Friday, March 4, 2011

Foodie Friday: Fresh Every Day

I heart Sara Foster - especially her cookbook, Fresh Every Day. We have a few go-to recipes out of this book, like this:

Seared grouper with lemon and capers

and this:
we call this "adult" mac and cheese, because it has spinach and chicken in it - so good!
and this:
Succulent grilled pork chops
Not to mention, a few that I can't wait to try this summer like the fresh mozzarella salad with avocado, roasted corn and grape tomatoes with a summer herb vinaigrette. That's the kind of recipe that has me running to one of the many fabulous farmers markets that surround us. That, and the fried green tomato and ripe red tomato salad with goat cheese and sweet basil vinaigrette - yes please!

And this week I tried another one that will earn it's rightful spot as a "repeat offender." I am calling it an "offender" because even though it has lots of healthy veggies in the dish, it isn't so much healthy with the cream it calls for. But as winter is coming to a close (so-long February...finally) I was trying to cram in one more of the comfort food dishes I had earmarked to attempt this season.

That being said, I am going to be embarking on a healthy cooking adventure, so it's time to get serious. I did a fantastic job of losing 5 pounds during the months of October and November. And then I achieved a feat I've never achieved before - making it through the holidays without gaining a pound! It seems as if I am running and working out at the optimal level for me to basically eat and drink whatever I want to maintain my weight. Which, don't get me wrong... has been fun! But there are still a pesky 7 to 10 pounds that I want to lose. (yeah - i just said the internet. But I feel like if I say it here, then it kinda forces me to actually do it) So if anyone has any yummy, healthy recipes - please send them my way.

But, here's to one more yummy comfort food dish (and hopefully the last). With my luck, we will have a March snowstorm and you'll see me revert back to trying something like Guinness beef stew (yes, I have a recipe for that).

Without further ado, the recipe for creamy chicken with biscuits (it's basically Chicken-pot-pie deconstructed)
For the life of me, I cannot get this picture to turn the correct way

Serves 4 to 6

2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 bunch small carrots, trimmed and scrubbed
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken broth
6 store-bought or homemade biscuits
1 cup fresh or frozen petite green peas
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves or chives

1. Preheat the oven to 250

2. Place the leeks in large bowl full of cold water and let them soak for 10 to 15 minutes to remove all the sand and dirt (leeks are dirty man - but I love 'em). Carefully skim out the leeks, leaving the grit behind. Drain well and dice.

3. Rinse the chicken breasts, pat them dry with paper towels and cut on the diagonal into 3/4-inch strips. (because you have to do this - you very well could just by the chicken breast strips and save yourself some time)

4. Mix the flour, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl. Toss the chicken strips in the flour mixture to coat them evenly. (I decided to "kick it up a notch" and added a little bit of cayenne pepper)

5. Warm the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat until the butter has melted and sizzles when you add a drop of flour. Add the chicken strips and saute until they're golden brown and slightly crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to an ovenproof dish, cover loosely with foil, and place them in the oven to keep warm.

6. Add the leeks and carrots to the skillet you cooked the chicken in, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook and stir the vegetables until the leeks are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and chicken broth and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the carrots are tender and the liquid has reduced by half.

7. Meanwhile, place the biscuits in the oven for about 10 minutes to warm through. (or in my case, cook the store bought biscuits)

8. Return the chicken to the skillet, add the peas, and simmer about 5 minutes longer, until the peas are tender and the chicken is warmed through. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the parsley or chives. (I went with chives...I highly recommend it - for some reason parsley doesn't do that much for me). Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

9. Slice the warmed biscuits in half and place the bottom halves on individual plates. Spoon the chicken pieces and carrots over the biscuits, spoon the gravy with lots of peas and leeks over the chicken, and cap with the biscuit tops. Serve immediately.

We had the leftovers for dinner last night, and I swear it was just as good, if not better, the second time around. If it's still a little cold where you it, make it now. You won't regret it.

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