Finally. It is Friday.
I work for a non-profit an am an advocate and benefit specialist for seniors and disabled individuals. I really enjoy my job and today is the last working day during Medicare's annual enrollment period. We are really busy, which is great, but I am looking forward to a bit of a break this weekend!
On Wednesday night we went to the Polar Express at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay. It was soooooo much fun. I did not know what to expect and it was such a great time. We arrived early because there are a few trains located in the building that we could explore and many community businesses decorated trees for us to look at. The event started with a song and dance while they passed hot chocolate to the kids, and then a reading of the Polar Express. The museum has many old working trains and we headed to our assigned train for a 30 minute ride to the North Pole. While on the train we were given different chocolates and goodies to eat. Once we got to the North Pole we got in line to see Santa and get a bell from this sleigh. Unfortunately, our little guys were not up for the wait, but it was fun nonetheless. We are already excited to go again next year! The tickets sell out really quick and I certainly can see why!
Tonight we are headed to dinner with friends and tomorrow we are making peppernuts with Ron's family. The cookies are an old German recipe with anise, lemon and nuts. I am not a big fan, but they have been a tradition for years and are fun to make! We are also finally going to get our tree up on Saturday night!
On to the food! I originally saw this recipe on Sarah's blog, A Taste of Home Cooking and knew I had to make it. Sarah raved about the recipe and it sounded amazing. The original recipe did not use a traditional recipe for the risotto and added all the stock at once. The method I used for the risotto was pretty much the same as Sarah's and adds the liquid slowly. I also scaled down the recipe a little bit so we would not have a huge amount of leftover risotto. Ron, Kellen and I all loved this meal! Kellen has been really into chicken lately and exclaimed a few times, "mmmmm yummy chicken". I loved the flavors of the lemon in the risotto and cooking the chicken in the caper infused oil was a fantastic method that gave a yummy salty crust on the outside of the chicken.
4 cups chicken stock
1 Tbl butter
2 Tbl olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 lemon, cut in half and seeded
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup capers, drained and patted dry
4 chicken breasts, seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder
Italian Parsley, finely chopped
Place chicken stock in a medium saucepan. Bring to a low simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low-medium heat.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots; cook for 1-2 minutes minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional minutes. Stir in rice, and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Increase heat to medium and add 1/2 cup wine and cook 2-3 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Next add the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next. When nearly all the broth has been absorbed add the spinach and allow it to wilt slightly. Remove the pan from the heat then stir in the juice from 1/2 lemon and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
While risotto is cooking prepare the capers and the chicken. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the capers and sauté 2-3 minutes or until slightly opened, brown and crispy. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside. Saute the chicken in the caper-infused olive oil, 4-5 minutes per side. When the chicken almost done cooking, squeeze the second lemon half over the chicken.
Slice chicken and serve over the risotto, and top with crispy capers and Italian parsley.