Weeknight Wonder: Healthy Addiction Chicken

28 May

I’ve never been much of a planner. I like to think that the embarrassingly disproportionate chunk of my life I’ve spent satisfying an insatiable appetite for food media – the hours upon hours poring over countless food blogs and back issues of Food & Wine, the nights I’ve selected At Hoc at Home as an appropriate bedtime story, the many Sundays I’ve played Top Chef as a soundtrack to my stovetop scrubbing – has armed me with a few basic techniques to spice up an improvised weeknight dinner. Though these simple lifted tricks – things like finishing pasta with a raw egg at the end for a silky sauce – mostly serve me well, relying on what’s on hand inevitably means a lot of spaghetti. In fact, my lovely husband of almost six months (?!) likes to say that I have two addictions: pasta and  bell peppers. Frankly, I think we could be doing a lot worse.

Of course, my noble quest to read every word on food ever written also leads me to recipe gems for which I carefully purchase and plan, like Skinnytaste’s fabulously light Tikka Masala (I do it with shrimp instead of chicken) and Thomas Keller’s beyond perfect roast chicken. What I’m working on now that I’m cooking for two on a regular basis is a little forethought. This is mostly to avoid the embarrassment of a third party knowing I’ve eaten soba noodles with bottom-of-the-crisper, quick-before-they-go-too-bad greens three nights running. Moderation is, I think, an adult skill to master. So I’m now trying to meet in the middle, coming week by week to the realization that keeping chicken breast in the freezer and a reasonable number of versatile veggies on hand (such as, ahem, bell peppers!) can make a well-thought out weekday meal as simple as spontaneous pasta surprise – and at least half the time, more rewarding.

(Secret Author’s Note: I posted this recipe because it’s ridiculously easy, healthy and delicious, sure; but I think we’ve spent enough time together to understand that I usually have a decadent ulterior motive. Get excited. This is basically to justify my next post being the recipe for warbat, an Arabic dessert similar to baklava but with a layer of rose-flavored cream in the middle, OBVIOUSLY. Trust me, this one is worth an extra half hour… or eight… on the treadmill.)

Plenty of Soy Sauce 5-Point Chicken 

*This recipe is a caloric steal at just 5 Weight Watchers Points Plus for each of 4 reasonably sized servings. You could also substitute the breast for four boneless, skinless chicken thighs for an even more awesome 4 WWP+ total. Serve with rice for a filling, flavorful sub-10 WWP+ dinner.

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3 bell peppers (different colors, please)
  • a bunch of mushrooms
  • a spoonful of canola oil
  • low-sodium soy sauce (at least 3 spoonfuls, but to taste)
  • 1 small can of plain tomato sauce (ideally smooth but I only had diced this time and it was fine)
  • a spoonful or so of ginger, freshly grated or dried
  • a spoonful of oregano

a rainbow of healthy delicious.

  1. Cut chicken into bite-sized chunks, trimming fat and gross bits. Soak in water with a dash of vinegar while you prep the veggies. (This is a trick Moh’s dad taught me while showing me this recipe – it gives the chicken a clean, chicken-as-chicken-should-be sort of flavor.)
  2. Slice onion and bell peppers into strips. Quarter mushrooms (or slice, if they’re of the funky shape variety).
  3. Sautee onion strips in a small amount (max 1 tablespoon) of canola oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.
  4. Once golden, rinse chicken and add. Cook chicken through, about 15 minutes, making sure the pot doesn’t dry out of juices (just add water if it does).
  5. Add peppers. Sautee about 10 minutes. Give it a stir every once in awhile, throughout process.
  6. Add mushrooms. Give it another 5 – 10 minutes, until they’re getting soft.
  7. Add the little can of tomato sauce. Fill the can twice with water and add.
  8. Simmer for a while. If you’re serving with rice, make it now (which, incidentally, before I made all the time because let’s be real, my husband is addicted to rice, I thought took an hour. It doesn’t. It takes about 30 minutes and is actually quite easy once you’ve gotten the hang of it. Though I still can’t cook brown rice for the life of me).
  9. A few minutes before it’s as thick and saucy as you want it, add a spoonful of dried oregano, one of ginger, and a few of soy sauce to taste. Moh’s dad’s taste was two. Mine was four. Yes, I have always been unabashedly addicted to soy sauce.

5 Responses to “Weeknight Wonder: Healthy Addiction Chicken”

  1. Cathy May 28, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    Plan to try this recipe soon.

  2. Jack Reynolds May 31, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

    I found your blog while googling anthony bourdain and “brown rice” (I expected to find him hating on it, but the search didn’t turn up anything like that) and saw that you have trouble cooking the stuff.

    Like you, I’ve never made good brown rice on the stove. But Alton Brown’s baked brown rice comes out perfect every single time. He bakes it in a lidded or foil-covered 8×8 baking dish, which is kind of important. I recently tried to make a sort of pilaf with this recipe in a much broader pan, and the bottom got burnt. Stick to the 8×8.

    – Put 1.5 cups of brown rice in a 8×8 baking dish with a lid (I use a ceramic dish with a glass lid).

    – Bring 2.5 cups of water with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of butter or olive oil to a boil.

    – Pour it into the baking dish with the rice and lid it up.

    – Slide into a preheated oven at 375 and bake for one hour.

    It’ll stay hot outside the oven for 30-40 minutes. Fluff before serving.

    Pro tip: Don’t use the cheapest brown rice you can find. It tends to have these little sprouts that burn and become crunchy. Doesn’t make it inedible, just hard to explain that it’s just brown rice in there.

    Alton Brown also makes a cold salad out of it with bacon and onions which sounds like a great side dish when you’re grilling in the summer and don’t want to heat up your kitchen any more than you need to.

    • More Dough than Dollars June 5, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

      This is awesome – thanks so much for the tip, Jack! I will have to try it and let you know how it goes.


  1. Weeknight Wonder: Healthy Addiction Chicken « More Dough than … – Fine Food Recipes - May 28, 2012

    […] of chicken) and Thomas Keller's beyond perfect roast chicken. … See more here: Weeknight Wonder: Healthy Addiction Chicken « More Dough than … ← Citrus Coconut Roasted Beets Recipe – Family Fresh […]

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