Thursday, October 20, 2011


When my husband describes his dream of opening a restaurant to me, I get all caught up in the recipe-planning part.  I would love to be his menu consultant, or perhaps the person who figures out how many items you can make from the same basic ingredients (to cut down on food cost).  At the grocery store, I pretty much always buy the same twelve or fifteen items.  I try to let my imagination guide me when it comes time for dinner.  This works out pretty well, except I think I miss out on recipes that require some lead time.  Let me guide you through this process and how it played out at dinner tonight.

4:00 - decide "chicken, green beans, rice" (and always a salad for me)
7:15 - get baby to sleep, Jeff starts brown rice in the steamer (remind me to do a separate post about the rice steamer - like Alton Brown, I hate single-use appliances, but this one has been a life-saver)
7:30 - cut a couple slices of bacon into small bits and start browning in a large skillet
7:35 - cut a large chicken breast in half horizontally to make two cutlets
7:38 - chop the ends off some green beans and drop into a small cold skillet
7:40 - add three cubes of frozen chicken broth, salt, red pepper flakes, and a spoonful of bacon fat into the green bean skillet, put the lid on, and cook over medium-high heat
7:45 - remove the bacon from the large skillet and put the chicken breasts into the remaining bacon fat
7:50 - chop up some romaine lettuce, combine it with halved cherry tomatoes, spinach leaves, and half of the bacon bits to make my salad
7:55 - turn chicken breasts and check on green beans
7:57 - lower heat on green beans to low, as they are pretty much tender
8:00 - remove the chicken from the pan and add four cubes of frozen chicken broth to make a sauce
8:01 - whisk the chicken broth into the large skillet, pulling up all the browned bits on the bottom
8:03 - rice is done
8:04 - make salad dressing:  combine two tablespoons half-and-half with one tablespoon balsamic vinegar, a pinch of salt, a grind of pepper, and a teaspoon of honey all into a small jar.  Put the lid on and shake it up.
8:06 - finish sauce for chicken:  add some garlic butter, a little salt and pepper, and the remaining cooked bacon into the broth that's been reducing in the large skillet.  Slide the chicken back into the sauce.
8:10 - dinner is served!!

And that's how it's done, on a nightly basis, in our home.  That is, on nights when I don't just cave and buy a cheeseburger at the BoBo Drive-in.

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