Friday, February 24, 2012

Tuscan Chicken Cannellini & Tomato-Basil Salad

Well. I have done it again—I have over-extended myself. I've barely had time to get enough exercise in, and I definitely haven’t had time to cook at home much lately. As a matter of fact, I have been eating out a lot in the last few days for social and work events—and even though I’m trying to drink more water to combat it, I feel kind of bloated from the added sodium in restaurant food. 

Also, as many of you may be aware, February through April (and May, actually) is a crazy-busy time for teachers. We had the Nebraska State Writing Assessment that we administered this month, then I had to figure out my departments’ textbook orders and help the district English supervisor plan for Curriculum Day (a full-day inservice for subject-area teachers). Now, I’m working on preparing for the district testing to check to make sure our students are ready for the state testing in reading, math, and science--a test to make sure we’re ready for The Test. I only wish I were kidding.

I don’t want this to turn into a political debate blog, though, so suffice it to say I’ve been extremely busy, but I will try harder to post more in the next few weeks.

On that note, here is how I plan to accomplish that: I need to figure out more meals that I can put together at home and conveniently prep at work, so that will be a lot of what I share over the next few posts.

You may remember my discovery of Ziploc Zip’n Steam bags, and the Greek Chicken with Zucchini & Feta recipe I tried from their website. It has worked out well for my work lunches—I put it all together the night before , bring it to work and put it in the fridge in the breakroom, then cook it in the microwave at lunch. Voila! A hot, healthy, convenient, and delicious lunch. However, I can’t eat that EVERY day (I know, I’ve tried).

So, to continue with my new obsession with the Zip’n Steam bags, I decided to try the Tuscan Chicken Cannellini recipe from the Ziplocwebsite.  I didn’t alter anything in the recipe other than to reduce the amount of the beans to ½ cup—beans are wonderfully healthy and chock full of fiber and some protein, but they’re still a starch and I don’t want to overdo it on starches/carbs—and change up the suggested “garnish” to actually be a tomato-basil salad of sorts to make sure I get my full veggie serving in.

Tuscan Chicken Cannellini & Tomato-Basil Salad

Tuscan Chicken Cannellini Ingredients
Medium Ziploc® Zip'n Steam® Bag
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half, cut into bite-size pieces
½ cup cannellini beans OR other white beans, drained
1 cup loosely packed fresh spinach leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Pinch of kosher salt

Tomato-Basil Salad Ingredients
4 oz cherry tomatoes (I used red and sweet yellow tomatoes)
1 tsp olive oil
3 fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
Pinch of kosher salt
½ tbsp parmesan cheese

Combine all Tuscan Chicken dish ingredients in a Medium Ziploc® Zip'n Steam® Bag (leave out the spinach if preparing the night before. Add spinach just before cooking). Seal bag and shake gently to combine ingredients. Pat ingredients into single layer. Place bag in microwave, cook on full power for 6 ½ to 7 minutes or until chicken is cooked through, with no trace of pink. If needed, continue microwaving at 30-second intervals until done (mine was cooked through at 6 ½ minutes). Allow bag to stand for 1 minute before handling. Shake bag to distribute seasonings. Carefully open bag and pour onto a plate or bowl. (Optional: sprinkle with 1 tsp parmesan cheese)

For the tomato salad, slice tomatoes in half and place in a bowl. Sprinkle chopped basil on top. Drizzle with olive oil and toss (I put mine in a container with a lid and just shook it gently). Right before eating, sprinkle tomatoes with salt and parmesan.

Please forgive the not-great pictures and ugly Gladware dishes--I actually took this to work with me today and took my photos there.


Lunch is served!
Nutritional Information
Tuscan Chicken Cannellini
256 Calories
5.82g Fat         894mg Sodium            21.6g Carbs     7.5g Fiber        34g Protein

Tomato-Basil Salad
83 Calories 
(it may actually be a little less because unless you’re licking the bowl, you’re not eating all of the olive oil)
6g fat               305mg Sodium            5g Carbs          1.5g Fiber        3.38g Protein

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