Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Italian Broiled Chicken Breast & Saucy Veggies

Italian Broiled Chicken Breast & Saucy Veggies... "That's blasphemy!!" 'What else is there to eat???". These were the text message responses from my grandma last night after telling her what I made for dinner and prefacing the recipe with something along the lines of "I don't usually like chicken breasts...".

You see, I've never been a fan of chicken breasts, with all that dry white meat and no skin or bone - how boring. So over the course of my almost 24 years on this Earth I have come to loath plain grilled chicken breasts, despite how easy of a "go to" they might be, or how low in calorie compared to other protein options we have... I just can't get into them. I do however like dark meat, I love legs and thighs, and I do appreciate a nicely roasted breast if its still on the bone and I can crisp up the skin. Yep, I'm OK with roast chicken, but the problem is it takes a while (see how I've perfected the temp & timing in my other post about roasting chicken). So lucky for me, a girlfriend of mine recently told me about a technique she used and I can now say that I've tried it twice and am ready to share the tip: Use the broiler!!

On the Menu:
Marinated Broiled Chicken Breasts with sauteed broccolini & spaghetti squash with TJ's Puttanesca Sauce

The Chicken:
One of  my college roommates had a staple meal she made for her and her boyfriend that I ended up adopting myself. I have to say that I haven't made it in some time, but it's one of those dishes I'd never experienced growing up but is surprisingly easy and totally Dahlicious in a pinch. It might sound funny but bear with me... she would saute sliced chicken with chopped onions, peppers, & broccoli then add a bottle (or most of a bottle) of zesty Italian dressing (Kraft, Wishbone, etc) then let it all simmer and reduce and serve over rice or pasta. SO I decided to use the flavor profile of the dish in a new way - as a marinade! I know, not the most inventive thing in the world, salad dressing as marinade, but I hadn't done it in a while and I was quite pleased that it popped in my head.

So I marinated the chicken breasts in the Italian dressing for about an hour, then put them on a baking sheet and added a little salt and pepper to both sides, and a drizzle of olive oil. I had the oven on Broil and I put the chicken on the top rack for approximately 8 minutes on each side. So in 16 minutes total I had these two chicken breasts that were evenly cooked throughout and extremely moist! (The other time that I tried this broiling technique I marinated the breasts in olive oil, grainy mustard and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce which created a nice little crust).

The chicken won't be crispy on the outside the way it would be if it was roasted with skin on, but again it is evenly cooked and total moist and tender. Now my girlfriend who suggested the technique said she broiled for 7 minutes on each side, and the first time I did it it took about 9 minutes on each side. I'd suggest going with 8 on the first side, then try 6 on the second side - pull it out and cut into it to judge if it needs another minute or so.

Zesty Italian

Let it marinate

Pop in the oven on Broil!

The Veggies:

All I did was give the broccolini a quick saute in olive oil and salt and pepper, then a dash of water and a lid at the end to let it steam through.

I had an extra spaghetti squash leftover from last week (Bolognese & Spaghetti Squash) and seeing as I am trying to be low carb this week (which will go out the window tonight when we celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with a group in Chi) I figured I'd just use this as my pasta fake out  So I used the same technique of cutting the squash in half long ways, drizzling with olive oil and pepper, then turning upside down and roasting in the oven at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. I added a heaping spoonful of TJ's tangy olivey Puttanesca sauce and voila! Dinner was served.

Bare Skins after Roasting and shredding

The "Spaghetti" which I kept warm on low heat in a pot on the stove

Bon Appetit!
Side Note: While the chicken was marinating and the squash was roasting I whipped up the lunch I brought to work today.. Kale salad with avocado, beets and baby heirloom tomatoes - look at those colors!!

Who doesn't love colorful food??

Have a Dahlicious Wednesday!

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