Thursday, June 10, 2010

Parmesan Chicken Paillards with Cherry Tomato Sauce

I had chicken breasts defrosted the other night and wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them. I went to Cooking Light's website and searched through their chicken recipes until I found this. I had most of the ingredients (or acceptable substitutes), so I decided to try it.

I'm so glad I did! The chicken is moist and flavorful, and the "sauce" (which is really more like a chutney) is delicious. I ate the leftovers for lunch AND dinner the next day (and I had other options for dinner--I just wanted this)!

4 (6 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I made 6)
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I doubled this part b/c I wanted to press the mixture into both sides instead of just one as originally suggested)
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour (see above)
2 tsp olive oil, divided (basically, EVOO for the pan for every 2 breasts you cook)
cooking spray
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 minced garlic clove (my addition, not in original recipe)
1/4 cup fat=free, less sodium chicken broth (I didn't have any homemade and didn't want to open a can for 1/4 cup, so I used white wine instead)
2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried oregano

1. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap and pound to 1/2 inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Doing this makes the chicken cook faster (it is thinner) and more evenly (it is the same thickness for the entire piece). Don't skip this. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.

2. Combine cheese and flour in a shallow dish. Dredge 1 side of each chicken breast in cheese mixture. I decided to dredge both sides because it is delicious.

3. Heat 1 tsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 chicken breast halves, cheese side down. Cook 2-4 minutes each side or until done. Repeat procedure with remaining oil/chicken. Remove from pan and keep warm.

4. Coat pan with cooking spray (this is what the recipe said to do and so I did it. However, I don't know why I'd do this step now and not before the chicken. Seems to me you should do it both times). Add onion and saute 1 minute. Add garlic (if using) and saute another minute (be sure to cook the onion a total of 2 minutes). Stir in broth/wine and vinegar; cook 1 minute or until liquid almost evaporates. Add tomatoes, remaining 1/4 tsp salt, remaining 1/4 tsp pepper, and oregano. Cook 2 minutes.

Serve each chicken breast topped with tomato sauce and enjoy. This is also delicious the next day!
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar (didn't have any, so used balsamic

Blueberry Scones

I love scones and had extra blueberries and a visitor who is allergic to eggs, so I decided to make some. Up until this morning I was blissfully unaware of how much butter was in scones. Now I know, and I may have to rethink how often I have them (along with a skinny vanilla latte) when I make it to Starbucks. . .

However, they are yummy and easy, so I'd encourage you to try them yourself. :)

1 stick (8 tbsp) butter, frozen whole
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream (I used low fat b/c it's what I had)
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling (or get that large-granulated sugar for sprinkling--it would be pretty, and if you can find lemon-flavored it would be even better)
2 tsp baking POWDER
1/4 tsp baking SODA
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp finely grated lemon peel (I may double this next time)

2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted (I think salted would also be fine here)

1. Adjust rack to middle position and preheat to 425. Grate the frozen butter with a cheese grater (I have a mandolin with a grater attachment I used, or you could do this in a food processor). Rinse/dry blueberries and place them in the freezer until needed.

2. Whisk together the milk and sour cream in a medium bowl--refrigerate until needed.

3. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest in a medium mixing bowl. Add the grated butter to the flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated (this is the part where I went "Holy crap, it's practically pie crust, no wonder I love this stuff").

4. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and fold with a spatula until combined. Transfer the dough to a generously floured work surface--it will be sticky. Knead with well-floured hands about 6-8 times, just until the dough holds together in a ragged ball (I'm pretty sure you could also do this part in a food processor). Add small amounts of flour as needed to prevent sticking. Did I mention that the dough will be sticky? It will be sticky.

5. Roll the dough into a 12 inch square. Fold into thirds (like a letter). The original recipe suggests that a dough scraper would make this easier. I agree. Must add "dough scraper" to my growing list of kitchen tools on my Amazon wishlist. Fold the short ends of the dough into the center in thirds (again, like a letter) and place on a lightly floured plate. Chill in freezer for about 5 minutes.

6. Return dough to floured work surface and roll into an approximately 12 inch square again. Place blueberries on the surface of the dough and gently press them down, so they are slightly embedded in the dough surface. Using a dough scraper (or just your hands if you have to, maybe assisted by a sharp knife), roll the dough into a tight log. Lay the log seam side down and press into a 12 x 4 inch rectangle. Using a sharp, floured knife (or the scraper), cut rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Then cut each smaller rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet.

7. Brush the tops of the scones with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake until the tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18-25 min. Transfer to wire rack and cool at least 10 minutes before serving.