My Best Friend, the Oven.

Pan fried chicken & Arugala Risotto

So I don’t have a microwave – my apartment’s teeny tiny kitchen can’t accommodate one and I have gotten by long enough without one that I just reheat my food on the stove or in the oven. I haven’t found it too inconvenient – maybe since I only reheat food for one person OR maybe because I take most of my leftovers as work lunches and reheat them in the office using that microwave (much more likely). Regardless of my microwave situation, my oven has become one of my best friends in the kitchen. Sounds weird, but it allows for weeknight dinners where you aren’t required to be too attentive and can do other things like clean or read or play Mario Run while your food is cooking. 

My favorite method of cooking chicken is pan frying it skin side down in an oven proof skillet until the skin is crispy and then flipping it over and letting it finish cooking in the oven. A braise-ish method to cooking chicken. I’ve always loved risotto so when I stumbled upon a “Quick & Easy” recipe on, I had to give it a try. What I ended up with were 2 relatively simple dishes where I began cooking on the stove and then popped them both into the oven and I had 20 minutes to do as I please. YAY! Free time!

I bought bone in, skin on chicken breasts and seasoned them with sage, salt, and pepper. My risotto was supposed to include Kale but I couldn’t find any that looked pretty at the grocery store so I just went with arugula. Living life on the edge!!

The chicken turned out impeccably – crispy on the outside and moist on the inside and more flavorful than your usual chicken breast. The risotto was definitely delicious as well but next time I will be sure to try it with Kale. It all came together pretty quickly and unlike the Steak Sizzle Grill Pan debacle, it did not fill my apartment with smoke 😉

The Deats: 

Oven-Roasted Chicken (Adapted from The Food Lover’s Cleanse)

1 Large bone-in, skin-on Chicken Breast
3 fresh Sage Leaves
Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 400°. Loosen the chicken skin without removing and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Lay the sage leaves under the skin.

Heat ~1 tablespoon of olive oil in an oven proof skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, place the chicken breast skin side down in the skillet. Cook, undisturbed, for about 5 minutes until the skin is golden brown and crispy. Carefully flip the chicken and place the pan into the oven. Roast for about 18 – 20 minutes. Let the chicken rest for a couple minutes, then carve the breasts off the bone into thick slices.

Oven Risotto with Arugula Pesto (Adapted from Bon Appetit)

1/4 cup walnuts
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups and 3/4 cups Hot Water
1 small garlic clove
1 cup (packed) fresh parsley leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 cups arugula
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup of Parmesan, finely grated
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Toast walnuts in a small nonstick pan, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 5 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large ovenproof saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened and translucent, 10 minutes. Stir in rice and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until some grains are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until pan is almost dry, about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups very hot water; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and bake in oven until liquid is mostly absorbed but rice is still starchy in the center, 15 minutes (it should be undercooked).

Meanwhile, pulse garlic and half of toasted walnuts in a food processor until very finely ground. Add parsley, chives, arugula, 2 Tbsp. oil, and ¼ cup cold water; process until smooth; season pesto with salt and pepper.

Set saucepan over medium heat. Add 3/4 cup very hot water and cook rice, stirring constantly, until it is tender but still has some bite and sauce is creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir in pesto, butter, and Parmesan. Adjust consistency with water, if needed; season with salt and pepper. Serve with Oven Roasted Chicken.

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