Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Healthy Comfort Dinner

I bet most of you didn't think comfort food and healthy would be in the same sentence! But in this meal, they are and they work wonderfully together. This is a compilation of things I've learned from my mother and the women at my synagogue; a few details are my own creation, of course. But this is a great standby on those nights I don't want to go all out, but I want a homemade, hot meal too.

The chicken isn't pictured due to my vegetarianism, but thanks to my fellow Shebrews I wasn't allowed to leave the seder kitchen without learning how to cook chicken breast. I'm including this recipe as well because it seems like it would go with the rest of the meal.

I ran across some gorgeous purple cauliflower at the grocery store and had to try it. In fruits and vegetables more color usually means a higher level of antioxidants and vitamins, so there seemed to be no harm. Sure enough, when I researched it later, anthocyanin is the antioxidant present -- the same as in red wine and red cabbage.

photo thanks to Wikipedia

Back to the meal. It's high in fiber, high in vitamins, and relatively low in calories while retaining LOTS of flavor!

Cauliflower and cheese sauce:
1 head cauliflower
1 1/2c milk
1/4c olive oil
2 tbsp flour
1/2c sharp cheddar
salt to taste

Chop the clusters from the cauliflower, and boil them until as soft as you desire. Heat the olive oil and milk on medium low, when hot add flour. Stir constantly while adding cheese unti2l melted and no chunks remain. Set aside to cool and thicken.

1 small head cabbage, chopped or shredded
2 tbsp vinegar
salt to taste

Boil a large pot of water. Add vinegar and cabbage, allow to boil for 15-20 minutes or until desired softness. Add salt.

Roasted potatoes:

1 lb small Yukon potatoes or other small heirloom variety (do NOT use baking potatoes)
1 tsp thyme
1tbsp kosher salt
~1/4c olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp paprika
a few grinds of black pepper
1/4c grated hard cheese
2 tbsp bread crumbs

Boil potatoes until soft enough to poke with a fork (apx 20 minutes). Preheat the oven to 450, and slice larger potatoes into bite sized pieces. Place into casserole dish. Add salt and spices, drizzle with oil, and toss to coat each piece. Top with cheese and bread crumbs, bake until brown and bubbly.

Chicken breast:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp thyme
1/2tsp sage
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Combine spices in a small bowl. Rub each chicken breast with the mix. Put olive oil in a skillet (cast iron is my hands-down favorite) and heat on medium. Cook until each side is browned, about 7 to 8 minutes on each side. Serve with a lemon wedge if desired.

Voila! Dinner is served. This is a relatively quick meal, if you're using multiple burners and maximizing your time it can be done in 30 minutes.

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