Monday, April 12, 2010

Excited for Leftovers.

When was the last time you were really excited to go home and eat leftovers?

Yesterday was a beautiful Sunday, perfect for spring cleaning. I conned a friend into helping me with some yard work in exchange for a home-cooked dinner. We toiled away outside, planting white onions, carrots, radishes turnips and peas. I'm really excited about the peas. They're new to my gardening repertoire, so I hope I don't kill them. Then we transplanted some strawberries from a pot with no drainage holes, filled with what was basically swamp water, to a well draining pot. I have no idea why, but they looked like some happy little buggers in their swimming pool. One start even grew around the corner of the deck and planted itself in the cracks between the stepping stones on the side of the house!

After filling our yard waste container with weeds and leaves, we set up to make dinner. I have been tearing recipes out of Cooking Light and Healthy Cooking ever since I started getting them and I rarely think to use them. I realized the sheer mass of clippings I have and have set out to make at least one recipe a week in order to weed out the bad ones. After much deliberation and consulting with our stomachs, we decided to cook Mushroom-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Spinach Orzo Salad, and a side of sauteed asparagus.

Mushroom-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

From Cooking Light

2 (1-ounce) slices white bread, torn
Cooking Spray
1/4 cup chopped green onions
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup (2 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Prehead oven to 350.
2. Pulse bread in a food processor to form fine crumbs. Place in a dish.
3. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onions and mushrooms; sauté 10 minutes. Stir in thyme and garlic. Cool mixture 10 m inutes; stir in cheese, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
4. Cut a slit through thickest portion of each breast half to form a pocket. Stuff each with ¼ cup mushroom mixture. Sprinkle chicken with remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Place eggs in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour. Dip in eggs; dredge in breadcrumbs.
5. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Place pan in oven. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 stuffed breast half).

Spinach Orzo Salad
From Healthy Cooking

1 pkg. (16 oz) orzo pasta
1 pkg. (6 oz) fresh baby spinach, finely chopped
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
3/4 cup reduced-fat balsamic vinaigrette
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1. Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water.
2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, cheese, onion and orzo. In a small bowl, combine the vinaigrette, basil and pepper. Pour over orzo; toss to coat. Chill until serving. Just before serving, stir in pine nuts.

WOW the orzo salad is delicious. I will definitely be keeping this recipe. I've been thinking about putting in some raised beds on the side of my house that would be perfect for growing spinach. This would be a good recipe to showcase my homegrown produce.

I have to say I think this is one of the best home cooked meals I've had in a long time. Congratulations, cooking magazines, you got me to continue my subscriptions for another year.

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