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Take a Break from Pumpkin: Try French Chicken

Sometimes simple is best, and this chicken recipe is both easy and exceptionally good. It also helps you take advantage of sales on chicken breasts. You know the kind--the giant lumps of chicken that grocery stores frequently sell in large packages. Sometimes getting those chicken breasts tender and avoiding the "rubber chicken" taste and texture is difficult. French Chicken helps you avoid that "rubber chicken" syndrome. You brown pieces of the chicken first, then prepare an easy sauce that provides moisture and extra flavor to the chicken. Although I've called the recipe "French Chicken" because it calls for white wine (and because the French often make similar dishes), you don't need to use an expensive French wine in the sauce. Use whatever you have open or an inexpensive white wine. The wine will simmer away in the sauce, imparting wonderful flavor, but the alcohol and the nuances of a fancy wine will boil away. So use the cheap stuff. The chicken dish is easy enough for a weeknight and is great served with pasta, rice, potatoes, or just about anything. I've even served it with spaghetti squash as a lower carbohydrate alternative.

Cheap, Low Fat French Chicken

French Chicken -- Serves 4

1-2 tablespoons of canola oil

1 large chicken breast (1 - 1 1/4 pounds)

1/2 cup of flour

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1-2 tablespoons of minced dried onions

1 1/2 cups of low sodium chicken broth (or 1 1/2 cups of water and 1 1/2

teaspoons of reduced sodium chicken "Better Than Bullion")

1 cup of white wine

1-2 teaspoons of minced dried parsley

Preheat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add about half the oil. Cut the chicken breast in half horizontally (through the middle), then slice each half into 2-3 pieces. Each piece should be about 1/4-1/3-inch thick. Put the flour in a large plastic bag and add the chicken pieces to the bag. Shake the bag gently to coat the chicken. When the pan and oil are hot, add 1/3-1/2 of the coated chicken to the pan. Brown the chicken for 3-5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken to a plate and cook the remainder of the chicken, in batches, and adding additional oil if necessary. The main thing to keep in mind here is to avoid overcrowding the pan. When the chicken is cooked and you've removed it to a plate, shake the remainder of the flour from the plastic bag into the pan and stir it around for a minute or two. Add the garlic powder, thyme, lemon pepper, salt, minced dried onions, and chicken broth and whisk/stir everything well to loosen the bits that have developed on the bottom of the pan. Partially cover the pan, reduce the heat to a simmer, and let the mixture cook for a few minutes. Add the wine and parsley, and continue to simmer the mixture, partially covered, for about 10 minutes or until it has reduced by about 1/2 in volume. Add the chicken back into the pan, spoon some sauce over it, reduce the heat to low, and let the chicken cook for a few minutes or until just cooked through (if you cook the chicken much longer it will be tough! Use a meat thermometer, if you're unsure). Turn off the heat and let the chicken sit in the sauce a few minutes before serving it. Truth in pictures: part of the chicken is missing from the pan in the photos below. My husband was hungry, and the chicken smelled (and was!) too good, he said.

No Rubber Chicken French Chicken

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