Have you ever considered coating chicken with almond meal? It’s a clever, tasty idea. The recipe for “Parmesan Almond Crusted Chicken,” from Angie’s Recipes, is written with metric measurements, so note that 500 g of chicken breast is equal to 17.5 oz. I achieved my almond meal by grinding 1/3 cup raw almonds in my food processor. I like to slice my semi-frozen chicken breasts horizontally with a large serrated knife. This way, I easily have thinner “cutlets.” The recipe asks to mix the almond meal with 1 cup breadcrumbs, but this was too much. My amount of chicken needed only 1/2 cup breadcrumbs mixed with the almond meal.

One whole lemon provided enough zest for this recipe, and contributed to the fresh lemony essence of this dish. This is definitely a nice way to coat and cook chicken.

Oooh, risotto. I made the “Zucchini Risotto,” from All Recipes, as an experiment in “cooking light.” Risotto’s glories are in its buttery, wine-enhanced creaminess. What would this risotto taste like, when it uses much less butter and no wine? Well…this risotto was indeed nice, but not as nice as it could have been, I’m afraid, if it had enjoyed the addition of more butter. I went ahead and added some Sauvignon Blanc to my vegetable-bouillon broth. And, after soaking my sun-dried tomatoes for one hour, I added the soaking liquid to my broth as well.

After stirring the rice for 13 minutes, I added my zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, and dried thyme. I then stirred for another 11 minutes. In the end, this risotto was flavored by the wine that I chose to add, and by the sun-dried tomatoes. Indeed, an uncharacteristic risotto, but a decent meal nonetheless.

Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts (17.5 oz.) = $5.46

RECIPES: chicken breasts benefit from an almond-meal coating, while risotto reaches for flavors beyond butter
thinly sliced chicken breasts cook very quick; risotto could be ready after less than an hour of prep and stirring
TASTES: recognize almonds and lemons in the chicken crust and sun-dried tomatoes in the risotto

Next time, I will cook the “Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Thai Coconut Sauce,” from the July 2010 issue of Bön Appetit (where I’ll use cod instead), along with “Wild Rice with Shiitakes & Toasted Almonds,” from The Eating Well Diabetes Cookbook, by Joyce Hendley and the editors of Eating Well. See my results when you come back to my site on Wednesday, September 15.