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Crunchy twist with chicken recipe

I’m always looking for new ways to prepare those oh-so-convenient boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

At a restaurant recently, I was served two large pieces of chicken with a crunchy crust made with pecans. Adding the topping to boneless, skinless chicken helps keep it juicy. (You could substitute other nuts, too, such as walnuts or macadamias.)

Serve the chicken with Broccoli and Farfalle, a bow-tie-shaped pasta. The shape goes well with the broccoli florets, though any type of thick, short-cut pasta could be used.

This meal contains 699 calories with 30 percent of calories from fat.

Pecan-crusted Chicken

3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 egg white, lightly beaten

1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Olive oil spray

1 medium tomato, sliced

Remove visible fat from chicken and pound to 1/2-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper to taste.

Mix cayenne pepper into cornmeal. Roll chicken in egg white and then in cornmeal. Dip chicken again into egg white and roll in pecans.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and spray with olive oil spray. Add chicken and brown 2 minutes. Turn and cover the skillet with a lid. Cook 3 minutes; a meat thermometer should read 170 degrees.

Divide between 2 dinner plates and place tomato slices on the side.

Yield: 2 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 412 calories (38 percent from fat), 17.5 grams fat (2.3 grams saturated, 8.9 grams monounsaturated), 108 milligrams cholesterol, 41.4 grams protein, 22.4 grams carbohydrates, 3.3 grams fiber, 236 milligrams sodium.

Broccoli Farfalle

1/4 pound farfalle (bow-tie pasta) (about 1/2 cup)

1/2 pound broccoli florets (about 3 cups)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large saucepan with 3 to 4 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook 5 minutes. Add broccoli and continue to cook 5 minutes. Drain, leaving about 1/4 cup water in the saucepan.

Add the olive oil and garlic to the reserved water. Return pasta and broccoli to the saucepan and toss to mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 2 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 287 calories (18 percent from fat), 5.8 grams fat (0.8 grams saturated, 3.5 grams monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 11 grams protein, 49.5 grams carbohydrates, 1.9 grams fiber, 34 milligrams sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of 14 cookbooks including her newest, “Mix ’n Match Meals in Minutes for People with Diabetes,” and “Prevention’s Fit and Fast Meals in Minutes.” Visit her webpage at

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