Monday, March 7, 2011

Poached Chicken with Vegetables

The scale has been frustrating me lately. Well, it's not really the scale's fault. Can I instead blame the Girl Scouts and their addictive, fattening cookies? Sigh. No, blaming 8-year-old girls for my weight seems just as unfair as blaming it on an inanimate object. This frustration is stemming from the fact that I was over my weight limit at my last WW meeting and they had to waive that weigh-in. I think I only get one waive per year. And it's only March!

I decided to get proactive, so that next month's meeting will be better. I signed up for E-tools, their online food tracking website. It costs money, which sucks, but I've been using it to record everything I've eaten for a whole week straight now, which is my longest streak in, oh, 6 MONTHS.

If you're not familiar with, or don't care about Weight Watchers, that's ok, because here is the other way I decided to get proactive: Poached chicken and vegetables. No oil, no butter, just a sensible portion of white meat chicken and tons of veggies. Yes, I think I'm on the right track with this one.

There should have been some oil in this recipe, drizzled on at the very end, but we totally forgot to add it. Since we didn't even miss it, I'm leaving it out of my adaptation of the recipe. I also used less chicken than it called for, since there is just the two of us, and I didn't have that much chicken anyway. I ended up using one 9-ounce chicken breast split between us. We saved the leftover broth and vegetables for lunches this week.

We only had lemon thyme instead of regular, so we used that. Then we decided, on a whim, to throw in some kaffir lime leaves with the broth, just to continue with the new citrus theme we had started. It was subtle, but we could definitely notice it!

We also roasted a delicata squash with a tiny pat of butter and a sprinkle of brown sugar to go with this meal. All things in moderation, right?

Poached Chicken and Vegetables
adapted from Real Simple
serves 4

2 leeks (white and light green parts) thinly sliced
3/4 pound Yukon gold potatoes (that's about 1 medium and 1 small), sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
4 sprigs fresh thyme (or lemon thyme)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (homemade, if you have it)
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or less, if you're trying to stretch a buck)
1 bunch Swiss chard or kale, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped or torn.

Put the leeks, potatoes, fennel, thyme, broth, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper into a large pot and bring to a boil.

Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken to the pot, and simmer for another 7 minutes.

Add the chard or kale and cook for another 3 minutes, or until the greens are tender and have wilted down, and the chicken is cooked through. Taste the broth and season with more salt and pepper as needed.

Remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to a cutting board. Slice the chicken into about 1-inch thick pieces.

Divide the chicken among individual bowls. Ladle the vegetables and broth over the chicken, and serve.

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