Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hummus crusted chicken

I'm willing to bet that you've heard this saying: "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade."  And that's probably what most of us would do.  I'd also make lemon bars or cookies or even a cocktail, but I'm getting ahead of myself.  What matters is that most of us would know what to do with a bunch of lemons.

But, what would you do if life handed you hummus?

Yes, hummus.

On at least four days out of the last two weeks, I've scored free hummus and pretzels while walking around the city on my lunch break.  To be clear, these samples are being shelled out by eager Sabra representatives, strategically placed on sidewalks with lots of foot (accidentally typed "food") traffic.  Each time, they enthusiastically greeted passers-by and sent them away happy with handfuls of free treats.

Why yes, I'd love some tasty snacks.  Thank you kindly, Sabra!

When I told Matt about our new bounty of hummus, he got super excited.  We are hummus fanatics!  Two of my college roommates got me hooked on the stuff, and I've been a loyal customer since then.

A regular container of hummus doesn't last very long in our home because we put it on everything.  Once the pretzels were finished, we moved to tortilla chips.  Then dunked carrots and peppers in it.  I put it on egg sandwiches at breakfast.  Matt even slathered it on a slices of bread for a quick snack.  We love hummus!  ("I love lamp."  ...anyone?)

But, you know I can't leave well enough alone.  I can't sit back and enjoy something the way it's meant to be appreciated.  The gears in my head (and stomach) turn, and I plot and plan and come up with even better.

Hummus crusted chicken!

Right?!  Once it dawned on me, it seemed so simple.  Chicken is the ultimate blank canvas.  A perfect vehicle for spices and sauces of all kinds.  Hummus is, essentially, a thick sauce.

I love chicken.  I love hummus.  I must love hummus on chicken.  Formal logic that may not be, but a delicious dinner it most certainly made!

This dinner screamed fresh summer eats!  Bright tender seasonal squash and juicy almost-Mediterranean chicken made quite the unexpected lick-the-plate-clean meal.  And, while we're being honest, lick the fork and oh-so-carefully lick the knife clean, too.  No joke.  Told you I loved hummus ;)

One year ago: Doughnut breakfast sandwich with egg, bacon, and cheese
Two years ago: Loaded twice baked potatoes
Three years ago: Cheesy chicken and bean enchiladas

Hummus Crusted Chicken with Summer Squash

A few notes: Feel free to use whatever vegetables you enjoy roasting (green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, etc.).  Also, while chicken was delicious, a mild fish or even tofu might be great, too.  Let me know if you try it!  This would also be great turned into an entree salad with fresh spinach and romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion and some feta for a Mediterranean twist.

1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 medium yellow squash, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/2 small white onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup hummus
Paprika, optional
Fresh thyme, optional

Preheat oven to 415 degrees Fahrenheit.  On a large baking sheet, toss zucchini, squash, and onion with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Spread in an even layer.  Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper and arrange on top of vegetables.  Spread 1 Tablespoon of hummus on top of each chicken breast.  Season with paprika, if desired.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.  Top with fresh thyme, if using, and enjoy!

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