Chicken Toscana / Creamed Spinach


I’ll start with the creamed spinach, since I made that one first.  This is a very standard recipe with the very welcome additions of leeks and arugula. I used fresh baby spinach, but frozen would work almost as well.

In a saucepan or skillet with high sides, heat 1 tbsp each of olive oil and butter.  Add 1 chopped cleaned leek and saute until softened.  (The recipe says not to let it brown, but I really wouldn’t worry about it too much.  A slightly caramelized leek is no bad thing.) Add 10 oz (1 bag) fresh chopped spinach and 2-4 cloves chopped or pressed garlic.  Saute until wilted.  Add 1 tbsp flour, stir to evenly combine.  Add (slowly) 1/2 cup milk or cream, stirring constantly.  Continue to cook over med-low heat until slightly thickened.  Add arugula and season with salt and pepper.

It’s probably worth mentioning that the original recipe called for a full cup of cream, but I stopped after 1/2 because it looked plenty creamy already, and I didn’t want to water it down.

The chicken was equally easy and also delicious.  The key is the herb marinade that it sits in overnight – once those flavors have worked their way in, there’s almost nothing left to do but heat and eat.

The herb marinade consists of:

  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 4 sprigs fresh basil
  • 4 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice

Remove the stems from all herbs except parsley and puree everything in the food processor until it forms a paste.  (You could also use a blender, but you will probably need to add a little water to the mix.)  Cube 2-3 chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and combine with marinade at least 1 hour or overnight.

The next day, saute the chicken in olive oil until cooked through and lightly browned on one side.  Add 1 thinly sliced red onion and a drained & rinsed can of white beans and cook until the mixture thickens a little from the starch of the beans.  Season if necessary – the salt from the marinade was enough for my tastes.

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Isn’t this a pretty green picture?  (And low-carb, since I forgot to buy bread!)

Dylan Report: It’s not so much that he didn’t like this as that Mommy let him fill up on crackers and blueberries before dinner.  He ate a few bites of everything and then got more interested in sucking the juice out of the lime he stole out of my seltzer.  So I’m calling this meal a win.

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