Friday, July 1, 2011

"Nobody--calls me--'chicken!'"

Ah, Marty McFly. We all have our weak spots and Marty McFly's weak spot (of Back to the Future fame) was being called "chicken" (or "yellow" pronounced "yellah" in the third movie). He would do all sorts of crazy things if people pushed this particular button. He just didn't want to be labeled a coward. It just took him awhile to figure out that he wouldn't be a coward by avoiding certain conflicts...he would just avoid being a fool!

One of my weak spots is the combination of chicken and mushrooms. Basically, add mushrooms to anything and I become much more interested. I love mushrooms! I just can't understand how some people don't love them (unless they have a food allergy). So, today I'm going to share two chicken recipes that also feature mushrooms. And believe me, you will be no fool for trying these recipes.

The first recipe is a new discovery made by my Mom. She didn't really expect it to be anything special, but everyone LOVED it. Seriously, it was so tasty. My sister-in-law declared that it was her new favorite chicken recipe and that she would probably request it for her birthday dinner!

The second recipe is one that I found over a year ago. It is so easy. Plus, it is one of those meals that has a built in side dish, so in my opinion, you won't need to make anything else (unless you want to have a crusty roll on the side). My only warning here is to be careful not to overcook the vegetables (otherwise they can become mushy). But make sure to read my notes at the end of that recipe for the tips I used.

Spinach and Mushroom Smothered Chicken


3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 3/4 cups sliced mushrooms
3 green onions, sliced
2 tbsp chopped pecans (see notes)
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
4 (4 oz. each) skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp rotisserie chicken seasoning (see notes)
2 slices reduced-fat provolone cheese, halved (see notes)


In a large skillet, saute the spinach, mushrooms, onions and pecans in oil until mushrooms are tender. Set aside and keep warm.

Coat grill rack with cooking spray before starting the grill. Sprinkle chicken with seasoning; grill, covered, over medium heat 4-5 minutes on each side or until chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear.

Top with cheese. Cover and grill 2-3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. To serve, top each chicken breast with reserved spinach mixture.

Source: Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook

Makes 4 servings.

Notes: We used regular provolone cheese (we couldn't find reduced fat). We excluded the pecans as well since my son is allergic to all tree nuts (sniff, sniff. I miss nuts so much! But of course his safety is more important!) Also, my Mom used Kroger brand chicken/poultry seasoning and it was sooooo good. It wasn't anything fancy, but it added so much flavor to the chicken. Finally, you could broil the chicken instead of grilling it, if you prefer. It would take the same amount of time if you broiled it in the oven on high. If you want further broiling directions, refer to the recipe below (as it broils the chicken as opposed to grilling it).

Broiled Chicken Breasts with Vegetable Saute


1 tsp garlic powder (see notes)
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp black pepper, divided
4 (6 oz each) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Cooking spray
1 tbsp olive oil
1 (8 oz) pkg pre-sliced mushrooms
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced (about 5 ounces)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped plum tomato
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
4 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/ cup (1 oz) grated fresh Parmesan cheese


Preheat broiler.

Combine garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper in a small bowl; sprinkle chicken with garlic powder mixture. Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray, and broil 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

*Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1/44 tsp salt, mushrooms, zucchini, and minced garlic; saute 2 minutes. Add remaining 1/8 tsp pepper, tomato, onion, basil, and vinegar; saute 3 minutes. Serve vegetable mixture over chicken; sprinkle with cheese.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size 1 chicken breast half, 1/2 cup vegetables, 1 tbsp cheese).

Nutrition information: 284 calories, 7.3 g fat, 44.4 g protein, 9.4 g carbs, 2.2 g fiber, 103 mg cholesterol, 2.2 mg iron, 88 mg sodium, 106 mg calcium.

Source: Cooking Light Chicken cookbook. ISBN: 0-8487-3063-1

Notes: First of all, notice that one serving (1 chicken breast and a 1/2 cup of vegetables) is less than 300 calories! Since it was so light, I increase the vegetables. I would recommend doubling or even tripling the vegetables and serving 1-1 1/2 cups of vegetables with each chicken breast.

I would also recommend being much more generous with the garlic powder than the 1 tsp that the recipe calls for. Personally, I would add garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste (which for my taste, is a lot more than what the recipe calls for). Also, I didn't use a broiler pan (I hate cleaning those!). I used a foil-lined jelly roll pan. I personally also recommend changing the order in which you cook the vegetables. From my experience, I found that when I cooked it in the order that the recipe stated, I ended up with zucchini and tomatoes that were cooked more than I would have liked them to be (and onion that wasn't cooked as much as I like!).

Here's how I prefer to do it instead (and how I would do it if I were you!):

*Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1/4 tsp salt (or salt to taste), 1/8 tsp pepper (or pepper to taste), minced garlic, and onion. Saute until onion is tender. Add mushrooms and saute until tender. Add zucchini and saute to desired tenderness (I like my zucchini a little more firm--just slightly sauteed). Add tomato, basil, and vinegar and saute just until the tomatoes are warmed through, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly, if needed (You can add more salt, pepper, or even more garlic powder, if you like). Serve vegetable mixture over chicken; sprinkle with cheese.

1 comment:

  1. Definitely cooking the zucchini and tomato last is smart because they both tend to water down. This would be a great late summer recipe with garden veggies. Looks good!!!

    Oh and I loved the blog title. Certainly got us in less trouble than the last one. Ha ha.