Category Archives: Chicken & Poultry

Tropical Thai Chicken Curry

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Tropical Thai Chicken Curry

Have I mentioned lately how much I adore mango? Or pineapple? Or Thai Food? It seems like it has been a few days so I figured I had better bring it up again, just to really drive my point home.

After my amazing and life-changing trip to my neighborhood “Oriental Supermarket” I am absurdly stocked up on awesome ingredients for some upcoming Asian and Indian dishes.

I wasn’t planning on writing a post about this Tropical Thai Chicken Curry, but after I started eating it I realized that it needed to be shared with all of you. This afterthought explains why these photos aren’t particularly awesome, or well-light, or in-focus, as I was hurrying to get them done so I could continue eating.

Anyway, you can just use your imagination and believe me when I tell you that it tastes good and looks good “in real life,” as they say.

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Ready to send your taste buds on an epic journey? Okay, let’s begin.

As always, start by prepping your ingredients.

Before anything else, get your rice going.

Then, cut up about a cup of fresh pineapple using your handy-dandy pineapple tool. Or, if it’s the middle of winter and/or you’re lazy like me, you can use the canned stuff.

Core a mango with your handy-dandy mango corer and dice the mango into bite-sized pieces. Or, do it the old fashioned way by holding the mango upright so it is balancing on the end opposite the stem, then use a sharp knife to slice from top to bottom along one of the flat sides of the mango, pressing inward toward the pit to save as much flesh as possible. Repeat on the opposite side, then turn the mango and remove the flesh from  the remaining two ends. Pick up one of the two larger pieces you cut and score it using your knife in a grid pattern, being careful not to cut through the skin. Use both hands to turn the piece of mango inside out to push all of the scored pieces up away from the skin. Use your knife to simply slice them off the skin. Repeat with remaining pieces.

Slice your chicken against the grain into the thinnest pieces you can manage.

Now, get out a wok or heavy-bottomed skillet and heat over medium-high. Pour in half a can of coconut milk and let it begin to foam as it heats. Add some red curry paste and stir to get it all worked in. Add in some fish sauce and palm sugar (brown sugar works nicely as a substitute), as well as a few whole lime leaves. I’m using wild lime leaves, but if you don’t have any just extract the juice from half a lime and set it aside for later. If you’re using lime juice, wait until you turn off the heat to add it in so it doesn’t turn bitter.

Add the rest of the can of coconut milk and some water and give it a good stir. Let it cook for a few minutes while you prepare some fresh basil. Simply stack a few basil leaves on top of one another, then roll them up tightly before slicing them lengthwise into ribbons. Set aside.

Add the chicken, pineapple, and mango to the curry and reduce heat to a gentle simmer (medium-low or low heat, just enough to keep the surface stirring but not at a boil). Let the curry cook for another five minutes or so until the chicken is cooked all the way through.

Turn off the heat, remove the lime leaves, then add the fresh basil leaves (and lime juice if using). Serve alongside lots of jasmine rice.

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Here’s the handy recipe:

Makes: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14oz) can of Coconut Milk, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Red Curry Paste
  • 2 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Palm Sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 4 Wild Lime Leaves (or juice from half a lime)
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 Lb. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, sliced thin
  • 1 c. Fresh Pineapple, chunked
  • 1 Fresh Mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 c.  Fresh Basil Leaves, sliced

Directions:

  1. Heat half a can of coconut milk in a wok or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until foaming.
  2. Add curry paste and stir to combine. Add fish sauce, sugar, and lime leaves* and let cook for one minute. Add remaining coconut milk and water.
  3. Add chicken, pineapple, and mango to the curry and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer and continue to cook for five minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Remove from heat. Remove wild lime leaves* and stir in the sliced basil. Serve with jasmine rice.

*If you don’t have access to wild lime leaves, simply use the juice from one half of a fresh lime. Add it at the very end, after removing the curry from heat.

Nutrition (per serving):

442 calories, 27 g. fat, 28 g. protein, 27 g. carbs, 7.5 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 10

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Thai “Hidden” Chicken

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Thai “Hidden” Chicken

When I hear the phrase “chicken and rice” I get super disinterested. Something about it just sounds really plain to me and I completely lose interest. HOWEVER – I saw a dish on a menu at a local Thai restaurant with some crazy name I couldn’t pronounce but a description in English that basically sounded like a Thai version of chicken and rice. I was intrigued.

If you DO like chicken and rice, then you will really love this interpretation. If you DON’T like chicken and rice, you should try this anyway because it may make you a believer. It is such a comforting dish, yet is full of flavor and spices that really make this a unique treat.

After a bit of research, I’ve found that this dish is sometimes referred to as chicken “hidden” in rice, so I’ve dubbed this recipe “Hidden Chicken.”

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Ready to start making this deliciousness? Okay, lets go.

First, you’ll want to prepare all of your ingredients. Go ahead and chop up the onions, mince the garlic, and slice your chicken breasts in half horizontally to make two thin fillets.

Place the chicken pieces in a bowl with a splash of fish sauce and let it hang out for a few minutes.

Heat some oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot, then saute garlic, onions, curry powder, salt, and pepper until everything is soft and a vibrant yellow color.

Add the chicken pieces in three at a time and spread them out so they cover the bottom of the pot evenly but don’t overlap each other. Let them brown, then flip them to brown the opposite sides. You’re not trying to cook them all the way through, you’re just wanting to get some lovely caramelization on the outside of the meat. Once browned on both sides, remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. Place the remaining three pieces of chicken in the pot and repeat the same process.

After you’ve browned all of the chicken and set it aside, add the uncooked rice to the pot and use a wooden spoon to stir it around. The rice will soak up some of the lovely curry powder color and get just a little bit toasted.

Add the broth and the heat will de-glaze the pan for you. Use your spoon to scrape up all of the lovely brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Keeping the heat on medium, let the mixture come to a boil. Keep boiling over medium until the water level has dropped to be even with the rice. Some of the rice will be poking through a little bit – it usually takes about 10 minutes.

Turn the heat down to medium-low and return the chicken pieces to the pot. Bury them under the rice so they are “hidden” from view. Use your wooden spoon to level off the surface, then cover and go busy yourself with something else for 45 minutes while the dish turns itself into pure magic. I’d recommend having a beer in front of the television.

After 45 minutes, the rice should be done and the chicken should be cooked all the way through. Remove the pot from heat and let it stand for another 10 minutes. While you’re waiting, open a second beer and then roughly chop some cilantro and cut a lime into a few wedges. After ten minutes, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.

Serve the Hidden Chicken and Rice with lots of fresh cilantro and lime wedges.

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Here’s the handy recipe!

Makes: 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half horizontally to make two fillets
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce (or just use 1 tsp. salt)
  • 3 Tbsp. grapeseed (or vegetable) oil
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 c. onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 3 1/2 c. fat free chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, cut in wedges

Directions:

  1. Place your halved chicken breasts in a medium bowl, add the fish sauce, and toss to combine. Set aside.
  2. Heat the grapeseed oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Add garlic, onion, curry powder, salt, and pepper, then saute 3 minutes or until the onions become translucent.
  3. Place three of the chicken breasts halves in the pot and let brown 2-3 minutes, then turn and let the other side  brown for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Repeat with the remaining three chicken breast halves, removing and setting them aside when browned.
  4. Add the rice to the pot and saute for 3-5 minutes until slightly toasted. Add the chicken broth and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the fond (this is the French term for the delicious brown bits on the bottom of the pot – hey, you learn something new every day!).
  5. Keep the heat on medium and let the mixture come to a boil. Continue to boil over medium heat until the water level is even with the rice (about 10 minutes).
  6. Reduce the heat to medium-low, return the chicken to the pan, bury it in the rice so it is “hidden,” then cover it and let it cook for 45 minutes.
  7. After 45 minutes, remove the pot from heat and let it stand for 10 minutes.
  8. Fluff the rice with a fork, then serve with plenty of fresh cilantro and lime wedges.

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Nutrition (per serving):

383 calories, 9 g. fat, 18 g. protein, 56 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 10

Indian Chicken Korma

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Indian Chicken Korma

In the interest of full disclosure, I feel that I must confess to you that this is NOT a “light” recipe. This is not vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, paleo, or dairy-free.

But it is dee-lish-shuss. For reals.

No joke.

Seriously, you guys.

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Trust me on this one.

Chicken Korma is one of those magical dishes that seems to fill up 95% of my plate whenever I visit an Indian food buffet. It is rich, creamy, full of spices and flavor, and just begs to be soaked up by a piece of fresh naan. If you’ve never tried your hand at making Indian food at home, this should definitely be your starter recipe. It’s much easier than you’d think, as long as you have a few basic Indian spices in your pantry.

The chicken does like to marinate for a while, so get it set in the morning before heading to work.

The ingredient list does look a bit long but DON’T FREAK OUT. Most of it is spices, and if you are missing any of them I’d highly suggest investing in a bottle (or buy in bulk, like me!). Nothing will open up your kitchen to more possibilities than a well-stocked spice cabinet!

The only thing you might have a hard time finding in your local grocery store is Garam Masala. You can try an Asian foods specialty store, or I’ve even had luck finding it at Cost Plus World Market. More recently I’ve been purchasing it on Amazon – you can find the link on my Products page.

Ready?

Okay, Go:

Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients:

[For the Chicken Marinade]

  • 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp mild yellow curry powder
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

[For the Sauce]

  • 2 white onions, peeled
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 c. water
  • 3 large tomatoes, diced small
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger root
  • 1/2 c. ground almonds (food processor works great)
  • 1 c. coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 c. plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 small red chili, de-seeded and minced (I used dried, but fresh works, too)
  • 2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 4 tsp. mild yellow curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander seed
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Drizzle the chicken with the oil and sprinkle on the spices, salt and pepper. Massage into the meat and cover, leaving to marinate for at least a couple of hours or overnight.
  2. Grill the chicken until fully cooked but not dried out. Set aside.
  3. For the sauce begin by pureeing together: 2 white onions , 6 cloves garlic, 1 cup water.
  4. In a large saucepan heat 3 tbsp olive oil (or ghee if you prefer).
  5. Add the pureed onion mixture and cook over medium heat for a few minutes stirring constantly. Add: tomatoes, ginger, ground almonds, coconut milk, yogurt, red chili, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, curry powder, nutmeg, salt, pepper, ground coriander, garam masala, cloves, cumin, and brown sugar.
  6. Simmer slowly for about 30-40 minutes then add the chicken and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and/or naan.

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Nutrition (per serving):

362 calories, 25 g. fat, 19 g. protein, 20 g. carbs, 5 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 10

15-Minute Almond Chicken with Noodles

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15-Minute Almond Chicken with Noodles

I very rarely cook Chinese food because I usually can’t help but throw some fish sauce or lime juice into anything I make in a wok. Thus, most everything veers into the Thai-food realm rather than remaining strictly Chinese. I stuck to my guns on this dish and was really glad I did.

I had the idea in my head to make Almond Chicken and then just happened to find a big bag of snap peas at my office that same morning. One of my employees lives on a farm with her husband so she brings in fresh produce when they have too much to eat themselves or sell in town. Lucky for me, these little beauties went perfectly with the smooth tang of the sauce and the crunch of the slivered almonds.

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Did I mention that this whole bowl of chicken, veggies, and noodles is under 500 calories? Uh, because it is.

I originally had thought about serving this with rice, but since we eat so much Asian food in our household I’m kind of sick of it lately. Instead, I cooked up some whole wheat angel hair pasta until it was al dente, then fried it in some sesame oil and soy sauce to give it a little texture. It turned out somewhat similar to lo-mein. They worked perfectly to soak up the sauce and bulk up the dish – I don’t think it would have been the same with plain old rice!

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Here’s the recipe:

Makes: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. soy sauce, divided
  • 1/4 c. chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. sweet rice wine (Mirin), or substitute sherry
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. sesame oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 tsp. minced ginger
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 c. sugar snap peas, rinsed
  • 1/4 c. dry-roasted salted almonds
  • 1/4 c. chopped scallion for garnish
  • 6 oz. whole wheat angel hair pasta (or any long noodles – just follow package directions for al-dente)

Directions:

  1. Place the chicken in a medium bowl with 2 Tbsp. soy sauce and the minced ginger, then toss to coat evenly.
  2. In a large pot, boil 6 cups of water with some salt. Add pasta and cook for 3 minutes, or until al dente. Do not overcook the pasta, as it will continue to cook when you stir fry it.
  3. In a small bowl make the sauce: combine the chicken broth, sweet rice wine, cornstarch, 1 tsp. sesame oil, and sugar, and stir well. Set aside.
  4. When the pasta has finished cooking, drain the noodles and return the pan to low heat. Add 1 Tbsp. sesame oil and 2 tsp. soy sauce to the pan.
  5. In a wok or large, deep skillet, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Add the ginger and chicken mix and spread it out into a single layer. Let it cook for 1 minute then stir.
  6. Add the onion and sugar snap peas and cook, stirring now and then, for 3-5 minutes or until the chicken has cooked through.
  7. Meanwhile, return your al dente noodles to the pot containing the warm oil and soy sauce. Turn the heat up to medium-high and let the noodles fry, tossing them with tongs occasionally to prevent burning.
  8. Add the pre-mixed sauce to the work and toss well to mix everything together. Once the sauce has thickened, add the almonds and toss to coat. Serve over the pan-fried noodles and garnish with chopped scallions.

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Nutrition (per serving):

488 calories, 20 g. fat, 30 g. protein, 43 g. carbs, 5 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 12

“Soy-Soda” Chicken

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“Soy-Soda” Chicken

While at the grocery store last week I found myself hanging out in the beverage aisle contemplating the wonderful varieties of organic tonic water, kombucha, and stevia-sweetened sodas. One of the great things about living in Portland is the easy access to a wide variety of grocery items – everything from Asian supermarkets and International Farmer’s Markets to all-organic and locally-sourced supermarkets.

I was perusing some of these incredible options at a Market of Choice store and a bottle of Mango Jarritos caught my eye. Now, I’ve seen Jarritos plenty of times and ordered the pineapple variety at one or ten taco carts over the years, but I wasn’t sure I’d ever tried the mango. Mango is hands-down my favorite fruit, and one of my favorite ingredients to work with in the kitchen. Last week I made a mango cake with alternating layers of mango curd and mango cream-cheese frosting (although it was my first time frosting a cake and it was way too ugly for publication!), and I’ve had a fresh mango for breakfast almost every morning this past week.

It occurred to me that I should find a way to utilize this mango soda in my meal plan for the week, so I accepted the challenge and grabbed the little guy off the shelf. I completely lost my mind and decided to marinate some chicken thighs in a mixture of soy sauce, fish sauce, spices, and an entire 12  oz. bottle of the mango soda. I figured that it would either be awesome or disgusting, and I was willing to take that chance.

As I’m posting this recipe now, you’ve probably already figured out that this recipe was AWESOME. I’ve dubbed it the “soy-soda chicken” and it is definitely going on the regular rotation at our house!

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This chicken smelled so good I only ended up with just a few quick photos because I couldn’t wait any longer to dig in.

I made some jasmine rice and tossed it with cilantro and lime to accompany the chicken, and also marinated some onion slices in rice vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, and red pepper flakes to add a bit of bite and texture to the dish.

soysoda6The husband ate THREE whole pieces of chicken in under ten minutes and did all but lick his plate. I think he regretted this chicken-binge shortly after, as we went to see World War Z just a few minutes after dinner and even I had to loosen my belt at the theater to get comfortable. Okay, that’s a lie. I wasn’t wearing a belt, I was wearing jeans so really I just unbuttoned them. Classy!

World War Z was really good by the way, in case you were wondering. Don’t pretend like you weren’t. I had no idea it was about zombies until fifteen minutes into the movie (ever since we got the DVR I feel like I never see movie previews anymore!).

Right, back to the chicken. This was so incredible easy – just whip up the marinade, throw your chicken in and leave it in the fridge overnight. When you’re ready to eat, put some rice on and heat up your grill. Whatever you do, DON’T think you’re going to be all “waste-not, want-not” and reduce your leftover marinade into an awesome sauce, because the carbonation in there will explode all over your kitchen and make your world sticky as all heck. I ended up making a simple sauce of soy sauce, water, mirin (sweet rice wine), fish sauce, and red pepper flakes. Stir a teaspoon of corn starch into a little cold water and throw that in, too. Bring it to a boil, reduce it to a simmer, and let it thicken up. Mmm, saltiness.

Here’s the recipe:

Makes: 4 servings, 2 thighs each

Ingredients:

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 12-oz. bottle of Mango Soda (Jarritos brand works great)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. pure chili powder

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the soda, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic powder, coriander, and chili powder.
  2. Add the chicken thighs and toss to coat. Make sure each piece of chicken is submerged, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Remove chicken from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to cooking.
  4. Pre-heat your grill to medium-high heat (I set mine to 375 degrees). When hot, place your chicken thighs on the grill and close the lid.
  5. Let them cook for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through, turning once.
  6. Remove from grill and let rest for 3-5 minutes. Serve with rice tossed with cilantro and lime and/or marinated onions.

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Nutrition (per serving, chicken only):

222 calories, 6 g. fat, 30 g. protein, 12 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 5

Moroccan Chicken Stew

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Moroccan Chicken Stew

My Mom recently handed me a stack of cookbooks that my grandma had rescued for me from my aunt’s garage sale (my family knows that I love to cook). There was a recipe in one for Moroccan Lamb Soup which got me thinking about Moroccan food again, so I decided to put together a simple one-pot meal for those of us who don’t have a good source for lamb (seriously, where do I even buy that?).

Behold, Moroccan Chicken Stew:

morchickstew2I brought the leftovers to work and had to brag to my co-workers about this bowl of sweet, sweet deliciousness. I used chicken thighs, but if you’re a bit more particular about your meat chicken breasts or tenders would also work well in this dish.

I tossed the chicken pieces in a mixture of flour and Moroccan spices then added them a hot dutch oven that had been browning some onions for me. In went some garlic, canned tomatoes, chick peas, and raisins. I wanted to add some green olives, but the husband loathes such things so we went without.

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A sprinkling of fresh coriander leaves (also known as cilantro) brought just the right amount of freshness to this warm and hearty stew.

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I can’t believe how easy and scrumptious this was, especially because all of the ingredients are totally pantry staples. This dish would also freeze well if you wanted to make a big batch and save some for a rainy day (you know, like mid-June in Portland).

Serve it up with some sweet Moroccan Mint Tea and you’ve got yourself a meal that will transport you straight to Casablanca.

Here’s how I made it:

Makes: 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts), cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 can whole tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup pimiento-stuffed olives (optional)
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 c. loosely packed fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves

Directions:

  1. In a  6-quart Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add the onion and cook until light golden brown.
  2. Meanwhile mix flour with coriander, cumin, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon in a shallow dish or pie plate. Toss chicken with flour mixture to coat evenly.
  3. Add chicken to Dutch oven and cook 7 minutes or until lightly browned, turning chicken over as needed to prevent sticking. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
  4. Stir in tomatoes with their juices, beans, raisins, olives (if using), and water; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Break up tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Served garnished with cilantro.

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Nutrition (per serving):

361 calories, 10 g. fat, 31 g. protein, 38 g. carbs, 9 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 9