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Mediterranean Diet Recipes: Moroccan and Spanish Chicken Dishes

You find no shortage of flavor when you begin cooking with traditional Moroccan and Spanish meals. Moroccan cuisine brings North Africa’s unique flavors and regional foods; it’s very flavorful because Moroccan cooks are famous for abundantly using spices and dried fruits in their cooking. Traditional Spanish cooking relies heavily on olive oil and garlic — the perfect pair.

Moroccan Chicken with Tomatoes and Zucchini

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Three 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, or 1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 zucchinis

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

One 14.8-ounce can tomatoes, chopped

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces (about 2 inches).

  2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add the olive oil, garlic, ginger, and chicken pieces and cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is browned on all sides.

  3. Meanwhile, cut the zucchinis lengthwise into quarters and chop it into 1/2-inch moon shapes.

  4. Add the zucchini, 1/2 cup of the cilantro, and the canned tomatoes to the skillet; stir and cover for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked completely. Add the remaining cilantro and serve.

Per serving: Calories 249 (From Fat 95); Fat 11g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 82mg; Sodium 313mg; Carbohydrate 9g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 30g.

Chicken in Paprika Sauce

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Three 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon plus 1 tablespoon paprika

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup sour cream

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. Combine the flour, salt, and 1 tablespoon of the paprika in a bowl and toss the chicken pieces with the flour to coat.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces, stirring to cook for about 4 minutes or until they’re lightly browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.

  3. Add the peppers and onions to the skillet and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the stock and remaining paprika and bring the mixture to a boil.

  4. Turn off the heat. Using a stick blender or food processor, blend the sauce until it’s smooth or your desired consistency.

  5. Return the chicken and sauce to the pan and simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the heat, stir in the sour cream, and serve.

Per serving: Calories 216 (From Fat 89); Fat 10g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 62mg; Sodium 610mg; Carbohydrate 10g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 21g.

Spanish Kabobs

Prep time: 20 minutes, plus marinating time

Cook time: 16 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Three 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup almonds

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon paprika

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt to taste

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

  1. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces (about 2 inches).

  2. In a food processor, pulse the almonds, cumin, coriander, paprika, and garlic for 3 minutes. Add the red wine vinegar and olive oil and mix for 1 minute. Season the mixture with salt to taste.

  3. Pour the mixture over chicken pieces and coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

  4. Lightly grease grill grates with oil and then heat the grill over medium-high heat. Skewer the chicken pieces and grill for 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until cooked thoroughly. Place on a serving dish and top with the cilantro.

Per serving: Calories 262 (From Fat 132); Fat 15g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 82mg; Sodium 155mg; Carbohydrate 2g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 29g.

Chicken Curry

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Four 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 carrots, sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1-1/2 cups chicken broth

One 14.8-ounce can diced tomatoes

One 14.8-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 zucchini, sliced

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. Toss the chicken pieces with the flour to coat. Dust off the excess flour from the pieces.

  2. In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and ginger and sauté for 4 minutes.

  3. Add the spices (paprika through turmeric), broth, tomatoes, chickpeas, zucchini, and raisins; cover, lower the heat to low, and simmer for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.

Per serving: Calories 372 (From Fat 97); Fat 11g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 73mg; Sodium 613mg; Carbohydrate 36g (Dietary Fiber 9g); Protein 35g.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the spice list, you can always substitute 1 tablespoon of a pre-made curry blend in place of the paprika, coriander, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and turmeric.

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