TRAINING: I have plans for about 15 minutes of yoga before bed…whenever that might be
- BREAKFAST: Dark Mocha Almond Kashi bar (starting my Friday off with chocolate apparently)
- SNACK: about 1/3 of an english cucumber (I was too lazy to cut it up this AM)
- LUNCH: (TBE) leftover Chicken Tamale Casserole from the other day with a ton of baby greens on top 🙂
- DINNER: (TBE) If I’m being honest, it will be pizza again. BUT thin crust veggie. Just because your eating pizza doesn’t mean it has to be bad for you!
Cookie Attempt #2 Was a Wash
Poor Matt. He spent quite some time digging through my baking bin trying to find a onsie cookie cutter. No dice. SO, this means tonight when I get home, (I found it within 30 seconds upon arriving home last night. In all fairness I didn’t tell him it was wrapped in tissue paper!) I have to cut, bake, dam and flood the cookies…all before bed. The flooded icing really needs to dry over night. I’m thinking of cranking the wood stove to make sure the house is nice and dry (UHH nightmare!) and they dry well.
LAST night however, while we waited for Matt to arrive at my parent’s, I whipped up one of my standby favorites and a orginial creation by my mother although she claims not to know how to make it; Red Wine & Mustard Chicken served of Polenta with a Spinach & Mushroom Ragout. Now this originated with pork tenderloin, cut into “medallions”. She didn’t have pork but she did have chicken “tenders” or tenderloin.
This works WONDERFULLY with pork but it did work well with the chicken too. It’s not very complicated and ohhh my goodness is it good and it looks and sounds fancy. I seriously disappointed myself last night on the ragout though. I had too much stuff in it. I usually don’t put onions in it, if anything I use shallots but I ended up using too much onion, too much spinach and too much liquid. I crowded the mushrooms, bad rookie move but I was being lazy.
So this is a VERY vague recipe here. I don’t measure anything but give it a shot, it’s worth it! I’m going to show you what I did but I will HIGHLY suggest you do this with a pork tenderloin. Simply cut off any silver skin and cut into 1/2 in thick slices or medallions and use those instead of the chicken. (this recipe is one of my cooking classes that I teach!)
(May I note that these pictures were taken in my parent’s big, beautiful kitchen with showroom lighting? Yeah, I’m insanely jealous)
Red Wine & Mustard Chicken(Pork Medallions) Over Polenta with Mushroom & Spinach Ragout
- 1 lb chicken or pork tenderloins (if using pork cut as instructed above)
- 1/3 cup Grey Poupon mustard (grainy)
- 1/2 cup of good red wine ( I used Penfolds)
- 1 tube of prepared firm polenta (mine had sun-dried tomatoes in it)
- olive oil
- baby bella mushrooms sliced (small container..I used a huge one!)
- 1/2 box of baby spinach (I used way more and it cooks down a LOT so don’t be overwhelmed by it)
- 2 shallots (I used a whole onion, too much)
- 4 cloves of garlic finely diced
- 1/4 of same good red wine
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream (really the only non healthy part of this and it can be omitted if you prefer)
In a large freezer bag, add your mustard, red wine and about 1 tbs. of olive oil, squish ( I have no other way to describe this!) the contents of the bag to combine. This is the marinade by which your chicken or pork will become otherworldly. 😉
Add the chicken/pork to the bag, squeeze out all of the air and place out flat on the counter like so:
Next prepare your ragout ingredients.
- finely slice shallots (onions in my case)
- clean mushrooms with damp towel, remove stems and slice (you can use pre-cut mushrooms to save time)
- finely chop garlic.
- slice polenta into rounds. This is very easy to find these days but if you prefer, you can make your own polenta. This meal can be served over soft or firm polenta, whichever you prefer. (my mother, for reasons unknown to me, had half of a polenta “log” in her fridge. I just went with it)
- *pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat a large pan over medium/high heat. I used a non stick but it’s not teflon coated so it’s OK to use it at high heat.
- pour a small amount of olive oil in the pan swirl to coat.
- Cook chicken/pork in batches, not letting them touch. Cook 3/4 minutes per side and when done, place in an ovenproof dish, and into the preheated oven to stay warm and continue to cook.
- once the meat is done, wipe your pan with a damp paper towel to clean.
- add a little more oil and cook polenta slightly, turning once about 2 minutes per side.
- add more olive oil and shallots/onions.
- cook for 1 minute and add wine and raise heat so that it cooks down.
- add mushrooms. Now my mistake was to crowd all of the mushrooms in the pan. big mistake. you need to give them room so they brown nicely and don’t get tough. Do this in 2 batches if you must. NOT like this:
- next add the spinach & garlic. The spinach will cook down.
- turn down heat and add cream.
- to plate: place a polenta round onto a clean plate, top with pork/chicken (if using chicken slice diagonally for plating) and top with ragout. Serve immediately. top with parmesan cheese (optional).
Now I know this doesn’t really look pretty cause I messed up my ragout. BUT it is an impressive meal and everyone still loved it, I guess I’m just my worst critics. 😉
Well I’ll keep you posted on cookie making. Hopefully they come out well! Thats what I’ll be doing this weekend. I drop the cookies off Saturday evening and then I’ve finally got the weekend to do what I please! I’m not even planning anything because I’ve got to get over the cookie job first, can’t be caught day dreaming on the job 😉
Have a great weekend everyone!