Quick chicken recipesPosted: 16 September 2010
>Senor recently started up his fall semester of classes and most of them are 6-9 pm. Let me be clear. This sucks. Last spring he had one night class. This summer he had one night class. I was handling a 6-9 every Wednesday night but now he has class Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays from 6-9. Two of them actually go to 9:20 which is extra-lame. The one nice thing? I can go to the gym and make dinner before he gets home, even fancy dinners. The crappy thing? I don’t see him for ages! I also have to go to the gym alone, which I hate doing, and if I want to wait and eat dinner with him, I eat at 9:45 at the earliest.
Over the summer we could only go to the gym during the week, so I got used to making some quick dinners pretty much all the time. Some of them are kind of boring but others can actually be pretty good with just a few twists. Not to get all Rachael Ray on you (ew) but I try to make dinners that are 30 minutes or less on weeknights when we go to the gym together. I roasted a chicken last week. Not a gym-night dinner. The upshot of his late classes is that I have more time for more complicated dinners, which can be nice.
I’m sure I’ll keep making some of these quick dinners even if I have more time because they’re pretty easy and sort of brainless. I can toss things in a pan and let them go for a while without thinking about it while I get the other stuff (sides) ready. A lot of my quick-fix meals involve eggs but the two I have for you today are both chicken-based and very appropriately Midwestern. There’s a meat, a potato and a veggie. Sounds thrilling right? Muwahahaha.
Lemon-Garlic-Pepper Chicken with a baked Sweet Potato and roasted Zucchini
Italian-Herb Chicken with fresh Mozzarella, sautéed Green Beans and a baked Sweet Potato
Mmmmm, delicious. We don’t do the whole ‘dry pork chop, boiled potatoes and frozen mixed veggies’ in our house. I’m too snobby for that. I think Senor has gotten to a point where he is too.
For both dinners you can just take two frozen chicken breasts (or however many you want) and plop them, frozen into a pan. I use my cast iron skillet for EVERYTHING so I just spray it with some Pam, turn it onto low and let it go. When I can hear it sizzling from the other room I go back in, flip them, and add a bit of water to the pan to deglaze. Just keep flipping and deglazing until they’re done. I sprinkle seasoning on towards the end. For the Lemon-Garlic-Pepper, well that’s pretty obvious. For the Italian I use garlic, black and red pepper, oregano, basil and just a pinch of sea salt.
We eat sweet potatoes a lot because they are delicious and they’re better for you than a regular potato. More fiber and fewer calories. And, did I mention? Delicious??! Two sweet potatoes in the microwave cook in approximately 7 minutes so I wait and do those after the chicken is done. Just plop the chicken onto a plate and cover it so it stays warm. If you’re doing the Italian version, layer some thin slices of mozzarella on top.
Roasted zucchini actually takes a little while to cook. I broiled ours in our toaster oven but I think you can do it a number of ways. In a toaster oven. In a cake pan in the oven. The best way to eat zucchini and summer squash is fresh off the grill but understandably, that’s not always possible. If you’re going to roast/toast it, put it in early when you start your chicken and make sure you have nice thin pieces so they cook quickly. I topped ours with a tiny bit of salt and pepper and they were perfect.
Sauteed green beans are another delicious favorite in Wee house. Once my chicken is cooked to 180, I swap out the chicken and toss in fresh green beans. I spray the pan with Pam Olive Oil and give the beans a quick coating as well. Saute on medium, tossing them as needed so nothing gets burned. When they’re about halfway done I season them with a TON of garlic, black pepper and crushed red pepper. If we’re going all-out gourmet, I’ll add shredded Parmesan as well. I like to make the beans extra spicy/flavorful since the sweet potato balances out the flavor really well. Green beans need around 10 minutes to be sauteed so they’re just soft and not soggy but not still crunchy. If they look dry, add a little water. The beans and seasonings should be shiny.
Obviously you can do a regular potato instead of a sweet potato and you could saute peas instead of beans, so it’s not like these recipes are one-of a kind creations. They’re just easy to make and eat when you don’t have hours to cook. I do actually really like a regular baked potato but if I make it, I want it to be baked for real so the skin is crunchy. I.e. no microwave.
So, these aren’t exactly difficult or complex dinners but they’re pretty damn delicious, they require very little fanciness, and they’re pretty cheap too. 😀 Oh, and that white stuff on the potatoes? Fat-free Greek yogurt. We don’t even buy sour cream anymore.