After all the comforts of the Christmas period, the thought of a detox can be daunting. But what if you could still eat foods packed with flavour AND be healthier at the same time? The ‘Mediterranean diet’ is exactly this, having been at the forefront of the media in recent years due to its appealing balance of delicious food and enormous health benefits. The tomato is a key ingredient in many Mediterranean dishes and tinned tomatoes are used just as frequently as fresh produce, with Cirio’s authentic tinned tomatoes being the best loved in Italy!
Lycopene is a natural nutrient which qualifies the humble tomato for super-‐food status, not only providing the vibrant, red colour of the tomatoes but also acting to protect skin against UV damage and the effects of ageing. Eating tomatoes as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle can even promote weight loss as they are filling without having a high calorie or sodium content, and have even been proven to reduce the risk of several cancers.
Harvested and processed on the same day, Cirio’s products seal the freshness and deep, rich flavour of the tomatoes by maintaining their natural vitamins and nutrients to deliver all their beneficial effects. Once tomatoes are picked, their lycopene levels gradually drop and so there is more of the nutrient found in tinned tomatoes like Cirio’s than in tomatoes sold on the shelf. As well as lycopene, tomatoes are a good source of calcium which is very effective for strengthening and repairing bones, as well as chromium which helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
I was sent some Cirio products in the new year so that I could try out some Mediterranean dishes on my own. Instead of choosing one from the cute little recipe book I was sent, I chose to do one which I have had in my repetoire for a while. Todd is not fond of pasta as you know, and I knew that he would love this.
I used bone in chicken thighs and a variety of herbs, and spiced which I added along with a tin of the Cirio tomatoes and some olives, capers and lemon zest to make up a fabulously tasty dish that is not only filled with nutrients and goodness but is delicious to boot.
And a perfect example of why Mediterranean cooking and eating is the perfect way to fill you up without putting on the pounds. Of course sensible eating goes hand in hand with healthy choices. Tinned tomatoes have always been a vital store cupboard ingredient in my larder, and I have to say that Cirio have always been my brand of choice.
*Tomato and Herb Baked Chicken*Brand Ambassador and the ‘Godfather of Italian cooking’ Antonio Carluccio said: ‘Cirio tomatoes are used in many Italian recipes as Italians often use tinned tomatoes because they are convenient and taste just as good as fresh! I regularly use Cirio tinned tomatoes in my cooking.’
Deliciously exotic and spicy. The chicken does need to marinate for several hours, so make sure you leave time for that. Rice or couscous are nice with this. It is a nice dinner party dish as you can throw all of the ingredients together early in the day and leave it to marinate, and begin cooking it about an hour prior to your wanting to eat.
1 large handful of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (about 1/2 cup)
about half as much again of chopped fresh coriander (about 1/4 cup)4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp sweet paprika
3 pounds of skinless bone in chicken thighs or chicken pieces
1 400g tin of chopped plum tomatoes in juice (14 1/2 ounces)
120ml of chicken broth (1/2 cup)
90g chopped green olives (1/2 cup)
1 TBS capers, rinsed
1 TBS finely grated lemon zest
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
salt to taste
Chopped coriander to garnish (optional)
Combine all of the ingredients in a baking dish. Roll the chicken in this, and arrange it in an even single layer. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 8 hours, turning the pieces occasionally. When you are ready to cook it, remove it from the refrigerator about half an hour before you wish to begin.
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Place the tightly covered baking dish in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and tender and the juices run clear.
Serve the chicken hot along with some of the cooking juices spooned over top. Sprinkle some coriander on for a garnish. Serve with hot rice or couscous.
To find out more about Cirio Tomatoes and products do check out the Cirio Website.
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