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Simply Food: White bean, chicken and rosemary rice

July 23, 2013
By Wendy Monro , The Journal

I am switching back to more healthy food choices. Also, my friend Cat, reminded me in a Facebook post that I should be drinking more Pimms. So, we have been sipping Pimms by the pool. If you haven't tried this drink before, you should. All you do is pour the bottle of Pimms into a pitcher, add 1.5 liters of Seven-Up, fresh cut strawberries, mint sprigs, cucumber, apples and ice. This is the most refreshing summertime drink and you get a little fruit salad in your glass.

In an effort to get back into the healthy swing of things, I made a light dinner last night. I cooked after drinking two glasses of Pimms while lounging in the sun with my stepson, Archie and Claud.

Luckily, Jack's friend, Lance, gave me a hand. He loves to cook and helps me whenever he is over. We turned on some fun music and my desire to nap turned into enthusiasm to cook.

Article Photos

Submitted photo
White bean, chicken and rosemary rice.

I took chicken breasts out of the freezer earlier that morning. However, when I went to the refrigerator to take them out to cook, I realized it was ground chicken. I planned on making white beans with rosemary infused rice and placing the chicken breasts sliced on top. That wasn't going to happen. Instead, I had to work with the ground chicken. No problem, I could handle it.

Since we have been spending so much time outdoors by the pool, I have been getting whiffs of rosemary every so often. We have several rosemary shrubs in our yard. It has a wonderful pine-like aroma and a pungent flavor. Rosemary contains substances that stimulate the immune system and improve digestion. It has been shown to increase blood flow to brain and improves concentration. Rosemary has been used as a natural medicine for ages. People believed it stimulated memory and when studying for exams in ancient Greece, students placed sprigs of rosemary in their hair. I bet the library smelled amazing. Rosemary goes well with white meat and fish. I also like to add it to roasted potatoes. Chicken and white beans go very well with rosemary so I decided to add it into the mix.

Lance and I got going. First, we sauted the celery, garlic, and onions. I wanted the rice to be extremely flavorful. So, I sent Lance out to retrieve the rosemary. He thought it was weird that we were incorporating needles from a plant in our yard. I threw in a diced tomato. I used to use a lot of canned tomatoes in my recipes but now I am a little concerned about them. Many experts, including Fredrick Vom Saal, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri, claim that the acid in tomatoes combined with the resin linings of tin cans allow the bisphenol-A in the can it to leach into your food. Bisphenol-A is a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and obesity. I have read a few articles relating to this and I figure it is just as easy to use fresh tomatoes. You might want to read more about this if you use a lot of tinned tomatoes.

Fact Box

White bean, chicken and rosemary rice

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 onion, diced

2 stalks of celery, sliced

1 clove garlic, chopped

needles from four sprigs of rosemary

1 tomato diced

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste

1 tablespoon powdered chicken stock

3 cups water

2 cups basmati rice

2 cans cannelini/great northern white beans

1 pound ground chicken

1 cup parmesan cheese

In a large pot with a lid, heat two tablespoons of olive oil. Add onions and celery. Saut for five minutes. Add garlic and saut for another five minutes. Add rosemary and tomato. Mix the chicken stock powder and concentrated tomato paste into the water. Pour this into the pot. Add the rice. Salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for thirty minutes or until the water has fully absorbed into the rice. Add breans and let them heat up for another five minutes. In a skillet, heat the remaining olive oil. Add chicken and cook thoroughly. Place the beans and rice onto the plate, top with chicken and sprinkle with cheese.

I added chicken stock and the concentrated tomato paste to the water we used to cook the rice. Soon, as the flavors filled the kitchen and reached out to the rooms where all of the other kids were and the kids began showing up in the kitchen one by one. They were getting in our way. I had to send them away. Nobody can be in the kitchen unless they are helping. They sat at the counter and watched and waited. When the rice was just about finished, Lance added the white beans to let them heat up. We cooked the ground chicken breast in olive oil, salt and pepper. I put out some Parmesan cheese in case people wanted to sprinkle some on. Turns out, everyone did. I called them into the kitchen to serve themselves. They filled their plates and went to the table. They devoured every morsel. I was so happy that all seven of us were satisfied. Nobody knew I was helping his or her brains as well. That was my little secret. I thanked Lance for a job well done and enlisted some help with the dishes.

 
 

 

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