Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Artichoke & Spinach Smothered Chicken



4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 can (8.5 oz.) Artichoke Hearts, quartered
1 pkg. spinach, thawed, squeezed, dried and chopped
1 med. onion
2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
3/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp. rosemary

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large frying pan heat oil on medium high.  Sauté onions and garlic.  Remove from pan, allowing to drain well.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and add to pan.  Fry 2-3 minutes on each side, browning slightly.  In a large bowl combine remaining ingredients and onion/garlic, stirring well.  Place chicken in a 2 qt. baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.  Evenly spread artichoke/spinach mixture over chicken.  Bake 40-45 minutes or until chicken is completely done.  Serves 4. 

Martha:  I love spinach and artichoke dip so when I spotted a can of artichokes in my pantry I knew I had to come up with something good and boy was this dish a success.  I tasted after each addition and the rosemary brought everything together perfectly.  I served this over white rice and I, as well as all of my food testers that were lucky enough to try this dish, loved it.  Even those who said I don't like spinach or I don't like artichoke loved it.

Lillian: I also love the Spinach-Artichoke dip! That is my favorite appetizer. I never thought to use it to top baked chicken but you are so right! It is delicious! Isn't it fun to play in the kitchen and come up with something so crowd-pleasing? I made mud pies when I was a little girls and now my kitchen is my own kingdom!  My girlfriend and I used to make mud pies and decorate them as cookies and cakes and an old man who lived down the street from her used to admire our "baking" . One day, he gave us each a nickle for two "cookies" and went on his way. Our mothers told us that we had to give the money back since they weren't what the old man could eat and he just laughed and said that he knew that and to keep our nickles. We thought that we were so rich and so smart!
Tips:  I've always wondered why I couldn't use the liquids I marinated my chicken in to baste with.  Here is what you are actually supposed to do to keep bacteria out of your done dish.  You should always let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator, even for a short soak of 30 minutes and never baste the cooked chicken with the same marinade that's touched raw chicken: either make extra marinade and set aside a portion just for basting, or boil it for two to three minutes, enough time to kill any bacteria.  Now my basted chicken is safer!