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Seared Chicken Breast With Ratatouille

This fast-cooked chicken is served on a bed of ratatouille and topped with a relish made of pineapple, jicama and jalapeno'a simple, zesty and lowfat accent. Ratatouille is a traditional vegetable dish from southern France. It's often loaded with olive oil, but this recipe calls for a mere quarter teaspoon.

2 7-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper

1/4 teaspoon extravirgin olive oil
1/2 onion, peeled and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1/2 yellow squash, washed and diced
1/2 zucchini, washed and diced
1 Roma tomato, cored and diced
1/8 teaspoon cracked pepper

Pineapple Relish
1/2 cup fresh pineapple, peeled and minced
2 ounces jicama, peeled and minced
1/2 red jalapeno, minced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together the ingredients for the relish and set aside, allowing the flavors to mellow.

Season the chicken breasts with pepper. In a hot nonstick pan, sear the chicken breasts until they're golden brown on one side. Turn them over and place the pan in the hot oven. Bake for four to six minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat.

While the chicken is baking, prepare the ratatouille. Pour the olive oil in a large nonstick saut' pan and heat until it begins to smoke slightly.

Add the onions and saut' until they're clear, about one minute. Add the bell pepper, zucchini and yellow squash and saut' for two or three minutes, until almost cooked through. Add the tomato and season with pepper. Saut' for another minute, then remove from the heat.

Place a bed of the ratatouille in the center of each plate. Top with the chicken and spoon the relish over. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro.

Makes two servings, each containing:

Calories: 302
Protein: 47.4 grams
Carbohydrates: 19.9 grams
Fat: 4.5 grams

Editor's note: Jim Shiebler has trained as a chef at the finest hotels and culinary academies in the world. His articles about his special Eclectic Fitness Cuisine appear in many food and fitness magazines, and he can currently be seen co-hosting 'Fitting It In' on Fit TV, FX and the Fox Sports Network. He's also a lifetime natural bodybuilder and martial artist, and he has his own line of seasonings, The Body Gourmet ' Healthy Spice Blends. Shiebler is available for guest appearances, demonstrations and seminars. Write to him at P.O. Box 60, Venice, CA 90294, call (310) 661-7761 or visit his Web site at IM

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