The Recipe ReDux – Mediterranean Yogurt Chicken

Once again it’s time for the monthly Recipe Redux challenge. This is the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians,The Recipe ReDux is focused on taking delicious dishes, keeping them delicious, but making them better for you. Each month there is a theme and this month’s theme is:

A New Ingredient for the New Year

We’ve been asked to pick a new ingredient that you’ve been wanting to try and cook or bake up a new recipe in the new year. I started thinking about ingredients that I might want to try but nothing came to mind. A few days later my middle daughter was in the kitchen asking why I had a jar of dried mint. I had purchased it for the recipe I made for last month’s challenge….Pomegranate Meatball Soup. It called for mint and so I bought a jar. But I don’t really use mint in any recipes, except for an occasional dessert, so it has been sitting there. Hmmmm mint, while a common ingredient, is something that I had not cooked with before except for that one recipe. I wondered what other main dishes might include mint and began searching. I found that it’s used in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. After gathering together a few recipes I put this yogurt based marinaded chicken together.

MEDITERRANEAN YOGURT CHICKEN

Yogurt chicken 2

 

The Recipe ReDux - Mediterranean Yogurt Chicken
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
You can use fresh mint in place of the dried mint. Use one spring of spearmint finely minced in place of the dried mint.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white, apple cider or rice vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons dried spearmint
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 to 1½ pounds of boneless chicken breast, chicken legs or thighs
Instructions
  1. In a bowl whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, oregano, cumin, spearmint, salt, paprika, pepper and onions.
  2. Add the chicken and toss to coat.
  3. Place into refrigerator and allow to marinate 4 to 6 hours or even overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  5. Shake excess marinade off from chicken and place on a prepared baking dish.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the center of the chicken pieces are no longer pink or a thermometer reads at least 165 degrees.

 

yogurt chicken1

The chicken comes out nice and tender from marinating in the yogurt. The mint has a slight herb/green flavor but does not jump out at you and scream there’s mint in this dish. It was very tasty and I will try this again with fresh mint to see if there is a difference in the taste between using fresh and dried. I served it with this Greek Lemon Pasta Salad.

This marinade is great for those who have had WLS and find they have difficulties dealing with the texture of cooked meats such as chicken. I know many people have said that if the food they are eating is even just a bit dry it they have a hard time with it. This marinade kept the chicken very juicy and moist. You may also want to choose darker cuts of meat such as the legs and thighs. They are typically a little fattier then the breast and this also keeps to keep the meat from being dry. If you’ve had a problem with the texture of cooked chicken in the past I would certainly give this marinade a try.

Do you use mint in any main dishes? If so leave a comment below and leave a link to your favorite recipe. Then check out what some of the other dietitians are coming up for this month’s theme. Check out the links below.

Leslie’s Soon To Be Famous Chicken Soup

My co-worker Leslie sent around a copy of a chicken soup recipe that she often makes. It was titled Leslie’s Soon To Be Famous Chicken Soup. With its classic chicken soup taste and a touch of flavors from her current home state of Texas I think she just might be right. It is soon to be famous. It already is popular in my house and perhaps it will be in yours as well.

LESLIE’S SOON TO BE FAMOUS CHICKEN SOUP

soup11

Leslie's Soon To Be Famous Chicken Soup
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 servings
 
This makes a huge pot of soup. Be prepared for leftovers. You can substitute cooked chicken for the boneless chicken if desired. If you are using minute rice add it last. I've also added a half of a package of store bought shredded carrots in place of the diced/baby carrots.
Ingredients
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped or about 15 baby carrots cut in half
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 - 15 ounce can Rotel tomatoes or diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cup rice
  • 1 -2 jalapenos, finely minced
  • 2 to 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 - 32 ounce containers chicken broth
  • 16 ounces boneless, skinless chicken, diced
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro
  • juice of one lime
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large pot heat vegetable oil and add onion, celery, carrots and red pepper.
  2. Cook for approximately 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add chicken broth, diced chicken breast, potatoes, tomatoes, jalapenos, rice, pepper, cumin and cilantro.
  4. Cook until the potatoes and carrots are soft.
  5. Add in lime juice and salt to taste.

 

soup22

This is amazingly good soup. It has a nice amount of protein to help keep me feeling full. Want to make it vegetarian? Replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth and the diced chicken with black beans. It’s just as delicious.  Give this recipe a try and let me know if you like it. I’ll make sure to tell Leslie that her soup is a hit in other houses as well my own.

Happy New Year’s!

Happy-New-Year-2016

 

The last few weeks have gone by in a whirlwind of activity. It’s hard to believe another year has gone by. I wish you all a very happy new year. Today is the day that many people will start their annual tradition of beginning their new year’s resolution. Dieting/weight loss is at the top of the list for many people. As a dietitian I will get asked about this many times over the next few weeks. People will ask which diet they should follow or what they should/shouldn’t eat. They will be thinking and planning far into the future. While having long term goals is a good thing they often forget about the short term ones. Sometimes you may even need to focus on the next few minutes. When it comes to changing your eating habits there is one thing that you might find helpful to keep in mind.

Make a U turn

Every moment is an opportunity to get back on track and achieve whatever goal you may have set. I wish you all much luck, love and happiness in the coming year.

~ Penny

Recipe ReDux part 2 – Pomegranate and Meatball Soup

Since I was already making some Pebbled Persian Bread for this month’s Recipe ReDux challenge I wanted to make a dish suitable to serve with it. The book I was using,Flatbreads & Flavors: A Baker’s Atlas by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid suggested this soup. They said that Persian cooking is known for its use of sweet and sour in savory dishes. It certainly did sound good and I love soup so this was a perfect dish to accompany the bread that I made for the challenge.

POMEGRANATE MEATBALL SOUP

Pomegranate Meatball Soup2

Recipe ReDux part 2 - Pomegranate and Meatball Soup
Author: 
 
The meatballs can be made, cooked and frozen ahead of time. Top each bowl with a sprinkle of the mint garnish and serve with Pebbled Persian Bread. I used a 16 ounce bottle of pomegranate juice which was a little more than 2 cups.
Ingredients
  • Meatballs
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried mint
  • Soup
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 cup long grain or basmati rice
  • 1 bunch finely chopped scallions
  • 1 - 5 ounce package spinach leaves, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of parsley, leaves coarsely chopped (do not use stems)
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice or unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons beef base
  • Garnish
  • 3 tablespoons dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Start by making the meatballs. Combine the ground beef, onion, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Mix well and, using your hands, roll teaspoon sized meatballs from the mixture. Place on a cookie sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes or until the centers are just barely pink. Remove from oven, cook and set aside.
  3. For the soup:
  4. Place the water in a large stock pot. Add your favorite brand of beef base (or bouillon cubes) and salt. Bring to a boil. Add the rice and boil for 5 minutes. Add the remaining soup ingredients as well as the cooked meatballs and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  5. For the garnish:
  6. Combine the mint, salt and pepper together. Serve in a small bowl to accompany the soup. Sprinkle a small amount (1/2 teaspoon or so) over your bowl of soup before eating.

Pomegranate Meatball Soup

The soup was amazingly good. The pomegranate juice adds a bit of tang but not the sourness that I had imagined. This could easily be made vegetarian if you left out the meatballs and replaced the beef base with a vegetable base. Make sure to add some of the minted garnish to your bowl. I wasn’t sure how much to add as I worried that the mint taste might take over. In the end I added about a 1/4 of a teaspoon without it being too minty.

Serve the soup with some homemade Pebbled Persian Bread or your favorite type of flat bread. If you’re looking for other recipe ideas why not stop over at this post and check out what other dietitians have cooked up this month.

Recipe ReDux – Pebbled Persian Bread

This month’s Recipe ReDux theme is grab a book and cook. The Recipe ReDux has been around for 54 months. For this theme we were took cook something from page 54 or 154 of a cook book. Sounds easy enough right? As I’ve become to rely more on the internet for recipe ideas the number of cookbooks I own has gone down. Once I started looking through them I ran into a few problems…..no actual recipe on page 54 or 154 and, those that did have recipes were oddly all lentil dishes. Which could have worked but I was not in the mood for lentils. After going through a few of my favorite cookbooks I decided to try one I haven’t used yet. I went with Flatbreads & Flavors: A Baker’s Atlas
by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. Page 54 had the ending to a story of a mother and her son that the author’s had encountered while on the Karakoram Highway in the Chinese Pamirs. While there was no recipe on that page the very next page had a recipe for the Pebbled Persian Bread that they were served by the woman they met. Hmmm….who doesn’t like bread? And so I chose this recipe along with the Pomegranate and Meatball Soup the recipe suggested it be served with.

PEBBLED PERSIAN BREAD

Pebbled Persian Bread

Recipe ReDux - Pebbled Persian Bread
Author: 
Serves: 8
 
I used a bread machine on the dough setting to make this bread. The bread can be made by hand. It is suppose to be moist and a bit sticky. You can wet your hands while kneading if it seems too dry.
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 3½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1¾ cup warm water
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ teaspoons vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the ingredients to the bread machine in the order listed above. Use the dough setting.
  2. Once the dough cycle is done preheat the broiler. Set the oven rack about 6 inches below the flame. Cover a cookie sheet with foil.
  3. Set a bowl of water aside so you can dip your hands in it while working with the dough.
  4. Heat a skillet over high heat and lightly oil it.
  5. Separate the dough into 8 pieces. Wet your hands, pick up a piece of dough and flatten into a 5 to 6 inch round. Wet your hands if the dough is sticking to them. Place the round on the skillet and turn the heat down low. Cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Transfer the bread to the covered cookie sheet and place in the oven. Broil for 4 minutes or until the top has begun to brown.
  7. Repeat the process with each piece of dough.
  8. Remove to a rack to cool.

The process of making this bread went quicker than I thought. It took 3-4 minutes to cook the bread in the skillet in the first stage and another 3 to 4 minutes to finish it in the oven. By the time the bread was ready to come out of the oven the next piece that had been cooking in the skillet was ready to go in.

 

Pebbled Persian Bread2

As for taste…..well, it is a very plain wheat bread. The book suggested several meals that it would be served with this type of bread. I decided to also make the pomegranate meatball soup to serve with the bread. The taste of the whole wheat went well with the delicious soup broth. Why not try your hand at making homemade Persian Bread and pomegranate meatball soup. Then take a look at what some of the other dietitians in this month’s Recipe ReDux decided to make from their cookbooks.

 

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