Figs abound in the stores now. They are delicious all by themselves, but sometimes it's hard to use them all up before they start to be less than their best. That's when I turn to recipes like this -- they take advantage of delicious seasonal produce and offer totally new ways to use it.
This delicious barbecued chicken dinner is high in flavor and low in sodium. The sweetness of the figs complements the acidity of the balsamic vinegar glaze, and the spices (anise and chili powder) make it all seem like a barbecue, but without the heavy sauce and high sodium/salt content.
This dish is delicious, light, and teenager approved!
One of the secrets to chicken breast success is to cut the breast in half horizontally so that you end up with 2 thin pieces. It cooks much faster and more evenly that way, which helps it stay tender. Plus, by halving the chicken, you can halve your protein cost for a meal, too!
- 2 chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally (you will then have 4 thin cutlets)
- 1 piece of foil
- Dash of olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar glaze (or use half the amount of regular balsamic vinegar)
- 1 cup figs, quartered
- 1/2 cup choopped pepper
- Sprinkle of ground anise
- Sprinkle of chili powder (we used ancho chili powder, but any good chili powder will do)
Heat up the grill or your oven broiler.
While your cooking space is preheating, place the chicken breasts on the foil in a single layer. Lightly drizzle with olive oil.
Add the balsamic glaze and top with figs, peppers, and seasonings.
When the grill is hot, add the chicken on the foil.
Cook until done, about 15-20 minutes. The chicken is done when it is firm in the center and no longer pink.
Meanwhile, make the pasta.
Mediterranean-Style Orzo with Salad
- 2 cups dry orzo (rice shaped pasta)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic or garlic paste
- 1 raw tomato, cored, seeded, and diced
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil
- 1 cup arugula/spinach mix
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- Juice from half a lemon
Boil the orzo until tender; drain in a colander.
Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok.
Cook the garlic until nutty, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato, basil, and argula. Saute briefly. Add the chicken broth and lemon and heat thoroughly.
Top with Parmesan cheese.
Toss the greens with the lemon juice and assemble everything on the plate as pictured below...
And for dessert?
- 1/2 cup vanilla frozen yogurt/raspberry sorbet swirl
- 1/2 cup peach slices
- 1/2 cup berries (microwaved for 30 seconds and stirred)
- Whipped cream
For more great cooking and meal ideas, check out the Nutrition Education Store! And if you don't see exactly what you want, contact me and I'll have it made for you!
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.