olive oil cooking spray or other vegetable cooking spray
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 1 1/4 lb. chicken tenders with tendons removed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup converted long-grain rice
3 to 4 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 cup celery (2 stocks), thinly sliced
1 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 14-oz. can chopped tomatoes or 2 fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 cups liquid; water combined with juice from canned tomatoes ( 2 1/4 cups for saucier rice)
3 to 4 teaspoons chicken base or bouillon
15 medium black or green olives, thinly sliced – optional
1. Lightly spray a medium non-stick or stick-resistant pan with cooking spray and preheat on medium-high for 2 minutes. Season chicken on both sides with oregano and salt. When pan is hot, add chicken and brown 2 minutes per side. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
2. Preheat a 4-quart Dutch oven or covered pan over medium for 2 minutes. Add onion, garlic, pepper and celery and cook until onions are transparent. Add cumin, cinnamon, chili powder, garlic powder to vegetables and continue to cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. If mixture starts to stick, add a little tomato juice or water.
2. Add water, tomato juice, tomatoes and bouillon to vegetables. Stirring frequently, Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a gentle boil. Add rice, olives and chicken to mixture, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Remove chicken and rice from heat and allow to stand covered for another 10 to 15 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed by rice.
Yield: 6 2-cup servings at approximately 290 calories; 2.5 grams total fat w/o olives, 3.5 with olives; 0.5 saturated fat; 65 milligrams cholesterol; 36.5 grams carbohydrate; 3.7 dietary fiber; 30 grams protein; 884 milligrams sodium.
Note: If using chicken tenders, be sure to remove tendons before adding to rice. To remove tendons, firmly hold tendon end of tender against cutting surface with one hand, while using the sharp edge of a knife to cut/scrape meat off and away from tendon in the opposite direction.