We had a lovely party for New Year’s Eve. I made absolutely nothing for the party, save for veggie and cheese trays, because I was stricken with a beastly headache during the day. All the cooking and baking plans got cast aside, and instead I got to be grateful simply that it let up so that I could be at my own party.
At the end of the party, there were lots of left over veggies from the two veggie trays. Now, there’s a limited shelf life on a bunch of mixed veggies, and unless you’re going to just keep eating veggies and dip, you’ve got to do something with them. We haven’t managed to do any grocery shopping, meaning that it was “what’s in the cupboard?” time. The answer was that there were some chicken breasts in the freezer. After digging through the cabinets to see what I could devise, I asked Ferrett what sounded better to him: a chicken dish with coconut rice or one featuring polenta. He thought that broccoli would go better with polenta.
I decided to experiment a little, and cooked the polenta in the rice cooker. It worked remarkably well, and made polenta cooking completely simple. Highly recommended.
The chicken breasts were bone-in breasts, so I seasoned them with salt, pepper, and some garlic powder, and sauteed them skin-side down in olive oil until the skins were nicely browned. While they were cooking, I julienned an onion and sorted out the vegetables from the veggie tray, separating out the carrots and bell peppers from the broccoli and cauliflower. (The bell peppers were completely separated to cook completely separately because Ferrett can’t stand the taste of them at all and I love them.) Once the breasts were browned, I put them in a baking pan and into the over and 375. I then sauteed the onions and carrots until the onions were browned, then removed them from the pan and added the broccoli and cauliflower for a very brief sauteing. (If I was doing it again, I would add the cauliflower at the same time as the onions and carrots, as they could have used a little more cooking time.) Once those were done, I removed them and cooked four strips of bacon – which I would have done very first for the bacon fat instead of using olive oil, but I was making this up as I went along.
I stirred about half a cup of fresh grated Parmesan into the polenta, then stirred in the bacon, chopped. I took the baking pan out of the oven, removed the chicken breasts and spooned the polenta into the dish, then nestled the chicken breasts back onto of the polenta and dished the onions and carrots over the chicken breasts – and put the peppers on one end of the dish, so that Ferrett wouldn’t have to eat them – and put the pan back in the oven. I cooked it for 15 more minutes, then added the broccoli and cooked it about 10 more minutes:
The results were delicious!
In addition, I tossed some fresh pineapple chunks with vanilla infused balsamic vinegar, which was a delicious little inspiration.
I’m trying to get more fresh fruits and veggies into our daily menu, so it was great to have just a good start in the leftover veggie tray. And there is definitely enough left over for dinner tomorrow.