Longing for fall
Y'all, this engagement business is no joke. Oh, don't get me wrong, it's a ton of fun (especially all the champagne), but it's also exhausting. This, I suppose, is the downside of doing this at nearly 30, as opposed to 22. Six days in, and I'm wiped out. Last night after work I went to B's apartment and took an hour and a half nap while he took Luna to PetSmart. I've also been a day behind on every blog post this week. Sorry about that.
But I received an unexpected boon yesterday and today in the form of gorgeous, 72-degree weather. Emily Fact #3,845: I HATE summer. HATE IT. And by this time of year, I have really lost all patience with being sweaty, sticky and mosquito-bitten. But yesterday - well, yesterday the weather was heavenly. It was a lovely little taste of fall. So it was a really nice coincidence that I had planned to have a delicious, fall-like meal.
Last night's recipe was baked chicken with spinach, pears and blue cheese. It's a recipe from Whole Foods, but I found it on Pinterest (so what else is new?). I think it was the pears that drew me in. Seriously, is it fall yet?
You begin by putting salt and pepper on four chicken breasts, then searing them in a tablespoon of olive oil for about 2-3 minutes per side. My B did this part, and in retrospect, he said he would sear it on higher heat for a little less time to get the crispy skin without cooking it too much and drying it out.
Look at this deliciousness...and the steam!
Put the chicken, pan and all, into a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a new pan, saute 1/2 C of diced red onion until it's soft. The recipe didn't call for it, but I also sauteed two cloves of minced garlic for a little flavor. Then add the spinach and saute until wilted. Separate it onto plates.
Wipe out the pan with a paper towel (carefully - it's still hot). Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Once it's heated, add 2 Anjou pears, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch slices. Saute until soft.
Spinach and chicken, just waiting for the pears to cook.
Take the chicken out of the oven and place on top of the spinach. Put a few pear slices on top of the chicken, then add about 2 tablespoons of blue cheese or Gorgonzola (we used blue) on top of the entire thing. That's it!
It was really, really easy, and a delicious mix of flavors. I especially love the pears - I think that's what makes the dish special. That, and the blue cheese on top. Next time I might even go so far as to add some more spices to the chicken before cooking, and/or add more garlic and spices to the spinach. This was absolutely delicious as-is, but there are also a lot of ways you could make it your own. I think that is the mark of a good recipe - after all, no one's tastes are exactly the same. Let me know if you make any adjustments that are really fantastic (or if they bomb, too!).
The finished product - yum!
Baked chicken with spinach, pears, and blue cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
3 T olive oil, divided
1/2 C diced red onion
4 C spinach (I don't remember how much we used - we just finished off a bag)
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 ripe Anjou pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 T fresh parsley (we left this out, as I hate parsley)
3/4 C blue cheese crumbles
Preheat oven to 375. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
In a large, oven-proof skillet, heat 1 T olive oil. Sear chicken breasts for 2-3 minutes per side.
Place pan in oven and bake until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes
In a new skillet, heat 1 T olive oil. Saute red onion until softened. Add minced garlic if you choose.
Add spinach and toss until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and transfer evenly among plates.
Wipe pan, and heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and 2 T of apple cider vinegar.
Add pears and heat until warm. Stir in parsley (if it doesn't make you gag).
Place the chicken on top of the spinach on plates. Arrange the pears on top of the chicken, then top the entire thing with roughly 2 T of blue cheese per chicken breast.
Eat, and enjoy!
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