This sweet and spicy dish can be prepared in minutes


By Linda Gassenheimer

Cajun spice lends heat and grapes lend sweetness to today’s quick chicken dish, made with flavorful boneless, skinless thighs. There are many Cajun spice blends. They normally include cayenne, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper and salt.

A salad of warm rice, kidney beans and green pepper completes the meal, which contains 621 calories per serving with 32 percent of calories from fat.

HELPFUL HINTS

Look for Cajun blends on the spice aisle.

Boneless, skinless chicken breast may be substituted.

COUNTDOWN

Place water for rice on to boil.

Prepare ingredients for chicken and rice.

Boil rice.

Make chicken.

Finish rice.

SHOPPING LIST

To buy:3‚Ñ4 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 1 bottle Cajun seasoning, 1 small bunch red grapes, 1 small bunch green grapes, 1 package 10-minute brown rice, 1 package frozen chopped green bell pepper, 1 small can red kidney beans.

Staples: canola oil, balsamic vinegar, vegetable oil spray, salt, black peppercorns.

CAJUN CHICKEN

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

3‚Ñ4 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning blend

Vegetable oil spray

3‚Ñ4 cup halved red and/or green grapes

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Mix oil and vinegar with 2 tablespoons water; set aside. Spread chicken thighs flat, and sprinkle Cajun seasoning on both sides. Spray a medium nonstick skillet with vegetable oil and heat over medium-high. Saute 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through; remove to a plate. Add oil mixture and grapes to pan. Cook over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits, 2 minutes, or until heated through. Serve over chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 2 servings.

Yield: 4 servings

Per serving: 318 calories (38 percent from fat), 13.4 g fat (2.5 g saturated, 6.2 g monounsaturated), 138 mg cholesterol, 35 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 1.4 g fiber, 719 mg sodium.

WARM RICE SALAD

1‚Ñ2 cup 10-minute brown rice

1 cup frozen chopped green bell pepper

1‚Ñ2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons canola oil

1‚Ñ2 cup rinsed and drained canned kidney beans

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Bring 2 to 3 quarts water to a boil. Add rice and boil, uncovered, 8 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook 2 more minutes; drain. Place in a bowl; toss with vinegar and oil. Add beans and salt and pepper; toss well. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 303 calories (25 percent from fat), 8.5 g fat (0.9 g saturated, 4.9 g monounsaturated), 0 cholesterol, 7.7 g protein, 49.8 g carbohydrates, 6.3 g fiber, 105 mg sodium.

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