I’m now back in my kitchen after nearly a week of vacation filled with beaches, hiking, Rose, Port, butternut squash pizza (thank you, Big Sur Bakery – and apologies to my readers for no photos), lots of driving, delicious BBQ and the beautiful wedding of two of my best friends. It was one of my favorite mini-vacations with MM, and I would give anything to be back in our little cabin in the Redwoods of Big Sur.
But here I am telling you, dear reader, of my latest “throw together meal” in the kitchen. One of my favorite things about hosting this blog is that it motivates me to come up with new recipes. I have been trying to eat on the healthier side this summer, but I am of course tempted by my favorite summer dish: caprese pasta. So tonight I tried to come up with a slightly healthier, heartier version of this.
- 1/4 cup chopped basil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Combine the first four ingredients and whisk. Marinate the chicken for 4-24 hours in a tightly sealed plastic bag.
- handful of baby spinach, coarsely chopped
- a few leaves of basil, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 8 marinated mini mozzarella balls, halved
- 1/4 cup uncooked orzo
- salt and pepper, to taste
Start by grilling the marinated chicken. Timing will depend on your grilling mechanism, but I use a grill pan and it takes about 15 minutes, turning the chickens twice. Cut into the chicken to make sure it’s not pink in the middle. When it’s ready, take off the grill and cut into bite-size pieces.
Meanwhile, boil a small pot of water. Once water is boiled, add orzo and cook for 8-10 minutes before draining.
When assembling the rest of the salad, put the spinach and basil at the bottom of the bowl. While hot, add the orzo first and stir into the spinach and basil. This method will lightly cook the spinach. Then add the tomatoes, mozzarella, chicken, salt & pepper and toss to combine. You can also add a little balsamic vinegar, or lemon juice to taste (optional).
I loved the flavor combinations in this dish. I didn’t drink any wine tonight, but it would have paired well with a crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Albarino.