Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lemon-Oregano Chicken

We subscribe to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (we both like having a paper to flip through as we eat breakfast and I like doing the puzzles every day) but I also check out The Tribune-Review online about once a week just for the food & drink section. Last week, there was a recipe for Greek Chicken & Spinach Casserole. It sounded good, plus we already had all the ingredients, so we decided to make it as one of our meals this week.

I was exhausted on Monday and not really in the mood to cook, but dinner doesn't cook itself, so I wearily entered the kitchen around 6:30 pm and started gathering ingredients. I realized I didn't have the recipe printed out. I didn't feel like going to get my netbook and firing it up. I didn't want anything complicated and I figured a real recipe would complicate things. So I decided to just throw stuff together.

Here's my version: grab a casserole dish. Drizzle olive oil in the bottom. Add chicken pieces and coat with olive oil. Season with salt & pepper. Pour in juice of one lemon (SP had already squeezed the lemon juice into a container for me; I do not like juicing lemons). There was no zest because we zested the last lemon for the lemon simple syrup we made the night before. Put a wee dot of butter on top of each chicken piece. Sprinkle with chopped oregano from the CSA. Bake uncovered at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, I took the leftover washed and chopped spinach & arugula from the night before and put it in a salad bowl. Added the leftover chopped portabella from the night before. Decided I wasn't in the mood to try to open the huge Costco jars of roasted red peppers and kalamatas so moved on to the next part of dinner.

Rice. Well the rice cooker is in a cabinet and it's just too much work to get it out. Make it on the stove? No way. The cleaning lady just left 2 hours ago and I can never cook rice in a pot without boiling it over. I was not going to scrub boiled over rice water crud off the clean stove. Solution: Pillsbury frozen flaky biscuits.

The last steps: set the table. Crumble some feta into a container. Get out a dressing, in this case an olive oil flavored with sun dried tomato & basil. Pour a glass of iced tea with mint simple syrup. Stare out window until timer goes off.This was tasty! Looking at the recipe now, I realize we missed out on the almonds, which would have been a nice, healthy addition. But I like my version better because I don't actually enjoy cooked spinach that much. I'd rather eat a spinach salad than cooked spinach. I suppose the chicken broth would have added some flavor, but the lemon juice alone kept the chicken moist and didn't over power the chicken.

This would also be tasty with tarragon instead of oregano, which is a meal my roommate and I made frequently in grad school. Rosemary would be yummy, too.

The final step: clean up. Since it was trash night, SP handled all the trash and recycling while I did dishes. Happily, everything but the cookie sheet for the biscuits went in the dishwasher. And then I got to watch TV and savor a cup of hot tea and some citrus sables.

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