These last few months have been snowy or at least uncharacteristically chilly for most of the country, but thankfully spring is just right around the corner. I’ve been craving fresh, flavorful dinners featuring beautiful produce, lean proteins and whole grains – but also easy to make and won’t have me out grilling on the patio after the sun has set (it’s not that warm yet)! My solution is a fast and family-friendly meal showcasing colorful red tomatoes and yellow peppers, everyone’s favorite chicken breasts, whole wheat couscous, creamy balsamic sauce and a finishing crunch or garlicky croutons. Oh, and only ONE dish gets dirty in the making – can it get any better?!
I am a huge fan of the Mediterranean diet, a “lifestyle” of healthy eating endorsed by the long-living and active people of Greece, southern Italy, Morocco, Spain, Portugal and other countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Not only is the local cuisine delicious, but it’s also very nutrient-rich inspired by seasonal fruits and vegetables, a variety of whole grains along with legumes, beans, healthy fats and a moderate amount of lean proteins.
Much research has been conducted on the benefits of this daily diet and the Mayo Clinic reports that eating a Mediterranean diet can lower the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer as well as lessen the chances of being afflicted by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Oh, and another perk of the diet – the company of friends and family is suggested and so is a glass of red wine! If you are looking for a simple week-night supper, my recipe for One-Pot Creamy Balsamic Chicken and Couscous is ridiculously easy to make yet has a stunning presentation – plus whoever is on dish-washing duty will thank you heartily! So, let me give you a quick run-down of this recipe:
Caramelize the chicken breasts to perfection on just one side before flipping and adorned with tomatoes, chickpeas, garlic and yellow peppers.
Simply chop up the peppers and garlic coarsely while leave the tomatoes whole. A can of drained and rinsed chickpeas (a Mediterranean favorite) is also added to the pot. The same skillet goes into the oven to roast the veggies and cook the chicken through and through – everything stays moist and tender thanks to the combination of Litehouse's Balsamic Vinaigrette and juiciness of the NatureSweet® Cherubs® Tomatoes. The final step is to take the skillet back to the stove to finish the sauce with Greek yogurt and cook up the couscous – again, right there in the same pot! The final step is to garnish with some basil and crushed Butter and Garlic Fresh Gourmet Croutons. Don’t skip the crouton step, these crunchy morsels help to add even more texture to the recipe as well as sop up every last drop of the creamy balsamic sauce.
This dinner has all the bases covered for a balanced meal – vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and a bit of dairy. Serve with a green side salad or on a bed of fresh baby spinach (my favorite way) and enjoy your remaining free time!