Friday, 5 March 2010

Chicken Ropa Vieja, Cilantro Lime Rice, and Southwestern Black Bean Salad

Another night of dishes from Gina's Weight Watcher's Recipes. I was just going to make the chicken and rice, but then I realized I had all the ingredients for the salad, so I just made all three. I'm a big fan of recipes where the ingredients compliment each other, allowing you to do all of the chopping in one go. Then you just throw them all together in the end. Often times I feel rushed at the last minute to have it all come together, but that wasn't the case with this meal at all.

If you're working you could cook the chicken (either in the crock pot or on the stove) the night before, refrigerate it overnight, then shred it and cook with the peppers the next evening, making it a quick workday meal. The salad can also be made ahead, just adding the avocado right before you serve.

Here are the recipes:

Chicken Ropa Vieja

3 chicken breast halves, on the bone with the skin removed
1 small onion, quartered
1 tomato, quartered
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 c dry white wine
1/2 c tomato sauce (it's passata if you're in the UK or Ireland)
Reserved broth*
1 tsp cumin, or more to taste (I used a heaping tablespoon)
Garlic powder (I didn't have any, so I left it out)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place chicken, tomato, carrots, onion, and two cloves of garlic in a crock pot or large sauce pan. Cover with water. If using the crock pot, cook for 4 hours on high until the chicken is tender. If using the sauce pan, bring to a boil, then turn it down to medium allowing it to simmer for 30-40 minutes. Remove the chicken and shred it using a fork. Reserve the liquid.

In a large, lidded skillet heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the peppers, onions and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the chicken, tomato sauce, white wine, and about 3/4 c of the reserve liquid. Season with cumin, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Cover and simmer on low for about 10 minutes, until the peppers are soft, adding more liquid and seasoning as needed. Makes 4 cups.

Makes 4 servings at 4 ww points each. 

* I didn't do this, but in hindsight I would have strained out the vegetables and used the remainder of the reserved liquid for soup. It had a delicious flavor and would have made a great chicken soup! Next time!

Cilantro Lime Rice  - Start cooking the rice when the chicken is simmering.

1 c extra long grain or basmati rice
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 c water
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp fresh, chopped cilantro
4 tsp vegetable oil

Everyone makes rice differently. My mother uses the evaporation method which is what this recipe suggests. She includes one tsp of the vegetable oil while the rice is cooking. I stink at making rice, so I prefer the 'cook in large quantities of water and drain' method. Regardless of how you make your rice, once it's finished cooking (and drained if that's how you do it), add the lime juice, cilantro, and 3 tsp vegetable oil. Stir everything together and serve.

Makes 4 servings at 4 ww points each. 


Southwestern Black Bean Salad - I am a sucker for anything with avocado, but you can leave this out if you're not a fan. It would still be delicious!

1 15.5 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
9 oz frozen corn, thawed
1 tomato, chopped
1 small avocado, diced
1/4 c red onion, chopped (I didn't have one, so I just used a white onion)
1 scallion, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp cilantro
Salt and black pepper

Combine the beans, corn, tomato, onion, scallion, and cilantro. Mix in the olive oil and lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Stir in the avocado right before serving.

Makes 12 servings (if you eat small servings) at 2.5 ww points each.



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