Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Helping You Hang onto That New Year's Resolution!

Ok, you MUST make this for dinner! It's CRAZY delicious and so good for you! Seriously, you can eat this and still maintain your tenuous grasp on your New Year's resolution...until the Valentine chocolates are upon us (literally, like on our hips and thighs). Plus, it's like a little taste of summer in the dead of winter. I give you Cajun-Spiced Chicken Breasts (cooked in the Instant Pot) on a Bed of Black Japonica Rice (also cooked in the magic pot) Topped with "Veggie Crack" (aka Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers, and Avocado in a Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette). Oh yeah.

For the chicken, I seasoned then browned two pounds of FROZEN boneless/skinless breasts in a very hot skillet in two batches, then placed them in the Instant Pot on the trivet over 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth and pressure-cooked them on Manual/high for four minutes with a quick release. For the black Japonica rice, I cooked 1 1/2 cups of rice in a scant two cups of water for 24 minutes on Manual/high in the IP, releasing after 10-15 minutes.

The best part of this meal is the so-called "Veggie Crack," the Pinterest favorite that is so nicknamed because you just can't stop eating it! Of course, this salad would be delicious on its own, and perfect to take to a party or potluck. I followed the recipe almost to the letter, except that I had to use frozen corn because, duh, it's winter. I just steamed a bag of sweet corn in a little water in the microwave for ten minutes then chilled it in ice water for a few minutes, drained it, and added it to the salad. Oh, and I used one red pepper and one yellow, because that's what I had.

Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers and Avocado in a Lime-Cilantro Vinaigretteaka "Veggie Crack"
(Source: Once Upon a Chef)
Servings: 6-8

15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained

3 ears fresh cooked corn, kernels cut off the cob (or frozen--steamed then cooled)
2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced (or any combination of red, yellow or orange)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons peeled and minced shallots, from one medium shallot
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lime zest (be sure to zest limes before juicing them)
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 Hass avocados, peeled, seeded and chopped

Combine all ingredients except for avocados in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Right before serving, add avocados and mix gently, being careful not to mash avocados. Garnish with a more chopped cilantro if desired. Serve at room temperature.

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