Taste & Create: Balsamic Chicken with Vegetables

Posted by on May 20, 2009 | 13 Comments

Last week our favorite “farmers” market (a grocery store, but focused on produce, bulk foods, fresh items, etc.) had boneless, skinless chicken breasts on for $1.67 per lb. Since we are using more lean protein, we stocked up. Okay, that is an understatement. We packed our tiny little freezer right to the ice maker!

So, when my Taste & Create partner was announced, I ♥ Food 4 Thought, I went straight to the categories on her site and selected chicken. One dish immediately caught my eye, the Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms. Let me tell you, it is delcious! In fact, I have already made it a few times. The first time I followed the recipe exactly, and then I added in some of her suggestions and a few of my own tweeks.

Thank you Clara – this is a great light and easy dish! So light in fact, that you should be able to justify some dessert from her other blog, I ♥ Cuppycakes.

balsamic chicken

Balsamic Chicken with Vegetables
Recipe adapted from I ♥ Food 4 Thought
This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, and Soy-Free

This dish can be made on the fly, but it is best if you plan ahead, and let the chicken marinade for at least 4 to 24 hours.

  • 1 lb Chicken Breasts
  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoons Crushed Garlic or 4 Garlic Cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 8 Ounces Mushrooms, halved or quartered (depending on size)
  • 1 Small Onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 Medium Zucchini, sliced

Spread the chicken out in a dish. Combine the vinegar, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Pour 3 Tablespoons of this mixture over the chicken, flipping it to coat, and cover. Cover the leftover marinade. Place the chicken and leftover marinade in the fridge for at least 4 hours if you have the time.

When ready to cook, heat the teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat, moving it around to cover (can use cooking spray instead). Add the chicken along with all of its marinade (not the reserved marinade) and cook until it is cooked through (no pink left in the middle) – I cover it to retain moisture – flipping only once. Remove the chicken and divide it among your serving plates.

Add the onions to your skillet, and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Add the zucchini and reserved marinade, and cook for 2 more minutes, followed by the mushrooms, cooking until all the vegetables reach your desired doneness. Serve the vegetables alongside the chicken. If desired, this dish goes nicely with a grain, such as brown rice or quinoa.

Want some Broccoli?: Instead of the zucchini use 6 to 8 ounces of broccoli florets. Add the florets after just one minute of cooking the onion, along with 1 tablespoon of broth, wine, or water. Cover, and allow the broccoli to cook for a few minutes, before removing the lid and adding the reserved marinade and mushrooms.  Proceed cooking until the vegetables are done to your liking. Since the mushrooms will release some additional liquid, you may want to sprinkle on a little flour to thicken the sauce.

Note: If there is any leftover sauce that looks a bit runny, I like to thicken it for a minute or two after I plate the vegetables, by sprinkling in just a little bit of flour (your choice) and whisking over the heat then drizzling it over the chicken and veggies.

Yields 2 to 4 servings (depending on your appetite, and if you serve it with a grain)

Balsamic Chicken

Easy Veggie Udon for Ramen Lovers

Posted by on April 19, 2009 | 24 Comments

Earlier this week, I needed something to go with two salmon filets I was baking. Since I was craving some carbs, and it was a little too late to whip up a batch of bread … and I wasn’t patient enough to wait for brown rice to cook, I decided pasta was the way to go. The salmon was marinated in a sesame-soy concoction, generally Asian inspired, so I was excited when I spotted some udon noodles in the cupboard (to keep with the theme of course!).

I literally threw the noodles together with a simple veggie saute I created, and it turned out to be the star of the meal. We both agreed that the noodles had a Ramen-esque flavor, taking us back to the MSG-rich days of our childhoods. Obviously, I used a fair dose of sodium, between the wee bit of soy sauce and those few dashes of salt, but I dare say the dish was pretty healthy overall.

Easy Veggie Udon

After the success of that throw together dish, my cravings lingered on … so much so that I had to attempt a re-creation just two nights later.  Don’t misunderstand, this is a very basic dish, not earth-shattering in creativity by any means. But as mentioned before, it is often the simple flavors that get me most!

I ate this as a meal, it was rather filling, but yes, no “protein.” Sometimes I just crave veggies and carbs. If you want to add some protein, be my guest … meat, eggs, tofu, sliced almonds, chopped peanuts, whatever works for you! Hmm, I didn’t think to sprinkle on some toasted sesame seeds, that might be nice too.

Easy Veggie Udon

This recipe is Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Protein-Free, and Optional Gluten-Free

  • 8 Ounces Udon Noodles (may substitute other noodles in a pinch; for gluten-free I recommend Eden’s all buckwheat soba noodles or rice noodles)
  • 3 Tablespoons Sesame Oil, divided
  • 3 Carrots, peeled into large shreds using a vegetable peeler
  • 3 Large Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 12 Ounces Mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 5-Ounce Bag Baby Spinach Leaves
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce or Wheat-Free Tamari, divided
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • Salt to taste (I used around 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, but I would start with a dash or two and work your way up)
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste or a Few Pinches of Crushed Red Pepper

Cook the noodles according to the package directions.

While those are boiling, heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil over medium-low heat (I do a lower heat to protect the flavor of the oil, but you can up it to medium if you are really hungry).

Add the carrots and saute for a few minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute just until the mushrooms begin to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the spinach and 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce, and saute for just a couple of minutes, until those leavese start to wilt.

Turn off the heat, and stir in the noodles, garlic powder, remaining 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, and any add-ins (see below), tossing well to ensure everything is coated with those flavors. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in big bowls.

Add-ins: I steamed 12 oz of broccoli florets (about 7 minutes; until crisp tender) and tossed them in along with the noodles. The second time I made it, I also added about 1/2 lb of steamed baby carrots, merely because I didn’t have any whole carrots to shred. I recommend the peeled or shredded carrots (in the recipe) over the steamed chunks, but personal preference.

Yields 3 meal-sized servings

veggieudon4

Blog Events: I am submitting this recipe for Presto Pasta Nights # 110 being held at Chew on That. It is my first contribution to that blogging event; hopefully more to come!

Mini Mushroom-Parsley Patties

Posted by on January 23, 2009 | 15 Comments

Never one to pass up a good deal, I snatched up an 8-ounce package of button mushrooms that was on for half price yesterday.  It was expiring that day, but at $.86 how could I pass it up!  Though the outsides of the mushrooms were beginning to show their age, the insides were surprisingly firm and white. Still, I thought it would be best to use them immediately while they still had a good amount of life, so I started thinking up mushroom-intensive side dishes to go with our main entrée that night. 

The only thing I could think of off hand was a sautéed mushroom dish I like to make that has a good amount of spice and flavor … but, something new would be better.  It was then that I remembered my desire to make mushroom veggie burgers.  While I didn’t need whole burgers, what about some mini-mushroom patties? …

Mushroom-Parsley Patties

My husband really liked these with our evening entree, though I preferred them the next day (served with poached eggs), after the flavors had some time to sink in.  When preparing, you will find that this makes more of a batter than a firm burger-like consistency, so they should definitely be made on the stove top, lest you risk dropping the entire batch through the slats of your grill!

Mini Mushroom-Parsley Patties

  • 2 Tablespoons plus 1 Teaspoon Medium to High Heat Oil, divided (I used peanut, but another refined oil or avocado oil should work well)
  • 1/3 Cup Minced Onion (¼ of a large one)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 8 ounces Button or Cremini Mushrooms, Finely Diced
  • ½ Cup Nuts or Seeds, Ground (I ground 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds and 1/4 up of almonds together in my spice grinder. I do think almonds or cashews will go best for the flavor combination, but seeds help to keep the cost down and the nutrition up!  Oh yes, and grind only until they reach a coarse powder consistency, before it begins to clump (not a problem with seeds))
  • Scant 1/2 Cup Flour of Choice (I ground just under 1/2 cup of oats in my spice grinder to acheive a flour, but any flour (including gluten-free) should work)
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
  • ¼ Cup Fresh Parsley, Minced
  • ¾ -1 Teaspoon Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
  • 2 Medium Eggs, lightly beaten (since this was a very moist batter, I think 1 large or extra-large egg would work fine if that is the size you have on hand)

In a large fry pan, heat the 1 teaspoon of oil over medium-low heat.  Add the onions and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they begin to soften.  Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more.  Place the onions and garlic in a medium-sized bowl, along with the remaining ingredients.  Stir until everything is well combined. 

Returning to your fry pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat.  You want it hot, but not too hot, so be careful.  If you can handle the batter, feel free to shape it into nice round 2 to 3 inch patties.  If not, simply drop large spoonfuls of the batter onto the fry pan, flattening them to create patties with the back of your spatula.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until nicely browned and cooked through.

Yields about a dozen small patties

 

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