Cooking on a Friday night can feel like a drag. Or, it can be an opportunity to create and experiment, which is what I did recently after a busy week at work.
Rather than ordering takeout, we decided to make do with what was on hand. SItting in the ‘fridge waiting to be used was a bag of blood oranges. If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating this fruit, you’re missing a lot. On the outside, they look like an orange. On the inside they are true to their name. Slice them open to find a bright red color that rivals the red of a pomegranate. Blood oranges are rich in anthocyanins–potent antioxidants also found in red wine. They also pack fiber and vitamin C.
Scientists are still sorting out the many health benefits of anthocyanins, which may include protecting eye sight and prevention of such diseases as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Now the question was: how to incorporate blood oranges into dinner?
The answer came from the freezer. Inside were chicken thighs, chopped frozen leeks, frozen cubes of garlic and chopped cilantro (a great way to keep these ingredients on hand) plus, containers of cooked wild rice. Voila! The meal came together in a flash.
Step 1: Defrost the chicken thighs in the microwave.
Step 2: While they were thawing, I dropped the cubes of frozen cilantro and garlic into a nonstick pan along with a quick spray of virgin olive oil.
Step 3: Add the frozen leeks and let the mixture sautee on medium for about five minutes.
Not only do leeks and garlic taste great, but along with onions, chives and scallions, they are part of the group of allium vegetables, which research suggests may be helpful in cancer prevention. They also are low in calories and high in flavor–a great combination.
Step 4: Add the chicken thighs (about one per person) and some Greel Kalamata olives. Squeeze the juice from two blood oranges on the chicken. Simmer covered until the chicken is tender, adding more hand squeezed juice from the oranges as desired. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer about seven to 10 minutes.
Step 6: Defrost the frozen, cooked wild rice in the microwave. (Whenever I cook rice, I make the whole bag and then freeze cooked portions for quick use later. )
So how did this experiment turn out? As the flavors filled the house, a family member who had planned on eating dinner out, stopped by the kitchen before a workout and said, “Wow, that smells really good. Is there enough for me to eat dinner too?”
What are you cooking these days that is healthy and great tasting? How are you being creative in the kitchen? We’d love to hear all about it.