Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Finally back in the kitchen!!!

And I couldnt be happier! The Hubs & I have been traveling for the past few weeks, so it didnt make sense go to the grocery store, but finally we are back for the remainder of the year, so let the cooking begin!!

Chicken in a Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
From CookingLight
1 (8-ounce) jar oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar **I added about 1 Tsp for an extra kick

Drain sun-dried tomatoes in a sieve over a bowl, reserving oil. Set aside 1 1/2 tablespoons reserved oil to cook chicken. Finely chop 1/4 cup tomatoes; set aside for sauce. Place remaining oil and tomatoes in sun-dried tomato jar; reserve for another use.
Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons reserved oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes, 1/8 teaspoon salt, broth, oregano, and vinegar; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until broth mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes). Serve sauce over chicken.

4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and 2 tablespoons sauce)

Also on the menu, risotto. I was going to make red-wine risotto, but since I had never attempted the risotto before, I decided to stick with the standard. Now, I wasn't ever intimidated by risotto, I just don't normally have the time to make it. I am a multi-tasker in the kitchen and my main dish (the meat) gets most of my attention when I cook. But, since I had been out of the kitchen for so long, it was so relaxing to stir the risotto for 45 minutes.

Red-Wine Risotto
From Giada
3 1/2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup arborio rice, or medium-grain white rice
1/2 cup dry red wine **I used white wine
1/3 cup frozen peas, defrosted, optional
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus additional for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring the broth to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover the broth and keep it warm over very low heat.
Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Stir in the rice and cook for about 2 minutes until the rice is toasted. Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 6 minutes. Repeat, adding 3/4 cup of hot broth 2 more times, stirring often, about 12 minutes longer. (At this point, the risotto can be made 4 hours ahead. Refrigerate the risotto (the rice will still be firm) and remaining broth, uncovered, until cool, then cover and keep them refrigerated until ready to proceed. )

Bring the remaining broth to a simmer, then cover and keep it warm over very low heat. Stir 3/4 cup of hot broth into the partially cooked risotto over medium heat until the broth is absorbed and the risotto is hot, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining broth and simmer until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the peas and parsley. Add the 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Spoon the risotto into bowls. Sprinkle additional cheese over and serve.

This was a great welcome home, healthy dinner for the two of us who have been eating out for the past two weeks.

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