This post is by V.....
Once again, a delicious dinner and dessert has me feeling guilty, and drove me to make a healthy lunch option, but I'll get to the culprit of my guilt after we talk about this healthy lunch recipe. Please excuse the picture below....not the finest image of this dish, but I can assure you it's delicious. I took this picture right as I was about to scarf down my lunch while working away. Stewed Chicken with Lentils and Chick Peas with a side dish of Sauteed Brussels Sprouts. Roasted brussels sprouts are always a delicious option. I've done this before by splitting each sprout in half and tossing them in salt, pepper, olive oil and garlic. Roasting the brussels sprouts in the oven (at a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit) really brings out the both bitter and sweet flavors of the brussels sprouts themselves. Now, I know for a lot of people brussels sprouts bring some horrible childhood memories and don't exactly make your mouth salivate, so this side dish could really be made with potatoes, turnips, any hearty vegetable.
For the main part of the show we have the chicken which is cooked in a slow cooker. Slow cooker cooking is great. You get to put everything into one pot and let it slowly cook while you do other chores or be lazy and watch some good (or bad) TV. Also, it comes with the added benefit of making your food taste like it has been slaved over because the slow cooking process draws out the flavors of the food.
5 chicken breasts
11 oz. can of Chick Peas
9 oz. can of Crushed Tomatoes
2 tsps garlic
1/2 cup - 1 cup of Red Lentils (Masoor Lentils)
3 cups of chicken broth
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp (or to personal taste) of red pepper flakes
1 tbsp salt
Place the chicken breasts in your slow cooker, along with the broth, cumin, salt, and garlic. Let the chicken cook on high for 30 minutes. Add the chick peas and crushed tomatoes. Let this continue on high for 1 hour. Add the red lentils and red pepper flakes and allow the dish to finish cooking for another 30 minutes. At this time the lentils should be cooked through and the chicken should easily fall apart.
This is great served over saffron rice or if you add some water and additional broth, you can turn this into a soup.
Side Dish - Sauteed Brussels Sprouts
1 bag of frozen brussels sprouts
7 strips of turkey bacon
2 tbsps soy sauce
1 tbsp garlic
1 tsp ginger
1 tbsp olive oil
Dice the turkey bacon and cook till browned in a sauce pan. Set aside. Place the olive oil, garlic and ginger in a pan on low to allow the oil to take the flavor of the garlic and ginger. Add in a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for flavor if you like. Add in the brussels sprouts. If you use frozen brussels sprouts, de-frost them by heating them for about 3 minutes in the refrigerator. Add in the soy sauce and close the pan to allow the brussels sprouts to cook through. This should take about 8 minutes. Then serve.
Now, what gave me the sudden guilt to make this healthy dish, well, one of my favorite restaurants in Arligton, Chasin Tails : http://www.chasintailscrawfish.com/. This restaurant is known for its seafood boils styled in a Louisiana fashion. I always order the 1 lb. of shrimp which comes in a bag with a potato and corn cob. You get your choice of a sauce that everything is tossed in. I generally choose the 'Oh Dang' option - which includes the original cajun, lemon pepper and garlic-butter sauce options, and then you choose your heat level. I haven't been brave enough to try the n'awlins hot, but I get the hot version and that suits me just fine. For dessert, my friend S and I shared the beignets which come with a heavy scoop of vanilla ice cream and both chocolate and caramel dipping sauces. Ummm, delicious! See picture below for some evidence of its doughy, powdered-sugar deliciousness and for an idea of why the onset of guilt pushed me to make a healthy dish for my lunch the next day. This seems to be a growing trend with me....