Sunday, October 31, 2010

sunday night meal- yep, chicken

Hi all,

Earlier this month, I was sick for over a week, which is very much out of the ordinary. I get sick every once in a while, but don't normally feel under the weather for more than a few days at a time. I eat a lot of garlic, take vitamins, have a balanced diet, etc. etc, which makes me surprised when it happens, but every once in a while a cold just takes me out. And I got taken out. One of the side effects was a loss of appetite. Don't get me wrong. i was eating. I knew I needed to eat, but I didn't have any cravings, I didn't feel hungry. I wasn't having any "oooooh, where's my sushi at" moments. Normally I crave. I think about what I want to eat, I work to make it happen.

It was a tough couple of weeks.

Thankfully, I got my appetite back last night! And in honor of that, I wanted to make a nice sunday dinner that would help set me up for lunch for the rest of the week. I didn't have the energy to do a full Fairway shopping, and I had a fair amount of stuff in my fridge that was fair game, so I went to the market with a small basket, and picked up a few things. They were having a sale on chicken breast, $1.99/lb, so i got 5 large boneless skinless chicken breasts for less than 11 dollars. I felt flush. I picked up a few other things I needed for the week and went home.

I had a long day of football ahead of me, so I did a few prepatory things in the kitchen- washing some veggies, emptying the sink of dishes, and then i went about my day.

When I got home after a nice Patriots win (go pats!), I had less than a half an hour before game 4 of the world series, and the Steelers-Saints game started. I knew it was unlikely that I would have everything completed by 8 PM, when the games were slated to start, but I wanted to give it a try.

My plan was for rice, broccoli and chicken. My rice and broccoli routine are pretty straightforward (steam the broccoli, brown rice cooked slow), but I don't often do anything but grill boneless skinless chicken breasts, and I didn't want to stand over it in a pan. my mind was on baking so i could go watch my games.

So I went to my favorite cook book, America's Test Kitchen. It is a great cook book that is in 3-ring binder format, so you can remove just a page for ease of recipe-reference on the counter. I looked at the Poultry section to see what they said about baking chicken. It looked like 450 degrees for 50 minutes (give or take 10) was the baseline consensus. That was for skin-on bone-in chicken, my chicken was no-skin, no-bones, but I started from there.

I preheated the oven to 420, took a small square glass baking dish, and sliced up a half of an onion and 1 potato into small pieces to line the bottom of the pan. I grated some ginger and crushed a clove of garlic into a small bowl with ~1 tbsp of unsalted butter, and microwaved that to melt the butter. I rinsed 2 of the chicken breasts, patted them dry, and salted and peppered them before placing them in the small baking dish. Once in the dish, I took the microwaved mixture of butter, ginger and garlic, and spooned it over the two chicken breasts. I would normally use my silicone basting brush, but it managed to disappear, so instead, I used a spoon to spread the mixture evenly over the chicken, patting it with the back of the spoon to make sure that the entire exposed surface of the chicken had at least been brushed with butter. I put the pan into the oven, with some foil loosely over the top of it (since there wasn't any skin of the chicken to protect it).

My plan was to check on it in ~30 minutes or so- maybe take the foil off at 35-40 minutes. It was 8:30. In an hour I had managed to get the rice, broccoli and chicken on the stove, and I sat down to watch some mid-season sunday night football, world series baseball, and write up this post. 15 minutes into the 30 minutes I was giving everything, I realized that I had some crushed tomatoes in the fridge, leftover from a recipe I made last week. I am Italian. I feel you can add crushed tomatoes to anything. so I pulled the chicken out of the oven, and poured the crushed tomatoes around the edge of the dish. I figured, this would cook into the potatos, and keep the chicken from getting too dry. In addition to believing whole-heartedly that crushed tomatoes can be added to anything, I also hate wasting things. you get my drift.

After 30 minutes in the oven I turned the temperature up to 435, and spooned some of the now-tomato sauce over top of the chicken. After another 15 minutes or so, I turned the stove off and let it sit. From start to finish, I think the chicken took an hour and 5 minutes, with ~50 of those minutes spent sitting in the oven. There aren't any magical tips here, or a recipe for making the most to-die-for chicken you'll ever eat, (or any awesome ways to use condiments!) but for the amount of effort I was willing to put in, I got a Sunday night dinner, as well as a 3 lunches for the week, and that really made my night.

happy cooking!

1 comment:

  1. That looks awesome!

    Let's keep that home cooking tradition alive! There's a 'Farmy Folks Soiree' on the 13th of November at the Hattie Carthan Community Garden and it would be really cool if you could attend. More than 15,000 pounds of fresh produce has been distributed at the Farmer's Market so they know how to keep the connection between the food and the cook.

    I've certainly learned more about how to cook my food once I learned about the food I would cook. At the event there will be folk music and a harvest review of all the cool things they've done at the market this year.

    Getting into the spirit of harvest will inspire anyone who loves food!

    Check out the splash for the event: