Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Chicken with Spinach Pesto and Roasted Vegetable Brown Rice

Grilled Chicken with Spinach and Pine Nut Pesto:

2 whole boneless chicken breasts, or 4 halves
2 cups tightly packed baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (I've also used toasted walnuts
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or more to taste
1 to 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil (I just eyeball this and try to use as little as I can get away with)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
~1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (the original recipe calls for parmesan)

Combine the spinach, pine nuts, lemon juice, lemon zest, and garlic in a food processor. Lightly pulse. With the machine running, gradually add 1/3 cup of the oil, blending until the mixture is creamy. Add salt and pulse. Before adding the cheese, put half of the pesto into a freezer bag and store in the freezer for the next time you make this.

Transfer the rest of the spinach mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in the feta. Season the pesto with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pound each chicken breast to ~1/4" thickness. Heat a non-stick saute pan, or grill pan on medium high heat. Lightly oil the pan. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Or, you can just skip the pounding part and cook longer on each side as the original recipe called for. I just think it cooks more evenly pounded.

Spread the pesto over each piece of chicken and serve.

Brown Rice with Roasted Vegetables:

Veggies before they went into the oven...

Short-grain organic brown rice, cooked (I tend to keep the veggie to rice ratio pretty high, so end up with leftover rice for something else)
1-2 Japanese or ~5 small Indian eggplant (chop, salt and set atop paper towels for ~30 min. to remove some of the bitterness)
1 red pepper
1 yellow summer squash
1 zucchini
1/2 large red onion thickly sliced
salt and pepper
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
Italian parsley

Cook a batch of brown rice...I only know how to do this in a rice cooker. :-)
Pre-heat oven to 450.
Line a baking sheet with foil.
Chop all veggies to about the same bite sized pieces. Toss on baking sheet with olive oil to coat.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper and some balsamic vinegar and roast for about 12 minutes then stir. Roast for about 12 more minutes, then evaluate if they're done enough for you. When done, toss with rice, fresh Italian parsley, a little more olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

No comments: