Sundays are the one day I give myself permission to basically abandon the kitchen to the forces of nature (my kids) and I cook only one meal. They are on their own for breakfast and lunch. Except the baby, of course. I’m a good responsible parent. She gets fruit snacks and a bottle. Kidding. Totally kidding. Mostly.
Anyway. Sundays. One main meal in the middle of the day. Something everyone will eat. Something relatively easy and quick to put together (because the after-church hanger is real). So often that ends up having something to do with chicken. —Soup, occasionally. Or a pot-pie. Today it was pan-grilled chicken, cauliflower rice (because whole30) and baby carrots. I fancied things up a bit for the adults with balsamic glaze on the carrots and a few avocado slices to finish it off, but everyone else requested ketchup, no cauliflower rice. (“Ewww that’s gross Mom!” Whateves), and carrots “with no black stuff.” So much for cultivating culinary taste and appreciation for presentation. Oh well. At least this meal has the benefit of mix-and-match so that we can appease ALL THE TASTE PREFERENCES. Hooray for Sundays.
PAN-GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST ON A BED OF CAULIFLOWER RICE WITH BALSAMIC-GLAZED BABY CARROTS
4-5 chicken breasts
1 lb baby carrots
1 head of cauliflower
4 tablespoons clarified butter
2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
¼ cup diced onions
a dash of Italian or poultry spices
salt and pepper to taste
Start by steaming the baby carrots as they will cook away while you prepare the rest of the food. Use an in-pan steam-colander if you have one, or another steaming method you are comfortable with. When done, the carrots should be fork-tender.
While the carrots are steaming, heat 2 tablespoons of clarified butter in a large flat-bottomed pan over med-high heat. Sauté onions until caramelized, spread evenly across the bottom of the pan and lay the chicken breasts on top. Sprinkle with Italian or poultry spices, along with salt and pepper to taste, cover and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes. Flip and repeat for another 5-7 minutes. You can check for doneness by gently slicing through the middle of one breast. The meat should be white all the way through. If it is still pink, allow it to cook for a couple more minutes. Remove the chicken from pan and set aside.
The ‘rice’ is the messiest part of this meal, but it’s so delicious that it’s definitely worth the hassle. You will need a food processor for this job or you’ll have to be handy with a dicing knife. I’ve used both and prefer the food processor method. Take a fresh head of cauliflower, pare of the greens, chop into small pieces, and then whirl in a food processor on the pulse setting until the cauliflower resembles rice grains. You can do the same thing with a large knife and a cutting board. It just takes a little longer.
Once the cauliflower is processed, warm another 2 tablespoons of clarified butter in the same pan you cooked the chicken. (Make sure you leave all the drippings and spices from the chicken! They flavor the rice perfectly). Add the processed cauliflower to the hot pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and turn with a spatula to cook evenly and mix in all those tasty spices left over from cooking the chicken. Once well-mixed, cover for 5-8 minutes and allow to cook. Turn again. The rice should not be mushy—careful not to overcook or you will just have made the most delicious baby food. So catch it before the mush state and remove from heat.
The carrots should be done by now, and everything is ready to plate—cauliflower rice, chicken breasts, carrots. Top the carrots with balsamic for a nice glaze (granted ketchup isn’t the condiment of preferable choice) and serve hot.