Meat & Potatoes

Believe it or not, I actually have a few blogs up my sleeve that I have yet to post. Looking through other blogs, however, I realized that most of what I post here is either a baked good of some sort, or its vegetarian.  While we are not at all vegetarians, we do only eat meat 3 or so times per week - I read an article recently that called this type of diet "flexitarian" - not totally willing to give up meat, but making an effort to eat less of it.  I think there are a few reasons why people are trying to cut meat out of their diets: 1) Its cheaper to eat vegetarian (while this is definintely true, it may be hard to convince some folks that this is reason enough to eat a black bean burger), 2) It is healthier to eat vegetarian (as long as you get your protein from elsewhere, I suppose), or 3) Its more sustainable and eco-friendly to eat vegetarian (having to do with the amount of our agriculture goes towards growing corn to feed livestock. I don't think this is the top reason people eat vegetarian, but it yields a good result in addition to 1 & 2). So, usually half of our meals are vegetarian, as long as you don't count chicken stock, and the other half have a regular protein on the plate.

All that being said, this is a recipe for chicken and potatoes! Usually, when we do eat meat, I don't do anything inspiring to it - some seasonings, olive oil, and lemon juice suffice, if even all that.  But, I decided to try a few recipes that feature a meat and really make it the centerpiece. I wouldn't call the chicken here the "centerpiece", but the whole thing together makes for a good meal.  And as long as you use cremini/baby bella mushrooms, that flavor won't be too strong. So don't let that scare you or any folks in your family from this meal!

Portobello Chicken with Red Potatoes
Adapted from Simple & Delicious, Jan/Feb 2010

1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, cubed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6oz each)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
3/4 pound sliced baby portobello mushrooms
1 package (8oz) softened cream cheese, divided
1 1/4 cups chicken broth, divided

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and fill with cold water until just covered. Salt the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes until fork-tender.

While potatoes cook, in a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Add chicken, one piece at a time, and shake to coat.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat, and add chicken to skillet. Cook for 5-8 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 170. Remove and keep warm. (I had a hard time getting the meat up to temperature, so I heated the oven to 350, popped the chicken in a baking dish, and let it finish in the oven while I made the sauce.)

In the same skillet, add butter and mushrooms - saute until tender and reduce heat. Add 4 ounces cream cheese, 1 cup broth, and remaining salt and pepper. Cook and stir until cheese is melted.

Drain potatoes; mash with remaining cream cheese and brot. Serve with chicken and mushroom sauce.

Serves 4

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