Sunday, January 24, 2016

Grilled Balsamic Chicken, Garlic Parmesan Pasta and Salad

Hello Everyone!
So, here is the second post I mentioned, today,  as promised. 
The final recipe in the first Two Week Menu Posting.
Both of these recipes are very new to my two week menu  rotation as I am branching out and trying to find healthier variations of the meals that I already make.  I made it for my husband and he told me that it was a definite keeper so I am sharing it with you.

Balsamic Herb Grilled Chicken

1 large chicken breast cut into two pieces
Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp. Herb de Provence (or more if prefer)
1 tsp. Black Pepper, freshly ground
1/4 tsp. Garlic Salt
1 tsp. Onion Powder
1/2 tsp. Creole Seasoning Low Salt/No Salt version
Olive Oil/ Garlic Olive Oil/Truffle Oil

To be honest, I don't actually use measurements to make this recipe as amounts of spices vary depending on the size of the chicken breasts and what I'm in the mood for.  So you can feel free to add more or less of any of the spices to this recipe as per your own personal taste.

1.  Split the chicken breast into two equal pieces and pat both pieces dry with a paper towel.  Put the breasts into a large plastic bag and, using the flat side of a meat tenderizer, flatten the chicken until both breasts are about one and a half,  to two inches thick all the way through.  (If you do not have a meat tenderizer, you do not have to do this step, but it does help to guarantee that your chicken breasts will more evenly cook on the grill pan.)
2.  Put enough balsamic vinegar in bottom of a square baking pan to be able to "dredge" the chicken breasts in the vinegar and put on a large plate.
3.  Lightly sprinkle one side of the chicken breasts with half of the  Herb de Provence, black pepper, garlic salt, onion powder, and Creole Seasoning.  Rub the seasoning into the chicken breasts, turn over and repeat the process.  Let the seasoning soak into the chicken for at least five minutes.
4.  Using a pastry brush, coat a grill pan with the olive oil of your choice.  I like to do a combination of garlic oil and truffle oil, but regular olive oil will work just as well. Heat the oil in the grill on medium heat.  When cold water droplets flicked on the grill pan bounce or "dance" the grill pan is ready.
5.  Put chicken breasts on grill pan and cook about 7 minutes on each side until chicken is cooked all the way through, turning only once.  You will need to take a pair of prongs and gently move the chicken along the grill pan to keep it from sticking, but do not turn. 
6.  About 4 minutes into cooking the first side of the chicken breast, brush balsamic vinegar on top of chicken.  After about 3 more minutes turn the chicken.
7.  About 3 minutes after you have turned the chicken breasts, brush top of chicken breasts with balsamic vinegar and let cook for about four more minutes or until chicken is cooked all the way through.  (Juices should run clear when the chicken is pierced.)
8.  Let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.


Garlic Parmesan Pasta

1 lb. angel hair or spaghetti pasta.  (I don't weigh this, I just eyeball it.)
2 tbsp. garlic olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. black truffle salt  
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

(Variation of recipe.  I know that not everyone will buy truffle salt, but you may buy the not too pricey truffle oil to help expand your pantry and add that special something to your dishes.  If this is the case, you can substitute 1 tablespoon of truffle oil,  and one table spoon of garlic oil  in place of the garlic oil and 2 salt in place of the truffle salt.  To get the garlic taste that you are removing from changing the garlic oil ratio, add one clove minced garlic to the pan while the oil heats, making certain not to burn the garlic.)

1.  Prepare pasta per package directions but DO NOT ADD ANY SALT to the pasta water.
2.  Heat garlic olive oil and butter in a large pan.
3.  Before draining pasta, save one cup of the pasta water
4.  Add drained pasta to the garlic olive oil and butter.  Using prongs, toss coating the pasta.
5.  Add black truffle salt and toss in grated parmesan cheese.  Using prongs, toss to distribute among the pasta.  If pasta is too "stiff" add pasta water to loosen.

Serve Immediately.

TIP: You do not have to buy garlic olive oil, you can make your own just a few days before you make this recipe.  It is nice if you have an olive oil infuser,  (my husband got me one for Christmas)but it is not necessary for making flavored olive oil.  And you can make as little or as much as you want.  If you only want enough for this recipe, put 3 tbsp. of olive oil in a mason jar and add 2 large crushed cloves of garlic.  Let the garlic steep in the oil for at least three days in the closed jar.  After three days, it will be strong enough for this recipe.
If you think that you would like to use garlic infused olive oil for other dishes, fill a small mason jar with olive oil and put 5-6 large crushed cloves of garlic in the oil. Put on the lid and  let it steep for at least one week before using.  This will keep in your pantry for months and you do not need to remove the garlic from the oil.  The longer the garlic steeps the stronger and better tasting the oil will get.  I'm not sure how long the oil will last, because I usually have used mine by the time four months has passed.  A good rule of thumb is to smell the oil.  If it smells rancid, don't use it and throw it away.


You can do any salad that you would like with this recipe using up the remaining vegetables that you have in your fridge.  I actually like a salad with Ranch with this recipe, but, if you want to stay healthier, do a salad and use the oil and vinegar.

Well, as stated above, this is the last recipe of the two week menu I started in my first post.  I am going to take a break from recipes and menus for a little while and cover some other ways to be frugal in your own home.  Don't worry, I will have more two week menus, but I want to streamline them a little for you and do some pre-prep so that I can have some gorgeous pictures for you of how to do the recipes and the recipes should look when completed.
My next post will be later this week and will cover organizing and "renovating" your closet on a shoe string budget.


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