Italian Baked Chicken and Rice with Oranges and Olives Recipe
Day 7 - Healthy Eating Plan
1 small pot of 0% plain yoghurt with 2 tablespoons of Blueberries (straight from our allotment), 1 tablespoon of pureed pear and 2 tablespoons of the remnants in the bottom of the cereal box of Co-operative Low Fat Rice and Wheat Flakes.
Plus 1 medium Fair Trade Organic Banana.
Comment: This was a luscious breakfast with a couple of added bonuses, I hate throwing away anything and it's a great way to use up the cereal that's always left in the bottom of the packet, no I'm not mean I just hate waste, recycling is definitely the way forward and buying/eating the Fair Trade products means that you feel good because you're eating healthy delicious food and it makes you feel good about buying products that help other people.
2 slices of Malted Wheatgrain Bread with Seeds thinly spread with Flora Light, and 1 medium sliced hard boiled free range egg, plus 2 teaspoons of Lighter Than Light Hellman's Mayonnaise, with a thinly sliced tomato.
1 small bunch of Cherries.
Comment: I loved this bread, I'm sure your local bakery or supermarket sells a version of this, particularly like the fact that the seeds produce a lovely nutty taste and additional texture to the soft filling. If you like Egg Mayonnaise sandwiches then this will certainly hit the spot, slicing the egg and putting the mayonnaise on the actual sandwich doesn't seem to alter the taste it means you use less mayonnaise, and therefore less fat and calories. Very yummy.
DINNER - ITALIAN BAKED CHICKEN AND RICE
Well it was a cold and dreary day today, not quite sure if it was going to rain or not but it managed to stay dry just very grey and cold. The whole family's been outside cutting back ivy and clearing up the Autumn leaves, we're re-arranging the top garden as a new shed is arriving on Thursday, and all that hard work in the cold air certainly worked up an appetite and so we were all looking forward to tonight's meal.
One of the great things with this meal is that it was all done in one pot and then went straight into the oven for 45 minutes while we relaxed, it's hard to believe that this is a low fat dish and the summery tastes of this meal today certainly brightened up a cold day in the English weather calendar - sunshine on a plate.
4 skinless Free Range Chicken Breasts, halved
1 large mild Organic Onion; Spanish Red or perhaps a ½ of a White Onion that isn't so mild, finely chopped
1 large Organic Red Pepper, thinly sliced
1 large Organic thick-skinned Orange, peeled and segmented (or approx. 4 tablespoons of orange juice)
225g of Long Grain White Rice
700ml of Chicken Stock
8-10 Black Olives, stoned
1½ tablespoons of Olive Oil
A splash of Hot Sauce
6 Sun-dried Tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of Tomato Puree
1 teaspoon of dried Italian Herbs
Seasoning; freshly ground Sea Salt and Black Pepper
- Pre-heat your oven to 170ºC / 335ºF / Gas Mark 3½.
- While your oven is heating take a large ovenproof pan and heat half the olive oil.
- Add the chicken breasts to the pan and fry over a high heat for about 2 minutes before turning them over and cooking for a further 2 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
- Add the rest of the olive oil, the onion and the red pepper slices cook over a medium-high heat for 4 minutes until everything softens and starts to turn a golden colour.
- Add the garlic and cook for a further minute being careful not to burn the garlic, burnt garlic has a very bitter taste.
- Add the orange or orange juice, olives, hot pepper sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato puree, Italian herbs and seasoning, and stir well to combine. The aromas at this point are fabulous, takes me back to sunny days and long holidays away from the cold English weather.
- Now add the 225g of rice and stir again.
- Pour in the stock, this amount of stock will ensure that you retain some of the juice as a sauce, if you want you can cut the stock to about 500ml for a meal without a lot of sauce but which still retains some moisture.
- Bring this to a gentle simmer.
- In order to seal in the moisture cover the top of your pan in foil and then place a lid on top to hold the foil in place.
- Cook in the oven for 45-50 minutes.
About ten minutes before the meal is ready check your seasoning and if your sauce has evaporated more than you prefer you can always add some more chicken stock to top it up, (this is also a good rescue remedy if people are late getting home for dinner).
The finished dish will have less liquid than the photo at the top of the hub as the rice swells and soaks up all those gorgeous juices. Serve this with a green salad, and if you omitted the orange segments in the dish you could always add them to the salad with a good seasoning of pepper, I love orange salad.
Comment: I loved this dish, it was warming, tasty and I really liked the addition of the segments of juicy hot orange in it, the children surprisingly weren't as keen on this, if I were cooking it again I would probably leave the orange out and put in a 3-4 tablespoons of orange juice so as not to lose the flavour.
There has been a lot written about the benefits of a healthy Mediterranean diet and as the above recipe shows wonderful food can be low in fat AND full of colour and taste - with that in mind here are two great cookery books full of great Mediterranean recipes that I'm sure you and your family will love.