I made these for dinner, and the meal was a hit, so I'm sharing:
PARMESAN-CRUSTED CHICKEN OVER ARUGULA SALAD
TOTAL TIME: 30 MIN
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
• Four 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (1 1/2 ounces)
• 4 cups packed arugula leaves
• 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1. Preheat the oven to 475°. In a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons of the mustard with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and the thyme. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then brush them all over with the mustard mixture. Pat 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan all over each breast. Transfer the chicken breasts to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the chicken on the top shelf of the oven for about 15 minutes, or until just cooked through and nicely browned.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1 teaspoon each of mustard and olive oil; stir in 1/2 teaspoon of water. Add the arugula and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and toss well. Spoon the salad onto plates, top with the chicken and serve.
NOTES One serving 288 calories, 9.4 gm total fat, 3.1 gm saturated fat, 4 gm carb.
MACARONI and CHEESE
1 stick unsalted butter
6 slices good white bread, torn into ½” chunks
5 ½ cups of milk (you can use whole or 2%…don’t use nonfat)
½ cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp grated nutmeg (freshly grated is better)
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1/2 Tbsp ground black pepper
1 1/8 lb grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (white, yellow, or a mixture of both…I use white)
½ lb grated Gruyere (you can substitute with ½ cup Pecorino Romano, but Gruyere is way better)
1 lb elbow macaroni
1. Heat oven to 375°. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into bowl with bread, and toss. Set breadcrumbs aside.
2. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk (you can also heat the milk in a large microwave-safe bowl). Make a roux by melting the remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat and adding the flour when the butter begins to bubble, whisking for about a minute while the flour cooks.
3. Slowly pour in the hot milk while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
4. Remove pan from heat. Gradually stir 2/3’s of the cheddar cheese you grated, and 3/4's of the Gruyere cheese you grated. Add the salt, nutmeg, black pepper, and cayenne pepper, taste to see if you added enough, then set cheese sauce aside.
5. Fill a large saucepan with water; bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer's directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce
6. Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle all remaining cheddar and Gruyere cheese and breadcrumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Cool about 5 minutes and serve hot.
This recipe serves 12, but you can easily halve it. If you want to have more of the browned cheese and breadcrumb topping, you can split this into two casserole dishes so there’s more surface area.