Friday, November 2, 2012

Roasted Brussel Sprout and Lemon Chicken Spaghetti

This year, we decided to spice up our gardening lives a little bit and try our hand at growing brussel sprouts. We bought seedlings, I get nervous to try to grow anything but squash from seed. The brussel sprout plants got giant and held up through multiple frosts. Earlier this week, I decided to harvest my sprouts. 

The stalks were as thick and sturdy as branches, so I ended up pulling up the entire plants and hauling them over to my patio table. The leaves at the base of the plant had fallen off but I still had to pluck a ton of large leaves and carefully whittle off each little sprout. 

This was the carnage:
And this was the end result, which was only toppled over three times by my toddler:
Then came dinner time! I knew that I was going to use my laboriously gathered brussel sprouts but wasn't sure what would go well with them.

I searched high and low throughout my produce bowl, pantry, fridge and freezer and found some staples: garlic, parmesan cheese and whole wheat noodles. Luckily, I also discovered a couple boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the freezer, a lemon and half a bunch of fresh parsley. 

I had everything I needed to make one of my go-to pantry busting pasta dishes. I frequently make a quick lemon and herb pasta with whatever green vegetable I have in the fridge tossed in. Cook whatever pasta you want. Throw in fresh spinach or frozen peas or broccoli [throw the broccoli in with the pasta for the last few minutes]. While the pasta and cooked veggies are draining, I use the same pot and melt a little butter or olive oil. I add in lemon juice, salt, pepper, lots of garlic and fresh parsley. Add the pasta and veggies back with the addition of some parmesan cheese. Toss and eat!

I personally believe that it is a crime to eat unroasted brussel sprouts. The roasting caramelizes and chars them perfectly and gets rid of a lot of their bitterness. I jazzed up one of my fave pasta dishes by roasting my veggies first and adding some marinated and sauteed chicken [the marinade was made with all the flavors that would make my pasta sauce].

Roasted Brussel Sprout and Lemon Chicken Spaghetti
For the chicken and marinade:
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 tsp each of salt, pepper and garlic powder
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
Juice of 1 small lemon
2 T olive oil
1 T chopped fresh parsley
For the roasted brussel sprouts:
3 T olive oil
1 lb of cleaned brussel sprouts
1 t each of salt, pepper and garlic powder
For the pasta:
10 oz or 3/4 pack of whole wheat spaghetti noodles
1 T butter
1 T chopped parsley
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
Juice of 1 small lemon
1/3 cup of grated/ shredded parmesan cheese 
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Place the chicken thighs in a small mixing bowl. Top with the marinade ingredients and toss to thoroughly coat the chicken. Cover with Saran Wrap and refrigerate for a half hour before cooking.
While the chicken is marinating, place the brussel sprouts on a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the sprouts and sprinkle with the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Toss to thoroughly coat each sprout.

Roast the sprouts in the 425 degree oven until slightly browned around the edges, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
While the sprouts are roasting, bring the pasta water to a boil and cook the spaghetti.

After the chicken has marinated, place the thighs and marinade in a frying pan over medium heat and sautee the chicken, covered, for about 7 minutes a side.

Once the chicken has cooked, remove the chicken thighs from the pan, place in a bowl, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for about 5 minutes before slicing. Leave the juices from the chicken in the pan...this will contribute towards your delicious sauce!

While the chicken is resting, add the butter, additional parsley, garlic and lemon juice to the pan that the chicken cooked in. Warm the mixture slightly over low heat. 

Once the chicken has rested, chop it into bite size pieces. Add the chicken, any juice that came out while the chicken was resting, the sauce, brussel sprouts, drained pasta and parmesan cheese to the pot that the pasta cooked in and toss to combine.


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