Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Chicken with Spinach & Cheese and Broccoli with Red Pepper Flakes & Toasted Garlic AND Herbed Quinoa

Sunday night was a big cooking night for me. I tried out three new recipes all at the same time and it sort of was a disaster. Going back and forth between all the recipes was sort of stressful and I almost missed a couple of steps in each recipe. However, I am apparently a better cook than I thought because it all finished at the same time and turned out delicious. My parent's would be proud!

For the main entree I made Chicken with Spinach and Cheese.

Lauren's review: Very flavorful. Tastes delicious and healthy all in one bite!
Matt's review: I don't like wilted spinach.
Final decision: Trash it because we both don't love it but I would definitely recommend it!

For my vegetable side I made Broccoli with Red Pepper Flakes and Toasted Garlic courtesy of Cooking Light, March 2007.

Lauren's review: It's was a good recipe but I would have liked it more if the garlic was toasted longer.
Matt's review: I love all things broccoli.
Final decision: Keeper with a note mentioning toasting the garlic first.

For my starch side I made my own interpretation of Herbed Quinoa courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis. This was my first time making quinoa. I have to find a better way of rinsing the quinoa prior to cooking it. Both of my strainers holes are bigger than the quinoa grains, they would all fall right through. Not only that but quinoa sticks to everything! It's actually difficult to work with. If anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them!

Lauren's review: I love quinoa but my version of this recipe was just okay.
Matt's review: It was good!
Final decision: I would definitely try it again if I had all the ingredients.

Chicken with Spinach and Cheese


4 thin chicken breast cutlets (~ .75lbs total)
1 T flour
1 T and 1 t EVOO
1/2 c. chopped scallions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c. chicken broth
1 t oregano
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/2 c choppped mushrooms
1 lb spinach stemmed
3 oz part skim mozzarella shredded

Preheat broiler.
Lightly dredge chicken in flour (reserve excess). In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and brown both sides ~ 3 minutes a side. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely.
Add scallions, garlic, and 2 T broth to skillet. Cook, stirring for about a minute.
Sprinkle in reserved flour and cook until it's not visible, ~ 30 seconds. Add remaining broth, oregano, salt & pepper and bring t o a boil, stirring. Add mushrooms and spinach then cover and cook for 30 seconds. Uncover and stir until spinach is just wilted, about a minute. Pour in any juices that have collected on the plate under the chicken.
Place chicken on a broiler pan. Dividing evenly, spread the spinach and mushroom mixture on top. Sprinkle cheese on top and broil 4-inches from the heat for about 3 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly.

Serves 4

Broccoli with Red Pepper Flakes and Toasted Garlic


2 t olive oil
6 c broccoli florets (about 1 head)
1/4 t kosher salt
1/4 t crushed red pepper
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 c water

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccoli, kosher salt, crushed red pepper, and sliced garlic. Saute 2 minutes. Add 1/4 c water. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 2 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender.

Serves 4

Herbed Quinoa


2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups quinoa

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

*I ended up just using a medley of dried herbs because I didn't have these herbs fresh. It would have been much better with fresh!*

For the quinoa: In a medium saucepan, add the chicken stock, lemon juice and quinoa. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 12 to 15 minutes.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, basil, parsley, thyme, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour the dressing over the quinoa and toss until all the ingredients are coated. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

Serves 4

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