Valentine’s Day Dinner

It’s Valentine’s day this weekend! Whether you’re celebrating your supremely sexy, single self…or you have a significant other, I think cooking a special meal every now and then is important!

I made this dinner for myself last night actually…and quite by mistake. I needed protein (lots of working out with all this snowed-in business) so chicken was a must. I love brussel sprouts (more on that in another post later this week) and had a whole bag on hand. I had to move corn meal out of the way while I was trying to get sugar for a blueberry cake (again, more on that later) and saw a recipe on the side of the bag for polenta and thought, “Hey! I’ve never made polenta before!” And so my meal was born.

This is an easy meal to put together (trust me!), but looks and tastes delish!

Enjoy!

PS – Polenta is just like cream of wheat but corn instead of wheat. Same texture, consistency, etc. Why no one put it to me like this earlier I do not know…or else I would have been making polenta all the time by now!

Rosemary Balsamic Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2tbsp balsamic vinegar (you could sub salad dressing here if you wanted to I suppose)

1tbsp finely chopped, fresh rosemary (gotta be fresh! none of the dried stuff here)

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a baking or roasting pan. Rub the chicken around in the olive oil, balsamic, rosemary mixture so that both sides are covered evenly. Pop the pan into the oven while you cook the rest of the meal, or about 20 minutes, or until (like me) you cut open the chicken and it isn’t pink in the middle!

Rosemary Polenta

2 cups boiling water

1 tbsp butter

1/2 cup quick-cooking polenta

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning

1tbsp finely chopped, fresh rosemary

Pepper

Bring the water, 1 tablespoon butter, and salt to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir constantly until the polenta thickens, about 5 minutes. Stir in rosemary. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 Caramelized Brussel Sprouts

10-20 brussels sprouts

2tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 small red onion, sliced finely

1tbsp balsamic vinegar (maybe an extra dash or two depending on your tastes)

1/2 tbsp white sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Clean wilted leaves of brussel sprouts, trim the stalk (the white nubby part on the bottom) a little and slice a shallow “X” into the bottom…I’ve been told it helps them cook more thoroughly and faster! And really, who am I to say otherwise.

Place Brussels sprouts in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover pan and steam 8-10 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are tender yet crisp…this is to say they are bright green and you can stab them with a fork fairly easily. Once they are done, remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Put the oil in a skillet, add the onions and balsamic vinegar; cook until onions are soft.

Cut each brussel sprout in half and add to the pan. Sprinkle sugar evenly over the pan and sauté over medium heat until the sprouts are lightly caramelized.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Now here’s where you can get creative and plate the meal in a fancy or, like me, a decidedly un-fancy way. Like I did, you can put some polenta on the plate, then some sprouts, then the sliced chicken on top of that. Or maybe you have some ramekins you want to put the polenta in and garnish with a few rosemary leaves? Or you could put the sprouts in a ramekin. Or maybe you could get those kids plates with the sectioned off areas and you can separate your food if you’re one of those folks who doesn’t like their food to touch. I don’t know…get creative! But most importantly…enjoy your feast! You just made yourself quite a nice little meal!

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