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CHICKEN WITH GOAT CHEESE VINAIGRETTE AND PASTA

Serves 4.

Note: Adapted from realsimple.com.

• 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

• Salt and freshly ground pepper

• 1/3 c. plus 1 tbsp. olive oil, divided

• 1 tsp. butter

• About 6 oz. uncooked penne pasta

• 1/4 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

• 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

• 2 oz. (1/2 c.) crumbled fresh goat cheese

• About 1 c. small tomatoes (grape or cherry), halved or quartered

Directions

Place the chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a kitchen mallet to flatten the thick end and create an even thickness. Pat dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta, stirring so it doesn’t stick, and cook as directed, about 10 to 11 minutes, and drain.

While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Place the chicken in the skillet, smooth side down, and cook about 9 minutes, until golden underneath. Turn the chicken and spread the tomatoes around the skillet. Continue cooking, turning the tomatoes occasionally, about 6 minutes or until the chicken is done.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil, parsley and pepper flakes. Fold in the crumbled goat cheese.

Divide pasta between plates. Top each serving with a chicken breast and some of the tomatoes. Drizzle the goat cheese dressing over the chicken and serve.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 635 Fat 32 g Sodium 320 mg

Carbohydrates 38 g Saturated fat 7 g Total sugars 2 g

Protein 47 g Cholesterol 110 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Exchanges per serving: 2 ½ starch, 6 lean protein, 3 ½ fat.

HUMMUS-CRUSTED CHICKEN ON VEGETABLES

Serves 4.

Note: Adapted from www.gimmesomeoven.com.

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• 2 to 3 c. diced butternut squash

• 1 medium onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

• Salt and pepper

• 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

• 1 c. hummus (plain, or flavored, such as red pepper)

• 1 lemon

• 1 tsp. smoked paprika

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the oil in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Add the squash and onions, stirring them around to coat with the oil, then spread them in an even layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then place on top of the vegetables. Cover each breast with hummus, spreading to the edges. Squeeze the lemon juice over the whole dish, then sprinkle with a little smoked paprika.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through, the hummus coating is lightly browned and the vegetables are fork-tender.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 385 Fat 14 g Sodium 360 mg

Carbohydrates 22 g Saturated fat 3 g Total sugars 5 g

Protein 42 g Cholesterol 100 mg Dietary fiber 6 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 ½ starch, 5 ½ lean protein, ½ fat.

PIMENTO-CHEESE-STUFFED BAKED CHICKEN BREASTS

Serves 4.

Note: The version of pimento cheese you use is important. A thick, coarse style is important so it doesn’t melt too fast.

• 2 tsp. olive oil, divided

• 1 egg

• 1/2 to 1 c. seasoned breadcrumbs (or panko)

• 2 to 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

• 1/4 to 1/2 c. pimento cheese, prepared or homemade

Directions

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and coat lightly with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the egg in a shallow bowl and lightly beat. Spread the breadcrumbs on a plate.

Place each chicken breast on a work surface. Holding it flat with your hand, use a sharp knife to cut into it from the side but not all the way through, opening it like a book. Spread about 2 tablespoons pimento cheese inside, then fold over the top and press to close.

Turn the breast over, smooth side down, and place in the beaten egg and then into the crumbs, just coating the top side. Place on the lined pan, crumb side up. Repeat with the remaining breasts.

Drizzle each breast with a little oil and bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and the chicken is cooked through.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 205 Fat 9 g Sodium 200 mg Carbohydrates 8 g Saturated fat 3 g Total sugars 2 g

Protein 22 g Cholesterol 90 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Exchanges per serving: ½ carb, 3 lean protein, ½ fat.

APRICOT-CHILI GLAZED CHICKEN BREASTS

Serves 4.

Note: Years ago, there was a very popular chicken dish with a sauce made from apricot preserves, chili sauce and dried onion soup mix. That was the inspiration here, skipping the salty soup mix for Dijon mustard and a little garlic powder. It makes beautifully glazed chicken for slicing and serving on a bed of rice.

• 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1/2 c. apricot preserves

• 1/4 c. bottled chili sauce

• 1 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

• 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

• 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

• 1 tsp. butter

Directions

Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle with salt. If you have time, refrigerate, uncovered, for 30 minutes (optional). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small saucepan, combine the apricot preserves, chili sauce, mustard and garlic powder. Heat over medium-low, stirring, until the preserves are melted and it’s all combined.

Heat the vegetable oil and butter in an ovenproof skillet over medium-low heat until it shimmers. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and place each breast in the pan, smooth side down. Cook for about 4 minutes, until it’s starting to brown underneath.

Turn the chicken breasts and pour the sauce over them, making sure you coat the chicken well. Place the skillet in the oven and bake about 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with the thickened sauce in the pan drizzled over it.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 380 Fat 10 g Sodium 1,070 mg

Carbohydrates 32 g Saturated fat 3 g Total sugars 21 g

Protein 38 g Cholesterol 105 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Exchanges per serving: 2 carb, 5 lean protein.

CREAMY BALSAMIC SKILLET CHICKEN

Serves 4.

Note: From “The Weeknight Dinner Cookbook,” by Mary Younkin.

• 1 1/2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 tbsp. butter

• 1 small yellow onion, sliced

• 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced garlic (about 1/2 tsp. bottled minced garlic)

• 1/4 c. flour

• 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided

• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, divided

• 1/2 c. chicken broth

• 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

• 8 oz. mushrooms (stem ends trimmed), quartered

• 1/4 c. heavy cream

• 1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp. dried

Directions

Cut each chicken breast lengthwise into 2 or 3 strips, then cut each strip in two. Cover with plastic wrap and pound lightly, to make small cutlets. Set aside.

In a wide skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes, then add the garlic and cook 1 minute.

Combine the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon paper on a plate. Dip each piece of chicken and place in the skillet with the onions and garlic. Cook, turning occasionally, until just a little golden and browned but not cooked all the way through. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate and set aside.

Add the chicken broth and balsamic vinegar to the pan, then add the mushrooms and remaining salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits and turning the mushrooms. Cook 2 or 3 minutes.

Add the cream, then return all the chicken pieces to the pan, turning to coat with the sauce. Simmer about 3 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens a little. Sprinkle with the thyme and serve.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 370 Fat 17 g Sodium 600 mg

Carbohydrates 12 g Saturated fat 7 g Total sugars 4 g

Protein 42 g Cholesterol 130 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 carb, 6 lean protein, 1 fat.