Saturday, September 13, 2008

Chicken with Spinach and Barley

Part two of thrifty tasty eating! For this dish we only had to buy chopped frozen spinach. Pretty thrifty! There was not really a recipe that inspired us to make this, just a hunch that everything would work well together once it was all cooked. I stir fried the chicken in my Tuscan Sunset mix from Penzey's, and added a lot of rosemary and garlic. I saw a tip on a health blog, that smashing your garlic and letting it sit for 15 minutes before cooking helps to release healthy compounds that are good for your heart. We did that this time, too. Well, even if that's bogus, the wonderfully mellow flavor that resulted is worth the 15 minute wait! Once everything was cooked and combined, I added a small handful of mozzarella cheese to help bind it all together. The end result was very flavorful dish with an excellent creamy texture, much like risotto, much healthier, and much less time consuming!

We ate this as a main, though I think it would probably be better as a side. For leftovers, I put this in a whole wheat pita and ate it cold. That was also spectacular! If I make this as a side, I'll probably leave the chicken out and just cook the spinach down in the same seasonings. Either way, we'll definitely be making this one again!


3 chicken tenders, thawed out & cut into bite size pieces
1/2 block of frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 C. uncooked barley of choice
2 or 3 cloves of garlic (I used 3 but they were on the small side)
1 tsp tuscan seasoning (italian would be fine too, but I would add some red pepper flakes)
1 tsp rosemary
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 small handful (not even 1/4 C.) shredded mozzarella cheese

-Set water to boil for barley. Start cooking.
-Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Add oil to a large pan and heat to medium high. Add the tuscan seasoning, rosemary, and garlic. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Stir frequently for even cooking.
-While the chicken is cooking, thaw out the spinach.
-When the chicken is mostly cooked through, add the spinach. Cover and turn down the heat. Let the spinach cook and wilt while the chicken cooks all of the way through.
-When the barley is cooked, add that to the chicken mixture along with the mozzarella
-Stir to combine.