Fiber rich chicken kabobs with barley pilaf

Defense Commissary Agency

Assuring the consumption of adequate fiber is an important behavior to promote optimal health. Fiber reduces the risk for some cancers and also helps to keep blood sugar and the bad cholesterol in your blood in balance to reduce the risk of heart disease. Eating foods that are good sources of fiber also assist with your weight management goals.

The two types of fiber are insoluble and soluble fiber. It is important to include both types of fiber in your diet. Insoluble fiber promotes regular bowel movements, prevents constipation, removes toxic waste, and helps to prevent colon cancer. Soluble fiber binds with fats and helps to lower the bad cholesterol in blood (low density lipoproteins-LDLs), regulates blood sugar to help lower the risk of heart disease, and assists with the management of diabetes.

Food sources of insoluble fiber include vegetables, such as green beans and dark green leafy vegetables, fruit skins and root vegetable skins, whole-wheat products, wheat and corn bran, seeds and nuts.

Food sources of soluble fiber include oat/oat bran, dried beans and peas, nuts, barley, flax seed, oranges, apples and carrots.

The following meal features a unique way to serve fiber and antioxidant-rich barley and promotes the consumption of a variety of vegetables. This meal also proves that barley shouldn’t only be used in soup.

Chicken kabobs and barley pilaf

(Serves four)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Begin by cutting 12-15 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken (breast or thighs) into two-inch cubes and then add the cubed chicken to a large bowl. Mix in two tablespoons olive oil, two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, one-fourth of a teaspoon of garlic salt and a couple of dashes of black pepper. Set aside to marinate.
2. On a sanitized surface and with clean hands, wash and prepare the vegetables and begin soaking the wooden skewers.

3. Remove the core and seeds from one green pepper and one red pepper, and then cut into chunks. Cut one yellow squash and one zucchini into half-inch slices. Dice one medium onion and set aside for use in the pilaf.

4. Place the cut peppers and zucchini in a bowl, add eight cherry tomatoes and then lightly season with a little salt and one tablespoon of olive oil. Toss gently.

5. Build eight kabobs by placing the vegetables and chicken on the skewers, paying attention that the vegetables and chicken are equally distributed across the eight skewers. Discard the chicken marinade.

6. Place the skewers on a foil lined baking pan and place the pan in the oven. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes—turn halfway through).

7. While the kabobs are baking, melt one tablespoon of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté the onion for about five minutes, or until they begin to soften.

8. Add three-quarters of a cup of quick barley to the onions, cook and stir constantly for about two minutes and then add two cups of low sodium chicken or vegetable broth and one bay leaf. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the barley is almost tender (about 20-25 minutes). Salt and pepper to taste. Top with a little freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley, if desired.

9. Serve each plate with one-fourth of the pilaf, two kabobs, and a side dish of your favorite fruit.

Notes: The marinade works well for any type of meat. Consider using minced garlic, adding a little more, if you are a garlic lover. Consider adding a little curry to the pilaf.

Daily recommendations of fiber for adults are 38 grams for men age 50 or younger, and 30 grams for men age 51 or older. Women are recommended to get 25 grams if they are 50 or younger and 21 grams if they are age 51 or older.

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