"Artichoke Dip" Smothered Chicken & Asparagus over Spinach Couscous

I've been trying to get better about taking my own pictures of the food I make from recipes. They never look at professional, but they are definitely very real. No pro camera, lighting or setting here. My counter - my plate of food.

"Artichoke Dip" Smothered Chicken & Asparagus over Spinach Couscous is another recipe found on the Mealime website. For some reason it's not showing up yet on my Mealime phone app. Not sure why. If you go to their website you can adjust the recipe to 2, 4 or 6 servings. 

I was worried about making this recipe the way they had it because of the cream cheese.  I tried a pasta recipe from this site that used cream cheese as the main sauce ingredient a week ago and found the sauce a bit heavy and textured.  BUT I had exactly the right amount of cream cheese to use up, so threw caution to the wind. It came out just fine. I still may try using half cream cheese, half sour cream in the future, but I suspect you need the thicker product so it doesn't run to the bottom of the casserole while baking. 

CHANGES - Yes I did make 3 changes. They sliced the chicken in half horizontally to get 2 thinner fillets of out each. I preferred to slice mine through vertically in strips, about 4-5 per chicken breast. I then placed these in the casserole across the bottom as a layer of meat. Second - we love veggies so I used a small bunch of Asparagus instead of half a small bunch. Last but not least I found the amount of couscous a bit of the shy side. I made 3/4 C instead of 1/2 C.  Adjusted those amounts below.

Because of the strips of chicken, I didn't have to make 2 separate piles in the casserole and it was still super easy to serve. Just spread the couscous/spinach mix on a plate, insert a strong spatula in the middle of the casserole between the asparagus and meat pieces and lift a serving size section out.  With double the asparagus you can barely see the meat, but we loved having more veggies than they showed.

The link is above if you want to check out the original or adjust for different serving amounts. Overall I've had great luck with the recipes here.  Can't wait to see what new ideas they post next. 

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"Artichoke Dip" Smothered Chicken & Asparagus over Spinach Couscous
2 servings

Ingredients - 

½             6 oz. jar artichoke hearts, marinated
1              Small bunch asparagus (original used 1/2)
½             (5 oz) pkg baby spinach
¾ lb         Chicken breasts, boneless skinless (2 smaller breasts)
4 oz.         Cream cheese
2 oz         Shredded Mozzarella cheese
1-1/2 C    Chicken or vegetable broth (original 1 cup)
3/4 C       Whole wheat or regular couscous (original 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp     Italian seasoning
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Instructions - 

Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a baking dish with ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil.

Wash and dry spinach (skip if it came pre-washed); roughly chop half and transfer to a medium bowl. Set remaining spinach aside to add to the couscous.

Drain and coarsely chop artichokes; add to the bowl with the spinach. Cut cream cheese into small pieces and add to the bowl along with ½ tsp Italian seasoning, ¼ tsp salt,  ¼ tsp black pepper. Use a silicone spatula or spoon to mash and thoroughly combine the artichoke dip.

Place chicken on a cutting board. Holding a knife parallel to the cutting board, cut the chicken in half horizontally to form thin cutlets. (NOTE - I chose to cut through the chicken breasts vertically down to cutting board in slices - about 4 -5 slices per breast). Place cutlets in the baking dish and season with ¼ tsp. salt and ⅛ tsp black pepper. Spread artichoke dip over the cutlets.

Wash and dry asparagus. Using a clean cutting board, snap or cut off woody ends. If any of the spears are really thick I would slice then in half vertically. If small or regular size, then leave whole. Divide and place on top of each cutlet - or if you did slices like I did that put a layer of chicken in the casserole, then just lay them on top. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella over the chicken and asparagus. Place baking dish in the oven and bake until chicken is cooked through and golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Remove from heat, add couscous, and stir. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Uncover the couscous and add remaining spinach. Gently stir spinach into couscous until slightly wilted.

To serve, divide couscous between plates or bowls and top with smothered chicken. Enjoy!