Breadcrumb chicken and spinach

Tonight’s supper was really good and arose coincidentally.

My bread was in imminent danger of sprouting mold so I knew I was going to dry it out in the oven and use it for breadcrumb chicken. I even remembered to move the chicken from freezer to refrigerator before leaving for work.

Once I got the bread dried and crumbled, it turned out to be a lot more crumbs than I could use on one piece of chicken. I could tell that before I added parmesean cheese, black pepper, oregano, basil, garlic powder. and a bit of red pepper. I think the breadcrumbs are going to feature in a meatloaf tomorrow night. After I got that mixed together I melted a bit of butter–a little stump, thicker than a shaving but less than some people might put on a slice of bread–rolled the chicken over the butter, dropped it in a pan, and started sprinkling breadcrumbs on it. It was a small baking dish, a loaf pan, but the chicken left a third of it empty, and that seemed to invite an uneven heat build up that could scorch or crack the pan.

I had finished dressing the chicken and was thinking of using some dry beans or rice to moderate the heat in the pan when it ocurred to me to use rice, but add the water. Thinking if that would go with my breadcrumbed chicken, I realized I could mix the breadcrumbs into the rice for flavor. So I got that all set up, guessing at the amount of rice and water, and stuck it in the oven and left it there for a while at 350 degrees, covered with foil.

I had forgotten to get any fresh vegetables the night before, when I went grocery shopping, and didn’t want to spend the time tonight, but I remembered I had spinach in the freezer so I decided that would be my vegetable. But I still had mushrooms left over that I had to use. When you only use four or five mushrooms at a time a pint package will last you several meals.

So while I had the spinach in a pan with some water simmering, I sliced the mushrooms and an onion, along with some garlic, and put it in a pan with some olive oil. I left it on high heat and went in the other room to see if anyone commented on my blog, or if anything interesting had kicked up in my feed reader yet. When I returned the onions were starting to carmelize and would soon be burning to the pan. I mixed it up to even out the cooking, but it was about ready to go and so was the chicken. I did not start the vegetables right after I put the chicken in, or they would not have been ready at the same time. When I started the vegetables I pulled the foil off of the chicken because I could see that the rice was not going to soak up all the water.

I drained the spinach and found out that I hadn’t wound up with as much cooked spinach as I expected, especially in proportion to my onions and mushrooms. I like spinach and originally though the onions and mushrooms would just accent the spinach. It turned out to be pretty much an even mix. And as it happened, that mixture went very well with the breadcrumbed rice, and the rice went very well with the chicken, and it was very tasty.

Fairly often I spontaneously make something that’s good enough (and finished late enough) that I dearly wish there was more, even though I have eaten a decent meal’s worth and won’t really be hungry. I make my mouth happy enough that I’d happily keep going till my stomach really complained. But either I know my appetite well enough or I don’t know my tates well enough, because I usually can’t stuff myself on the good dishes. It also keeps me from feeling guilty about eating tomorrow’s lunch.

I’m always pleased to accidentally discover a tasty meal of my own devising.