A couple of months back, my dad joined WeightWatchers as part of an overall effort to improve his health. He has been doing great (18 pounds lost so far!), in part because of my mom’s efforts in the kitchen. As soon as he joined, my mom went to the bookstore and picked up a couple of WeightWatchers cookbooks and started planning out Points-friendly meals. It has been fun to share and try out new WW recipes along with her, and last night’s dinner was a recipe from one of her cookbooks, WeightWatchers in 20 Minutes. I especially wanted to try this recipe because it afforded me the chance to cook with two new ingredients: broccoli rabe and polenta.
I enlisted John’s help with the meal preparation, and together we made our best attempt at preparing the broccoli rabe. Did we cut off enough of the stalks? What exactly does the recipe mean by chopped? were just a few of the questions we bandied about.
The recipe calls for instant polenta, which I never could find, so I bought a pre-cooked tube of fat-free polenta instead. The tube presented another quandary or two: Should we leave the wrapper on or off while slicing? How should we warm it? We soldiered through as best as two intelligent people could. Had we not been so tired and hungry, Google would have come in handy, I’m sure. As it was, speed was at the forefront of our minds, so we just went with it.
Using the tubed polenta meant leaving out the Parmesan cheese, which had we used, may have added some flavor and richness to what turned out to be a rather bland dish. The veggie mixture of broccoli rabe and sliced onion was the highlight of the meal. The chicken was incredibly plain, and the polenta only marginally added to the overall taste of the dish. It was a disappointment, and we gave it just 2 (out of 5) stars. I want to give both broccoli rabe and polenta another try in the future–just in different recipes.
Chicken & Broccoli Rabe with Polenta
1 bunch broccoli rabe, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 lb skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into 4 equal pieces
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 1/4 cups water
3/4 cup instant polenta or cornmeal
3 TB grated Parmesan cheese
1. In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe; reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; set aside.
2. In a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Saute the chicken until browned, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate.
3. In the skillet, saute the onion until golden. Add the garlic; cook, stirring, 1 minute longer. Add the broth, red pepper, broccoli rabe, and chicken. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a medium nonstick saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Stir in the polenta in a thin, steady stream; reduce the heat and cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese; transfer to a serving dish. With a large spoon, smooth the polenta into an oval with a depression in the middle. Spoon the chicken mixture over the polenta.
Yield: 4 servings. Per serving, 8 PointsPlus.