I have a new year’s tradition of going through my cookbooks and magazines, searching to uncover a new favorite recipe or remind myself about one I enjoyed but haven’t made in a while.  It always seems to get the year off to a healthy start, planning to cook a great variety of foods and try some new ones as well.  I’ve amassed quite a stack of tagged recipes, and I can’t wait to see which ones are ‘hit’.  (The ones that will be a ‘miss’, I’m not looking forward to….I hate to ruin an opportunity for eating!)  But then there are the favorites, those old stand-bys that are the perennial winners.  

For me, a favorite not only tastes delicious, but it is easy to prepare and uses no weird ingredients.  (Each cook may define ‘weird’ as s/he sees fit.  For me, an ingredient I will not use in any other recipe is weird.  So is any ingredient for which I have to make a special trip to a particular store.)  I also enjoy colorful food– eating the rainbow, as The Bear puts it– and, no surprise, food that is healthy.

 My New Year’s Gift to you is the recipe for my family’s favorite dinner– it is loved by the cook, by the husband, and by the kids.  And the leftovers (if there are any, which is getting more and more rare as the kids get older), reheat beautifully.

Tuscan Chicken Stew  (adapted from Cooking Light)

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast- diced

1/2-1 tsp rosemary (to taste)

2-3 cloves of garlic

1/2 c chicken broth

1 can canellini beans, drained and rinsed

7 oz roasted red peppers, diced

4-12 cups fresh spinach (to taste– remember that spinach wilts to nothing, so don’t be afraid to use what seems like a ridiculous amount)

  • Toss the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and rosemary
  • Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet
  • Add garlic, sautee for 3 mins
  • Add chicken, sautee for 6-8 mins
  • Add chicken broth, beans, roasted red peppers, bring to a boil
  • Turn down heat to simmer, cover and simmer for  5-8 mins
  • Add spinach, and cover to steam/wilt

Serve with a crusty whole wheat bread.  Delicious!

It doesn’t take a lot of work to be a fantastic cook.  If you are willing to follow directions and have some faith, your body will thank you.  Here’s to tasty, healthy cooking in the new year.

Good health and great happiness to you.


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