18 December 2013

Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potato & Kale Salad w/ Blackberry Jam Chicken Tenders

For a foodie, there is nothing more fun than a new culinary creation.  Be it one of your own or from another creative food-fan (see list to right!), new food is fun food.  But sometimes I can get a bit sick of fun.  Special attention must be paid when creating shopping lists, throwing ingredients into a pot or testing the viscosity of....let's just stop there.  New dishes are great, but there's nothing like returning to one of your ol' reliables for a night of simple, familiar and good eating.  And while this may not be one of your standby dishes, this is a pair we fall back on frequently - Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Blackberry Jam Chicken Tenders.

As I've mentioned, the hubs is flying more than your average senior-ranking stewardess.  Unfortunately, it means that he is also eating out more waaaaay more than usual.  Every school he visits wants to take him out for the best their city has to offer.....always meaning meat.  Try our ribs/lobster/chowder/etc!  He has yet to find a place swelling with pride over the quality of their greens, the bounty of their barley or the succulence of their pears.  So when we luck out and get a chance to eat together at home, it's our ol' reliables he craves.

These recipes are so simple, it's almost stupid.  Both transpired one evening as a mod podge of all my favorite things:  sweet potatoes, rosemary, chicken tenders and blackberry jam.  Two are obvious main stars and another two supporting actors, but together they make a wonderful show that is quite simple.  Diced sweet potatoes and tossed with fresh rosemary then roasted into tender and crispy bites of sweet herbaceousness.  Quick-cooking chicken tenders hang out in some blackberry jam before being grilled into fruity morsels of lean protein.  Ugh.  I'm in food heaven.

It was easy to transform this into a winter salad by tossing those glorious sweet potatoes with pan-seared kale.  It would also be great served with spinach, chard or collard greens.  A sprinkling of tart dried cranberries echoes the fruitiness of the blackberry jam wonderfully.  You can also top with a sprinkling of chopped pecans or goat cheese, but be forewarned that every additional topping detracts from the subtle freshness of the rosemary.  Garnish wisely (probably the only time I will every write that in my life).

So here's to eating in!  Just look at the luster of that kale.....(we're known for vegetables in this home).

Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potato & Kale Salad (serves 2)

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 4 c kale
  • 1/4 c dried cranberries
Blackberry Jam Chicken Tenders
  • 10 oz chicken breast tenders 
  • 3-4 tbs blackberry jam (raspberry works as well)
  • 1 tsp rosemary, chopped
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Place the chicken in a pie pan or a small plate.  Spoon the jam over the chicken.  Use your fingers to rub the jam into both sides of the chicken, then season with the rosemary, salt and pepper.  Let the chicken marinade while you make the salad.  

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a baking sheet with non-stick.  Dice the potatoes into bite-size cubes, then transfer to a medium bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil, then season with the garlic, two tablespoons rosemary, salt and pepper.  Toss together, then transfer to the baking sheet.  Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring once or twice, until potatoes are fork-tender and browned.

While the potatoes roast, chop the kale and transfer to the mixing bowl.  Toss to pick up any residual oil and spices leftover from the potatoes.  

When the potatoes are about 15 minutes out, place a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the kale and cook for about 3 minutes, until tender, then transfer back to the mixing bowl.  When the sweet potatoes are done, add to the bowl with the kale to keep warm while you grill the chicken. 

Place the pan back on the head and spray well with non-stick.  Add the chicken tenders and grill for 4-5 minutes, then flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the chicken is done.  

To assemble, divide the sweet potatoes and kale between two plates and garnish with dried cranberries.  Lay the grilled chicken over the top of the salad and garnish with rosemary (pecans and goat cheese are also great).  

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