Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I'd Just Like a Little Chicken and Salad, Please

More than once, I've heard Ina Garten say (about roast chicken), "That's all that anyone really ever wants for dinner anyway, isn't it?"  If you're like me, you love roast chicken, but it definitely isn't the only thing I ever want for dinner.  Hello?  I love pizza, lamb chops, Vietnamese soup, beef stew, salmon...   But there maybe are a few nights in the year when you really do just want  a little chicken.  If you're not in the mood to roast a whole bird tonight, this meal is for you.  Especially if you keep frozen chicken thighs (boneless and bone-in) in the freezer at all times--a great treasure trove for very fast meals.

I happened to have made a huge vat of potatoes and vegetables to go with some fried trout for breakfast last Friday.  Saturday night, all I had to do was cook the chicken and I was about ready to eat.

This sweet salad gives you a whole dinner in one dish, so to speak.  If you double it, you'll cover the other half and take it to work for lunch or feel rich all day long knowing it's in your frig for dinner.  Any vegetables you have cooked in the frig or brought home from the Chinese place will work, too.  Here's how:

a little chicken and herb salad 
     serves one
  • 2 chicken thighs (or cook more for leftovers)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cups fresh greens, your choice 
  • 2 tablespoons each chopped fresh parsley and dill (or another herb you love)^
  • 1/2 cup - 1 cup leftover roasted potatoes and/or vegetables (or cook fresh-recipe below) 
  • 2 tablespoons each crumbled feta and guacamole or avocado mayo*
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Drizzle chicken with about  1/2 teaspoon each olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Place chicken on a aluminum foil-covered baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until juices run clear when cut.

In the mean time, fill a large shallow bowl with greens and herbs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Top with the leftover vegetables+, crumbled feta and tomatoes.  Add the guacamole in a dollop to the side.  Refrigerate until chicken is done.

When chicken is done, remove salad from refrigerator, drizzle with lemon, and top with hot chicken. Enjoy this salad with a big fat California Chardonnay.

*If you have no guacamole or don't want to make avocado mayonnaise (which keeps a couple of days), drizzle the salad with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil after the lemon juice.
+You can warm these vegetables a bit in the microwave if you'd like.

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                                     4 generous servings

1 tablespoon each: olive oil and butter
 Pinch crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons crushed rosemary
2 large russet potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 small onion, chopped
Kosher salt; fresh ground black pepper
2 small zucchini, sliced in 1/2-inch rounds
1 clove garlic, minced  
2-3 tablespoons water 

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place potatoes in a microwave safe container with a splash of water, cover tightly, and microwave at full power for three minutes.  Drain. 

Heat oil, butter, crushed red pepper, and rosemary in a large, deep skillet over low heat for a minute or two.

Pour the drained potatoes, red bell pepper, and onion into the heated skillet and season well with 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper; raise heat to medium.  Cook five minutes or until bell pepper is softening; add garlic and zucchini.  Spoon in water, stir, and cover.  Lower heat again and cook until all the vegetables are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. 

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Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,

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