Dinners

Recipe—Italian Chicken Dinner

Italian Chicken Dinner

I first tried this recipe about two months ago and have since made it at least 6 times tweaking it a little bit each time. IT HAS BECOME ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVES! We are actually having it again this week. It is perfect for this summer fully utilizing all those fresh tomatoes and basil. Most of my recipes are for a main dish or a side dish but this one is actually an entire meal. All of the components of this dish are just amazing! You have a flavorful juicy roasted chicken breast, sweet caramelized tomatoes that are literally bursting with flavor, and then the salty creamy fresh mozzarella with a nice little kick of heat from crushed red peppers, and then of course to balance it out you have some hearty brown rice simmered in chicken broth. Is your mouth watering now? Mine is! All these flavors are just so amazing together! Depending on the brown rice you get, this dinner takes about 45 minutes from start to finish and it is worth every minute of it!

Italian Chicken Dinner

Note: You can use fresh mozzarella in any form. I have used both the sliced mozzarella log as well as the little mozzarella balls. This makes a dinner that will serve 3–4 people. 

INGREDIENTS
1 c uncooked brown rice
2–2 1/2 c chicken broth (amount depends on the brown rice you purchase)Basil
3 c cherry tomatoes
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
Italian seasoning
salt & pepper
8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 c fresh basil leaves, chopped

STEPS

  • Cook the brown rice per the package instructions but substitute chicken broth for water.
  • While the rice is cooking preheat the oven to 400º.
  • Place the cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss to coat.
  • Season both sides of the chicken breasts with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper and place on the baking sheet
  • Bake the tomatoes and chicken for about 25 minutes or until the tomatoes have just started to burst and the chicken is done.
  • While the rice, chicken, and tomatoes are cooking prepare the mozzarella.
  • Place the mozzarella in a small bowl and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with red pepper flakes and salt.
  • Once all the components of the dish are ready, plate the rice, chicken, blistered tomatoes, mozzarella, and top with chopped basil.

 

Recipe adapted from Delish. 

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Salads

Recipe—Pomegranate Pear Salad with Goat Cheese

When people typically think of big fresh salads they think of summer. Salads are perfect year round if you know how to incorporate fresh seasonal produce. Well here is a perfect fall salad recipe. It is bright, colorful, and bursting with flavor. The flavors all complement each other really nicely. The sweetness of the fruit, richness of the goat cheese, nuttiness from the walnuts, and the bite of the basil create a perfect flavor symphony. This may even be making one of my holiday dinner menus this year.

Note: Many grocery stores now sell containers of the pomegranate seeds all cleaned and ready to use. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of removing the seeds yourself this can be a great time saver.

DRESSING INGREDIENTS
1/4 c pomegranate juice (I use POM)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp brown sugar
fresh ground pepper

SALAD INGREDIENTS
6 c (9 oz bag) fresh spinach
2–4 oz goat cheese
1/2 c walnuts or pecans
1–2 pears, cored and sliced
1 pomegranate, seeded
1/4 c fresh basil, chopped

STEPS

  • Whisk together all dressing ingredients.
  • Toss the spinach with the dressing.
  • Crumble the goat cheese over the salad.
  • Top with walnuts, pear slices, pomegranate seeds, and fresh basil.
  • Serve immediately.
Dinners

Recipe—Limoncello Chicken

After making two batches of fresh squeezed lemonade with lemons from my sister’s garden I still had some leftover. Lucky for you I made my limoncello chicken and decided to share the recipe. This recipe is so refreshing and light, perfect for summer.

Limoncello is a sweet and citrusy Italian liqueur. When you heat the liqueur the alcohol is cooked off and you are left with a sweet sauce that compliments the basil perfectly. Whatever you do, do not skip the fresh basil! Something about the flavors of the lemon and basil just work together perfectly. This dish pairs wonderfully with cooked rice. Limoncello chicken and rice was actually one of my son’s first non-pureed foods that he ate as an infant. He gobbled every bite of it up. Even the basil! Since then we have called him our little gourmet. It is still to this day one of his favorites. This recipe will be a hit with the whole family so don’t be surprised if they ask you to make it again, and again, and again. Good thing limoncello comes in such big bottles! In Italy limoncello is commonly served after dinner because it supposedly aids in digestion so pour yourself an after dinner sipping shot, kickback, and enjoy. Bottoms up!

INGREDIENTS
4–5 thin sliced chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
flour for dredging
1 tbsp butter
1 c chicken broth
1/2 c limoncello (lemon liqueur)
1 lemon, sliced and seeds removed
fresh basil leaves

STEPS

  • Season your chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  • Dredge the breast with flour giving them a nice even coating.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet and add chicken.
  • Cook over medium heat until both sides are a golden brown.
  • Add chicken broth, limoncello, and lemon slices.
  • Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  • Using the back of a spoon gently press the lemon slices to release any extra juices and remove from the pan. (Or you can save the cooked slices to serve with the chicken for an extra touch.)
  • Remove the chicken breasts from the skillet.
  • Turn heat up to medium-high and allow the sauce to simmer and thicken for a couple of minutes.
  • Remove pan from heat.
  • Spoon the limoncello sauce over the chicken (and rice if you made it) and top with fresh-snipped basil.