Three recipes all in one post! These dishes pair so well together – a sweet and tangy salad, cheesy pasta and salty spiced chicken. If you have the time, brining the chicken overnight or since the morning makes a world of difference.
4 split chicken breast on the bone
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2+ tbsp Montreal seasoning blend (divided)
fresh black pepper
1) The night or morning before your dinner, fill a large pot (I use a soup pot) with water and stir in kosher salt, sugar, brown sugar, bay leaf, and 2 tbsp Montreal seasoning. Bring to a boil.
2) Once boiling, remove from heat and let cool. Fill a large bowl with chicken and pour some ice over the chicken. Then pour brine over chicken (make sure it’s not hot anymore or it will start to cook the chicken). Cover and put in fridge and let soak in brine overnight or all day.
1) Once you’re ready to cook the chicken, preheat oven to 350.
2) Rinse chicken and pat dry. Then season each piece to taste with Montreal seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, fresh black pepper and paprika. Feel free to add any more spices too. This can’t really be over spiced (just be careful not to over salt – Montreal seasoning has salt in it).
3) Spray a roasting pan with pam and place chicken bone side down. Roast for 1 hour.
4) Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Strawberry Spinach Salad:
6 cups spinach
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup sliced almonds
half red onion, sliced thin
poppyseed dressing (I like Brianna’s)
1) Combine spinach, strawberries, almond, and onion in a large serving bowl.
2) Just before serving, add avocado and toss with poppyseed dressing.
Three Cheese Mac & Cheese
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, diced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, divided
1/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup panko
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
dash of nutmeg
dash of cayenne (optional)
2 tbsp butter
1) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan and cook 8-10 minutes or until tender. Add flour and garlic, cook one minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until thick (stirring constantly with a whisk). Add Gorgonzola, 1/2 cup Parmesan, salt, and stir until cheese has melted. Discard the bay leaf.
2) Preheat oven to 350 (you can cook this while the chicken is roasting – I put it in for the last 30 minutes and then remove and cover with foil while chicken is resting).
3) Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add pasta. Cook for 5 minutes. Drain.
4) Add pasta to cheese mixture and stir well. Stir in mozzarella and sprinkle in some nutmeg and cayenne to taste.
5) Spray a square baking dish with Pam and pour in the pasta and cheese mixture. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and panko.
6) Spray top of pasta with Pam and sprinkle with a little black pepper. Bake for 30 minutes.