What can you do to make a special Valentine's Day Dinner for your sweetie? Make it hot, make it healthy, and make it easy!
First, make it hot! Studies show that spicy foods can raise your heart rate, cause flushing, and generally mimic some of the effects of sexual stimulation. For centuries, chiles and other heat-inducing ingredients have been added to love potions and other sensual aids to increase desire.
What's a better aphrodisiac than showing someone that you love them enough to prepare deliciously healthy foods? Pomegranates, those exotic fruits containing a multitude of sensual, fleshy seeds inside a thick rind, not only offer the luscious crimson color but also come packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals to keep you in top lovin' form.
Brown rice offers all the benefits of a whole grain, and the parboiled "quick cooking" kinds make preparing it quick and easy as all of these strategies will come to naught if you're spending all evening in the kitchen making supper instead of spooning morsels into each other's mouths. And, come to think of it, facing a train-wrecked kitchen after dinner can be a surefire mood killer as well.
Try this fabulously different recipe on your honey for Valentine's Day. It's sweetly spicy, inherently healthy, and couldn't be easier to prepare or clean up. Piri-Piri is an African term for hot and spicy. Control the amount of fire by adjusting the amount of cayenne pepper. This recipe is presented as mild-to-medium heat.Piri-Piri Pomegranate Chicken
1 cup parboiled brown rice
1 cup water or broth
2-3 pieces chicken
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp. cayenne
Salt, to taste
18-20 Brussels sprouts, trimmed with shallow "x" cut into stem end
1 1/2 cup baby carrots, halved
1 cup oyster mushrooms, sliced thickly
1/2 pomegranate, seeded
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray inside of 2-quart Dutch oven and lid with olive oil.
Pour rice into pot and add liquid. Stir gently to coat grains and smooth into an even layer. Set chicken pieces in next in a single layer.
In a small bowl, mix together ketchup, honey, molasses, lemon juice, garlic and cayenne pepper. Drizzle 1/2 mixture over top of chicken. Drop in Brussels sprouts and carrots. Pour rest of mixture over all. Top with mushrooms and pomegranate seeds. Cover and bake for about 45 minutes, or about 3 minutes after the aroma wafts from the oven.Notes
You can use any combination of boneless, bone-in, skinless, or skin-on chicken pieces in this recipe.
Look for pomegranate molasses in specialty or health food groceries.
Nutritional analysis per serving (with water): Cal 552.5; Protein 34.7g; Carbs 94.9g; Fat 4.95g:Chol 75mg; Sodium 660mg; Fiber 5.8g. (To lower sodium, use low-sodium ketchup).
By Elizabeth Yarnell
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