Having to cook extremely low fat for my youngest son has forced me to get super creative on how to make tasty dishes that won’t stick to the pan. This dish I made recently, turned out so delicious that I will make it again and again, even if he can start eating regular amounts of fat. It’s Chicken Breasts Roasted on Tomatoes and Fennel. It’s very low fat and really yummy and so fresh tasting! If you count on the bright flavors of your ingredients, roast at a high temperature to bring out their best, you won’t need a lot of oil or butter.
In contrast to this dinner, I want to tell you about a conversation I had with another fellow shopper in Fairway last weekend. We were both at the cheese counter and she was ahead of me being waited on. They didn’t have exactly what she asked for, so she said to the cheesemonger, “Okay just pick out 3 cheeses for me for my cheese course. I’m having a dinner party and doing a whole French thing.”
Naturally my ears perked up and I said, “Sounds nice! What are you making?”
She excitedly recited her whole menu. She said she was starting with a Garlic Cream Soup, then the main course would be a Dijon Mustard Tarragon Chicken with a Cream Sauce, mashed potatoes with Gruyere cheese, the braised leek recipe from Julia Child (tons of butter) and then the cheese course. I don’t know all of the cheeses she got but the last one that was handed over to her was a half of a wheel of triple cream brie.
I was good. I didn’t go into lecture mode. I nodded my head and said, “Wow”.
She said, “ Yeah, it’s hardy. It’s cold outside.”
Hardy?? I say it’s hearty and that it’s so bad for your heart!
When I told my husband the story while driving home, he asked if she was serving Lipitor for dessert. Or perhaps it was a dinner that included her 87 year-old aunt with a heart problem who she could do without?
I mean really, first off, to me, this dinner sounds so unappealing. Way too rich. Not to mention, colorless. Although a special-dinner-party-cheese overload never hurt anyone on occasion, if this is an habitual way of cooking and eating, that’s a health problem. I can’t fault this woman for cooking a homemade meal, and with love, it sounded like, for her friends, but I wanted to say to her, it could still be an amazing meal without cheese, cream or butter in every course. It really can.
This recipe here uses just a little peanut oil and a little olive oil, which are both low in saturated fat and high in a “good” fat, monounsaturated, which helps to lower cholesterol. With the Dijon mustard and moisture from the vegetables, you’ll be surprised at just how delicious it tastes without a drop of cream in sight!
So eat healthy. Feel great and be happy. Make this tasty dish with LOVE and you won’t miss a bite of butter or cream.
CHICKEN BREASTS ROASTED ON TOMATOES AND FENNEL – serves 5
5 boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of all fat
1 rounded tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. thyme leaves
2 tsp. chopped sage leaves
Salt to taste
Fresh cracked pepper to taste
1 large plum tomato – sliced into 5 slices
1/2 of a large fennel bulb, sliced into 5 slices
Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Lightly slick a rimmed baking sheet with a little peanut oil. Whisk the olive oil and mustard together and stir in the fresh herbs.
On the baking sheet, lay out one tomato slice and one fennel slice together in five pairs to form a base for each chicken breast.
Salt and pepper each breast to taste and brush the herbed mustard mixture on both sides and place on top of the pairs of tomatoes and fennel. Roast on the top shelf in the oven for 15 – 17 minutes until just cooked through.
Garnish with chopped parsley. I didn’t do this but it would have been prettier if I did.
Enjoy good clean cooking!