Friday, January 26, 2007

"Chicken Sybil”
the Multiple Personality Chicken
& Alanna's Signature Chicken Recipe

We all remember the book Sybil, right? I call this recipe "Chicken Sybil" because it's the "multiple personality" chicken, made in so very many different ways, all wonderful. It's so easy to make, the chicken turns out moist and juicy in the center, slightly crispy at the edges. The sauce is so variable, it starts with a creamy-mustard sauce then adds on-hand ingredients. I think you'll love Chicken Sybil, it's the "one way" I make chicken again and again, yet it never turns out the same twice.

Chicken Sybil, another Quick Supper ♥, it's the 'multiple personality' chicken, just pan-cooked chicken in a creamy-mustard sauce plus whatever on-hand ingredients sound good. Low Carb. High Protein. Weight Watchers friendly! Rave reviews!

"This sounds silly ... but ... [this recipe] changed my life!!" ~ Angela
"Chicken Sybil is pure genius." ~ Roberta
"I loved Chicken Sybil." ~ Colleen
"... absolutely delicious, elegant, and so easy." ~ Barbara
"My husband ... is so excited every time I make it. " ~ Dee
"This is my husband's new fave." ~ Cathy
"... to die for..." ~ Barbara
"... such a nice dinner. Delicious, company worthy sauce." ~ Julie
"It was delicious!" ~ LindaRuthC
"... tonight I made it with flounder. T'was wonderful!" ~ Ann

(Y-chromosomed readers: Skip straight to the recipe. This first bit requires X chromosomes for full comprehension.) Can a closet breed shoes at a rate challenging gravid guppies?

Think pumps and sling-backs and slides and mules and slip-ons and peep toes and lace-ups and ankle straps and monk straps along with flats, loafers, oxfords, kilties, tassels that sit beside ballerina shoes, Mary Janes and moccasins and high heels, tippy-toe heels, strappy heels, stilettos and kitten heels, dancing shoes, airport-friendly shoes, Saturday-morning errand shoes and clogs and crocks and platforms and wedges and espadrilles and that’s before the racks of thongs and sandals and flip flops, ankle boots, snowboots, dressboots, cowboy boots, steel toes and sneakers, high tops, boat shoes, golf shoes, running shoes, walking shoes, hiking boots and beach shoes. And lest we forget, the comfy house slipper. Whew.

What does it say that we women recognize so many shoe designs, even without owning a pair? Can we list as many authors, composers or poets? What’s so important about shoes that our brains catalog them?

So goes Chicken Sybil, the quick supper with multiple personalities and a variation for every occasion. It may be the most flexible, easy and delicious chicken supper, ever.

ALANNA’S TIPS: Individually frozen chicken breasts are a supper-saver at five o’clock. Just submerse the packages in cold water – yes, cold, it’s counter-intuitive but it works – for 30 minutes. How does chicken safely cook so quickly? It's because the meat is pounded quite thin. Because "quite thin" is imprecise, the first time you make this, after the specified cooking times, slit into the thickest part of the breast with the tip of a sharp knife and spread a bit. If the center is still pink, cook awhile longer. Chicken Sybil cooks fast so have a salad and vegetable ready before starting.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Multiple-personality chicken
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time-to-table: 20 minutes
Serves 4 (easily adjusts to 1 or 2 servings)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about ¼ pound each
  • Salt & pepper
  • Handful of capers, sliced mushrooms, diced tomato, green onion, frozen peas, cooked bacon or your choice
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup cream or sour cream or fat-free half ‘n’ half
  • 2 tablespoons good mustard
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate (my favorite) or maple syrup, marmalade, tomato paste, salsa (pictured), barbecue sauce or your choice

CHICKEN Melt the butter in a large skillet on MEDIUM HIGH. (You may need two skillets to cook four servings at once.) Between two sheets of waxed paper, pound the chicken breasts with a rolling pin until about a half-inch thick. Season one side with salt and pepper, transfer to the skillet seasoned-side down (the meat should sizzle), then season the top side. Reduce the heat to MEDIUM, cook for 4 minutes on one side, then 3 – 4 minutes on the other side. Transfer to warm plates and cover with foil.

ADD-IN's Add the add-in ingredients (if any) to the skillet and stir 1 – 2 minutes until warm.

THE BASE SAUCE + SAUCE ADD-IN'S Add sauce and optional sauce add-in ingredients (if any) to the hot skillet, stirring to incorporate bits of chicken left in the pan. Let thicken slightly. Pour sauce over chicken. Serve and enjoy!

GET CREATIVE! Be creative with the variations. I’ve made this 20 times in a year, never once, twice, just by scrounging in the fridge beforehand. One summer, I taught a class where each of us cooked our own skillets of Chicken Sybil with a variety of ingredients. Favorite Add-In's and Sauce Add-In's included sun-dried tomatoes, frozen peas, fresh mushrooms, black bean sauce and fresh basil, also garlic and rhubarb jam. What variations have you tried? Leave a comment to inspire others!

NUTRITION INFORMATION (Exact nutrition will vary based on your own add-in choices but this is a good start.) Per Serving, without add-in's: 211 Calories; 9g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 94mg Cholesterol; 188mg Sodium; 1g Carb; 0g Fiber; 0g Sugar; 27g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 5 & PointsPlus 5 & SmartPoints 5

More Quick 'n' Easy Chicken Recipes

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Fast Roast Chicken Rainbow Chicken Easy Margarita Chicken

More "Concept" Recipes to Make Again and Again, One Recipe, Many Variations

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Perfect Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins How to Make Homemade Vegetable Soup Winter Stew

Friday, January 12, 2007

Two-Way Lentil Skillet:
A Recipe for Lentils with Tofu or Shrimp

What a favorite easy supper recipe, just healthy lentils and tofu for a vegetarian supper, or lentils and shrimp for omnivores who eat seafood. The Indian-style spices make the whole dish really come alive.

‘Concept recipes’ are big favorites here at Kitchen Parade.

They’re like families that get along, combinations of ingredients that come together easily as written. But like friendly families happy to have visitors, the recipes seem to sit up and beg for adjustments for taste preferences, on-hand ingredients and seasonal vegetables.

This lentil skillet supper is a classic concept recipe, one recipe with at least two entirely different outcomes.

The first recommended combination is red lentils and shrimp that’s creamy and comforting. Its cousin is black lentils with tofu that’s hearty and satisfying. Or if you like, go for red lentils with tofu and black lentils with shrimp.

The dishes are so different, serve them two nights in a row and no one will complain.

And if you’ve got chicken or pork tenderloin on hand? Perfect. What about adding dried fruit? Great. No cilantro? Try spinach. Not keen on cumin or curry? Go for thyme and sage. Serving more mouths? Add more vegetables.

While ever so different, each dish shares the common genes of every-day healthful ingredients paired with satisfying spices.

Now that’s a family concept to bring to the table for supper.

LIGHT VEGETABLE STOCK Homemade vegetable stock is easy to make and adds considerable flavor to dishes like Two-Way Lentil Skillet. Just combine 7 quarts of water with the peels from two potatoes, 1½ pounds of carrots, 4 celery ribs, 2 heads of garlic sliced cross-wise, some cilantro and parsley, salt, herbs of your choice and pepper corns. Let simmer for 2 – 3 hours, strain and transfer the liquid to freezer bags.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Become a Kitchen Parade fan on Facebook!


One recipe, two outcomes
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time-to-table: 30 minutes for red lentils, 45 for black lentils
Serves 4
  • 3 cups Light Vegetable Stock or water
  • Splash of water
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup red lentils or black lentils, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (preferably seeds with tofu and powder with shrimp)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 ounces fresh shrimp or
  • 12 ounces light extra-firm tofu, patted dry and cubed

LENTILS Bring 3 cups water to boil in microwave. In a large skillet, heat splash of water over medium heat, sauté onion and pepper til soft. Add garlic, ginger and salt; stir for a minute. Stir in lentils and hot water. Let simmer uncovered until lentils cook, about 20 minutes for red lentils and 30 for black. (While lentils cook, cook shrimp or tofu.) Stir in cilantro, shrimp or tofu. Serve and enjoy!

SHRIMP or TOFU Heat splash of water in a non-stick skillet, add spices and cook a minute. Stir in shrimp or tofu, cook til done, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes for shrimp and 15 for tofu.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving with red lentils & shrimp/black lentils & tofu: 217/185 Calories; 1/2g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 31/29g Carb; 7/11g Fiber; 1308/1328mg Sodium; 86/0mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 3.5/3 points

LATER NOTES Since discovering Homemade Vegetable Bouillon, I rarely make vegetable stock. The bouillon lasts for a long time and uses freezer space much more efficiently, saving room for Homemade Chicken Stock.

A Lesson in Lentils

Green lentils (foreground) and red lentils (background)

This recipe calls for 'black lentils' which are some times called 'black beluga lentils' but you may also use 'French lentils' (lentilles de Puy, pictured in the foreground) which are some times called 'green lentils'. Now, that's a lot of different names to remember but it's worth it. These lentils take a touch longer to cook but hold their shape, which red lentils (pictured in the background) and brown lentils, say, will not. See the lentil recipes for buying information.

More Meatless Suppers

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Squash & Carrot Stew Broccoli Rigatoni with Chickpeas & Lemon Eggplant & Bean Thai Curry

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