Friday, June 10, 2011

Greek Chicken and Spinach Casserole

I pulled this recipe out of the Dallas Morning News about a month ago, and I finally got around to making the casserole this past week! It was rather easy to prepare and very fresh and tasty. I rarely find something in the newspaper that peaks my interest enough to pull out and actually make, but this recipe has convinced me that I should perhaps take a second look at the food section and try some of these recipes out! I think this would also be yummy with orzo pasta rather than rice.

Sleepy puppy.  

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sliced squash (the original recipe called for mushrooms...but I forgot to buy mushrooms and I had squash at home, so that was an easy substitute).
1 cup frozen, chopped spinach
1 cup quick-cooking brown rice, uncooked
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon of Cavendar's Seasoning, or seasoning of choice
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
2 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese (the original recipe called for feta...but I really dislike feta)
2 tablespoons slivered almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
2. Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
4. Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pan and cook until they are tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.

5. Add the chopped squash and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Try to get the pieces of squash the same size to ensure even cooking.

6. Stir the frozen chopped spinach into the pan with the onion and garlic (you can purchase chopped spinach in the frozen section of your grocery store).

7. Cook the spinach until it is thawed and wilted and the extra moisture has evaporated.

8. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the vegetables into the prepared casserole dish.

9. Add the cup of uncooked rice to the casserole dish.

10. Add the seasonings to the casserole dish.
11. Return the heavy pan to the range and heat to medium-high heat with one teaspoon of olive oil and the chopped chicken.

12. Cook the chicken, stirring frequently, for about 5 to 6 minutes. The chicken should be lightly browned on all sides.
13. Spoon the cooked chicken into the casserole dish.

14. Pour the 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock into the heavy pan to deglaze the pan. It would be such a shame to loose all of those layers of flavor! To deglaze the pan, just stir the chicken stock so that any caramelized pieces on the bottom of the pan will release and dissolve into the stock.

15. Pour the chicken stock into the casserole dish and stir everything together.

16. Cover the casserole dish and back for 30 minutes.
17. Remove the casserole from the oven and uncover the dish to add the lemon juice and slivered almonds.

18. Bake uncovered for about 15 minutes. Almonds should be toasted and the rice should be cooked through.
19. Add Parmesan cheese to each serving and enjoy with a hearty bread!


Roses from our garden.

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