We’ve had some frigid weather over the past week… Yesterday when I set out to visit patients it was a whopping 8 degrees and I don’t think we broke 20 until mid-afternoon! I know I don’t live in the coldest part of the country by any means, but my job involves a considerable amount of getting in and out of the car, trudging up un-shoveled sidewalks with medical equipment in hand, and waiting for people who use walkers to answer their doors. All that said, when I’m working I tend to feel the cold. I used to love the winter with sweaters, hot tea, and beautiful white snow, but I have to be honest with you – once I became a visiting nurse I came to dislike the season (with the exception Christmas). Anyway, enough whining!
With all the cold weather that’s around us, I can’t help but daydream of warmer times. A couple of my favorite summer foods are fresh basil and vine-ripened tomatoes. There’s nothing like fresh pesto and tomatoes with really anything; pasta, chicken, shrimp… That garden-fresh combination of flavors won’t be happening in February, but instead of longing for better, warmer days, I decided to make a winter version of pesto and tomatoes. I traded my basil in for beautiful, fresh spinach from our CSA, and vine-ripened tomatoes for sun-dried tomatoes. The dish is tied together with canned artichoke hearts and the combination of ingredients brings the bright flavor of summer into my cold winter kitchen!
Spinach Artichoke Chicken
Servings: 4 Serving Size: 4 oz chicken, 1 1/2 C spinach
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (2 chicken breasts)
- 4 C fresh spinach (fully grown or baby spinach)
- 1 14 oz can artichoke hearts
- 1/2 C diced yellow onions
- 1/2 plus 1/4 C fresh grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 C sun-dried tomatoes
- 6 heads of garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp chicken broth or water
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
1. To begin, you will be making a spinach “pesto.” In a food processor combine your spinach, garlic, 1 Tbsp of olive oil and 2 Tbsp of chicken broth until your spinach is a medium chop.
2. Mix 1/2 C parmesan cheese and 1/4 tsp black pepper in with your spinach “pesto,” and then set aside.
3. Prep your chicken by cutting it in half through the middle and then cutting it into quarters. Next, tenderize using the smooth side of a mallet. If you do this your should end up with chicken that’s tender. Note that the below picture shows what 1 chicken breast will look like after it’s prepped.
4. After you have cut and tenderized your chicken, heat your skillet and 2 tsp olive oil over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes until the oil is nice and hot, but not smoking. Add your chicken to the pan and cook 3 minutes on the first side, and then flip and cook 2 minutes on the second side. By cooking your thin pieces of chicken on a medium high heat they will brown, cook through, and remain juicy on the inside. Once cooked, set your meat aside on a plate and cover with tin foil.
5. Add your onion to the skillet and cook over medium heat for 4 minutes, or until your onions are soft. While your onions are cooking, roughly chop your artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes.
6. Once your onions are soft, add your spinach “pesto,” artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes to the pan. Stir to combine and cook for about 5 minutes until everything is heated through.
7. Turn your heat to medium-low, add your chicken, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 C of parmesan cheese. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the parm begins to melt.
8. Now you’re ready to serve! Serve as-is from the pan, or with a favorite pasta or rice.