Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tangy Spinach Chicken

It seems that Tuesday's have become my designated "laundry night"... which means that it's also become "new recipe night"!

I didn't want to go to the store yesterday, so thought I would just make do with whatever I had in the apartment. I had 1/2 bell pepper and some onion left from the Blueberry Salmon, so I knew I wanted to use those.

I also had a frozen chicken breast, and some frozen spinach (which are both things that I try to just keep on-hand for nights like this -- freeze them and they keep for a very long time).

So, here's what I came up with!


1 6-8 ounce chicken cutlet OR chicken breast pounded to ¼ inch thickness
Salt & Pepper
Red Pepper flakes - optional, but highly recommended ;)
2 tsp Parmigiana cheese, plus ½ tsp extra
½ cup frozen spinach
¼ onion, finely chopped
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp brown mustard
½ red bell pepper, julienne

Preheat oven to 400°F

Lay the chicken out so that it is longest from top to bottom. Season the chicken, top-side only, with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if you like a little extra heat). Evenly sprinkle 2 tsp cheese.

In a small bowl, quickly thaw the spinach for 1 minute on half power in the microwave. Add the onion, the vinegar, and mustard; mix well. Spread the Spinach mixture on top of the chicken cutlet. Add the red pepper on top so that they run horizontally. Beginning at the end closest to you, loosely roll the chicken up.

Lightly oil a small baking dish and place chicken in it, seam-side down. Drizzle with a tiny amount of olive oil, then top with the extra cheese and a few more pepper flakes.

Place in center of oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Let stand a few minutes before serving, and enjoy!

I know there are lots of people out there who don't think that they love spinach. To you all I say TRY THIS RECIPE. The spinach takes on a great tang from the mustard and the vinegar. The onion and the pepper cook and develop an awesome sweetness to balance. And the cheese? Who doesn't like parmigiana cheese?!

On a healthy note -- don't worry about the cheese. Even with it, the dish still comes in at just short of 300 calories!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wild Blueberry Salmon

Wait, really? Fruity salmon?!

Yes kids -- I know it sounds funky but it's so delicious! And you know what my favorite part about it is? No pans to scrub when it's all over :-)


1 6-oz salmon fillet
Salt & Pepper
1 tsp fresh grated ginger (or 1 tbs pickled, chopped - See Shopping Tip below)
1/2 red bell pepper, julienne
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
small handful of fresh blueberries, plus some for garnish
1/4 cup water
1 tbs honey
1/2 tbs snipped chives (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Start by tearing a 2 sheets of tinfoil, about a square foot per sheet. Place salmon fillet in the center, skin-side down. Season with Salt & Pepper. Pull up the edges of the foil around the salmon, creating an open pouch for cooking.

Add the following ingredients in this order: ginger, red pepper, onion, and blueberries.

In a small dish, whisk together the honey and water. Pour over the salmon and veggies.

Close the pouch by folding together at the top, but make sure to leave a small opening at one or both ends for steam to escape! Put the pouch on a baking sheet and place in the over for 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove, and be very careful opening the pouch. Plate the salmon with the cooked veggies on top, and garnish with a few extra blueberries (all the the cooked berries will have exploded...) and snipped chives, if using.

Growing up, there was always the debate over whose turn it was to do dishes. One of the few not-so-great things about being single is that there's no one to share that work load. It's all you. So enjoy the fact that there are no messy grill pans or skillets to scrub when this is done. Just throw away the tinfoil, and get on with your fabulous night!

SHOPPING TIP: Ginger is one of those ingredients that I think a lot of non-chefs (like me!) are afraid of at first. The roots just look really intimidating to work with. I can promise you that they're not, and they're very inexpensive. But if you just don't want to, the next time you order in sushi save the pickled ginger in a baggie. You use more of it, but all it takes is a simple quick chop. And it's free -- no arguing with that!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Grilled Chicken & Peaches

Welcome! I spent a long time thinking about what I wanted my first recipe to be - I knew I wanted it to be something simple and delicious so that ya'll could get a good idea of what you're going to see here.

Earlier this month I was in Italy and discovered the wonder that is Peaches with Parmigiano-Reggiano. I stayed at a little farmhouse just outside of Florence, and the Matriarch of the estate made breakfast everyday. And, just for me, she would always include fresh fruit from her orchard and chunks of wonderfully nutty Parm. It quickly became my new obsession!

So when I got home, I knew that I had to add a peach and cheese recipe to my collection. Here's what I came up with -- as anticipated, it is incredibly delicious!


1 tbs honey
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic
zest from 1/2 of a lime
2 tsp EVOO, plus some for drizzling
1 6-8 oz chicken cutlet
1 fresh peach
1 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a small sauce pan, whisk together honey and vinegar. Simmer over meduim-low heat until reduced by about 1/3, about 10 minutes. The mixture will be slightly syrupy at that point.

Use a small grater or zester to shred the garlic onto a cutting board. Add the zest of lime (about ½ of the total skin). Add 1 tsp EVOO and mix with your fingers, and rub mixture into one side of the chicken cutlet.

Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Quarter the peach and remove the pit. Place on grill flesh-side down. Grill each flesh-side (each piece will have 2) until there are visible grill marks, about 45 seconds. Remove and set aside.

Place chicken on grill, garlic side down. Use a brush to lightly coat the other side with remaining tsp EVOO. Grill 2 minutes. Rotate 45 degrees, and grill another 2 minutes. Flip, and repeat. Chicken is done when there’s no more pink and juices run clear.

Serve chicken cutlet alongside the peaches. Top both with crumbled chunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and drizzle with the Balsamic reduction.

Estimated Calories: 270
Prep/Cook Time: 15 minutes

This meal is going to pack a good amout of protein and loads of tongue-tingling flavor. I'm sure it will become a quick favorite -- it's one of mine!