March 30, 2009

Jen's Cheddar Broccoli Chicken and Homemade Salad Dressing

This recipe is really not that much of a recipe...but really, a trick that I learned from my mother in law. When I was pregnant with my son I decided that I wanted to start making some of the meals that my husband grew up having for dinner. A lot of the meals that I love come from old family recipes, and I wanted our son to grow up having favorites from both sides of the family. I asked my mother in law to show me how to prepare some of the traditional dishes that they all loved to eat. She was always a busy, working mom so she told me that her main priority was getting dinner on the table fast. This was one of the first meals that she taught me, and it conforms to her philosophy. It could not be any easier. (I think she was trying to size up my prowess in the kitchen, because she later moved on to more difficult recipes.) By now, it has turned into comfort food at our house and we all love this dish.

I should also mention that I have a weird love/hate relationship with condensed canned soups, and this recipe totally feeds into my psychosis. I love that they are so easy to use and to cook with, but I hate the fact that they are so unhealthy. Every time I use them in one of my recipes I am plagued with all sorts of conflicting feelings-pleasure, guilt, despair, euphoria, heartburn-you get the idea. I always promise myself that if I use canned soup in a recipe, I will try and make the rest of the meal as healthy as possible. Tonight, I am going to pair this dish with some brown rice and some steamed broccoli. I may even throw in a side salad with a homemade vinaigrette for good measure. Those healthy side items should allow me to enjoy my dinner guilt-free.

Jen's Cheddar Broccoli Chicken

3 or 4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (15 oz.) can of condensed broccoli cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
salt and pepper to taste
cooking spray

Spray a 8 x 8 glass casserole dish with cooking spray. Place chicken in the dish and season with salt and pepper. Pour a can of broccoli cheddar cheese soup on top of the chicken breasts. Using the back of a spoon, spread the undiluted soup in an even layer over all of the chicken. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30-40 minutes (or until chicken is cooked and juices run clear when pierced).

The Result:
I always forget how much I love this dinner, until I have it again. This meal was so satisfying and yummy! Perfect!!! This will remain a family favorite for a long, long time.

I also took a picture of our salad, because I don't think I have ever posted my recipe for salad dressing. I never buy bottled salad dressing, because I am super-picky and I can never find a variety that I like. Instead, I just make a quick vinaigrette that takes less than 5 minutes to put together. It always turns out way better than bottled dressing and it is always made with stuff that I have on hand. I make small quantities and store what I don't use right away in the fridge. Typically I save mine in a plastic container and it will stay fresh for about a week (it always gets eaten quickly, so it is never around for very long). Before serving, I just give the whole container a quick shake to re-combine everything, and it is as good as new!

Jen's Homemade Salad Dressing

1/4 cup of walnut oil to taste, drizzled into mixture (use more if needed)
2 Tablespoons of white wine vinegar (use more if needed)
1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon of Whole Grain mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons of honey
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl combine the honey, salt, pepper, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard. Whisk to combine. Keep whisking vigorously, while drizzling in a thin, continuous stream of oil; until all the oil has been used. Store in a plastic container, and use as needed.

Alternate method:
Combine all ingredients, except for oil, in a food processor or blender. Pulse to combine. Take lid insert out while blender or food processor is still running and drizzle in oil (in a thin continuous stream) until well combined. Store in a plastic container, and use as needed.

My favorite weeknight salad is just romaine lettuce, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shavings, sliced tomato wedges, and sliced almonds, topped off with my salad dressing. Yum!!!


Anonymous said...

We never have salad dressing in the house either, when it's so easy to whip it up on the spot. I like your use of walnut oil. Do you keep yours refrigerated?

Jen B. said...

Yes, I store it in the fridge. The walnut oil gives it a little extra oomph that I love!