Sunday, 7 March 2010

Balsamic Chicken and Roast Vegetables

This recipe is heavily modified from another one. So much, that I call it MY recipe. At the bottom, I give lots of other ways to use this recipe - it's really tasty fixed all sorts of ways!

Balsamic Chicken and Roast Vegetables
serves 5-6ish as a main, 8+ as a side dish

Marinade:
1/2 C. balsamic vinegar
2T EVOO
1t. dried basil
1/2t. dried parsley
1/2t. garlic powder
1/4t. salt
1/4t. black pepper

2 chicken breasts

Roast Vegetables:
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces
12oz package (or about 2 big handfuls) green beans, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
12oz package (or about 3 big handfuls) snow peas, trimmed, strings off, and snapped in half
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced thickly
1 yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and sliced thickly
2 big handfuls baby carrots (about 3 big ones) cut in half lengthwise then sliced lengthwise, paper thin

3T EVOO
1T italian seasoning
1t garlic powder
1t onion powder
1/4t crushed red pepper flakes (if desired)

The rest of the recipe:
about 8-10 oz. Whole Wheat tube pasta (ziti, penne, rigatoni, etc)
1T butter
2T EVOO

2T lemon juice
2T balsamic vinegar
Fresh Parmesan cheese
Black pepper

  1. Mix together marinade ingredients in a 1qt. zipper bag. Slice chicken thinly across the grain, then into about 1.5-2" pieces (similar to fajitas). Place the chicken in the bag, squeeze all the air out, then massage the bag to distribute the herbs and sauce evenly through the chicken. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but chicken can be made a full day ahead of time, if needed. If you need more liquid to cover the chicken, add more Balsamic.
  2. Heat the oven to 400. Cut all the veggies, and place in your biggest mixing bowl. Add all the spices and toss well to coat. You can sub pretty much any veg - I think asparagus would be a nice addition. The idea is to make them all around the same size so they'll be done at the same time. Hard veggies (carrots) need to be smaller so they are done when the soft veggies (snow peas & squash) are.
  3. Pour all the veggies on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Toss well and roast 15-20 more, or until green beans are fork-tender (everything else will be done by then).
  4. When veggies are done, pour back into the large mixing bowl.
  5. While veggies are roasting, start a pot of water for the pasta, and cook the chicken in the BIGGEST skillet you own. I use a 14" cast-iron skillet. Cook the pasta for 1 min LESS than the package directs - you want it to have a bit of bite left. Drain the pasta and wait for the chicken to be done.
  6. Add the cooked chicken to your mixing bowl. In the chicken skillet, melt 1T butter and 2T EVOO. The EVOO will help to keep the butter from burning. Pour all the pasta into the skillet, toss quickly to coat, then allow to cook for a minute. (if you have to use a smaller skillet, only add 1/2 the oils and 1/2 the pasta, then repeat) Toss the pasta by scraping the bottom firmly with your spatula - you want the browned bits to come up, and not tear the pasta. Regular white pasta won't hold up as well as WW. If you have a non-stick skillet, hopefully it will come up well - my cast-iron needs a good scraping.
  7. When pasta is nicely browned everywhere, pour it into the mixing bowl with the chicken and veggies (finish the other half of the pasta if you need to). Pour over the remaining balsamic and lemon juice, then toss everything well. (I never measure the lemon or balsamic here - just shake from the bottle till it looks good!)
  8. Serve sprinkled with fresh grated Parmesan cheese, and fresh cracked black pepper!

  • This recipe looks like a lot of work and a lot of ingredients. However, you can do almost all of it ahead of time, and it makes a HUGE amount! The 2 of us can eat it for 2 dinners and a lunch. The leftovers reheat very well, and are also awesome cold from the fridge like a pasta salad.
  • To prepare in advance, marinade the chicken and refrigerate. Cut and season all the veggies and refrigerate. You can even cook the pasta - rinse it in cold water so it stops cooking, then refrigerate. Then you can have all the mess cleaned up and all you have to do is cook and assemble before dinner.
  • Or, make the whole meal and refrigerate, and serve cold. Would be a great lunch or picnic food. You do have chicken to think about, but no mayonnaise to go bad if it has to be out of the fridge for a while.
  • For a more formal dinner, marinade the chicken whole then grill. Slice the grilled chicken and arrange on a platter and serve with the veggies & pasta tossed together as the side dish, with garlic french bread.
  • Marinade is awesome on whole chicken breasts and also AMAZING on grilled salmon! It's pretty much the only thing I put on salmon anymore.
That's all I can think of! I love to make this dish in the summer... or in the winter when I wished it was summer - Enjoy!!


Crab-filled Fish Casserole

This recipe is adapted from one I found at Allrecipes.com. It is very tasty, and a bit rich. Next time I'm going to try using saltines instead of Ritz, but it might ruin the flavor. Serve with rice and a steamed green veggie!!

I made this dish at lunchtime, and held it in the fridge until I baked it for dinner. Worked out beautifully, and I had all the prep-mess cleaned up ahead of time!

Serves 2 with some leftovers - double the ingredients and use a larger dish for 4-6.

Crab-filled Fish Casserole
Crab Filling:
2T butter
1 small onion, minced finely
1 6oz can crabmeat
1 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (or 1t. dried)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
12 buttery round crackers, crushed
1/4 C fresh parmesan

Topping:
10 buttery round crackers, crushed
2T butter, melted
2T fresh grated parm
1t dried parsley
1/4 t. each salt, pepper, garlic powder

5 or 6 (3-4 ounce) fillets sole (or other white fish, haddock, tilapia, etc)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly coat a small casserole (8"across) with spray oil.
  • Melt butter in frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until tender - about 4-5 min. Stir in crabmeat, parsley, garlic powder salt and pepper and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat and stir in crushed crackers.
  • Place 1/2 of the fish fillets on the bottom of the casserole, cover with crab filling,sprinkle with 1/4C parmesan, and top with remaining fish. Sprinkle fish with lemon juice. Cover with lid or foil (tightly) and bake for 20 minutes until fish is nearly done.
  • Mix topping ingredients together and spread over fish. Bake uncovered 10-15 minutes or until topping is browned, and fish is completely done.