kitchen challenge

by sixoclockbells

Stomach growling, I rushed home from work yesterday to work on my kitchen project for my interior design class. Once I finally got home, I realized I did not have anything particularly exciting to work with – aside from typical pantry things, my refrigerator was bare: there was just chicken, arugula, spinach, and some desperately neglected celery.

I was in a predicament, to say the least! My mom always calls these situations kitchen challenges: hungry belly, yet not much to work with. However, we frequently try (sometimes successfully, other times not!) to whip up something! This usually means summoning all creativity (hunger can help motivate you!) and experimenting.

Recently I had seen a tasty marinade recipe for Honey Dijon Pork Loin on Can You Stay for Dinner? (if you look at those pictures, you will crave it too!), and filed it away as something I wanted to cook! I realized that I could adapt this to the sole, lonesome chicken breast I had… While it was marinating, I pondered over the leftover marinade – should it be a salad dressing? Do I really want just marinaded chicken and arugula for dinner? – and decided I could probably add it to cooked lentils as a sauce.

And I did just that. It was delicious. I definitely won that kitchen challenge of Caroline vs. the empty fridge ;)

Honey Dijon Chicken with Apricot over Lentils and Arugula

(Adapted from Can You Stay for Dinner?)

Serves 1.

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam (I like Bonne Maman)
  • 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 a shallot
  • 1/4 cup green lentils
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups arugula

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine apricot jam, 2 tablespoons of the dijon mustard, and honey in a 1 cup liquid measuring cup and whisk together. Place chicken in a plastic bag and pour half of the marinade in – reserve the other half for the lentils, so do not let this half touch the chicken. Let chicken marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, finely dice your shallot. Put shallot and 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a 1 quart pan over medium heat to saute. Once translucent and fragrant, pour in lentils and water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Remove chicken from bag and place on well greased baking sheet. Place in oven for 20 minutes or (depending on how thick your chicken is!).

To make a dressing for the arugula, combine remaining olive oil, remaining mustard, and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl and whisk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss in arugula.

Now, check on your lentils. Once most of the water has absorbed, pour in the remaining marinade (that has NOT touched the chicken!) and stir well.

Once chicken and lentils are fully cooked, place arugula on a plate and top with the lentils and chicken! Buon appetito!