My excuse for making this yesterday was the monsoon like weather. I couldn’t fathom leaving my house to shop or dine anywhere, but at the same time the rain made me feel the need for comfort food. I racked my brain looking for inspiration. I thought about the lonely pecans in my freezer, the potatoes on the verge of sprouting scary things, the ridiculous amount of fresh parmesan cheese that I had purchased with the hopes of making alfredo sauce, the fresh spinach wilting in the produce drawer of the fridge and lastly, the atrocity of what was happening to the mushrooms in there. So in great hopes of being frugal and brilliant at the same time, I pulled it all out on the counter and thought about some of my favorite things; mashed potatoes, pecan crusted chicken, balsamic glaze…and this happened.
For the Pecan Crusted Chicken
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
3 small Chicken breasts-de-boned and skin removed
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Mix the flour, salt, pepper and pecans in one dish and whisk the egg in another dish. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture and then one more time in the flour mixture. Place chicken on a greased baking pan or a silicone baking mat. Bake for about 20 minutes. Make sure that these are cooked through-it will depend on the size of the chicken breast as to the baking time. Remove and set aside until you’re ready to serve.
For the Parmesan Mashed Potatoes:
3 large Yukon potatoes-peeled and cubed
4 tbsp butter
3/4 cup fresh Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup half and half
Boil potatoes on high until tender. Drain and add all of the ingredients together back into the pan. I use a hand-mixer, but a potato masher works just as great. Mix until lumps are gone and set aside. You may want to add some salt and pepper. Again, it depends on the size of your potatoes.
For the sautéed Spinach, Mushrooms and Pecans:
8 ounces mushrooms cleaned and sliced
4 large garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup Parmesan
4 cups Fresh spinach-clean and de-stemmed
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tbsp chopped green onions
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
Add butter, olive oil and pecans to a skillet on medium high heat. Make sure the pecans are thoroughly coated with the butter and oil. Add mushrooms and spinach and cover the pan and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Be mindful not to burn the pecans. Stir often. Once the spinach is wilted, add the green onions and garlic cloves and stir. Cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes. You may need to add a tablespoon of water if the pan gets to dry. At this point, uncover and squeeze lemon into the pan and stir. Add the cheese and stir. The cheese will stick to the pan, so be ready to serve before adding the cheese.
Drizzle balsamic glaze onto your dish first. Place one large spoonful of potatoes in the center. Top potatoes with spinach mixture and top with chicken. Sprinkle top with green onions and serve.
Tip: Make extra potatoes. You’re going to want them. 🙂