Tuesday, February 14, 2012

TIO Tuesday - Creamy Grilled Chicken Piccata

I'm starting to realize that my failures are going to become more frequent. As I try to venture out of my comfort zone, or my family's, I think it's easier to fail. For instance, I tried a dish from this month's issue of Real Simple. It was headlined in their feature of four one-dish dinners, advertising to be easy and taste great. I was super-pumped to try it. I enthusiastically purchased the necessary ingredients, giddy that I might be able to get my family to eat spinach. I even tried to sneak in some whole-wheat pasta. I smiled as I whisked together the white sauce, might have even hummed? To top it off, I mentioned it on facebook to a friend that I was trying out a new one, just one of many mistakes that could have tipped me off. I'm thinking now about "pride" - thanks Tim Boettger, there's nothing like a little humility in the kitchen. At any rate, it all looked like the glossy magazine picture:
I mean, look at it - one-dish, easy ingredients, not too long to make, how could I screw it up? Well, for the record, I have no idea, but it was horrible! I took a few bites, was instantly sorry I had dished it up to my kids to eat, simultaneously wondering what we would eat now that I tried to make them eat THAT!
I gave them a bunch of fruit and called it good. Brad and I had left over pizza from my brother later that night, thanks Ronnie!
Now that I've covered that disaster, we're on to this weeks SUCCESS!
After my previous failure, I sulked to my backup of Pinterest pinned recipes. I had to find something, time was running out. I apparently had pinned a recipe from Plain Chicken a while ago (I love her site btw), my pin read as "Have to try this!" I checked it all out and imagine my surprise when the recipe called for capers? Why yes, I do have those, still unopened in my cupboard for a previously forgotten recipe, yay for procrastination! I set about making the recipe and given the rather chilly climate, opted to use my inside grill:
I really like this grill pan, it has a smooth option on the other side. I greased it liberally with some olive oil and grilled my chicken right on the stove top. Perfect option for this time of year.
The whole recipe came together beautifully. Again, I was giddy with anticipation, and this time I was rewarded with an excellent meal. As I plated it on a large platter, I had to keep Hailey from stealing little pieces of the penne. It's a perfect dish to serve family style as I did. I doubled the entire recipe, I'll make my notes at the end. When Brad tried it, the first thing he said was, "This tastes like something from the Olive Garden." I'll take that as a compliment.
One important note, it has a strong lemon flavor. If you're not a fan, you can pass or just reduce the lemon amount. Brad did say it was a nice change from what we normally have. 
And what's even better, it was inspired by The Pioneer Woman, whom I love, love, love!

Juice of 1 lemon (3Tbsp)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp basil or oregano
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cups dried penne pasta
2 Tbsp butter
Juice of 2 lemons (6 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup half and half (or heavy cream)
2 tsp dried basil
2 Tbsp capers
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Combine first 6 ingredients and mix well. Place chicken in a Ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator. When ready, grill until done. Allow chicken to rest for a few minutes and then slice into strips to serve over pasta.

While chicken is grilling. Cook pasta according to directions (10-12 minutes). Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water and drain. In same sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in garlic and lemon juice. Pour in half and half and whisk until hot. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Add the parmesan cheese, basil and capers, and heat until cheese is melted. Check the consistency of the sauce and add some of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce if necessary. Toss in pasta.
Serve in pasta bowls with grilled chicken on top. Sprinkle with more parmesan if desired.

***My notes:
I mentioned before I doubled the recipe. I used the chicken breasts from Fareway, so I pounded them a little thinner before I marinated them. I neglected to read the part about "overnight" so they sat in the fridge for about an hour before I made the dish. It still had a great flavor, so I think it's a matter of time and preference. The lemon flavor definitely would have been more pronounced had I marinated them as the recipe noted. I also used 1/2 tsp each of basil and oregano since I doubled it. I think a general Italian seasoning would work fine as a substitute.

I did a whole box of penne pasta, a considerable amount more of butter, only the juice of one lemon because I ran out (I would keep this the same next time so it's not too overpowering), and a full cup of heavy cream (duh!). The other ingredients were doubled as noted.
Yes, you do need the full amount of pasta water. I saved it just in case, and found it necessary to get the cream the right consistency.

This is a little more detailed than some of my other recipes, but it's worth it! Really, the only thing out of the ordinary are the capers. And some of the comments on her page say they left them out. Please try this one and let me know what you think. I loved it and can't wait to make it again!

I almost hesitate to add this part, but I did have a super easy side with it, Mini Garlic Monkey Breads
Annaliese helped me put these together as we waited for the pasta water to boil. They are a fun thing to do with the kids and they loved them. It's a nice change to the standard canned biscuit.  
Don't they look yummy?!
Mini Garlic Monkey Breads
◦2 (7.5 oz) cans buttermilk biscuits
◦6 Tbsp butter, melted
◦3 cloves garlic, minced
◦2 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
◦1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus 2 Tbsp. additional to sprinkle on top if desired

1.Cut biscuits into 4 pieces and place in a bowl. I like to use kitchen shears of a pizza cutter to the cut up the biscuits.
2.Combine the melted butter, garlic, parsley, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese together and pour over the biscuit pieces.
3.Gently toss the biscuit pieces to get evenly coated with the butter mixture.
4.Using a 12 cup muffin tin, place 6-7 pieces of the coated biscuit dough into each muffin cup. Use the additional 2 Tbsp of Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top of the breads in the muffin cups.
5.Bake at 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm. Makes 12 mini garlic monkey breads.

p.s. I "might" have used a tad bit more butter on this one?

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

~ Misty

1 comment:

Sarah Craft said...

I have that same Real Simple recipe on my future dinners list. Perhaps I'll skip that one now. Thanks for the heads up!