Lemony Chicken w/Spinach and Mushroom Orzo

After cleaning up the kitchen I had a strong desire to cook a real meal. While we have quite a few leftovers, I figured, meh, I’ll save those for tomorrow. Tonight I wanted something really tasty.

Say hello to my little friend, Lemony Chicken

And his sidekick, Spinach and Mushroom Orzo

They make a cute couple.

Sadly the brussel sprouts were a burnt-out third wheel, trying to crash the party.

They started rather pretty…

But were roasted a tad too long per Food Network’s instructions.

Bad Food Network, bad!

But, ya know, sprinkle em with enough sea salt and they were tolerable.

Lemony Chicken

Adapted from this recipe.

Serves 2-4


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. dried basil

2-4 Boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (defrosted if frozen)
1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
Juice from one lemon
1 TBS butter
1 tsp honey

1/3 cup dry white wine* (or chicken broth)

1/3 cup cilantro, diced

*Rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it.


Combine the flour, salt, pepper, basil and garlic powder in a shallow dish and set aside.

Place the chicken breasts, one at a time, between 2 sheets of wax paper or place all chicken breasts in large freezer bag (sealed). Pound the breasts with several whacks of a meat mallet (can roll with rolling pin if you do not have a meat mallet) so they are an even 1/2-inch thick. Peel off the paper, or remove from bag.

Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat. Meanwhile, dip the chicken pieces into the flour mixture to coat on both sides, shaking off any excess. Add the pieces to the skillet and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

While the chicken cooks, cut the lemon and squeeze the juice into a small bowl (picking out any seeds that fall in) and set aside.

Turn the chicken and saute until lightly browned and cooked through, another 2 minutes.

Remove the chicken to a platter.

Add the butter to the skillet and reduce the heat to low. When the butter is melted, add wine (or chicken broth).

Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, cilantro and honey. Immediately drizzle the lemon mixture over the chicken.

Spinach and Mushroom Orzo

Serves 4


4 cups liquid (I prefer chicken broth, but you can use water too, or a mixture of the two)

1 1/3 cup orzo

4 mushrooms, diced

2 handfuls spinach, chopped

1/4 tsp. black pepper


Bring chicken broth/water to a boil. Add diced mushrooms, black pepper and orzo. Cook for 8 minutes. Add spinach and cook an additional 4 minutes. Drain excess liquid in colander and return to pot.

Off to prep my gym bag and food for tomorrow. Back to work, back to work.

My pre-assessment for 2011.

In the educational world we talk a lot about assessing. You can assess for knowledge, for growth and for skills learned. You can pre-assess, to determine where the student is before you start a new unit. You can formatively assess, little check-ins along the way. And you can post-assess, or find out what they learned.



After a post-assessment of 2010 I can tell you I have a lot to learn. I am going to rewind, slow down and re-teach myself how to be healthy.

I kind of consider myself to be a lospert (losing expert). I’m definitely not a maintaining expert, or I wouldn’t be going on this journey for the 4th time. Yep, 4th time.

During my Freshman year I went a little crazy and gained the Freshman 15 in just one semester. The second semester I lost it all, and 5 more.

I slowly let quite a few pounds come back, and the summer between my Junior and Senior year of college I lost 25 pounds.

Then after I graduated I lost the 5 that crept back on, plus a total of 13 more.

So now here I am, trying again to lose the weight. (The aforementioned 21 pounds.)

I attribute my lospert status to knowing how to diet well. I know which foods to avoid, which to stock my pantry with, and how to exercise. But what I don’t know is how to just be healthy all the time.

So my first goal for 2011 is to clean up my eating. Meaning 80% of the time my food consumption should come from natural foods, not processed boxes. How do I pre-assess this? Take stock of my pantry and fridge.



Yes, those would be crackers falling out of the pantry…

A mess! A total mess!

To formatively assess I will check in with myfitnesspal food log once a week. (The blog will help with this too, although I don’t think I’ll have time to post everything I eat).

And my post-assessment will come at the end of 2011. Hopefully I will be able to stick to the 80% rule.

 I spent 3 1/2 hours cleaning and organizing my pantry, cupboard and fridge. Holy moly!

I am pretty pleased with what I accomplished, even if it doesn’t look like much. I’m working with a small 1942 kitchen here people.



top shelf: treats

2nd from top: dry goods/bulk items (lentils, dry soup mix, kodiak cake mix, spaghetti noodles and the like)

3rd from top: oils & vinegars

 4th from top: canned goods & condiments

5th from top: snackies (chips – hubs & libbs, almonds, and animal treats too)

Bottom: bulk items too big to fit on other shelves, cereal (the Lucky Charms are NOT mine!), and other breakfast items (Bob’s hot cereal, oatmeal and mix-ins).


Top: baking supplies

Middle: Coffee& grinder, cooking sprays and spices too tall to fit on the bottom shelf.

Bottom: Grilling rubs, butter dish and spices (alphabetically organized)

The fridge was a whole ‘nother story.

Packed the the brim! Our fridge is only 25.5 cubic feet 😦

Which means we can only buy certain sized containers of items, making Costco a whole lot less fun, and we often put things where they don’t belong. (Like pizza dough in the veggie drawer [droor, drore, drawer? What a funny looking word])

I took everything out. We have WAY too many condiments.


Who needs 2 almost full containers of ketchup? Us, obviously.

And 4 different kinds of mustard? Don’t worry, we’ve got your burger covered.

7 different kinds of hot sauce? Well, you never know what kind of mood you’ll be in.

And clearly, clearly, we need 3 different containers of caesar dressing.

I don’t have an after picture of the fridge, because, sadly, it looks an awful lot like the before picture. There just isn’t much you can do with 25.5 cubic feet. But, at least it is clean and I threw away all expired items and combined as many doubles as I could 🙂

Now I have no desire to take down the tree…anyone want to do that for me? I’ll pay you in Jello and pudding!

Other goals for 2011:

1. Sign up to run a 5K.

2. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day!

3. Allot 20% of our income to savings.

What are your goals/resolutions for the New Year?