Herbed Skillet Chicken over Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli

25Feb10

Whoooooo boy. I have got a treat for you. When I first saw this recipe, I had my doubts. For one thing, I knew I’d need to make modifications to bring out the flavor of the chicken and herbs. For another, while rice is a suitable addition to this meal, I felt that a good portion of cubed, browned, lightly salted and perfectly seasoned potato begged to be the base.

And who doesn’t love broccoli? WHO?

Behold. I give you a meal that will keep you full for hours, taste so good that you might just lick your plate, AND…keep you on track with your health goals. While I wish I hadn’t forgot to put the broccoli over the potatoes and under the chicken breasts, I’m sure you folks have far better memory retention than I. But if you do forget, at least you have my first-hand testimony that the meal is still delicious!

Now, before I post this recipe (for which I, and not Campbell’s, deserve some sort of serious award), I want to get a couple notes to less experienced cooks out of the way. Some of you did not grow up in households that valued cooking, let alone cooking for your own tummy. Maybe your family valued exercise, or relationships, or I don’t know, knock-off Louis Vuitton bags from Hong Kong (not judging, by the way), but somehow, ‘cooking’ never quite made it into the mix. If that’s the case, you may be lacking some really excellent tidbits of basic cooking knowledge. I want to share with you three such tidbits that relate to cooking with chicken breast.

(1) If you’re halving, quartering, or cubing a chicken breast, cut AGAINST the grain. It helps maintain the moisture and integrity of the meat, and as an aside, it makes the job of cutting much easier. Squishy meat doth not a blade welcome–a little resistance is a good thing for a clean cut.

(2) Whenever possible, pre-soak your chicken breasts in lightly-salted water for at least 30 minutes before cooking the hell out of them. I use ziplock bags for this purpose. Pre-soaking will ensure that, barring any culinary travesty on your part, the chicken breast will emerge from the cooking process moist and tender. This step makes even a cheap, almost inedible chicken breast palatable.

(3) Lay off the salt. It’s one thing to soak your chicken breast in a lightly-salted ziplock bag of water. It’s another to heap on gobs of salt in the cooking process. Salt is a wonder mineral, but let me give you this piece of advice: a little pepper and garlic powder do far more for the meat than your heaping teaspoons of salt ever can.

Herbed Skillet Chicken over Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli
Serves Two

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – halved
1 1/2 tsp sage – fresh or dried
1 1/2 tsp thyme – fresh or dried
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
2 garlic cloves – minced
1 can (10.5 oz) Cream of Celery
1/2 c water
2 cups steamed broccoli
1 medium russet potato (1 lb or approx. 450 grams) – cubed
2 tsp olive oil

(1) Preheat your oven to 500 degrees (f). Mix together the sage, thyme, garlic powder, and pepper. Rub chicken breast halves on both sides until thoroughly covered with spice. Shake your cubed potato together with the olive oil [you can add a little pepper and thyme here, if you like]. Spread cubed potato out evenly on a foil-covered cookie sheet and place in the oven. Remove when potatoes are browned and cooked through (approx. 15 minutes).

(2) Spray a trustworthy non-stick pan with cooking spray [not necessary if your pan has exemplary non-stick performance] and let the pan heat over medium heat for two minutes. Add the chicken and cover the pan for five minutes. Flip chicken, recover pan, and cook five minutes more, or until chicken is fully-cooked. While waiting for the chicken to finish cooking, get that broccoli steaming (or boiling)–set aside when steamed to your preference.

(3) Once cooked through, set aside chicken. Add minced garlic cloves to the pan and let sizzle for a minute, or until lightly browned. Add cream of celery and water and mix well in pan, making sure to scrape the goodness off the bottom of the pan into the sauce [that’s where great flavor hides!]. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the chicken to the pan once more and thoroughly coat with sauce. Let the chicken simmer and drink up the sauce for a couple minutes.

(4) Remove cubed potatoes from the oven. Plate the food in this order: potato cubes on bottom, steamed broccoli atop potato cubes, 2 chicken breast halves resting atop the veggies, and finally–the sauce!

Calorie Breakdown

PER SERVING
7 oz. chicken breast [190 calories]
1/2 can cream of celery [113 calories]
1/2 medium russet potato (225g) [167 calories]
1 tsp olive oil [40 calories]
1 cup steamed broccoli [25 calories]
TOTAL PER SERVING: 535

Not bad, right? Look how few ingredients it takes to make this dish, too. This meal will take you less than thirty minutes and any leftovers will reheat beautifully in your microwave at work. Just be sure to put the food into your Tupperware in the same order you plated it: potato, broccoli, chicken, and smother it with sauce. Mmmmmmmmmm. Enjoy!

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