For those of you who have been reading my blog regularly, you will know that I don’t subscribe to any particular diet. I believe in pretty much everything in moderation with some things in more moderation than others. I think there is nothing like banning something completely to make it seem that much more enticing. Of course there are people with medical conditions that mean they do have to cut out certain food and I have vegetarian and vegan friends who don’t eat meat or other animal products for ethical reasons. But I think for the everyday person , you are just looking for a balanced diet.
Of course there is then the question of what is balanced and I am not a nutritionist so that is one question I will leave up to the experts. But there is quite a bit of advice out there that suggest the Mediterranean diet is a pretty good place to start. The diet is high in fruit, vegetables, legumes, olive oil and herbs and spices and lighter on the red meat and sweets with fish, seafood, poultry eggs and cheese eat in moderate amounts. There is a good infographic on the Mayo Clinic website giving more detailed guidance on how often to eat each group. It unfortunately doesn’t give portion sizes so while it says to eat fish and seafood at least two times a week, it doesn’t say what that size serve should be. What I do particularly like is that it says red wine in moderation is absolutely ok!
There are lots of books and websites out there on the Mediterranean diet if you want to read more. Laurie Constantino has published a list on her blog of other blogs promoting Mediterranean recipes. Some of these blogs are not active but in the wonderful world of the internet, the recipes are still there to try. I also like the cook book Mediterranean: the low-fat no-fat cookbook by Anne Sheasby. While it is not recipes for one, it has great flavour combinations you can then play with like I did with this Moroccan chicken with lemon and olives.
This recipe for a Tuscan chicken skillet incorporates many of the good attributes of the Mediterranean diet. It uses olive oil as the healthier fat (yes they do exist), tomatoes, cannelini beans (my all-time favourite bean) and herbs. The protein is chicken but I reckon you could do a firm white fish if you really wanted to go all out on the health factor and that would probably also reduce the cook time.
Plus as an added bonus it all cooks in one pan. No sides required at all. There is a bit of chopping and dicing required but not too much and most importantly of all it is tasty. The first time I made it the dish was a little bit bland – possibly because I couldn’t find fire roasted tomatoes so maybe the tomato taste was not as flavoursome as it should have been. To overcome this I add some chilli flakes in to give it an extra hit of flavour.
To make this for one I used the following ingredients:
- 2 tsp of olive oil (you may need to add a dash more when you add the onions.
- 130g chicken breast tenderloin or chicken breast cut to a similar size
- ¼ tsp of sea salt
- ¼ tsp of freshly ground pepper
- ¼ tsp of oregano
- 1/8 tsp of thyme
- 2 tbs of onion, diced
- 1 tsp of minced garlic (equal to one clove)
- 90g of button mushrooms, sliced
- ¼ cup of sundried tomatoes, sliced
- 100g of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 200g of diced canned tomatoes
- ¼ tsp of chilli flakes
- 1 tsp sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Parsley for garnish
Following the recipe, cook time was about 26 minutes – I cut back on the cook time from ten minutes to eight minutes for the final part. It only took me 10 minutes of preparation time but I used pre minced garlic. In the first part of the recipe where you brown the chicken I used 1 teaspoon of olive oil. I then added a teaspoon when I took the chicken out and added the mushrooms. When I removed the mushrooms, there wasn’t much oil for sautéing the onions so I added a dash more.
The calories come out at about 400 calories which is fabulous for a filling one pot dinner.
And if you like this recipe you will also like this recipe for Baked Italian Chilli Chicken. Even less effort required!
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