Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hearty, healthy, delicious...garlic herb chicken

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Is there anything better than the combination of garlic and chicken?

I think not.

I'd better warn you: if you do not like garlic, rosemary, thyme or basil, you might want to exit the premise immediately.

As in now.

Lately I've been searching for healthy, inexpensive meals that are boot camp approved. Since my husband and I are currently needing massive amounts of protein, you'll be seeing a lot more meat recipes.

This is an incredibly simple but delicious food item that takes something so basic-like chicken and garlic-and turns it into a mouth-watering entree that goes perfectly with pasta, rice, or potatoes.

You know...a carb.

I'll be serving mine with easy green beans and garlic roasted red potatoes, which I'll also cover in this post.

What you'll need:
Boneless skinless chicken breasts, chicken stock, garlic (I use about 7 cloves for all three of these recipes combined), olive oil, red potatoes, green beans (I use the canned kind because I'm lazy and busy), salt, pepper, and some herbs (I'll be using rosemary, thyme and basil). Let's get to it!


We'll start with the potatoes. Grab a handful, rinse 'em off and throw them on the cutting board.


Dice them into 1/8th's


Toss them onto a baking sheet and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle olive oil on them (keep it light to avoid a ton of excess calories)


Meet your three best friends: thyme, rosemary, and basil. You'll be getting to know them real well over the next 30 minutes.


Go ahead and douse your potatoes in these three spices.


Sprinkle on a little bit of parmesan cheese.


Now it's time to talk garlic. Normally I would say to mince it up, but for the potatoes it's easiest to just dice them up into bigger pieces.


Toss the little chunks on the potatoes.


Ain't that pretty?

Throw them in the oven and turn your attention to the chicken.


Have I mentioned raw chicken makes me sick?


But fear not. There's retribution for the chicken making me nauseous. Readers, meet my big, bangy hammer thing.

The official name is unknown. At least to me.


Smash the chicken so it's nice and thin.

I'd like to fill you guys in on a little secret I've discovered with chicken. For years I struggled with cooking it just right. It was always undercooked, overcooked, or took forever to cook.

Until I start smashing it.

Now, it takes half the time and is always incredibly juicy and tender. Very rarely will I cook or grill a chicken breast without beating it.

Okay, I'm done. Back to the food.

We're going to make a sorry excuse for a garlic spread to top the chicken with.

Except you won't be sorry. You'll be oh so glad.


Now's the time to use your garlic mincer. Grab about 4 cloves of garlic and do yo thang, then toss it in a small bowl or a condiment holder.

My mother-in-law steals these things. I do not encourage or condone it. I just can't stop it.


Now we're going to do more mashing. Use a spoon and just work out some of the chunks. We want it to have some consistency, but to be overall very smooth.


Add some of our three best friends (remember them?): rosemary, basil and thyme.


Now grab some sort of garlic marinade or Caesar dressing and pour about a tablespoon in.


I love this stuff. I also use it on my Schlotzsky's original sandwich look-alike.


Mix it up.


Go ahead and drizzle some olive oil into a pan (preferably an oven-safe pan) and warm it up on medium high heat.

Let's go ahead and give the chicken some love and attention.

A little TLC, if you will.


Spread some of the garlic/marinade/spice mixture onto one side of the chicken breasts. Make sure you keep enough to put on the other side.


Put the chicken in the pan spread side down, and put some spread on the other side (the one facing up).

Let it cook for 2 minutes and we'll flip in a second.

But first, let's put our attention on the beans, shall we?


Now, you all know I'm a cheater. I'm all for fresh green beans, but sometimes you just have to use what's in your pantry. So I'm using a can of diced green beans.


Heat some more oil in a smaller pan and throw the drained beans in over medium/low heat. The trick with green beans is to let them heat as long as possible. They can't be pressured to taste good. If you have a top for the pan, place it over the beans and let them steam a bit.


Add your three best friends...again.

Don't you hate those people who just won't go away?


Like this guy. He loves to hang out in my kitchen right in the heat of an important moment. He bump into me and asks, without fail...

"Juice juice for goose goose?"

But I just love him to death. I've learned that the only way to get him out is to prod him with hot pans from the stove.

Don't judge me, people. Try it next time your kids or husband won't get out of the kitchen. It'll change your world.

So, let's get back to the garlic.


Take one or two minced garlic cloves and add them to the bean mixture.

Now, sit back and let the magic happen.


Hopefully you've turned the chicken after its two minutes on the first side. After another two minutes, we'll start the next step.


Grab some chicken stock and pour about a cup over the chicken and throw the whole pan (if it's oven safe) into the oven for about 10-12 minutes.

When the time's up, use an oven mitten to remove the pan. Okay, you probably already knew that, but then again, so did I.

I won't be able to write or even hold a pen for at least six months.


We're going to let it sit on the stove for about 3 more minutes under medium heat.


Place the chicken on the plate you intend to serve it on and pour the juice from the pan over the chicken.


The potatoes should be done by now. They take about 25-30 minutes to get nice and soft. They, too, are delicious with a bit of the reduced stock on top of them.


Grab some hot green beans, and you're good to go! Serve with fresh bread and a diet coke.

Or, if you're me and you go to boot camp, some water. Or a protein shake.

Love you all! Enjoy this meal! You can cook extra chicken and use it the following day for chicken sandwiches.

Rachael

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