Saturday, October 2, 2010

Baked Chicken, Roasted Veggies and Strawberry Spinach Salad with Feta, Candied Almonds and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Dinner was super easy and very good! This is one of my new favorite ways to cook chicken and it is fool proof.

Baked Chicken
Rinse off boneless, skinless chicken breasts under cool water and then pat dry. With a pastry brush apply a thin coat of olive oil on both sides of the chicken. Once you brush a side of the chicken with the oil, liberally apply kosher salt and pepper. Bake in the oven @ 375 degrees for exactly 35 minutes. Unless you have unusually large pieces of chicken this is the perfect amount of time to cook it. I usually let it rest for about 5-10 minutes to keep it from drying out.

Roasted Veggies
  • 6 brussell sprouts cleaned and cut ( I quartered them because they were very large).
  • 1 green squash cut in half lengthwise and then chopped.
  • 1 red onion cut in large chunks (try to keep everything about the same size)
  • 9 baby yellow potatoes cut in half
  • 2 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • kosher salt & pepper

This recipe is really interchangeable with ANY vegetables that you like. I've done this with butternut squash, sweet potatoes, yellow squash, bell peppers etc..

Cut up all your veggies to about the same size so they cook in about the same amount of time. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Make sure all the veggies have some oil so they don't stick to the pan. If you don't have fresh rosemary, make sure to either grind it down with a mortar and pestle or chop it very finely. Nobody wants a big dry piece of rosemary jammed in their throat when they are eating! ;) Sprinkle the rosemary and season liberally with kosher salt & pepper. Roast in the oven @ 375 degrees about 45-55 minutes or until the veggies are cooked through and the potatoes are crisp on the edges.

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Feta, Candied Almonds and Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 2 cups of your favorite blend of lettuce. I chose a spinach and spring combo.
  • 2 good sized strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon slivered almonds
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar for the almonds
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar for the dressing
  • 1 heaping tablespoon crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 of a shallot finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • a pat of butter for the almonds
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

To make the dressing: stir balsamic vinegar together with the brown sugar and garlic and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the olive oil very slowly while whisking constantly until it is all incorporated. Slice the strawberries and marinate them in the dressing while you finish making the salad. I've found that this makes a lot of dressing, but it never hurts to have extra. Cut it down if you want.

To make the candied almonds: place with slivered almonds in a small skillet over medium heat with the brown sugar and a pat of butter (just a touch). Stir when it comes up to temperature and cook until sugar is melted and almonds are toasted. Set aside.

Place the lettuce in your bowl and layer with the sliced shallots.

Sprinkle the salad with the feta and top with the marinated strawberries. Drizzle some of the dressing on top.

This was an incredible salad. The sweetness of the strawberries with the saltiness of the feta and the crunch from the almonds was a match made in heaven.

The finished meal looked like this!


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