AskChefDonnaGreens, greens and more greens are growing in the greenhouses here at Stony Point Center, and I can't be more excited.

It is the beginning of June. The farm team is in the dirt, working hard harvesting salad mix. I purchased "Spring mix" from my local grocery store. It contains 20 varieties of baby greens, kale, arugula, baby spinach, red leaf, to name a few. My favorite of all the "greens" is organic baby arugula. I often purchase both salad mix and arugula. I mix both of them to bulk up the arugula flavor. The best part of these baby green mixes is that they are so versatile. I love adding baby greens to soups, stews, and side dishes such as rice, quinoa and lentils. I often use the greens as a warm vegetable. Because they are so thin and delicate, I can put a heaping pile of salad mix on my plate and top it with roasted tofu and a side of rice. The heat, steam and juices from my tofu and rice wilt my greens and give them some flavor. No cooking or dressing needed.

At only 20 calories for a three-ounce serving (about two cups), baby greens serve as a wonderful base for a fresh piece of grilled fish or your favorite tempeh stir fry.

This evening I enjoyed sautéed boneless chicken on a bed of salad greens. Check out my recipe and remember that when cooking, be creative and make it your way. The notes after the recipe help you add your own flavors and touch to the dish.

Warm Lemon Chicken and Mushrooms on Salad Greens

yields four servingswarmchickenmushroomsaladDonnaCosta2

Main Ingredients:
  • 4 cups of salad greens
  • 4 boneless chicken thighs
  • 8 medium sliced baby Bella mushrooms
  • 1 small or ½ medium sliced onion
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
Ingredients for Marinade:
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice plus 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Directions:
  1. Mix marinade ingredients in a large casserole or bowl, big enough to hold the marinade and the chicken.
  2. Add chicken to the marinade, assuring that the chicken is fully covered in the marinade. Refrigerate at least an hour, preferably more. The longer the chicken marinates, the stronger the flavor.
  3. Once marinated, take the chicken out of the liquid and place it on a tray. You can throw the marinade out.
  4. Heat the oil in a sauté pan on medium-high. Once the pan is hot and the oil sizzling, place each piece of chicken in the pan one at a time, to promote its' browning and not steaming. Leave ample space between each piece. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until brown and then turn over to cook the other side. By this time, your chicken will have a nice sear on it so you can put it to one side of the pan. While the chicken is continuing to cook, you can sauté the mushrooms and onions in the same pan, in the chicken juices. The mushrooms and onions will be seasoned by the chicken juices but you might want to add a little more seasoning to them.
  5. Once cooked (165 degrees or cut into one and the juices will run clear without signs of blood), serve your chicken whole or sliced on a bed of greens topped with the mushrooms and onions. You can garnish your plate with a slice of lemon and any fresh herbs you have.
Notes:
  • There are approximately 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest in a medium-sized lemon. In this recipe, the lemon zest will heighten the lemon flavor and add a kick of bitterness. You can omit the zest if you wish.
  • The chicken will continue to cook once taken off the stove, so be careful not to overcook it.
  • This recipe is also delicious served as a cold salad. For a cold salad, let the chicken cool before assembling to avoid wilting your lettuce.
  • If your chicken thighs are thick, slice them as thin as a cutlet to promote even cooking.
  • When marinating food, the seasoning sometimes becomes diluted from the juices of the chicken. Always adjust the seasoning to your taste. Your dish might need more salt, pepper, or garlic. Add hot pepper or hot sauce if you like a kick. Most importantly, use a recipe as a guideline and be creative.
"It’s your Dish!”

Substitutions/additions ideas to make it your own:

  • You can substitute chicken breast for chicken thighs. If you use chicken on the bone, however, it will take longer to cook.
  • Once there is a nice sear, reduce the heat and cover until 165 degrees. Or, sear on the stove and finish cooking in the oven until the chicken is 165 degrees.
  • Try orange juice instead of lemon.
  • You can use any type of oil instead of olive oil.
  • Substitute fresh garlic for granulated. If you do, add it to the chicken dish while cooking when you add the onions and mushrooms.
  • An optional addition to the warm lemon thyme chicken salad, add your favorite salad dressing, chopped nuts, avocado, a little soy sauce or a tablespoon of sesame seeds.

If you have specific questions regarding the recipes and tips I share, or other questions about meals and ingredients, I invite you to reach out to me at askchefdonna@stonypointcenter.org. Let's start cooking!