As I may have mentioned once or twice before, I watch a truly impressive amount of television.
In fact, after my rather surprising keg-standing abilities and limbo skills, my comprehensive TV knowledge is probably my best party trick. Want to talk about The People vs. OJ Simpson? Cool. I’m up to date. Same goes for any Shonda Rhimes show (including season infinity of Grey’s Anatomy) and Chicago Fire/PD/Med. Netflix and Hulu originals? I’ve given most of them at least a three episode shot at hooking me, and I’d love to discuss my your thoughts on anything from Narcos (gots to be ready for those subtitles) to Fuller House (disaster). Looking for something new to binge? Tell me your interests, and I’ll give you a personalized shortlist! I’m like a human version of Netflix’s “Suggestions For You.” And proud of it.
Honestly, if I didn’t already have a sweet job making sassy desk lunches and helping Logan stay under a deuce, I’d definitely pursue a career in TV development. Potentially with a side gig writing episode recaps. (Remember Vulture’s Gossip Girl recaps? GOLD.)
By some miracle, my television habit rarely affects my productivity or stress levels. I capitalize on the fact that I can play episodes on my computer while I recipe test, as well as during bath time, and I usually get in a post-dinner episode with my roommate. Then there’s Sunday night—that’s when I really crush. Overall, I maintain a manageable viewing schedule, and my work/life/television balance is solid.
However, every once in a while, I’ll stumble across a never-before-seen, multi-season show, and the aforementioned “balance” goes to hell in a handbasket faster than you can say “Tim Riggins.” Things get weird, and after the great Friday Night Lights hibernation of 2012, I vowed to avoid such potential rabbit holes in the future. For the sake of my sanity and my social life, I would “just say no” to potentially addictive series with more than two seasons.
Then, a few weeks ago, I watched the first episode of The West Wing.
Big mistake. Huge.
I watched the series premiere on a whim. I figured I was safe since political dramas aren’t typically my thing, and I couldn’t possibly see Bradley Whitford (aka Josh Lyman) as anyone other than the bad guy in Billy Madison. I was wrong. Dear God, I WAS WRONG. And now I’m obsessed, and I can’t stop watching, and while I’m trying to be cool and limit my West Wing consumption, it’s a constant struggle. The scary thing is…
There are seven seasons! And I still have 4.8 seasons to watch!!! (And if Josh and Donna don’t eventually get together, I swear I will break my TV.)
Don’t worry, I haven’t gone full crazy (yet), but I have maximized West Wing time by minimizing evening kitchen time. I’m all about the quick and dirty dinner right now, and that’s where this one-skillet Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Feta comes in.
This incredibly easy and flavorful meal comes from my friend Andie Mitchell’s new cookbook Eating in the Middle (released today!!), and it’s a serious winner. Tender garlic and oregano-laced chicken with punchy sun-dried tomatoes, creamy feta, and sweet basil is such a simple combo, yet it delivers surprisingly complex, in-your-face flavor. Plus, it’s light, bright, and perfect for the warmer temps coming our way. The best part? The whole thing comes together in about 20 minutes with next to no cleanup.
Even if your life is not currently ruled by an all-consuming TV series, we all need more quick and delicious meals like this in our repertoires these days. Less time slaving over a hot stove means more time for spring strolls and rosé. Priorities!
On the off chance you haven’t heard of Andie Mitchell, she’s the author of the New York Times’ best-selling memoir It Was Me All Along (chronicling her transformative 135-pound weight loss), and now she’s produced this unbelievably beautiful cookbook! Eating in the Middle is an ode to moderation, full of amazing everyday recipes like this simple chicken dish, as well as more indulgent, special occasion meals and treats (Meatloaf Burgers with Bacon, Pepper Jack and Frizzled Onions! Peanut Butter Mousse Pie with Marshmallow Whipped Cream!). In Andie’s words, “It’s the testament of a life well-lived, with plenty of real, whole foods and some life-changing Chocolate Hazelnut Bread Pudding thrown in there, too.“
I love this book so much because on top of its delicious food and down-to-earth eating philosophy, it just oozes Andie. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know this powerhouse woman over the past year, and she is an absolute delight. Genuine, warm, and funny as shit, Andie has a passion for food and life that’s infectious, and she is so present on every page of this book—especially in the five heartwarming and inspiring personal essays on life, love and food that will have you laughing, crying, and running to your kitchen. I’d go on, but I’m afraid I already border on creepy fangirl, and I’ve rambled enough for today.
To sum up, watch The West Wing get Andie’s book and make this chicken. She recommends keeping life simple and serving it over whole wheat couscous, which cooks in 10 minutes. I did exactly that and added some baby arugula for extra greenery, but quinoa, brown rice pasta, and even cauliflower rice would also be great. (FYI, leftovers are bomb stuffed in a warm whole-grain pita.)
Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Feta (Serves 4)
½ an 8-ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
1 tablespoon olive oil from the sun-dried tomato jar
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2½ teaspoons dried oregano
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
1 packed cup baby arugula (optional)
¼ cup fresh basil, torn or sliced
Preparing your Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Feta:
-Remove the sun-dried tomatoes from the olive oil and place them between two layers of paper towels. Press the tomatoes gently between the towels to get rid of excess oil. Chop the tomatoes and briefly set aside.
-Slice your chicken breasts crosswise into thin strips (approximately ½” thick).
-Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil from the sun-dried tomato jar in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. (Be careful, people—garlic burns QUICKLY. So make sure you’re stirring the whole time, and have your sliced chicken handy. If you notice the garlic browning as soon as you add it to the pan, lower the heat slightly.) Immediately add the chicken to the pan, along with the salt, pepper and oregano. Cook for about 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and lightly browned.
-Add the sun-dried tomatoes and the feta, stirring to combine, and cook for 1 minute, just to warm the cheese and tomatoes through.
-Stir in the arugula if using, and cook for 1 minute until slightly wilted.
-Divide the chicken among plates, garnish with fresh basil, and serve immediately.
- ½ an 8-ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil from the sun-dried tomato jar
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 2½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
- 1 packed cup baby arugula (optional)
- ¼ cup fresh basil, torn or sliced
- Remove the sun-dried tomatoes from the olive oil and place them between two layers of paper towels. Press the tomatoes gently between the towels to get rid of excess oil. Chop the tomatoes and briefly set aside.
- Slice your chicken breasts crosswise into thin strips (approximately ½” thick).
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil from the sun-dried tomato jar in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Immediately add the chicken to the pan, along with the salt, pepper and oregano. Cook for about 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and lightly browned.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes and the feta, stirring to combine, and cook for 1 minute, just to warm the cheese and tomatoes through. Stir in the arugula if using, and cook for 1 minute until slightly wilted.
- Divide the chicken among plates, garnish with fresh basil, and serve immediately.
Slightly adapted from Andie Mitchell's Eating in the Middle