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Healthy Living Recipes

Deb Morgan: For those of us that choose to include chicken in our diets, January, with its cold winds, is a great time for chicken soup. Our dear chef Aggie Zeimek gets credit for perfecting our chicken curry soup, which is a hit here at Kripalu. If you can use a small-farm organic chicken for this recipe—and for any chicken dish you prepare—all the better.

The second chicken dish is a family favorite. Feel free to play around with the recipe, using different greens or adding dried fruit and nuts in the filling. Vegetarians and vegans will enjoy the rice pilaf by itself or sandwiched between two slices of tofu and baked. Just marinate your tofu first in some olive oil, lemon, and salt. May all your meals be yummy!

Chicken Curry Soup

Serves six.

6 cups chicken stock
2 cups chicken meat
½ cup medium diced onions
¼ cup diced celery
¼ cup diced apples (peels optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon agave cactus syrup

For the roux:
2 tablespoons flour
4 teaspoons butter or oil

First make a roux by heating the oil or butter to a medium-low temperature—be careful not to let it smoke. Add flour and continually stir for a few minutes to combine, making sure not to burn the mixture. For this recipe we want a white or blond roux, so stop cooking before the roux turns brown. Set roux aside.

In a soup pot, begin by sautéing the vegetables in the same kind of fat that the roux was made from (butter or oil). Add salt and spices. When the vegetables have begun to sweat, add apples and sauté for one minute. Add roux and stir to combine. Gradually add stock, stirring to prevent lumps. Add chicken pieces and simmer. Finally, add agave and adjust salt content if needed.

Read John Bagnulo’s commentary: Onions, Apples, and the Flu.

What do apples and onions have in common? They're both excellent sources of the phytonutrient quercitin, which has a protective effect on the lining of the respiratory tract. This molecule has been shown to prevent bacteria and viruses from adhering to the cells that line our lungs, thereby reducing the risk of infection. This mechanism is similar to that which allows cranberries to help protect our urinary tract. The skin of the onion and the skin of the apple have the highest concentrations of quercitin, so do not peel the apple, and buy only organic varieties. Also, do not peel away too many layers of the onion, just the very papery one. While cooking does destroy some amount of quercitin, a significant amount will remain if the temperature is not too high and the exposure to heat is not too long. Try to eat more raw onions in salads and mixed with beans. Extra virgin olive oil and raw red wine vinegar will help neutralize some of the bite that the onion has without affecting the quercitin content. Enjoy!

Chicken Florentine

Serves four.

2 chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine
6 cups raw spinach
1 cup basmati rice (brown or white)

Cook basmati rice in 1½ cups water or stock. Sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil, deglaze with wine, and set aside. Butterfly chicken breast and pound between parchment or plastic wrap. When rice is done, add the sauté plus the fresh rosemary, lemon juice, and fresh spinach. Stir to wilt spinach. Season the chicken breast with a little salt and pepper. Fill each breast with some rice and roll to seal. You will have some rice left over. Place chicken in a lightly oiled baking pan and spoon a ¼ cup of stock on top. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

For a decadent finish: Remove chicken from pan when done. Degrease remaining liquid and bring to a simmer, stir in a little heavy cream, a splash of white cooking wine, and a little salt and pepper. Simmer to thicken and serve on chicken breast. Garnish with parsley.

Find more delicious and nutritious recipes in Kripalu Recipes.