Thursday, July 14, 2011

Adventurous Eating

It appears keeping the blog updated is much more difficult than I envisioned! Such is life I suppose! :)

We've had a pretty eventful year. Kyle spent last summer in China on a study abroad program. I signed up as a Pampered Chef consultant. We got to watch our first ever NFL game live-and-in-person at the Superdome in New Orleans. We completed our first year of marriage! Kyle graduated from Jackson State. I started training for a half-marathon I plan to run in October. And of course I've been doing lots of cooking!

Since I do cook 3-4 nights a week, often times I get in a cooking rut and feel like I make the same things over and over again. When Pampered Chef came out with their spring line, I got the new "Make It Fresh Make It Healthy" cookbook, and found a really interesting recipe: Chicken with Fresh Herb Chimichurri. I love cooking with fresh ingredients, whether it's herbs, fruits, or vegetables, especially when I've grown them myself! And every now and then I get adventurous and cook things a bit out of the ordinary. Such is the case with this dish.

Ingredients for the Chimichurri:

1 lime
3 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro
1-1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
2 green onions, cut into thirds
3 tbsp water
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 tsp grated fresh gingerroot
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt

Juice one half of the lime to measure 1 tbsp. (Use the other half to shoot tequila... if you like to do that sort of thing... but wait til after you finish cooking :)) Place juice, cilantro, basil, green onions, water, garlic and ginger in food processor. Coarsely puree. Pour chimichurri into a small bowl. Stir in red pepper flakes and salt. Set aside.

Ingredients for Chicken & Rice:

18 crackers, crushed
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp mayo
1/4 tsp each salt and black pepper
1 tbsp canola oil
1-1/2 cups hot cooked sushi rice (or other short grain rice)

Flatten chicken to approximately 1/2-inch thick. Brush chicken with mayo, and season with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in cracker crumbs. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat 1-3 minutes or until shimmering. Cook chicken 3-4 minutes on each side or until centers are no longer pink. Place rice and 3 tbsp of the chimichurri in a bowl and mix well. Serve chicken with rice and remaining chimichurri.

Some things to note... Chimichurri is nothing more than a fancy word for sauce, specifically one that's Asain-inspired and popular in Argentina. I had no intention on searching for gingerroot; I used 1/8 tsp of the ginger spice I had in the cabinet. There is a reason the recipe actually calls for 18 crackers instead of a handful or specific cup measurement. 18 is the perfect amount! I doubled the oil; it just didn't look like enough in the pan to me. Three to four minutes on each side for the chicken was not near enough. I flipped it at 3-4 minute intervals to keep the browning even, but it probably took 20 minutes or so to get fully cooked (to my liking anyway). The rice is what my husband refers to as sticky rice... perfect for eating with chopsticks!

And by the way, it was awesome! Very flavorful! Will definitely be making again!

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