Thursday, September 3, 2009

Grilled Chicken with Tomato and Fennel Sauce

Every dieter--or at least, every meat-eating dieter--knows that grilled chicken breast is one of the best things for you. It's lean, low-calorie, high-protein, and it fills your stomach. The problem is, there are only so many ways to grill a chicken. You have to be creative. It's tempting to make a nice healthy chicken breast and then douse it with high-calorie, high-sugar, high-sodium sauce or add a fattening side, or just burn yourself out on chicken breast and salad, day in, day out. To remedy those chicken breast doldrums, here's a sauce I whipped up last night. It's sort of like Chicken Milanese, except the chicken is not coated with bread crumbs and/or fried, and I lightened the sauce.

Tomato and Fennel Sauce

1 cup thinly sliced fennel
3 roma tomatoes, diced (you can peel them, too, but I hate peeling tomatoes)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
cooking spray
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

Spray your pan with the cooking spray and put the pan over medium heat. When it's hot, throw in the fennel and saute for about 2 minutes, until it starts to soften. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook until the tomatoes start to get mushy. Add the thyme and cook a minute or two more. The sauce should still look fairly fresh--not cooked down like marinara sauce, but not so crunchy as, say, salsa fresca. Add the Parmesan cheese (or, if you're making huge cuts to your calories, omit it) and serve.

This is about two servings of sauce, and you won't be disappointed with the size of the servings. It's light, healthy, and delicious. It works well with the chicken and whole wheat pasta (I served it with rotini).

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