Saturday, September 18, 2010

Eat your veggies with every meal

I've been in a major cooking mood since Labor Day weekend so I invited a friend over for a low key Friday dinner. I knew I had to use up the beets and spinach from the mystery box...that was pretty much all I knew when I set off to Whole Foods that afternoon.

Low Key Friday Menu:
  • Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad
  • Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken
  • Orzo Pilaf with Currants and Artichokes
You know that Lean Cuisine commercial where it says chopping and peeling at the end of a long day can be relaxing is a myth? Obviously they don't know me. I find peeling somewhat calming. I don't do it very much, but I liked sitting down briefly to peel my gorgeous golden beet
Oh, and you know, taking a few photos for you guys.

I also like taking my aggression out on an innocent bunch of fresh, locally grown spinach
I love the sound my knife makes as it runs through those crisp leaves and the resulting ribbons of green. Obviously I'm not in Lean Cuisine's target market.

Anyway, recipes are here for you to enjoy...forgot to snap a photo of the salad, but really, it was a salad. I'm sure you know what one looks like ;p

Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad
1 c arugula
1 c spring mix
3 beets, cubed and roasted (I used 1 golden and 2 red)
1/4 c pistachios, lightly toasted
handful cherry tomatoes, halved
goat cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp maple syrup
1/2 shallot, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, shallot and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Place salad greens in a bowl and pour 1/2 the dressing over and mix to coat. Top with beets, goat cheese, pistachios and tomatoes. Toss before serving.

I think this is my new go-to vinaigrette. It goes great with bitter mixed greens and some juicy, sweet cherry tomatoes.

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken
2 chicken breasts, butterflied into 4 pieces
1/2 c chopped spinach
1 clove garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp chili garlic paste
1/4 c sheep's milk feta crumbled
8 toothpicks
1 tbsp olive oil

Heat olive oil in a pan and saute garlic for 30 seconds before adding spinach. Saute for 2-3 minutes or until spinach starts to wilt.
Set aside to cool.

Once spinach has cooled, combine in a bowl with feta and chili garlic paste.

Place chicken breasts on a cutting board and divide the mixture evenly among the four pieces.
Carefully roll chicken up and secure with two toothpicks. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil and brown chicken on all sides. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 2 minutes.

Rolled chicken is my safety. It must be since I've stuffed and rolled chicken a few other times. I think they are easy, foolproof and nice to look at! The sheep's milk feta was a must buy for me at Whole Foods after Wednesday's dinner. SOOO good. The chili garlic paste only gives a slight kick...such a slight kick that I almost forgot I used it.

Orzo Pilaf with Currants and Artichokes
3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1 c orzo
1 tbsp butter
1 1/2 c chicken broth
2 tbsp dried currants
1/4 tsp oregano
3 artichoke hearts, quartered

Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute orzo for 1 minute in the butter, then add pine nuts and oregano. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in currants and artichokes and cook for another 5 minutes or until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Currants. Random, I know. I saw them and felt compelled to use them. The amount I used wasn't really noticeable, so I'm sure it could use a smidge more. I liked it and so did friend. That's all that matters, right?

ALMOST done with mystery box produce! I leave you with an artsy kitchen shot. I love my random ledge. So handy!

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