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Cast-Iron Roasted Chicken Thighs With Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

Serves 4.

Note: Roasting the chicken in a preheated cast iron skillet results in a crispy skinned thigh in under 30 minutes. A simple lemon vinaigrette gives the roasted chicken a burst of brightness, but you could also serve with chimichurri sauce (recipe follows). From Meredith Deeds.

• 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

• 1 tsp. Dijon mustard

• 1/2 tsp. honey

• Salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

• 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 1 3/4 lb.)

• Lemon slices

Directions

Place the cast iron skillet in a cold oven and heat the oven to 450 degrees.

To make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, mustard, honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Whisk in the olive oil and stir in the parsley. Set aside.

To prepare the chicken: Season chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Carefully arrange chicken in the hot skillet, skin side down and cook for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken, add a few lemon slices to the skillet (not on top of the chicken) and continue cooking until the skin crisps and meat is cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Transfer to a plate and; let rest 5 minutes before serving with the vinaigrette.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 370 Fat 26 g Sodium 140 mg

Carbohydrates 1 g Saturated fat 6 g Total sugars 1 g

Protein 33 g Cholesterol 105 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Exchanges per serving: 5 medium-fat protein.

Chimichurri Burgers

Serves 4.

Note: A flavorful chimichurri mayo, plus roasted peppers and charred onions, turn this simple burger into something special. From Meredith Deeds.

• 3 tbsp. Chimichurri Sauce (see recipe)

• 2 tbsp. mayonnaise

• 1 1/4 lb. ground chuck (85 percent lean or less)

• 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

• 2 (1/2-in.) slices red onion

• 1 1/4 tsp. salt

• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 4 slices provolone cheese

• 2 roasted red peppers (jarred or made yourself; see recipe), quartered

• 4 hamburger buns, split and toasted

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the Chimichurri Sauce and mayonnaise. Set aside.

Divide the meat and gently form into 4 (4-inch) patties. (Do not overwork the meat.)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the onion slices in the skillet. Cook the onion, turning once, until slightly charred and just tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and break apart the slices.

Season the patties on both sides with the salt and pepper and place in the hot skillet. Cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Flip patties and place a slice of cheese on top of each. Cook until cheese melts and burgers are cooked to desired doneness, about 2 minutes for medium.

Spread the mayo mixture on the buns. Place 1 burger on each of the bottom buns. Top each with 2 pieces of roasted pepper, a few onion slices and bun top. Serve immediately.

To roast the peppers: Char peppers over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Place in large bowl; cover tightly with plastic wrap and cool. Peel, seed and stem peppers.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 570 Fat 33 g Sodium 1,475 mg

Carbohydrates 30 g Saturated fat 11 g Total sugars 7 g

Protein 36 g Cholesterol 105 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1 ½ starch, 4 medium-fat protein, 2 ½ fat.

Chimichurri Sauce

Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Note: From Meredith Deeds.

• 1/2 c. finely chopped fresh cilantro

• 1/2 c. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

• 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh oregano

• 1 Fresno chile or red jalapeño, finely chopped

• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 1/3 c. red wine vinegar

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine the cilantro, parsley, oregano, chile, garlic, vinegar and salt. Whisk in the oil. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

The chimichurri sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days, but if you’d like to make it further ahead of time, leave out the vinegar, which over time will turn the sauce a drab olive color. Add it in just before serving.

Nutrition information per 1 tablespoon:

Calories 40 Fat 5 g Sodium 100 mg

Carbohydrates 0 g Saturated fat 1 g Total sugars 0 g

Protein 0 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 fat.

Lentil, Sweet Potato, Kale and Coconut Stew

Serves 8.

Note: A hearty dish, packed with flavor, this lentil stew, studded with chunks of sweet potatoes and swimming in a tomato-coconut curry sauce, makes enough for a crowd. It also freezes well. From Meredith Deeds.

• 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• 1 tbsp. finely chopped ginger root

• 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 1 Fresno chile or red jalapeño, finely chopped

• 1 tbsp. curry powder

• 1 tsp. turmeric

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 1 1/2 c. uncooked brown lentils

• 4 c. vegetable broth

• 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-in. cubes

• 1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes

• 1 (14-oz.) can coconut milk (full-fat or lite)

• 1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped

• 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

• Cooked white rice, if desired

• Optional toppings: chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro, fresh mint, slice Fresno chile or red jalapeño, lime wedges

Directions

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and chile pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the curry powder, turmeric, salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 1 minute.

Add the lentils and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer 30 to 35 minutes, until the lentils are just tender. Add the sweet potatoes, tomatoes and coconut milk. Continue to cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Add kale and cook another 3 to 5 minutes, until kale is wilted. Stir in lime juice. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Divide between serving bowls, with rice if desired. Top with peanuts, cilantro, mint and chile pepper, as desired. Serve with lime wedges on the side.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 290 Fat 11 g Sodium 760 mg

Carbohydrates 39 g Saturated fat 8 g Total sugars 9 g

Protein 12 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 11 g

Exchanges per serving: 2 ½ carb, 2 lean protein, 1 ½ fat.