Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cheddar-Crusted Chicken with Garlicky Spinach

* Healthy * Weeknight Meal *

It’s the weekend before Christmas and I am baking up a storm, literally. It looks like one hit my parent’s kitchen. I’m wondering if they’ll ever invite me back.

Anyway, when dinnertime rolls around, I’m looking for something easy and healthy to throw at the family. This is a wonderful 30-minute meal that everyone will love – it is easy to make, yummy and healthy. My son loves the topping made with rice cereal; he usually pulls it off and stuffs it in his mouth, unless the dog gets to it first.

Cheddar-Crusted Chicken with Garlicky Spinach
Courtesy of Cook’s Country
Serves 4

1½ cups crispy rice cereal, crushed (I found organic brown rice cereal in my grocery.)
6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1½ cups) (Grate the cheese yourself! Store-bought shredded cheese contains cornstarch and will not adhere well. Trust me, I tried it!)
4 (6-oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
Salt and pepper
18 oz (18 cups) baby spinach
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced

Adjust the rack to the middle position and heat oven to 400˚. Spray rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray (or line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray it for easy clean up.) Combine cereal and cheddar in shallow dish. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge both sides of breasts in cereal-cheddar mixture, pressing to adhere, and arrange on prepared baking sheet. Bake until chicken registers 160˚ and coating is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to serving platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil.

Meanwhile, place spinach and ¼ cup water in large bowl, cover, and microwave until spinach is wilted and decreased in volume by half, about 4 minutes. Transfer spinach to colander and, using rubber spatula, press to release liquid. Transfer spinach to cutting board and roughly chop.

Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spinach to skillet and cook until uniformly wilted and glossy green, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer spinach to platter and serve with chicken.

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

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