Balsamic and Orange Chicken
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I am having some animal angst lately. My darling Bo is 13 and isn’t doing very well. The doctor thinks it’s the arthritis in his knees. I’ve got him on anti-inflammatories and pain meds, and they seem to be helping.
Molly, our 8 year old yellow lab-who-still-acts-like-a-puppy, is not helping (doesn’t she look guilty?) She has humped poor ol’ Bo since we got her, 7 years ago. She leaps onto Bo’s rear end and does her thing, and he just puts up with it. Why he doesn’t get mad at her or even sit down is beyond me. I, however, am not so tolerant. It has got to hurt his bad knees!
But poor Molly is so bored without her buddy to play with. No wonder she takes off when she’s let out to do her business. I feel so bad for her. But I can’t get her a companion while Bo is alive. I mean, how would Bo feel?
I’m trying to prepare myself mentally for Bo’s inevitable passing. It breaks my heart, but I know the day will come, probably sooner rather than later.
And now our kitty, Leo, is afraid of the dark. I’m not kidding. Our Scaredy Cat would be hilarious if the reason behind it wasn’t so awful. About a month ago, all but one of our chickens were slaughtered by some animal that dug a small hole under their coop fence. I didn’t hear a thing, thanks to sleep aids I take, which makes me feel guilty as hell. But Leo obviously did. I was so worried about the lone survivor but the next day she had been dragged off, too. Sometimes I hate Mother Nature.
We keep Leo’s food in the back hallway, up on a desk, so the dogs won’t pilfer his food. Unless we turn on the lights back there, he won’t go back here. And even if the lights are on, we sometimes have to walk him back there. I even sit and watch him eat, so he’ll feel safe. Crazy cat lady, here. Sigh. When he’s not in the back hallway, he’s just your average, weirdo cat. Judging from this photo, he’s not always all that traumatized.
Anyway, this is another quick, yummy and healthy recipe. There’s just nothing to it! Because of the acid in the oranges and orange juice, don’t make this in a cast iron skillet.
I have a nice set of All-Clad Saute Pans and Fry Pans that we got on Amazon years and years ago. We had just bought this place, and decided to use some of our money to invest in decent cookware. So, if you’re in the market for some quality pans, please treat yourself. You’ll love the results you get. I figure if I’m going to go to all this effort cooking dinner, I deserve quality. Ok, I deserve a working dishwasher and an oven that works and some new countertops (in other words, a new kitchen), but, hey, you can’t have it all.
This recipe hails from “Everyday Food” at Martha Stewart’s site. You’ve got to try it – it’s good even if you don’t have any oranges. I double the amount of sauce, so there’s plenty to pour over the chicken and the rice mixture.
Balsamic and Orange Chicken
This recipe is for two. Adapt amounts accordingly.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ cup orange juice (the original recipe doesn’t add this)
1/2 orange, cut into wedges (don’t peel)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add olive oil and cook chicken breasts until cooked through (about 6 minutes per side). Remove chicken to a pie plate and keep warm (either cover with foil or place in a 200° oven).
To skillet, add vinegar, orange juice and orange wedges. Cook, stirring and scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon, until the orange begins to soften, about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in butter. Return chicken (along with juices) back into the sauce, and toss to coat.
I’m serving this over a long grain/wild rice mix. Squeeze orange wedges over it all and enjoy!
I decided to make enough long grain/wild rice mix to save for a future dinner or two.
To do this, make the wild rice. Rinse, then cover 1 cup wild rice with about 2 cups water. The wild rice won’t be absorbing all the water, so 2 or 3 cups water – doesn’t matter. Add ½ teaspoon salt or so to the water, bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook 45 minutes or until you see the cute little white insides and it tastes tender but not mushy. Pour rice/water into a sieve and drain.
Well, I was so absorbed in learning how to make “long pins” that I forgot about my rice on the stove. Yep, when I went downstairs, the bottom layer was stuck to the pot. No problem, though.
I just scooped out the top section of the rice and transferred it to a bowl. I didn’t really want the rice that was stuck to the bottom. I added about 2 inches of water to the pot and put it back on the stovetop, on high. Then I reduced it to medium. I scraped the bottom with a wooden spoon and in minutes, the caked on-rice was completely loosened.
Then I made a cup of long grain rice. And, yep! I did it again. It wasn’t burned, but the bottom layer stuck. So, I rinsed and repeated and all was well.
I mixed the two types of rice and after dinner will save it in one quart freezer bags, for future use. When you grab a bag out of the freezer, it will just take a quick nuke and voilà! Quick side dish, at your fingertips.