Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vanilla Balsamic Chicken and Roasted Beet, Citrus Salad with Feta

Just looking at the title of this blog post I'm sure you've conjured up smells of deliciousness. Well I am sorry to say that I jinxed myself this week so the vanilla balsamic chicken was a huge disappointment. Monday, while my Chicken Paprikash was cooking, I thought about how lucky we've been, all of these delicious meals, all keepers, for about three weeks. Starting with the Chicken Paprikash I've had a run of bad luck.

Back to my Tuesday dinner... Vanilla Balsamic Chicken with a Roasted Beet, Citrus Salad with Feta. The chicken recipe was courtesy of Cooking Light, April 2006.

While I was making the chicken I had some left over minced shallots, tangelo juice, and zest so I decided to make a salad dressing and my salad was born. I had two beets and a head of romaine lettuce in the fridge from my Boston Organic's delivery. My chicken was in the oven at 450 for about 25 minutes. I cut my beets into tiny cubes and placed it into the oven with the chicken... stupid, stupid Lauren... beets are cooked at 400 for about 40 minutes, no need to cut them so small to "hurry up" the cooking process. Ugh. Needless to say when I pulled out my chicken my beets were burnt! The smell bothered Matt so much that I had to make him a completely different salad. He didn't want my "salvaged" beets (cutting off the burnt ends of beets that I thought I could save). The salad would have been fantastic if I hadn't burnt the beets. I'll try it again someday.

Now on to the actual recipe that I was trying. I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts rather than boneless thighs and I used a substituted amount of vanilla extract instead of a scrapped out a bean (did you know that a vanilla bean can cost $12 for ONE?!). I don't think these changes had anything to do with the lack of flavor. The chicken was pretty dry, flavorless, and the sauce burned on the pan which made it a pain to clean! I ended up putting the chicken on top of my salad because the salad dressing tasted better than the chicken.

While I was eating my salad I thought to myself "I wish I had something else to eat, like a carb". Oh wait! I do! SHOOT! I had put a prepared piece of Whole Food's garlic naan in the oven to get golden brown! By the time I got to the oven it was brown and reminded me of a hockey puck. Like I said it was a bad kitchen night! I quickly fixed the problem by putting another piece in the oven and setting the timer so I couldn't forget. Ugh!

Oh, and I forgot. Poor Bailey's tummy is upset so we had to make his own special dinner (after fasting him for 24 hours). I hope he feels better soon! The Bud Light Lime was mine, not Bailey's.

Lauren's review: Disappointing.
Matt's review: I can't remember what he said... probably something like "don't be upset, a bad dinner isn't a reflection of your cooking abilities" *Thanks hun! I love you and your faith in my cooking skills!*
Final decision: Trash it and try to forget the horrible dinner!

Vanilla Balsamic Chicken


1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 (2-inch) piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
16 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
Cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Orange rind strips (optional)

Preheat oven to 450°.

Combine first 6 ingredients in a small saucepan. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; stir seeds into broth mixture, reserving the bean for another use. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 20 minutes). Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Arrange chicken in a single layer in the bottom of a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken evenly with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes.

Brush half of broth mixture over chicken; bake 5 minutes. Brush remaining broth mixture over chicken; bake 15 minutes or until a thermometer registers 180°. Garnish with orange rind, if desired.

Serves 8

Roasted Beet, Citrus Salad with Feta


1/4 c fresh tangelo juice
1 t tangelo zest
1 T olive oil
2 t minced shallots
1 t dijon mustard
romaine lettuce
1 beet
feta cheese
salt & pepper

*I used a Minneola Tangelo that I had from my last Boston Organics delivery for my zest and juice. I think it was more sweet and flavorful than an orange.*

Preheat oven at 400. Cut beets into large chunks. Place the beets on a cooking sheet that has been prepared with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes. Toss the beets about 15 minutes into cooking so they don't burn on one side. *Keep an eye on them so they don't burn like mine did* Test their doneness with a fork and cook for longer if desired.

While the beets are cooking fill two bowls with torn romaine lettuce. Then mix together the
juice, zest, shallots, dijon mustard, salt & pepper. While stirring add in the olive oil. Taste test. Add some ingredients as you see fit, maybe a pinch of sugar, a little lemon juice, or a little balsamic vinegar.

When the beets are done cooking top the lettuce with the beets. Add a handful of crumbled feta and then pour the dressing over the top.

Serves 2

1 comment:

  1. Not that I am an expert, but I know from past recipes that if it calls for thighs, subbing breasts is usually not a good idea! Thighs are def. juicier. Also, if I am not mistaken, vanilla extract is not a sub for vanilla bean. They are completely different products. Extract is mostly alcohol which could have resulted in the interesting sauce situation. Don't give up on this recipe!