Figure a school night is too busy to have some friends over? Think again. While the flavourful Greek chicken and rice is sure to please, they’ll really be wowed by the sumptuous bread pudding. Not only will dessert be ready after supper, but you’ll get to spend your time with your guests instead of in the kitchen.
Tip for making both dishes at once: assemble the bread pudding while the chicken is browning, then pop them both in the oven after the rice and chicken are prepared.
Bread pudding is like magic: a sweet, luxurious dessert made of leftover bread and other odds and ends. The canned fruit works perfectly and makes whipping this up a snap. You can use fresh cherries if you prefer; omit the extra juice. Serves 4-8.
• 8-10 slices of bread, cubed, or about 3 cups (750 mL)
• 1 cup (250 mL) heavy cream
• 1 cup (250 mL) milk
• ¼ cup (50 mL) butter
• 1/3 cup (75 mL) sugar plus 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 mL) for topping
• ½ tsp. (2 mL) vanilla
• 1 can Bing cherries packed in syrup or juice, drained, ¼ cup (50 mL) liquid reserved or 1 ½ cups (375 mL) fresh cherries, pitted and sliced
• 3 eggs, beaten
• 1/3 cup (75 mL) semi-sweet chocolate chips
• ¼ cup (50 mL) sliced almonds (optional)
• whipped cream or ice cream, for serving (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 190 C / 375 F. Place cubed bread in greased baking pan or casserole.
2. In a small saucepan, heat milk, cream, butter, and 1/3 cup (75 mL) sugar. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Cook until mixture is steaming and butter is melted. Add vanilla.
3. Pour heated milk mixture over bread and allow it to soak for 3-5 minutes, periodically submerging any bread that floats to the surface. Add reserved cherry juice.
4. After soaking the bread, pour cherries over top.
5. Add the beaten egg, mixing gently throughout to coat all the bread. Sprinkle chocolate chips, almonds, and remaining sugar over top.
6. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until top is browned and pudding is set. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes before serving, topped with whipped cream or ice cream.
Chicken & Creamy Rice
This Greek-inspired dish is comfort cooking with a lighter twist; although the rice turns out creamy and rich, using feta and stock instead of cream cuts down on fat. Serve with a Greek or Caesar salad if you want more veggies. Serves 4.
For the marinade:
• ½ cup (125 mL) lemon juice
• ¼ cup (50 mL) olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, sliced
• 2-3 sprigs fresh
• salt and pepper oregano
• 6-8 chicken thighs with skin, bone-in
• 1 cup (250 mL) long grain rice
• 2 cups (500 mL) chicken or vegetable stock
• 1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
• 1/3 cup (75 mL) feta, crumbled
• 1 tbsp. (7.5 mL) fresh oregano, or 1 tsp. (2 mL) dried
• ½ tbsp. (7.5 mL) olive oil for cooking (optional)
• ½ tsp. (2 mL) salt (optional)
• fresh lemon, thin sliced (optional)
1. Mix marinade. Add chicken and allow to marinade 6-8 hours (or more), turning once if possible. Remove chicken and marinated garlic from the mixture, and discard liquids.
2. In a large skillet, brown the chicken on both sides. Add the olive oil if the skillet is a little dry. Remove the skillet from heat.
3. Meanwhile, pour rice and stock into a greased baking pan or casserole dish. Add feta, oregano, marinated garlic, and artichoke hearts. Mix thoroughly.
4. Place browned chicken on rice. Top each thigh with a lemon slice and a sprinkle of salt.
5. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Remove cover and bake uncovered for 5-10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked and rice is creamy. Serve, garnished with cooked lemon slices.