Healthy Cooking on the Cheap: Chicken and Biscuits, Israeli Couscous Salad, and Sesame Noodles
In my mind, Sunday nights call for something homey, like Old Fashioned Chicken and Biscuits. Later in the week, when things get busier, healthier meals featuring simple ingredients and tons of flavors come into play, like Israeli Couscous Salad With Cannellini Beans or Sesame Noodles. All of these meals make great leftover lunches the next day.
3 large carrots
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 yellow onion
2 large red potatoes
1 package sliced mushrooms
Reduced-fat grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 can cannellini beans
Toasted sesame oil
Whole-wheat spaghetti or soba noodles
Old Fashioned Chicken and Biscuits
This incredibly tasty meal works great for a crowd. Plus, it's easy to make earlier so you don't have too much to do at dinnertime.
For the chicken:
1 quart chicken stock
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 large red potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with a knife
2 cups sliced mushrooms
For the biscuits:
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cold butter
2 tablespoons cold shortening
1/3 cup reduced-fat grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
To make chicken:
Poach chicken thighs in a large pot of water and garlic cloves until cooked through. Drain and let cool. Chop into small pieces and set aside.
Bring chicken stock to a boil in another large pot. Add carrots, celery, and potatoes and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until veggies are done. Remove veggies with a slotted spoon and reserve stock. Combine chicken and veggies and set aside.
Melt butter in a Dutch oven. Add onions and mushrooms and sauté for about 7 minutes, or until soft. Add flour and stir to make a roux. Keep cooking for about 5 minutes, making sure to scrape the flour from the bottom of the pot so it doesn’t burn. Slowly whisk in remaining stock. Whisk for 5 minutes on high heat as the sauce thickens and boils. Stir in thyme, parsley, white pepper, and nutmeg. Pour sauce over chicken and veggies (in a Dutch oven or casserole dish) and set aside.
To make biscuits:
Preheat oven to 450º.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in butter and shortening, mixing with your fingers until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Stir in the cheese. Break the egg into a measuring cup and add the buttermilk to the egg. Whisk the mixture and pour into the flour mixture. Mix until you have a relatively smooth ball of dough. On a floured surface, knead the dough four times and then roll out to 1/2-inch thick. Cut rounds with a water glass or cup. Place biscuit rounds on top of the filling and brush the tops of the biscuits with egg wash (just one yolk mixed with a little warm water—this gives the biscuits shine) and prick with a fork.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden. Serve hot.
Israeli Couscous Salad With Cannellini Beans
This is a simple vegetarian salad that can be eaten alone or used as a side dish for chicken or pork.
1 cup Israeli couscous
2 cups water
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 can drained and rinsed cannellini beans
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 tablespoon feta cheese
Cook the Israeli couscous according to package directions in simmering water. Once all the liquid is absorbed, add the beans, sun-dried tomatoes, paprika, sea salt, and pepper. Serve on a plate with feta, salt, and pepper sprinkled on top.
Easy Sesame Noodles
This is one of my favorite easy-to-throw-together pasta dishes. The sauce is flavorful, and you can make it as spicy or as mild you like.
1 cup tahini
1 cup canola oil
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cup tamari
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup chili oil
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
Sesame seeds, for garnish
Whole-wheat spaghetti or soba noodles, cooked, drained, and rinsed with cold water
In a large bowl, mix tahini and hot water until smooth. Add canola oil and mix again. Stir in tamari, sugar, and vinegar.
Add chili oil, sesame oil, and garlic, whisking as you go.
Serve with cold, cooked spaghetti and top with sesame seeds.