6 oz. halves, partially because I have no upper arm strength due to chronic gym excuses.) And I prolonged the whole event due to plastic wrap battle #2 – you take an already annoyingly clingy product, add sticky raw chicken and a girl who’s overly compulsive about raw meat germs and you’ll end up with carnage that looks like this:

So the beating lasted awhile. I kept imagining our downstairs neighbor thinking either someone was getting tortured, or that we’d undertaken a little moonlight remodeling. Thankfully, no one came knocking, so I stuffed them and went to bed feeling only mildly guilty.

(Note: I’ve stuffed chicken before, and always rolled it up. No. No. No. I’ve been doing it all wrong! Just fold it over and pinch the edges like the recipe says. No need for toothpicks and the stuffing is much more prominent when in the center instead of rolled up in chicken layers.)

Day two was mealtime. Here’s how I planned it out, which worked nicely. First, I snapped the beans and peeled the tots. It reminded me of my Grandma, who to this day still holds duel titles as master of mashed potatoes and potato salad. I remember watching in amazement as she peeled potato after potato at warp speed, paying no attention to the blade that came so close to her fingers. I’d hold my breath and warn that she was going to slice off her skin. She’d stop whistling, laugh and sternly reply, “Now Rachel, I’ve been making mashed potatoes for over 80 years. I know what I’m doing.” Back to whistling. Enough said.



I then prepped everything else: shallots, chives, parsley, even the butter, and measured ingredients into separate dishes. Take head when chopping the shallots. I had to leave the kitchen four times to flush my eyes with water, leading me to conclude that shallots are a close relative to teargas.

I boiled the potatoes and fried the chicken. I have a small pan, so I fried two at a time, adding about a tablespoon more oil each time. I mashed the potatoes, transferred to a serving dish and threw in the beans. I don’t have a steamer, so I boiled them until they were just slightly crunchy, then tossed with  herb mix and poured into another serving dish. At that point the chicken was ready for the oven, so I started on the sauce.



The sauce was a little high maintenance and it took much longer to reduce than the recipe said, so it was a lesson in patience. (Especially for my husband who was already running late for a weekend meeting. Sorry!) The chicken also took much longer. Could be since my pieces were large. I kept compulsively checking and cutting every few minutes for fear that all my work would result in dry chicken. When they were done I tasted. Not dry at all. Unless dry is another word for amazing. 

I stuck the potatoes and beans in the oven on low to warm them up while I finished the sauce. I’ve never caramelized anything, or cooked with wine, or even heard of a shallot, so it was new fun. And it smelled so sweet and oniony.


 When the sauce was done, we were ready to eat and as you can see, it’s just as delicious to look at. Luke kept repeating the same thing over and over as he stuffed his face, “Why would we ever go to a restaurant again?” I agreed. This is definitely food fit for company. Every part went so great together, which makes me especially proud because I paired it up myself. The chicken was juicy and perfect with the sweet, nutty Gruyère, arugula and slightly salty prosciutto. The potatoes were creamy and the beans make a great go-to vegetable. And the sauce. Oh the sauce. Caramelized is my new favorite adjective. I wonder what else I can caramelize? Needless to say, I’ll definitely be making this meal again. Now, it’s about time for some leftovers…

Gruyère, Arugula, and Prosciutto-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Caramelized Shallot Sauce
Yield: 6 servings (1 chicken breast half and about 1/4 c. sauce)


6  (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
6  (1/2-ounce) slices prosciutto
6  (1/2-ounce) slices Gruyère cheese
1 1/2  cups  trimmed arugula
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/2  teaspoon  black pepper
3  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
1  tablespoon  olive oil

Caramelized Shallot Sauce:
1  cup  thinly sliced shallots
2  teaspoons tomato paste
2  cups  dry white wine
2 1/4  cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2  teaspoons  water
1  teaspoon  cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare the chicken, place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Discard plastic wrap. Top each chicken breast half with 1 slice prosciutto, 1 slice cheese, and 1/4-cup arugula, leaving a 1/4-inch border around edges. Fold in half, pinching edges together to seal; sprinkle with salt and pepper. (The chicken can be prepared up to a day ahead and refrigerated at this point.)

Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 5 minutes on each side. Place chicken in a shallow baking pan; bake at 350° for 5 minutes or until done. Keep warm.

To prepare sauce, add shallots to skillet; sauté 4 minutes over medium-high heat or until browned. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine; bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until reduced to 1 cup (about 6 minutes). Add broth; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half (about 8 minutes).

Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring with a fork until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to sauce; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Nutritional Info: Calories: 339 (27% from fat), Fat: 10.3g (sat 4g,mono 4.2g,poly 1.2g), Protein: 49.2g, Carbohydrate: 10.1g, Fiber: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 123mg, Iron: 2.4mg, Sodium: 809mg, Calcium:189mg. Source: Cooking Light: Complete Cookbook, 2008.

Creamy Herbed Mashed Potatoes
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup)

(Yukon golds make brilliant mashed potatoes, thanks to their balance of waxiness and starch. Because yellow potatoes are more flavorful than others, they don't need a lot of fat to taste rich. Mash them by hand just until creamy. Overworking the potatoes will make them gummy.)

4  cups  cubed peeled Yukon gold potato (about 2 pounds)
1/2  cup  2% reduced-fat milk
1/4  cup  low-fat sour cream
3  tablespoons  butter
3  tablespoons  chopped fresh chives
2  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper

Place potato in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return potato to pan. Add milk and remaining ingredients; mash with a potato masher to desired consistency.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 215 (30% from fat), Fat: 7.1g (sat 4.5g,mono 1.8g,poly 0.3g), Protein: 4.5g, Carbohydrate: 34.5g, Fiber: 2.4g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Iron: 0.7mg, Sodium: 280mg, Calcium: 51mg.

Chive Green Beans
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup)

1  pound  fresh green beans, trimmed
1  tablespoon  chopped fresh chives
1  tablespoon  chopped fresh parsley
2  teaspoons  butter
1/2  teaspoon  stone-ground mustard
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/8  teaspoon  pepper


Steam green beans, covered, 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from steamer; toss with remaining ingredients.

Nutritional info: Calories: 53 (32% from fat), Fat: 1.9g (sat 1.2g,mono 0.6g,poly 0.1g), Protein: 1.5g, Carbohydrate: 7.1g, Fiber: 4.2g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Iron: 0.6mg, Sodium:175mg, Calcium: 58mg. Source: Cooking Light: Complete Cookbook, 2008.
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