Food & Drink

Quick chicken, ratatouille meal perfect for hectic holiday season

Crispy Chicken with Ratatouille (Sauteed Provencal Vegetables). (Linda Gassenheimer/TNS)
Crispy Chicken with Ratatouille (Sauteed Provencal Vegetables). (Linda Gassenheimer/TNS)
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Freshly made ratatouille, a tasty blend of Provencal vegetables and crispy, sauteed, chicken cutlets make a quick meal for this busy time of year. Coating the chicken with coarse cornmeal gives it a flavorful crust which becomes crispy when sauteed. Cornmeal can be found in three textures, coarse, medium or fine and three colors, white, yellow or blue, depending on the type of corn used. White and yellow cornmeal can be found in most supermarkets.

Ratatouille is a popular dish in the Provence region of France. It is made by slowly simmering eggplant, zucchini, onion, garlic and tomatoes in olive oil. This is a quick version that captures the flavors of Provence without the lengthy cooking.

Complete the meal with crusty French bread warmed in the oven.

Helpful Hints

• Any type of corn meal can be used.

• Boneless skinless chicken breasts can be used. Flatten them to about 1/4-inch thick.

• Any type of pasta sauce can be used for the ratatouille.

Countdown

• Start ratatouille.

• Make chicken.

CRISPY CHICKEN

Yield 2 servings.

1/4 cup coarse cornmeal

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 egg white

3/4 pound chicken cutlets

1 tablespoon olive oil

Season cornmeal with salt and pepper to taste. Lightly beat egg white. Dip chicken into egg white and then cornmeal, making sure both sides are well coated. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and saute 2 minutes. Turn and saute 2 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 165 degrees.

Per serving: 346 calories (30 percent from fat), 11.6 g fat (2 g saturated, 4.5 g monounsaturated), 126 mg cholesterol, 41.5 g protein, 15.9 g carbohydrates, 0.8 g fiber, 106 mg sodium.

Source: Linda Gassenheimer

RATATOUILLE (SAUTEED PROVENCAL VEGETABLES)

Yield 2 servings.

3 cups washed, peeled sliced eggplant

2 cups sliced zucchini

2 cups sliced button mushrooms

1 1/2 cups low-sodium pasta or tomato sauce

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

If eggplant slices are large, cut them in half. Add eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms and pasta sauce to a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Lower heat and cover. Simmer 15 minutes. Vegetables should be cooked through but a little firm. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Per serving: 162 calories (20 percent from fat), 3.7 g fat (0.5g saturated, 0.8 g monounsaturated), 4 mg cholesterol, 7.5 g protein, 28.6 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 74 mg sodium.

Source: Linda Gassenheimer

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