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Chicken breasts with bacon polenta and vegetables - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Chicken breasts with bacon polenta and vegetables [Jan. 2nd, 2012|08:53 pm]
Zoethe
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We had a lovely party for New Year's Eve. I made absolutely nothing for the party, save for veggie and cheese trays, because I was stricken with a beastly headache during the day. All the cooking and baking plans got cast aside, and instead I got to be grateful simply that it let up so that I could be at my own party.

At the end of the party, there were lots of left over veggies from the two veggie trays. Now, there's a limited shelf life on a bunch of mixed veggies, and unless you're going to just keep eating veggies and dip, you've got to do something with them. We haven't managed to do any grocery shopping, meaning that it was "what's in the cupboard?" time. The answer was that there were some chicken breasts in the freezer. After digging through the cabinets to see what I could devise, I asked Ferrett what sounded better to him: a chicken dish with coconut rice or one featuring polenta. He thought that broccoli would go better with polenta.

I decided to experiment a little, and cooked the polenta in the rice cooker. It worked remarkably well, and made polenta cooking completely simple. Highly recommended.

The chicken breasts were bone-in breasts, so I seasoned them with salt, pepper, and some garlic powder, and sauteed them skin-side down in olive oil until the skins were nicely browned. While they were cooking, I julienned an onion and sorted out the vegetables from the veggie tray, separating out the carrots and bell peppers from the broccoli and cauliflower. (The bell peppers were completely separated to cook completely separately because Ferrett can't stand the taste of them at all and I love them.) Once the breasts were browned, I put them in a baking pan and into the over and 375. I then sauteed the onions and carrots until the onions were browned, then removed them from the pan and added the broccoli and cauliflower for a very brief sauteing. (If I was doing it again, I would add the cauliflower at the same time as the onions and carrots, as they could have used a little more cooking time.) Once those were done, I removed them and cooked four strips of bacon - which I would have done very first for the bacon fat instead of using olive oil, but I was making this up as I went along.

I stirred about half a cup of fresh grated Parmesan into the polenta, then stirred in the bacon, chopped. I took the baking pan out of the oven, removed the chicken breasts and spooned the polenta into the dish, then nestled the chicken breasts back onto of the polenta and dished the onions and carrots over the chicken breasts - and put the peppers on one end of the dish, so that Ferrett wouldn't have to eat them - and put the pan back in the oven. I cooked it for 15 more minutes, then added the broccoli and cooked it about 10 more minutes:



The results were delicious!

In addition, I tossed some fresh pineapple chunks with vanilla infused balsamic vinegar, which was a delicious little inspiration.

I'm trying to get more fresh fruits and veggies into our daily menu, so it was great to have just a good start in the leftover veggie tray. And there is definitely enough left over for dinner tomorrow.

Crossposting from Dreamwidth now. Sigh. If LJ won't let you comment, you can comment here: http://zoethe.dreamwidth.org/789230.html?mode=reply:
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: merle_
2012-01-03 02:52 am (UTC)
Whoa, that looks good.

And yes, rice cookers are the bomb. Rice, polenta, that other grain thing with six letters, steamed veggies, tamales.. the rice cooker was one of the best gifts I ever got, and cost around $20 at the time. Completely worth the permanent use of an outlet and happily dishwasher-safe. (well, the inner parts, but you knew what I meant)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-03 04:10 pm (UTC)
Mine is not dishwasher safe, but it cleans up easily. It's a marvelous invention!
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[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2012-01-03 04:35 pm (UTC)
i have a microwave rice cooker, but i've thought about getting an electric one as i've been told you can use it for other stuff, too. (i think you told me that?)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-03 05:46 pm (UTC)
I might have. I'm expanding the repertoire of mine.
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[User Picture]From: cinema_babe
2012-01-03 03:04 am (UTC)
OMG, can I come to your house for dinner? That looks like a slice of awesome.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-03 04:11 pm (UTC)
I can't deny that it was filled with tasty.
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From: anonymousalex
2012-01-03 04:40 am (UTC)
I do so love "make something out of what you've got lying around" night. Yours looks & sounds fantastic. And I will definitely try to remember the rice cooker for polenta; that's a great idea.

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-03 04:14 pm (UTC)
It snapped off remarkably quickly, and refused to be turned back on, but the warming cycle was perfect for finishing the polenta.
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[User Picture]From: ivorywitch
2012-01-03 04:53 am (UTC)
Yum!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-03 04:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: gabyrippling
2012-01-03 05:43 am (UTC)
I don't think one can make this in a rice cooker, but may I suggest, the next time you make coconut rice, you try it Colombian Caribbean style: http://cookinghousewives.com/recipes/coconutricetitote.html
I'm not sure this is the exact recipe my family makes, but it's close enough and the pictures look about right. Don't leave out the raisins! They plump up beautifully in the water and haters can pick 'em out (though I personally love 'em).
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-03 04:16 pm (UTC)
That looks very tasty!!
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[User Picture]From: blessed_oak
2012-01-03 01:31 pm (UTC)
That looks delicious! I'm getting a new appreciation for fresh veggies. They used to tend to rot in my veggie drawer, but I've realised (duh? I don't know what took me so long) you just need to cook them up soon enough and then enjoy them for days.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-03 04:17 pm (UTC)
I have to fight the veggie rot syndrome, too, so I know whereof you speak.
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[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2012-01-03 04:36 pm (UTC)
i've learned that if you line your veggie drawer with foil (shiny side up), that it helps reflect the cold back into the food, and it stays fresher longer.
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[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2012-01-03 04:34 pm (UTC)
i have to admit that i had to look up polenta, but gods that dish looks awesome! even though i'm sitting here with a bowl of oatmeal even as i type, i'm starving and thinking maybe i shouldn't have set out steak for supper. LOLOL
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-03 05:45 pm (UTC)
A fancy name for cornmeal mush. ;-)

It was quite tasty!!
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[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2012-01-03 04:35 pm (UTC)
any ideas what can be done with left over chicken veggie gumbo? (aside from freezing it for later).
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-01-03 05:48 pm (UTC)
Chicken veggie gumbo does sound rather like its own thing already. If it's thick enough, I suppose a pot pie would be possible.Or serve it in bread bowls. But it's rather distinctive in flavor already.
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[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2012-01-03 07:05 pm (UTC)
oooo we haven't had pot pie in forever.that sounds wonderful. :)
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