Last weekend, Freddie and I had our first date night out since Harper was born. It had been over a year and a half since we got some good quality time together, and I’ll be the first to admit, it was way overdue. So when my mom came in town to visit, the first thing she did was offer to watch Harper while we took a few hours to ourselves, uninterrupted, to just enjoy each others company. And that is exactly what we did. But don’t worry, we were home before 7 to put Harper to bed. Baby steps…(And I am not referring to the 19 month old toddler, I am referring to her parents).
Luckily, over the last year and a half, Freddie and I have gotten very creative with our stay-at-home date nights. We will snuggle up on the couch and watch a few episodes of our favorite reality shows, break out a board game and do our best not to get competitive, or enjoy a home cooked meal, just the two of us. It has helped us to stay connected.
This recipe is a perfect stay-at-home date night kind of meal. It’s simple and easy to prepare (only takes 30 minutes) but is fancy enough (thanks to the awesome pan sauce) to make it feel restaurant quality. Plus, it only serves 2, which always brings me back to our newlywed days.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes (11-12 ounces)
In a small bowl, mash butter, garlic, oregano and paprika together. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
Preheat oven to lowest possible temperature. Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Measure the flour onto a plate. Working with one breast at a time, press both sides into the flour. Shake gently to remove excess flour and repeat with remaining breast.
Melt 1 tablespoon of oregano butter with the 2 teaspoons of oil in a large skillet set over high heat. Reduce to medium-high when the butter stops foaming. Lay the chicken breasts in the skillet and sauté until browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Flip and continue cooking 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a small pan or oven-safe plate and keep warm in oven while preparing sauce.
Increase heat to high and add tomatoes to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to char and burst, about 5 minutes. Add remaining butter. Crush tomatoes slightly to release their juices and continue stirring until butter has melted. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the skillet to loosen the browned bits. Remove chicken from oven and add any juices that may have accumulated to the pan.
This dish is all about the sauce…and the butter, which is the base of the sauce. It’s delicious on the chicken, but it is even more yummy drizzled over a side of rice or couscous. This time around I served my chicken with farro and steamed broccoli. The nuttiness of the farro was the perfect complement to the sweetness of the tomatoes and was also very helpful in sopping up the remaining sauce.
Your turn: What is your favorite way to spend a date night in? Any special recipes you like to prepare for your mate? Looking forward to reading your responses :)