Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Better than I expected
--Warm Chicken and Orzo Salad

Warm Chicken and Orzo Salad
Prevention’s Ultimate Quick & Healthy Cookbook Copyright 1998

6 ounces orzo or other small pasta
1 ¾ cups defatted reduced-sodium chicken broth
½ cup water
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
4 cups broccoli florets
¼ cup packed Italian parsley springs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled
½ cup diced, drained roasted red peppers (from a jar)

1. Bring a covered medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the past to the boiling water; return to a boil and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions until al dente. Drain in a colander, rinse briefly until cold running water and drain again. Transfer pasta to a large salad bowl.
2. While the pasta is cooking, bring 1 ½ cups of the broth and the water to a boil in a medium skillet. Add the chicken and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to the bowl of orzo; reserve the broth in the skillet.
3. Return the broth to a boil over high heat. Add the broccoli and return to a boil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the broccoli is crisp-tender. Drain the broccoli in a colander, cool briefly under cold running water and drain again. Add the broccoli to the bowl of orzo.
4. Combine the parsley, oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, black pepper and the remaining ¼ cup broth in a food processor. (I forgot to add the broth and I never even noticed.) With the processor running, drop the garlic clove through the feed tube; process the mixture until puréed.
5. Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture. Add the roasted peppers and toss the salad to mix well. Serve warm.

I tend not to get my hopes up too high on 'light' recipes although the recipes in this book are balanced enough (real fats, carbs, etc in moderation) that I shouldn't have worried. I thoroughly enjoyed this, especially the dressing. I forgot to add the extra broth but it was fine. You know me and Dijon mustard - can't go wrong.

I worked late and then I was stuck in traffic but this meal comes together surprisingly fast. The longest step was making the orzo. I find orzo to be a difficult pasta to cook for some reason. It seems to take forever even though you wouldn't think so. Next time I would use Ronzoni Smart Taste or Dreamfield rotini. I prefer to use the high fiber pasta and I don't see any reason you have to stick to the small pasta.

I'm still very busy. I didn't even get to plan recipes for next week. I won't be able to do that until the weekend, after my son's birthday party. That puts the pressure on.

Blast From The Past: Pasta Caesar Salad With Chicken from May 2006. That was anothe good recipe from this cookbook.

Question of the Day: Do you spend a lot of time stuck in traffic? Thankfully I don't when there are no accidents but when there are, it can be maddening.


Anonymous said...

Hey Paula - If you like Ronzoni Smart Taste, you should check out Since Smart Taste pasta contains as much calcium as a glass of milk, they’re giving cows a day off and declaring January 14, 2008 Cows’ Day Off. You can sponsor a cow which contributes to Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Anonymous said...

Not any more, now that I'm "retired". When I was working, there was often a traffic problem and I worked a long way from home in the fourth largest city in the country. No fun!


Anonymous said...

Luckily my commute is short and if the freeway is backed up I can take back roads. In this area, that's pretty good.