Friday, January 26, 2007

Oven-Fried Almond Chicken and Shells in Lemon Butter Sauce

(pictured with Trader Joe's couscous, rather than original shells side dish)

Just tried this recipe for the first time... usually passed it over because I don't usually keep almonds in the pantry, so I bought some specifically to try this one out. It was really good! The nuttiness of the almonds really gave you something to dig into and this is relatively healthy since it's baked, rather than fried. Yet it still comes out nice and crispy.

I combined the almonds, cheese, garlic, and seasonings in my mini cuisinart to get the almonds nice and finely chopped, then mixed that with the bread crumbs. I also whipped up a quick side of pasta with a little lemon butter sauce, which I've put at the bottom here. Also served this with a light salad. This is definitely going to be a regular in my kitchen (not to mention there is going to be a very similar dish served at a certain large occasion in the spring...).

Oven-Fried Almond Chicken
I think this came from a South Beach Diet cookbook...
Serves 2

1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
1 tablespoons chopped parsley (I didn't have this, so I put in maybe 1/2 T dried parsley)
1 clove garlic, crushed or 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts

1) Preheat oven to 400ºF
2) In medium bowl, combine bread crumbs, cheese, almonds, parsley, garlic, thyme, and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
3) Place oil in a shallow dish. Dip the chicken in the oil first then dredge in the crumb mixture. Place in a greased shallow baking pan.
4) Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the meat reaches 170ºF and the juices turn clear. Do not turn during cooking.

Small shells in Lemon Butter Sauce

2 cups small shells
3 TBS butter
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 TBS chicken broth
splash of white wine
salt and pepper to taste

1) Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2) Melt butter in a small sauce pan. When frothy, add a little bit of flour and stir until slightly thickened. Add lemon juice, broth, wine, and s&p. Cook until slightly reduced and thickened. Toss with warm pasta.

Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

My mom used to make a dish kind of like this, over a bed of rice, but the chops always came out kind of dry and didn't seem to absorb any of the other great flavors. This recipe, however, is SO easy and the flavors all mix together to create a delicious medley of sweet and savory. It really is just as simple as it looks. Goes great with a light couscous or over rice!

Pork Chops with Apples and Onions
from The Protein Exchange (I got the recipe from my MIL)
Serves 2

2 thick pork loin chops (6 oz each)
2 tsp. spicy brown mustard
2 tsp. butter or margarine
1 small apple, cored, pared, and thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
1/2 teaspoon ground savory

1) Preheat broiler. Spread each side of the pork chops with mustard. Set chops on rack in broiling pan and broil, turning once, until browned and done to taste (about 6-8 minutes per side).
2) While chops are broiling, in a small nonstick skillet, heat butter or margarine over medium heat until bubbly and hot. Add apple and onion slices and sauté until onion is slightly brown. Reduce heat to low and sprinkle with savory. Cover pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft.
3) To serve, transfer pork chops to plate. Top with apple/onion mixture.