Balsamic Chicken with Spinach and 'Shrooms over Pearl Cous Cous

After last Thursday's post, a few of you wrote in asking about the recipe for the delicious chicken dish that was featured.  I'm all about sharing so I asked my dear friend Ali if she would write a guest post with the recipe.  Since she's working on a cookbook right now (while also working as a full time awesome lawyer!), I thought it'd be interesting to hear about her food philosophy and approach to cooking, too.  Hope you enjoy!!
(PS - Don't forget to click here to enter my very first giveaway!)
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Hello fellow Big Marioans! (How does that sound? I just made it up but I kinda like it...)  I'm so stoked to be a guest poster on the fabulous Stephanie's blog, especially since she asked me to write about one of my favorite subjects - food!  While I am a self-admitted "foodie" and a lover of many things gourmet, I really believe that food does not need to be complicated in order to be delicious.  In fact, I sometimes worry that the trends in popular cooking toward crazy techniques and exotic ingredients are turning many would-be chefs away from the kitchen, rather than drawing them into it.  To me, food and cooking should be inviting and exciting - after all, they provide amazing outlets for creativity!  All of those possibilities mean that cooking is an incredibly versatile activity - the opportunities for variety and to try new things are quite honestly endless.  That is one of the things I truly love about cooking; no matter what I am craving, I can make it happen (or at least attempt it!).  The recipe below is a good example of that idea - Stephanie was coming over for dinner and I was craving something light, colorful and full of flavors.  So, I took an inventory of what was in the fridge and pantry, and came up with the Chicken, Spinach and 'Shroom recipe below that appeared here in photo form as part of last Thursday's post.

This recipe is also a great example of the versatility I talked about earlier - I used zucchini, bell peppers, spinach and mushrooms.  Why?  Simply because that's what I had in my fridge and that's what sounded good together!  I picked pearl cous cous over traditional cous cous because I like the aesthetics of the bigger pieces mixed with the diced veggies. (Random Side Note: Pearl cous cous is also called Israeli cous cous - there's your fun fact for the day!  My favorite is the one Trader Joe's carries, but if you don't have a TJ's close you can find it in most grocery stores in the pasta & rice aisle or in an ethnic food section.)  If you can't stand one, or all, of the ingredients I used, throw that list out and replace it with whatever you are craving.  That's a big part of my cooking philosophy - recipes are like guidelines. If you don't have something or don't like something, leave it out.  If you love, love, love an ingredient then toss it in!  Regardless of your tastes, I hope you enjoy this dish and I hope you approach your kitchen with a sense of adventure, because you know what?  Even if it all goes up in smoke (figuratively or literally) you can always just order pizza and start over tomorrow. :)

Balsamic Chicken with Spinach and 'Shrooms over Pearl Cous Cous:

What You Need
1/2 package pearl cous cous, cooked
1 small zucchini, diced
1/3 of a yellow bell pepper, diced
1/3 of an orange bell pepper, diced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp. butter
8-10 crimini mushrooms, sliced
3-4 generous handfuls baby spinach leaves
Salt & Pepper

What You Do
For Cous Cous:
1. Prepare cous cous according to package directions.
2. In a large skillet heat about two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat; add zucchini and bell peppers and saute for 3-5 minutes until tender but not soft.
3. Toss veggies in with cous cous; salt and pepper to taste.

For Chicken:
1. Preheat oven to 375F, spray an 8"x8" glass baking dish with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray.
2. Place chicken breasts in baking dish, drizzle with a few tablespoons olive oil and balsamic vinegar; turn chicken over once or twice to coat evenly; place dish on center rack in oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until juices run clear and meat is no longer pink in the center.
3. Remove from oven and allow chicken to cool for about 5 minutes; slice into 1/2-inch slices
4. In a large skillet, heat a few more tablespoons of olive oil and about a tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat; add mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes until mushrooms are tender; toss in spinach and saute 1-2 minutes more or until spinach is wilted.

To Serve:
Arrange chicken slices on top of a bed of cous cous, top with spinach and mushrooms, sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese

The photos were taken pre-cheese.  I got a little excited! -Stephanie



  1. Good Lord, that looks tasty. I generally hate cooking but I think I could be tempted to have a bash at this.

  2. mmmmm... yummy!!! I want it!!!!!!!


  3. LOVE coming over here and finding mouth watering recipes! Keep it comin'!

  4. I love finding blogs with beautiful food photos, sharing delicious recipes! This looks so yummy,thanks for sharing! :)

    Alicia Mi Mundo


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