Spanish Bistro Chicken

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This recipe is a take off a classic Bistro Chicken I’ve made in the early days of Chocolate Broccoli.  Like WAY early days.  A little over two years later, I have done a remake- but with a spicy kick.  Rather than going Italian, I’ve veered off to Spain for inspiration.  Are you surprised?  I was looking back at the past couple months of postings and realized that my favorite food must be Mexican.  Well, Tex-Mex really. I supposed Mexican cuisine is easy to manipulate into something healthier- plus it always has cheese.  Cheese is good.  I heart cheese.  And peanut butter.  But thats irrelevant.

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I’ve mentioned that among my favorite pantry staples is the canned or jarred tomato.   One thing that can be concerning is the salt content of said canned tomatoes. “But, Amber- I dont use table salt at all.. so I’m good on my salt intake.”  Wrong.  Beyond the salt we add in the kitchen and dining room, most of us don’t know where salt hides, or even do we know the recommended limits, or why it even matters anyway.

Vegetables canned without salt can be a smart way to go, espcially if you know you will season after the fact.  Take for example..

One 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes contains nearly 1,000 mg of sodium

—–>One 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, no salt added contains 15mg sodium per serving
200% less than one can of the regular version.  

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Worth a switch?  Oh, I think so.  The 2010 update of the Dietary Guidelines recommends adults limit their daily intake to less than 2,300mg, the equivalent of just 1 teaspoon of salt.  Really?  Really.  While the new Dietary Guidelines focus on the salt ditch- it’s not necessary to give up all convenience products to keep sodium levels in check. Consider using salt-free convenience ingredients in your homemade soups, pastas, and hearty casseroles. Then add salt to taste, using sparingly- normally no more than 1/4 teaspoon is warranted if you are using other salt-inspired ingredients.  

Season your food without the salt- kind of sounds like an oxymoron.  My challenge is that you take initiative to simply be salt-aware. Maybe that means something as easy as preparing for your next dinner meal without salt .  See if anyone notices- Use this time to savor the flavors of foods, experiment with spices and other flavorings that are not high in sodium. Try sauteing pungent herbs and spices like chili powder, oregano, and cumin in extra virgin olive oil so that the oil can carry flavor into the salt-free food stuffs like beans and tomatoes.

In this recipe I have made the attempt to reduce the sodium of my original version.  While I can’t say I have no added salt whatsoever, I’ve reduced it significantly, by combining salt-free canned goods with some salty components like capers, olives, and proscuitto.  I’ve also used some serious flavor-packed spices like the chili powder I mentioned before, as well as a smoked paprika, cilantro, and garlic.

Spanish Bistro Chicken
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast tenders
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1 cup chopped onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, diced
1/4 cup sliced green olives
2 tablespoons capers
(14.5-ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
1/4 cup finely chopped prosciutto
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
1 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add chicken broth and heat to a rolling boil.  Add rice and reheat to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, fluff rice.  Keep warm.

Combine paprika, chili pepper, and pepper; sprinkle evenly over chicken. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and jalapeno to the pan.  Saute until golden and soft; about 4 minutes.  Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes. Add garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds. Turn chicken over. Add olives, chiles, and tomatoes to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes.

Remove chicken from pan. Increase heat to medium-high; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with prosciutto, capers, and cilantro.

Nutrition Information
Serves 4 (3 ounces chicken, 1/2 cup rice, 1/2 cup sauce, 1 tablespoon prosciutto, 1 teaspoon capers)
Calories: 358
Fat: 9.5 g
Carbohydrate: 26.7 g
Fiber: 0.3 g
Protein: 39.1 g


  1. This looks great and thanks for the tip on the tomatoes-they are one of my fave pantry stapels too.

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