Look at the recipe for “Chicken and Zucchini Stew,” from 200 Healthy Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less!, by Robyn Webb. Do you see how easy this is? Pull this meal together in less than an hour. I served mine over couscous. First, I cubed my chicken into 1-inch cubes (instead of 2-inch pieces), then browned them in two batches in olive oil. This is a rewardingly tasty method I’ve picked up, when working with sometimes “ho-hum” chicken breasts.

This recipe won me when it immediately asks to combine the liquid from the canned tomatoes with the broth (I used vegetable-bouillon instead of chicken), to sauté the vegetables. What a savvy and judicious trick! We should always be doing this.

After cooking, make sure to add enough salt to this thick stew.

PRICES
Green Bell Pepper (1) = .30¢
Zucchini (2) = $1.42
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (1 1/2 lbs.) = $7.49

RECIPE: do you want a chicken stew? make this easy one
PREP TIME:
eat your stew after less than an hour of prep and cooking
TASTE: chicken and zucchini are reliably fine

My next showcase meal will be “Quinoa with Chard and Chickpeas,” from Nava Atlas (recipe below), and the “Grated Raw Beet Salad,” from Martha Rose Shulman (recipe below). Return to my site on Sunday, August 29, to see this one.

Quinoa with Chard and Chickpeas
4 to 6 servings
Try using red quinoa or a combination of regular and red quinoa, which harmonizes well with these greens and makes for a pretty dish. Use any variety of chard -- rainbow, Swiss, or, my personal favorite, green chard, which is featured in spring produce markets.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine sieve
1 natural, salt-free vegetable bouillon cube
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup cooked chickpeas
2 to 4 cloves garlic, rinsed
1 good-sized bunch  chard or beet greens, stems removed and thinly sliced
3 to 4 scallions, sliced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt-free seasoning blend (such as Spike or Mrs. Dash)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine the quinoa and bouillon cube with 2 cups water in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes. If you’d like the quinoa to be more tender, add 1/2 cup additional water and simmer until absorbed. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the chickpeas and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until both the chickpeas and garlic are golden.

Stir in the greens and enough water to keep the bottom of the skillet moist. Cover and cook until the greens are tender but still bright green, stirring frequently and adding more water as needed. When the greens are about halfway done, stir in the scallions.

Add the cooked quinoa and cumin and stir together with the greens. Season with salt and pepper; cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer and serve.

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Grated Raw Beet Salad
By Martha Rose Shulman
Serves four
People who swear they hate beets love this salad. It’s a North African-inspired mixture of grated, uncooked beets dressed with orange and lemon juices and a small amount of olive oil. It makes a great starter when you’re serving something robust as a main course, like a couscous. Martha Rose Shulman can be reached at martha-rose-shulman.com.

1/2 lb. beets
3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. minced chives, mint or parsley (or a combination)
Salt to taste
Leaves of 1 romaine heart

1. Peel the beets with a vegetable peeler, and grate in a food processor fitted with the shredding blade.

2. Combine the orange juice, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss with the beets and herbs. Season to taste with salt. Line a salad bowl or platter with romaine lettuce leaves, top with the grated beets and serve.

Advance preparation: The grated beets can be dressed and kept in the refrigerator, covered well, for a couple of days. They become more tender but don’t lose their texture, and the mixture becomes even sweeter as the beet juices mingle with the citrus. Toss again before serving.