Tag Archives: balsamic vinegar

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

29 Oct
One-Pot Lasagna Soup

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

This is a soup I’ve wanted to make for ages, and FINALLY got inspired to just do it. Soup? Check. Easy? Check. One pot? Check. One hand? Check, dammit. I get my traction device off in less than two weeks, woohooo! But in this seemingly long entrapment from my injury, I have found that one can be quite resourceful while dealing with a disability. Did you know you can break dried lasagna noodles into even pieces one-handed? Simply place the noodle in a glass bowl then push the edge of the noodle hanging out over the lip of the bowl. Snap! Keep moving it up and snapping off the end. See? Easy-peasy! (Newcomers to this site can read about my injury here.)

My recipe here came from several internet-inspired sources. As always, feel free to adapt, as that is pretty much all I’ve been doing lately. Without further ado…

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground hot Italian sausage
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
6 cups homemade or low-sodium beef broth, divided
1 24-ounce jar good-quality meatless spaghetti sauce
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
Ground black pepper and salt, to taste
1 bay leaf
10 uncooked dried lasagna noodles, broken into pieces
Fresh Mozzarella slices
Ricotta cheese scoops
Fresh-grated Parmesan cheese

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, cook the ground beef, sausage, and onion over medium heat until meats are browned and onion is translucent. Add the garlic and stir for a minute more. Drain grease, if necessary.

Add 4 cups of the beef broth and the rest of the ingredients except the cheeses, stirring to separate the noodles. Bring up to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about a half hour until noodles are soft and soup has thickened, about 30 to 45 minutes. Add the remaining two cups of broth, as needed during that time, until soup is desired consistency.

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup

Discard bay leaf and add Mozzarella and Ricotta cheeses to the pot, then let sit without stirring until starting to melt. Ladle scoops of soup and melty cheese into bowls and garnish with fresh-grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with garlic bread and a side salad.  This is good. Really good. We are talking seconds and thirds good. Trust me.

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

One-Pot Lasagna Soup

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

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Spinach and Feta Cheese Steak Rollups

27 Feb
Spinach and Feta Steak Rollups

Spinach and Feta Steak Rollups

How on earth does my mind come up with something like this? Just out of the blue! I guess I’m just getting used to “making do” with what I have in the house as I loathe shopping of any kind. Just ask my family. I really do hate shopping.

But what I do really like is coming up with some crazy idea for dinner and think yeah, the family will like this. But then when the family not only likes it, they LOVE it, I’m pretty darned happy. Even before this was finished cooking, my hubby said, “You know we can always order pizza if it isn’t good.” See, he DID have his doubts!

But doubt no more.

Oh shoot, a back story to the salted steak first. (Many of  my long-term readers know hubby is on a low-salt diet.) And a video, but you don’t have to watch it.

So somehow I came across a poor man’s video guide on the interwebz to make any tough meat tender. So, here is the video (sorry if you have to watch an ad first):

Watch here —> Poor Man’s Filet Mignon

And I also happened to watch it with hubby a few days before I made this. THEN (even with a little less now than a quarter cow in the freezer) I picked up some thin-sliced eye of round from the 50% off bin. I am a sucker for meat deals. Of course I froze it immediately. When I told hubby I brought home some store-bought beef and that it was a very tough cut, he actually got excited instead of rolling his eyes. He wanted us to test out this meat tenderizing trick.

Now, let me present to you my riff on a beef rollup stuffed with all kinds of yum. I would have liked to grill this, but it was freezing outside. Make note to cook this again on the grill when the weather is better. And yes, it came out very tender, more so than I expected! (And p.s. the family loved these!)

Spinach and Feta Steak Rollups

For the steak glaze:

Splash of olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 sprig fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried leaves
1/2 cup beef broth, preferably homemade

For the steak rollups

3/4 pound thin-sliced eye of round or any other thin-sliced steak (8 to 10 slices)
Coarse sea salt
8 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3 ounces crumble Feta cheese
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons grapeseed oil or other high-heat tolerant neutral oil

Salting the Beef

Salting the Beef

If you have a tough cut of beef, follow the method in the video. But if you don’t want to watch it, basically add some course sea salt to the top of the steak and let it sit on the counter for 1 hour for every inch. This steak was so thin we did less than 10 minutes. But even in that short time I could see the steak sweating out and breaking up the fibers! Then you rinse the steak thoroughly of the salt. Pat dry and set aside ready for the stuffing.

But meanwhile you can make the steak glaze.

Making the Steak Glaze

Making the Steak Glaze

Add a splash of oil to a saucepan or skillet over medium heat and cook garlic until fragrant, just a minute or so. Add the rest of the glaze ingredients and cook and stir until reduced by about half. Remove rosemary sprig if not using dried. Take off heat and set aside.

Spinach and Feta Cheese Stuffing

Spinach and Feta Cheese Stuffing

Next, take your thawed and squeezed-dry spinach (you did that already, right?) and add to a bowl along with the Feta cheese, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice and mix until thoroughly combined.

Glazed Steaks

Glazed Steaks

Brush the steak slices with the glaze with a pastry brush, (if you used dried rosemary, don’t worry as it just gets stuck in the brush anyways).

Adding the Spinach Stuffing

Adding the Spinach Stuffing

Grind a bunch of black pepper over the steaks. Top the steak slices evenly with the spinach mixture. Roll up and secure with twine or toothpicks. I found twine to be convenient since I wasn’t grilling.

Brush any remaining steak glaze you have over the rollups. Grind more black pepper over them again, to taste. I am kind of a ground black pepper freak.

Rolled and Stuffed Steaks

Rolled and Stuffed Steaks

Heat a large cast iron or heavy bottom skillet over very high heat with two teaspoons of neutral high-heat oil. With tongs, add the rollups (in batches if needed) to the skillet and cook on all sides until browned. Just a minute or two on each side, rolling often. Remove to a plate and serve with a side vegetable of choice. I chose steamed asparagus. I suppose some kind of bread could be in order but I’m trying to lose weight. 🙂 Happy dining!

Spinach and Feta Steak Rollups

Spinach and Feta Steak Rollups

 

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Turkey, Lentil, and Mixed Brown Rice Soup

12 Dec
Turkey Lentil and Mixed Brown Rice Soup

Turkey, Lentil, and Mixed Brown Rice Soup

Yay, a new recipe! And of course it is a soup recipe made with some of the turkey stock I cooked last week. I also had some dried green lentils left from the last soup I made (wow was that a month ago?), as well as some leftover cooked brown rice in the fridge begging to be used up. We had also frozen the leftover turkey breast from Thanksgiving, so this soup ended up being not only a no-brainer, but a deliciously wonderful and frugal dinner.

Here is how it goes:

Turkey, Lentil, and Mixed Brown Rice Soup

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups low-sodium turkey stock, preferably homemade (can sub chicken stock)
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 cup dry green lentils
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked turkey (can sub cooked chicken)
1 1/2 cups cooked mixed brown rice (or 1/2 cup dried)
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Ground pepper and Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste

Onions carrots and celery cooking

Onions, Carrots, and Celery

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook until the vegetables are starting to soften, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

Mixed Whole Grain Brown Rice

This is the brand of brown rice I used

Next add in the turkey (or chicken) stock, bay leaf, thyme, and lentils. If using dried rice, add that now too. Cover and bring to a boil.

Simmering the Soup

Simmering the Soup

Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer with cover on for 45 minutes.

Uncover and stir in turkey and cooked rice, and continue simmering until lentils are tender, about 15 more minutes. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs, then add the parsley and balsamic vinegar. Taste test, then add ground pepper and Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste. Serve with crusty bread.

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Ground Beef and Green Lentil Soup

14 Nov
Ground Beef and Green Lentil Soup

Ground Beef and Green Lentil Soup

I probably sound like a broken record, but I LOVE SOUP SEASON! A few weeks ago I grabbed the rest of the beef marrow bones out of the freezer and decided to make a huge pot of beef bone soup stock. We have a new quarter side of beef on the way for our freezer and it was way past due to finish using those up.

Beef Bone Stock

Beef Bone Stock

After that task was accomplished, of course I had to make some soup out of that rich, golden broth. Our grass-fed ground beef from last year was long gone, but my hubby bought a fancy electric meat grinder and he ground up a bunch of chuck and made 3/4-pound bags for the freezer. That amount makes so much more sense for our family than a pound since there are only three of us.

Also out of the freezer came some frozen tomatoes from our harvest. All I had to do was run hot water over them and the skins slipped right off!

Armed with these ingredients, I set off to make some soup. I cobbled together more ingredients out of the pantry and fridge (including some almost expired fresh spinach) and this is what I came up with:

Ground Beef and Lentil Soup Ingredients

Ground Beef and Lentil Soup Ingredients

Ground Beef and Green Lentil Soup

3/4 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups crushed tomatoes with liquid (or a 14.5-ounce can)
4 cups low-sodium beef broth, preferably homemade
1 cup dry green lentils
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Large handful fresh spinach, roughly chopped
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Ground Beef and Veggies

Ground Beef and Veggies

Add the ground beef, onion, carrots, and celery in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. In this case I used my pressure cooker pot. (Stay tuned, confession time coming!) Cook over medium heat and stir until meat is brown and vegetables are starting to soften. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

Next add the tomatoes (I crushed them with my hands when adding them) plus the liquid, the beef broth, lentils, oregano, and sugar. (The small amount of sugar offsets the acidity in the tomatoes.) Stir to combine.

Soup Ingredients Ready to Finish Cooking

Soup Ingredients Ready to Finish Cooking

CONFESSION TIME: At this point, I honestly do not remember if I actually pressure cooked this or just finished simmering uncovered. Really! I know I used my pressure cooker pot from the photos. Did I use it because I intended on pressure cooking the lentils, or did I use it because all my other large pots were used up from making the beef stock earlier in the day? This was only a few weekends ago! Please don’t laugh at me, laugh WITH me!

Nonetheless, either pressure-cook this for 20 minutes, or simmer it uncovered for about an hour. After the lentils are soft, add in the chopped spinach and stir until wilted.

Chopped Spinach Added

Chopped Spinach Added

Taste test, then add sea salt and ground pepper, to taste. I thought the soup needed just a tad more flavor boost, so added a couple of teaspoons of balsamic vinegar. Perfect. Soup’s on! Serve with crusty bread.

Ground Beef and Green Lentil Soup

Ground Beef and Green Lentil Soup

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Fuss-Free Spicy Pork and Kale in a Crock Pot

5 Jan
Spicy Pork and Kale

Spicy Pork and Kale

I had a few pieces of frozen pork that had to be used stat, as they were starting to look slightly freezer-burnt around the edges. Then I had this HUGE bunch of organic kale I picked up the other day, for reasons still unknown to me this day. I must have had something in mind, but it never came back to me. Armed with those two ingredients, I thought about making my Spicy Pork and Kale Soup, but decided I needed to try out something new. After countless interwebz searches, I finally settled on a combination of flavors I thought would work together.

Kale Bunch

Kale Bunch

About halfway through the cooking time my daughter said the kitchen smelled really good, so I was hopeful! And thankfully, it turned out delicious! It was spicy, tangy, filling, and made for a great meal for the fam after we spent a good part of the day cleaning out our junk room to make into a bedroom for a foreign exchange student we are hosting in February. (As well as painting my daughter’s bedroom a new color, which I had no part in. That was a father-daughter project for the day.) We served this over a bed of brown rice sided with thick slices of French Bread to sop up the juices. Yummy!

Spicy Pork and Kale Ready to Cook

Spicy Pork and Kale Ready to Cook

Spicy Pork and Kale in a Crock Pot

1 1/2 pounds thick boneless pork loin chops
Sweet Hungarian paprika
Ground black pepper
1 large bunch of kale
2 pints homemade canned tomatoes and liquid, chopped, or two cans of diced low-sodium tomatoes, with liquid
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Cooked brown or white rice, for serving

Season the pork generously with paprika and black pepper. Add to a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker. Tear the kale off the stems into bite-size pieces and add to the crock pot. It fills up almost the entire crock pot, but don’t worry, it all cooks down. For my homemade pints of tomatoes, I just used a knife to chop them up straight in the jar. Pour the chopped or canned diced tomatoes over all, then sprinkle the Balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and crushed red pepper flakes over the kale.

Cook on high 4 to 6 hours or on low 8 to 10 hours. When ready to serve, shred the pork with two forks in the crock pot and give it a good stir. Serve over cooked brown or white rice, with bread for sopping up the juices. Minimal ingredients, fuss-free, huge taste!

Spicy Pork and Kale

Spicy Pork and Kale

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Balsamic Chicken, Spinach, and Tomato Bake

28 Dec

I posted this almost a year ago and made it last night again for dinner (another one of many times throughout the year). This is one of my daughter’s favorite quick dinners I make, and it’s my go-to recipe for a simple and easy delicious meal! Last night I subbed out Panko bread crumbs seasoned with Italian dried season and used a jar of homemade canned tomatoes, chopped, with liquid drained. If you haven’t made this before, try it out!

anotherfoodieblogger

So simple, so colorful, and soooo good! I had a bag of fresh spinach and a pound of defrosted boneless chicken breast in the fridge. A lovely tomato sat on the counter. In my mind, that’s a no brainer. BUT! I didn’t want to stuff the chicken, it was too cold to grill, and quite frankly, I didn’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking. All the recipes I found online just didn’t “do” it for me, so I set out to combine several of them with the parts I liked, then completely improvised from there. My family gobbled this right up, and now I have yet another easy weeknight dinner I can put into my rotation.

Balsamic Chicken, Spinach, and Tomato Bake

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast(s)
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, or other seasoning, to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon…

View original post 282 more words

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Balsamic Gravy over Pork

2 Oct
Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Balsamic Gravy over Pork

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Balsamic Gravy over Pork

This has all the makings to be an elegant meal, but somehow I just did not quite pull it off. Now don’t get me wrong, you can keep reading as I’ll still share the recipe. But let me ask you this. How on earth can onions be tough after cooking them for almost 20 minutes? Somehow I managed to do that. But the sauce was still good, and not all the onions were hard. I can only guess that I should have peeled the onion down one more layer after taking off the skin. Anyways, I plan on making this again some day and will cross my fingers for softer onions.

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Balsamic Gravy over Pork

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 large sweet onion, sliced thin and cut in half
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Blend
Black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons flour, divided
2 thin-cut pork loin chops
1 cup homemade or low sodium beef broth
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
Pinch of dried basil

Caramelizing the Onions and Mushrooms

Caramelizing the Onions and Mushrooms

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until starting to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, and cook until onions and mushrooms have caramelized, about 15 to 20 minutes total. Turn heat down if needed if they start to burn.  Once caramelized, remove to a bowl and set aside.

Season the pork chops with Mrs. Dash and ground black pepper, to taste. Lightly dust each side of the pork chops with 1 tablespoon of the flour. Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet, and cook each side of the pork chops for 2 to 3 minutes over medium-high heat. Remove to a plate and tent with foil.

Add a tablespoon of flour to the oil left in the pan, adding a touch more oil, if needed. Mix until a paste forms. Slowly whisk in the cup of beef broth and balsamic vinegar. Mix in the honey and herbs, then turn down heat to a simmer. Add the onions and mushrooms back to the skillet and mix into the sauce. Last, add the pork chops back to the skillet, cover, and cook for a few minutes more to heat them through. We served this with fresh Trader Joe’s Haricot Verts and Harvest Grains cooked in beef broth. If you have good luck with caramelizing onions, then this is an easy dinner for any night of the week.

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Balsamic Gravy over Pork

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Balsamic Gravy over Pork

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Grilled Steak and Artichoke Salad

27 Jul

Is it toasty hot where you live? It sure is here! Here is a nice main dish salad for you that I made last summer. We’ll be making this again soon!

anotherfoodieblogger

Here is a main dish steak salad that will appease even the heartiest of appetites. Temperatures are still toasty here and I wanted to concoct a cool summer salad that would be filling enough for dinner. I used a thin-sliced top round, which is not as tender as flank steak, but marinating the meat helped tenderize it. I was going to make a homemade vinaigrette, but by the time I finished grilling, chopping, and dicing I decided store-bought dressing would suffice.

Steak Marinade

1/2 pound thin-sliced steak
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Black pepper to taste

Place the steak in a quart Ziploc baggie. Whisk the rest of the ingredients together and pour over the steak. Seal bag and let marinate for several hours or overnight. Take out and let come to room temperature…

View original post 94 more words

Kale Chip Round Up ~ Prepared Five Ways!

10 Apr
Kale Roasting in Oven

Kale Roasting in Oven ~ for some reason I really wanted to caption this “Dancing Kale.” Don’t ask me why. I just thought it was so pretty with the reflections.

This was a fun little project I set out on the other day. I had a huge bunch of kale, and decided to make these kale chips everyone and their brother has been blogging about. But since I’d never made these before and there were so many variations, I decided to do several little batches in all different flavors. That way if I burnt the kale, or I didn’t like the taste of the seasonings I chose, I wouldn’t be throwing out an entire bunch.

My very first batch was spent hovering in front of the oven with the light on, timing it precisely, and sweating it out that I would burn them. Since all ovens cook so differently, I went on the cautious side from the various timings I’d seen on this. I can tell you now that my oven crisps these babies up perfectly at 5 minutes per side, providing you didn’t add any liquid type seasoning, such as lime juice. Those batches took 2 minutes more to dry out the extra liquid.

It was fun to photograph them with all their seasonings. The hardest part was finding enough little bowls for them. I even resorted to a vintage Melamine avocado green dish that survived all my moves and clean-outs that I somehow acquired over the years. It’s possible it was given to me when my mom got rid of all her Melamine dishware and sent me off to college with them. I have two of those little bowls left, I guess they are considered “chic” now, huh?

I’ll give you my rating and my daughter’s rating for these after each recipe and photo. I could only get my husband to taste my first batch, and he said “well that’s interesting” and opted out of tasting all the other flavors.  I suppose I can’t count on these to replace his love for potato chips. Ah well.

Rinsed, Raw Kale

Rinsed, Raw Kale

Kale Chips Method

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Tear off  all the kale from the rigid middle stem, then wash thoroughly and drain. Pat dry real well with paper towels to absorb any moisture left. Add whatever amount you want to bake to a bowl. Spray the kale with olive oil, then rub it in thoroughly with your hands all over.  Next add whatever ever seasonings called for “to taste” in the recipe and distribute evenly. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and space the kale evenly apart so it’s not crowded. Since I did such small batches, that was not an issue. Bake for 5  minutes, then turn kale over and bake 5 minutes more, or until dried and crispy.

I had seen some websites say it can take up to 10 minutes per side, but not in my case. I’m wondering if it also has to do with how well you pat them dry, as my oven tends to cook cooler than most. I was also warned on several websites that these burn easily and fast, so monitor your oven for your first batch to get the timing down.

Parmesan Cheese Kale Chips

Parmesan Cheese Kale Chips

Parmesan Kale Chips

Light dusting of sea salt
Shredded Parmesan cheese (add after the first 5 minutes)

After taste testing all the batches, this was my Numero Uno pick! It had the perfect balance of crunchy/cheesy/saltiness. Next time I will add twice the Parmesan. Some of the cheese came out nice and brown, and somehow those ended up at the bottom of the bowl and didn’t make the photo. Those were my faves. This came in third for my daughter.

Cajun Kale Chips

Cajun Kale Chips

Cajun Kale Chips

Store-bought Cajun seasoning (I used Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning)

This one came in dead last for both of us. I have my suspicions I was over-zealous with the seasoning. Zatarain’s is pretty spicy and salty, and it was just overbearing. If you try the Cajun route, use sparingly! I might try them again sometime, with about half the seasoning, and perhaps some lime juice or cheese to mellow it out.

Lime and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes Kale Chips

Lime and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes Kale Chips

Lime and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes Kale Chips

Fresh squeezed lime juice (this took a quarter lime for my teeny batch)
Crushed red pepper flakes (some of them fell off, so sprinkled more on after turning them)

And this one was came in First Place for my daughter! It was second for me. I like me some spicy, and the lime really balanced it out. I did have to bake a little longer to get them crisp because of the lime juice.

Garlic and Sweet Hungarian Paprika Kale Chips

Garlic and Sweet Hungarian Paprika Kale Chips

Garlic and Sweet Hungarian Paprika Kale Chips

Minced garlic from a jar, with a little of the juice
Sweet Hungarian Paprika

This was my third place pick. My daughter said I should not make them again, but that they weren’t as bad as the Cajun ones, which made them fourth place for her. I think I should have added a lot more minced garlic than I did, because the pieces with the most roasted garlic had a really nice flavor. It seemed to be missing something, not sure what. Maybe a little salt? Or maybe my tastebuds were burning out at this point, not sure!

Balsamic Vinegar and Sea Salt Kale Chips

Balsamic Vinegar and Sea Salt Kale Chips

Balsamic Vinegar and Sea Salt Kale Chips

Balsamic Vinegar
Sea Salt

My daughter chose this as her second place pick, and this ended up being my fourth. Before she took a bite, she said, “You know mom, vinegar can be real iffy. This could be either really good or really bad.” She took a bite, and her eyes lit up. “I really like these!” So this goes to show that taste buds can vary as much as the spices. Once again, since you are adding a liquid, bump up the cook time for a couple of minutes.

So there you have it,  my Kale Chip Round-Up. It was a lot of fun, and this only took me just over an hour to achieve. If you make a single batch, you are done in no time! Now we have our winners and losers, and I can confidently make a few variations in the future for a healthy, low-fat, crispy snack. By the way, being the internet sleuth that I can be, I tried to find the origins of this recipe. Although I never came across a definitive source, I can say these “chips” have been in the published realm (online or paper) since the mid- to late-90s. It appears they first started as a recipe in the food dehydrator industry, then evolved to the oven. Either way, they are a yummy snack. I plan on making a nice big batch of the Parmesan ones for myself next time around.

Balsamic Chicken, Spinach, and Tomato Bake

5 Jan
Balsamic Chicken, Spinach, and Tomato Bake Dinner Plated.

Balsamic Chicken, Spinach, and Tomato Bake Dinner Plated

So simple, so colorful, and soooo good! I had a bag of fresh spinach and a pound of defrosted boneless chicken breast in the fridge. A lovely tomato sat on the counter. In my mind, that’s a no brainer. BUT! I didn’t want to stuff the chicken, it was too cold to grill, and quite frankly, I didn’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking. All the recipes I found online just didn’t “do” it for me, so I set out to combine several of them with the parts I liked, then completely improvised from there. My family gobbled this right up, and now I have yet another easy weeknight dinner I can put into my rotation.

Balsamic Chicken, Spinach, and Tomato Bake

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast(s)
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, or other seasoning, to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking soda
10-ounce bag of fresh spinach
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 green onions, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
Black pepper
1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs mixed with 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Balsamic Chicken, Spinach, and Tomatoes Ready to Bake

Balsamic Chicken, Spinach, and Tomatoes Ready to Bake

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan or dish with oil. Halve the chicken breast(s) lengthwise, and if needed, pound to an even thickness.  Season the chicken breast with Mrs. Dash or other seasoning, to taste. Add the chicken to a 1 quart resealable plastic bag and add the balsamic vinegar,  minced garlic, lemon juice, and baking soda. (My husband made me add the baking soda. He swears up and down it makes any meat more tender or juicy.)  Seal the bag and squish it all around to coat, and set aside. Next, line the bottom of the baking dish with all the spinach, then drizzle the chicken broth over it. Now sprinkle the crushed red pepper, green onions and a little bit  more balsamic vinegar evenly over the spinach. Place the chicken on top of spinach, then drizzle the liquid from the bag over everything. Now add the tomatoes on top, and grind black pepper over it all. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the  foil, and spread the breadcrumb/cheese mixture over the chicken, then lightly spray with oil. Put back in the oven and bump it up to broil for 10 minutes. You’ll end up with some extra liquid in the pan, but I don’t think I would skip the chicken broth for fear of drying out the spinach. Serve with couscous or rice of choice. Spicy, tangy, delicious!

Balsamic Chicken, Spinach, and Tomato Bake Dinner, Steaming and Ready to Devour

Balsamic Chicken, Spinach, and Tomato Bake Dinner, Steaming and Ready to Devour

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