Lemon Chicken with Cannellini Beans and Rosemary

Hoo boy, where did this past month go?  It’s Secret Recipe Club time again!  The club is made up of a fun group of bloggers who once a month are secretly assigned another member’s website from which to choose a recipe to make and then share on what we call “Reveal Day” when we all find out who had whose blog.

Secret Recipe Club

This month I was assigned Karen’s Lavender and Lovage blog.  Karen is English and splits her time between living in North Yorkshire and southwest France.  She is a published food writer and recipe developer; and, in addition, she holds regular French and seasonal cooking workshops in her “specially designed” kitchen.  Wouldn’t I love to attend one of those workshops!  Karen also grows most of her own vegetables and all of her own herbs, specializing in some old-fashioned herbs which aren’t commonly used today.  I need to find out more about those!

As I browsed through the many recipes on Karen’s Lavender and Lovage, she had me at “clotted cream.”  I just love that term for some strange reason!  It makes me think of English tea and scones, not to mention jam and lemon curd.  Much as I love scones, I decided to try something different and not at all what I was expecting to find in an English blogger’s repertoire.  My sights set on Karen’s offering of Lemon Chicken with Cannellini Beans and Rosemary.  Being Italian, I adore cannellini beans in any savory dish you could make.

As an added incentive to making this dish, I learned that Karen made it to incorporate in her 5:2 diet of feasting and fasting.  I had never heard of this diet before which was the brain child of a British physician.  The premise is that you “feast” for five days of the week and “fast” for the remaining two.  You don’t actually “feast” for five days but merely eat a normal diet in moderation.  And you don’t really “fast” for two days—but your calorie intake is limited to 500 calories daily for women and 600 calories for males.  The idea is that after eating substantially less for those two days your body will be quite happy with eating a very moderate diet the remaining five days with the result that you lose weight.

Well, I’m always up for a delicious meal that is healthy and low in calories.  It turns out that this lemon chicken dish is only 275 calories.  To have a meal that is quick and easy to prepare, tasty, satisfying, and that low in calories is a star in my book.  Having said that, I still wish I had had a roll with my dinner to sop up the delicious juices—but, then again, I am a carb addict!  I did not have one (excuse me while I pat myself on the back); but, had I thought about it, a cup or so of broccoli would have rounded out the meal nicely for me.  In any event, I don’t think the broccoli would have turned the meal into a “feast” rather than a “fast.”  If this is what fasting tastes like, sign me up!

One year ago:  Jammers

Lemon Chicken with Cannellini Beans and Rosemary

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  • Low-fat cooking spray
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts (total of 3/4 to 1 lb.), cut into small pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tbl. rosemary leaves, finely chopped and woody stem discarded
  • Juice and zest of 1 small lemon
  • 1 15-oz. can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock (OK to sub chicken stock)
  • 2 tbl. low-fat yogurt (I used nonfat Greek yogurt)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Heat a large frying pan that has a lid, or a wok and then spray with low-fat cooking spray. Season the chicken breast pieces and then fry for 5 minutes until golden brown and almost cooked through.  The chicken will finish cooking while the other ingredients are added to the pan.  (Alternatively, you could cook the chicken until done, remove it from the pan, and then add it back in after the other ingredients have been added and done cooking.)

Add the garlic and cumin seeds and stir around the pan until the spices smell fragrant, then add the rosemary, lemon juice and zest, beans, tomatoes, stock and seasoning and stir to combine them all.

Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

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Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a minute or two before adding the yogurt, stir well and serve in warmed bowls.

Serve with crusty bread on a non-fast or diet day.  A green vegetable is a nice addition as well.

Fran’s Notes

I didn’t have any cumin seeds for fresh rosemary, so I substituted ground cumin and dried rosemary.  I used 1/8 tsp. cumin and then a few sprinkles more after tasting.  I crushed about 3/4  of dried rosemary before adding to the pan.

Source:   A ‘feast’ of a ‘fast’ recipe from Karen Burns of Lavender and Lovage

Secret Recipe Club

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