Monday, December 8, 2014

Chicken with Balsamic-Fig Sauce, Spicy Broccolini, and Garlic Ranch Potatoes


One of my favorite cookbooks is The Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook by Cooking Light.  Each page has recommendations for an entrée with suggested side dishes, and all the recipes have photos!  I am very visual, so I’m way more likely to cook a dish if I know what the finished product looks like. 

This meal was pretty simple to put together but was delicious!  I wish I doubled the chicken to have more leftovers - the sweet & tart sauce would be great on any type of meat.  The broccolini was easy (the hardest part was waiting for the water to boil).  And this might be my new favorite way to bake potatoes - they turned out slightly caramelized and very flavorful. 

Chicken with Balsamic-Fig Sauce (adapted from The Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook)

·        4 skinless, bonelss chicken breast halves
·        1½ T fresh thyme, divided
·        ½ t salt
·        ¼ t pepper
·        1 T olive oil
·        1 T butter
·        ½  white onion, chopped
·        ½ cup chicken broth
·        ¼ cup balsamic vinegar (I used Cinnamon Pear Balsamic)
·        2 t soy sauce
·        ½ cup finely chopped dried figs

1.  If they aren’t already halved, cut your chicken to half the thickness (I didn’t do this until it had cooked a few minutes, but it would have been easier to start off with thinner chicken breasts to ensure it cooks all the way through).

2. Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with 1½ t thyme, ¼ tsp salt and pepper.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken, and cook 6 minutes on each side or until done.  Remove from the pan and keep warm. 

3. Reduce heat to medium and add butter to the pan.  Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes.  Add broth, vinegar, soy sauce, and figs.  Simmer until sauce is reduced to 1 cup (about 3 minutes).  Add 1 T thyme and ¼ t salt. 

4. Cut chicken into slices on a diagonal and serve the sauce over the chicken. 

Spicy Broccolini (adapted from The Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook)

·        1 pound broccolini
·        1 T olive oil
·        2 thinly sliced garlic cloves
·        ¼ t crushed red pepper

1.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook the broccolini in boiling water for 2 minutes. 

2. Drain and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process. 

3. Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add broccolini and red pepper.  Cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. 

Garlic Ranch Potatoes (adapted from Damn Delicious)

·        3 pounds small potatoes, cleaned and quartered
·        2 T olive oil
·        4 cloves garlic, minced
·        1 (1 ounce) package Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix
·        Salt and pepper, to taste
·        2  butter (this was in the photo, but I actually skipped the extra butter…)
·        2 T chopped parsley leaves for garnish (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick spray.   

3. Gently toss potatoes with olive oil, garlic, ranch seasoning, salt and pepper. 

4. Place potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake 30 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.  If adding more butter, toss them in melted butter and garnish with parsley.  

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