Thursday, January 10, 2013

Roasted kale, tomatoes, and potatoes with chicken

For the most part, I've become a fairly disciplined cook when it comes to dinner.  It's only taken me a few years to learn that, if you sample the food nonstop while cooking it, you don't have much of an appetite when the final dish is plated.  Makes perfect sense, right?

I mean, as much as I love staring into Matt's dreamy eyes without distraction, sitting across the table as he dives into a plate of delicious food isn't much fun when I'm already full and sipping on water.

So, I've managed to curtail my snacking as dinner roasts, simmers, or sautes right before my eyes.  Instead, I only poke my head into the kitchen as soon as I get home from the gym to gulp a glass or two of water and occasionally nibble a handful of cheese balls

(And yes, they are amazing.  You can pick up a giant tub of them for around $6 at Sam's Club.  One serving is something like 32 balls and only 140 calories.  There's just something about that salty cheesy crunch of puffed air that's addictive and hits the spot after a sweat session!  No judging.)

Anyway, like I was saying, I should totally be the poster girl for willpower in the kitchen.  Except I'm going to request that that poster not feature a picture of me making dinner earlier this week.  I literally -- LI-TRUH-LEE -- couldn't stop myself from sneaking forkful after forkful of the side dish.  The side dish, people!

Garlic roasted kale, tomatoes, and red potatoes!  With grilled chicken, natch.

Let's just say that the amount of kale you see in the finished dish isn't really indicative of the amount of kale that initially went into the dish.  Ahem.  I'm still crushing on kale, and there's no end in sight.  That crunch that comes from roasting when it's tossed in a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder is downright addictive!

It's no exaggeration to say that I sampled at every chance I got when making this.  Raw kale?  Yep, I'm weird.  Roasted potatoes?  To check for doneness, of course.  Roasted kale?  Mm hmm.  Roasted tomatoes?  Juicy little red gems, uh huh.  Obviously there had to be a quality check on the grated parmesan in the can.  Because, um, it could vary from use to use?  Right.

And then, because I had to see things through, I had a bite... and another and yet another.  The freshness of the lemon and the nutty cheese just tied all of the vegetables together beautifully.  Like magic!

Also like magic?  How quickly it disappeared.  I  even tried to steal some of Matt's from his plate.  For those who are curious, that little prank did not go well.  I got a fork to the hand.

Good gracious.  I'm favoring vegetables over proteins.  What is happening to me?  That's how you know this is good.  Don't deprive yourself any longer, friends!

One year ago: Lemon salmon with lima beans
Two years ago: Shrimp & spinach salad with bacon dressing
Three years ago: Old Bay roasted sweet potatoes

Grilled Chicken with Roasted Kale and Tomatoes
(inspired by a recipe in Food Network magazine)
-serves 2

3 small red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Olive oil
1/2 large bunch of kale, stems removed, leaves torn (about 5 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced
Ground black pepper
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (4-6 ounces each)
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
3 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Toss the potatoes with 1 teaspoon of olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet; spread in as single layer and roast for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, toss the kale in a large bowl with the garlic, 1 teaspoon of oil, dash of salt and pepper to taste.  Add kale to the baking sheet with the potatoes and toss.  Roast until the kale is crisp (typed "krisp") and the potatoes are tender, 15 minutes, stirring once in the middle.

Meanwhile, preheat a grill pan or press to medium and coat with nonstick spray.  Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and grill until well marked and cooked through, about 2 to 4 minutes each side.  Transfer to a plate.

In a large bowl, toss the roasted kale and potatoes with 1 teaspoon oil, tomatoes, parmesan, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  Divide the chicken and kale mixture among two places.  Serve hot and enjoy!

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