Many of my posts lately have been not very figure flattering or bar food. As I have been out of town and eating way to much junk, I wanted to make something pretty and sort of gourmet. My basil plant has just grown out of control, and I have made pesto quite often (although I keep forgetting to blog it...) I found these dishes on Allrecipes and they were both delicious, I made only slight changes and it definitely fit the bill - an easy elegant dinner that would be impressive enough for guests or just a nice romantic meal with your honey!
Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Orzo
2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes I used dry packed and softened them
2 tablespoons olive oil I used basil infused olive oil
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese I used both shredded Parm & Romano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Place basil leaves and sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor. Pulse 4 or 5 times until blended.
In a large bowl, toss together the orzo, basil-tomato mixture, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
Serve warm or chilled.
Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar and Garlic
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced I used baby Bellas
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic I smashed 4 cloves and added first, then added 2 minced cloves when I added the vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon butter
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Rinse the mushrooms and pat dry. Season the flour with salt and pepper and dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat and saute the chicken until it is nicely browned on one side (about 3 minutes).
Add the garlic. Turn the chicken breasts and scatter the mushrooms over them. Continue frying, shaking the skillet and stirring the mushrooms. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the vinegar, broth, bay leaf and thyme. Cover tightly and simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes, turning occasionally.
Transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter and cover with foil. Set aside. Continue simmering the sauce, uncovered, over medium high heat for about 7 minutes. Swirl in the butter or margarine and discard the bay leaf. Pour this mushroom sauce mixture over the chicken and serve.