Eric Ripert’s Toaster Oven Chicken

A recipe to make chicken in a toaster oven, by renowned 4-star chef at Le Bernadin, Eric Ripert? Can you say oxymoron? But wait, there’s more. I stumbled upon this recipe in that oh-so-high-end weekly, People magazine.

Naturally, I had to try it.

Especially since I’ve been so miserable about breakfasts, now that I’m ‘off’ my bagel and lox routine. And still not happy with oatmeal.  I needed a win this week, and to my amazement, this recipe delivered.

I’m not sure why I’m so surprised – it does have Eric Ripert’s name on it. And the man is brilliant – he’d not allow a bad recipe to go out to millions in People magazine if it wasn’t good. Even if it is called Toaster Oven Chicken.

Besides being extremely easy to make (it was in People, people!) this dish was very tasty. It packed a flavor punch with little preparation. Plus, it promises to be a great summer recipe – a nice alternative to grilling that won’t heat up the whole kitchen.

While I don’t know the nutritional value, it’s clearly a great lo-co choice as the recipe is simply chicken breast with almost no fat added.

And it looks pretty.  I cooked mine in the oven because it was cold the day I made this – and I wanted to make 4 chicken breasts so I’d have some leftover for lunch.

I can’t find this recipe online anywhere (it was in 4/16 People issue), so download a PDF of the recipe here: Eric Ripert Toaster Oven Chicken.

Modifications I made to make it more lo-co (and to my taste):

  • Recipe calls for 3 TB of olive oil for just 2 chicken breasts. That struck me as a lot, so I used about half that amount.
  • I despise fennel so left it out – no loss as far as I could tell.
  • As I don’t love olives but my husband does, I used some stuffed green olives from a jar in the fridge (ok, raise your eyebrows all you want but you know you have them in your fridge too).  I sliced them and tossed the red pimento – but probably you could keep that in as well.
  • As I made this spur of the moment with chicken breasts I’d defrosted, I didn’t have fresh thyme or basil – used dried and it was fine. Am sure would be better with fresh.

Give this a try – just be sure you leave yourself about 15 minutes to mince shallots and garlic, and slice the tomatoes, fennel (gak) and green olives.  Once all the mincing/slicing is done, it takes about 2 minutes to assemble then ‘bakes’ in the toaster oven for just 10-15 minutes.

This recipe’s easy to put together on a busy weeknight – and leftovers are great as they are OR perfect for lunch in a panini.

It’s not Le Bernadin by any stretch (I’ve been, it’s amazing – go if you can).  But it is a quick, easy and delicious lo-co meal.

Traditional recipe on the Going Lo-Co Recipes page.  Visual recipe courtesy of Christine Juneau here:

 

 

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Melissa Clark to the breakfast rescue?

With much reluctance, I abandoned my usual bagel and lox breakfast this week (see Oatmeal vs Lox). I’ve been grumpy about it, but I stuck with it… all week.

The first two days I went with cereal. Special K Cinnamon Pecan Cereal, to be exact. Then I tried instant oatmeal but it was so boring I didn’t even finish a bowl. I know, I know – instant oatmeal’s terrible. But who wants to cook in the morning? So back I went to cereal.

It’s astonishing how very much I miss my warm bagel with just a smidge (never a smear) of whipped cream cheese – topped with a fresh, thin layer of lox. Simply astonishing I can actually pine for a breakfast item.

A friend saw my Facebook post bemoaning my lox loss and wishing for a tasty oatmeal recipe and sent this:

“Hi Karen, I’m an oatmeal lover and couldn’t resist sharing my current favorite recipe. While the oatmeal is cooking I toss a handful of dry coconut flakes into the mix (they soften and the taste blends into the porridge). To serve I crumble walnuts (for protein and crunch – but any nut will do) and fresh organic blueberries, and then I smother mine with rice milk. (For added health, sprinkle 1 tbsp of ground flax seeds- good for hormonal balance). Yum. and Happy Spring!”

Doesn’t that sound great? Aren’t you inspired? Despite my lox mourning, even I had to admit this sounded delicious, so I dutifully printed this out and went shopping.

And promptly FAILED.

No, I didn’t cave and buy lox. The problem was coconut flakes – I didn’t have any and clearly, they were vital to this recipe. But Trader Joe’s doesn’t stock coconut flakes and Fresh Market was out. (I find this puzzling – is there some Passover or Easter coconut tradition I don’t know about?)

Worse, I was so flummoxed by my inability to purchase coconut flakes from 2 different stores that I totally forgot to buy fresh blueberries.

Now very frustrated, I banged a bowl of Special K onto the table, sloshed in some milk, and opened the New York Times Dining Section. To my surprise, I found inspiration. Nope, not for breakfast; instead, I was inspired by Melissa Clark’s calzone article. Check out this piece of potential lo-co cooking heaven:

“For the dairy eschewers in my life, I whipped up a calzone without any cheese at all. Instead, I piled garlicky mashed white beans and caramelized fennel and onions into pizza dough, baking it until golden. It was full-flavored and soft-centered, not a traditional calzone but a delicious tart-like creation unto itself, and one that I’ll make again.”

Now thinking I had a plan for dinner, I was doing a bit of research on Ms. Clark’s blog for an ingredient suggestion. (Two issues: first there’s no actual recipe in the article, so that’s a dilemma. And second, I hate fennel so am wondering what to use instead.) And guess what I found? An amazing post about homemade Coconut Orange Muesli.

It seems I’m destined to work on ditching my lox jones.

If I can just find some coconut flakes, I’ll have 2-count-em-2 oatmeal recipes to try.

Just please stop laughing at the fact that I’m so far gone lo-co-wise, that I’m now writing about the IDEA of lo-co recipes – and haven’t actually made them.

Yet.

Illustrations by Christine Juneau.

 

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RSS Subscribers Accidentally Deleted

In my state of lox withdrawal – and general sleep depreviation – I erred today, big-time, while moving my RSS feed.  Sigh.

If you were subscribed to Going Lo-Co via an RSS feed/reader and now see a great big NADA where you used to get a headline or email, my apologies.

So sorry for the hassle, but please Re-Subscribe. (Though how you would even know about this since your RSS feed is now gone is beyond me. But hey, I’m putting this out there just in case.)

New subscription for email or RSS feed is top right…just below the ‘Follow Me’ bar. Thanks!

 

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Oatmeal vs Lox

Calling all oatmeal lovers: what’s your favorite way to prepare oatmeal?

Ever since I admitted in my last post to ditching oatmeal and falling back into my bagel-and-lox habit, the guilt is getting to me.

Actually, all of my lo-co eating habits are out of whack. Yesterday I hit Wendy’s again while driving home from the 8th HS Baseball game in 2 weeks. Of course I had no menu planned and frankly, I was too tired from shivering in the wind for 3+ hours per game to make any.

So I decided the easiest way to get back into eating lo-co was to focus on breakfast (at least I’m now spinning 2x a week so all’s not TOTALLY lost, lo-co-wise). Because dinners are so not happening right now – and baseball season has only just begun.

So, breakfast. I know I should be eating oatmeal, the cholesterol-lowering superfood. But I love my half-bagel-with-lox. So I need to know: do I really need to give up my lox-every-day habit? Is it that bad for me? Or can I have oatmeal a few days a week and still have my bagel and lox some (most?) other days?

To decide, I researched lox. Frankly, I was hoping to find that lox is a healthy choice (and maybe I’d just add oatmeal cookies to my diet?) It seemed rational: I mean, lox is smoked salmon, and that’s chock full of fish oil and healthy protein, so it should be healthy. Right?

The answer is, yes… kind of.  But lox has issues, which I guess I knew. But I was all hold-my-hands-over-my-ears about them.

It turns out that lox does indeed deliver good-for-you omega 3 fatty acids and lean protein. Which is great, but I had no idea lox also packed a big sodium punch.  Truly, no idea. Despite how the divine salty taste mingles with the sweet, cream cheese.

See above monkey-hear-no-evil mien.

A 3 ounce serving of lox has 1700-2000 mg of sodium. Eat that much lox every morning and you’d be over the USDA guideline of 1500 mg of sodium by 8am! Lox nutritional info is not easy to find online; for details, read here and here.

Luckily, I eat far less lox on my bagel than most – I roughed it out to about 0.6 ounces, which is 1 small slice – every morning. Still, that drops 350-400 mg of sodium into my system along with my decaf hazelnut coffee (with Silk Soy Creamer and a scant 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, thank you very much.)

So lox has far too much salt than is good for me daily. And here I was thinking I eat a low sodium diet because I never add salt to anything.

In “The Risks of Eating Smoked Salmon,” health writer Jeffrey Traister explains that in addition to the high sodium, ingesting lox potentially exposes you to chemicals that can cause cancer, and lox can be infected with the dangerous bacteria, listeria. He advises:

“Minimize your risk by eating smoked salmon less often, eat foods with low sodium content on days you consume the fish, eat small amounts to reduce exposure to polycyclic hydrocarbons and eat it shortly after purchase to lower risk of listeriosis.”

Sufficiently freaked out, I will be eating cereal while I search for delicious ways to simply prepare great tasting oatmeal.

Recipes, anyone?

Illustrations by Christine Juneau.

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