Weekend Dinner: Lemon Rosemary Chicken with Pesto Gnocchi

As many of you may know, I was feeling pretty fearless the other day and rather cocky about my strides in becoming a true blood runner. I signed up for my very first half-marathon with my friend Kelsey (who has a pretty sweet blog over at Starfish Snacks). Being only 13 weeks out from the marathon and seeing that I can barely run 4.5 miles (my first race), I have a lot of work to do.

So, while Kelsey was on vacation in Florida last week, I decided to take matters into my own hands and train by myself. I got in a pretty good run or two during the week, and then ate my weight in bratwurst and macaroni salad over the Fourth of July (and some pizza and tacos while my sister, Krissy, and her husband Pat were visiting from New York). Oh, and a pound of crab legs with Robin. No, I'm not ashamed. But when Sunday came around the corner (after having more bratwurst and taking a 3-hour nap), I decided it was time for Mr. Grumpy and I to get our butts into gear and get movin'. So, I proposed a sunset run so we could see the Tall Ships that were in town.

I only knew about the Tall Ships from my run earlier last week when I helped a blind lady cross the street so she could get to the Tall Ships exhibit. I noticed she was going to have to do WAY more than cross the street, so I took her all the way to the ships and then noticed they weren't there yet. Except the really big black and red ship that I kept calling the Matador. What…. you don't think this actually happened? WELL IT DID. I may have a stitch of niceness in my blood afterall. 

Matador

The Matador.. or whatever it's called.

I digress… let me preface this story by saying that Mr. Grumpy and I do not work out well together. We will never be that couple that shares a personal trainer or says, "You can do it, baby! Just five more steps!" In fact, most of our runs either begin with Mr. Grumpy sprinting away from me while I try to catch up, find the nearest bench and cry myself into running oblivion, OR with Mr. Grumpy trying to give me "running advice" of which I find extremely obnoxious and immediately run in the opposite direction. However, on this particular day, we actually did an excellent job pretending to be a couple who works out well together. Mr. Grumpy didn't even get mad when I stopped at the tall ships to take about 80 pictures (yes, I was stalling). 3.3 miles later and we were back at our apartment gorging on Reese Puffs cereal and watermelon. Not like we had an amazing dinner (don't worry, we're almost to the recipe). So, in case you missed the ships… here is a pic:

Ships

Arghhhh matey!! Don't these look just like pirate ships?

So Mr. Grumpy and I had mustered up quite the appetite (and it had been at least four hours since we mindlessly ate three brats, a half pound of macaroni salad and about a pound of buffalo dip while watching Lincoln – the longest most educational film ever). I decided if we were going to go for a run, we'd need a serious dinner. Enter Lemon Rosemary Chicken with Pesto Gnocchi. 

This Christmas, Mr. Grumpy and I traveled to Florida to spend time at his grandparent's and then at my cousin Sarah's wedding. On New Year's Eve, my family went to dinner at a super nice restaurant in Sanibel Island and I ordered this dish. Ever since, I have been craving it – trying to muster up the courage to tackle gnocchi at home. Until a few weeks ago when I was grocery shopping and NOTICED that you can BUY gnocchi already made. This was great news. So, I decided it was time.

I found a similar recipe for the gnocchi part on RealSimple.com and changed it up. Then, I improvised on the chicken. And it. was. delicious. (if I do say so myself).


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 So, let's get cooking, shall we? 

What You'll Need:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tsp
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon & Pepper McCormick's Seasoning
  • 1 lemon, plus 1/2 lemon
  • 1 lb gnocchi
  • 1/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup pesto (check out my recipe for pesto here)
  • 2 tbsp plain greek yogurt
  • 3 cups green beans
  • 1/2 small white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese

First, we're going to roast our garlic. So, preheat your oven to 375. Next take a small piece of aluminum foil and lay it out on your counter. Remove the papery stuff from the outside of your garlic cloves. Place the cloves on top of the foil, smack dab in the middle. Drizzle them with 1 tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Fold up the aluminum foil to create a pouch (this is where being a Girl Scout earlier in life will really help you out). Place your pouch into the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until the garlic is smooshy. Let that cool a bit before you touch it. Or be brave and burn your fingers. You've been warned though. There's nothing worse than burning your fingers AND reaking of garlic all at the same time (sexy, right?).

Next, pound out your chicken lightly. Smoosh the roasted garlic over both sides of each breast. In a small mixing bowl, combine salt, pepper, Lemon & Pepper seasoning, and dried rosemary. Sprinkle over your chicken, rubbing it in a bit. Place your chicken in a small baking dish. Using 1/2 a lemon, squeeze the lemon juice out over the chicken. Using the other half, make small slices of lemon and place it on top of each piece. Bake in the oven about 25 minutes at 375 (your oven will already be warm, lucky you!). 

While that bakes, place two pots of water on the stove to boil. Lightly salt each. In the first pot, once it boils, place your green beans in there and cover. Let that simmer for 4 minutes. Remove the green beans from the stove and drain the water. Set aside. In the other pot, once it boils, lightly spoon your gnocchi in. The gnocchi is done cooking when they float – about 4 minutes as well. Once they're done, drain them and set aside. In a pan, heat 1 tsp of olive oil over medium heat. Place your onions in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until transluscent. Next, add your pesto (you can also buy it premade if you don't want to make it from scratch. I made mine and froze it – which was SUPER handy). Let that cook for about 1 minute. Add in ricotta and mozzarella cheese, stir. Next, add in the greek yogurt. Stir and let that cook on a slow simmer for about 2 minutes. Add the green beans and the gnocchi and sprinkle with a little pepper.
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Place the cooked chicken on top of the gnocchi mixture, and voila! Just like a fancy New Year's Eve dinner! 


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