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A change of pace to start the new year

Welcoming a new year is a chance for a fresh start and an opportunity to make plans for the life you’d ideally like to live: new goals, dreams and aspirations.

At the end of 2013 I found myself almost nostalgic. I had spent so much of the year healing and appreciating all that the year brought, I never felt the need to move on.

Yet here we are in 2014 already in progress, new menus, foods and a team looking to move forward from what is already a great place. In writing this article after seeing a month of meats, potato and veggies, I was feeling the need to do something different. I wondered if anyone else felt the same or if it was just because we were making such a large volume of these comfort foods: so many friends were commenting on the weight gained over the holidays. Thankfully, we are making more healthy casseroles and soups in the store to help along the way in bringing life and the waistline back into check.

I met a lady a few years ago that kept her resolutions so simple. It wasn’t “I’m going to lose 50 lbs,” but simply “I’m going to avoid chocolate this year.” Every year she would chose something different. Eventually over time she realized a healthy lifestyle by making small adjustments. Well, we all know that I won’t be avoiding chocolate, but the small changes create a path to success in whatever your goals may be.

 

Creamy Polenta

 

4 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup cornmeal

6 sprigs thyme

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup grated parmesan

In a heavy saucepan bring chicken stock and salt to a boil and gradually whisk in cornmeal in a thin stream. Add chopped thyme;

Cook polenta over moderately low heat (it should be barely boiling), stirring constantly until very thick and pulls away from side of pan, about 40 minutes for cornmeal and about 15 minutes for instant polenta. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm;

Stir polenta just before using: it will keep warm, covered, about 20 minutes. Makes about 3 cups.

 

Mushroom chicken breast

 

4 chicken breasts

(season with salt and pepper)

1-1/2 cups forest mushrooms, sliced

1/4 red onion

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup white wine

2 handfuls baby spinach

Salt and pepper

Season chicken breasts and sear in hot pan, skin side down first;

Place on baking sheet and bake in oven at 400 F for approximately 18 minutes;

In hot pan, add oil and sauté mushrooms, add onions, garlic and salt and pepper;

Once the onions have browned, deglaze with white wine and reduce until the liquid evaporates;

Add 2 handfuls of spinach and toss;

Serve over baked chicken breast.

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