Cutlet out!

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Chicken Cutlets with Quick Pan Sauce

This is a quick and delicious meal that looks elegant but is perfect for a weeknight meal. I serve it with Crispy Smashed Potatoes and steamed broccoli. It’s very quiet when the family eats this meal. Very.Quiet.

The original recipe calls for chicken cutlets, but I like to use skinless, boneless chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are more flavorful than cutlets. You can often buy these thighs on sale. Buy several packages. Remove any extra fat, pound them to uniform thickness and toss them in the freezer. You can use these for a delicious Chicken Parmesan as well.

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs

salt and pepper

2 tbsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. butter

½ cut white wine

½ cup water or chicken stock

¼ chopped fresh parsley, or freeze-dried parsley, plus 2 tbsp. for garnish

1 lemon, juiced

Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Put the flour on a plate or shallow bowl next to the stove. Put the chicken between plastic wrap and pound with a heavy pan, until the chicken is uniform in thickness.

Place chicken on a cookie sheet and season with salt and pepper.

Put oil and 2 tbsp. butter in a large skillet over the medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, dredge the chicken, one piece at a time, through the flour, shaking off any excess. Place chicken in hot pan, repeating the dredging with the next piece of chicken. Work in batches to avoid crowding the pan. Throw out any remaining flour.

Cook the chicken for about 3-4 minutes on one side before turning the chicken over. You want to brown both sides of the chicken. Once the second side has browned, remove the chicken from the hot pan and place it in an oven safe pan. You can check for doneness by cutting into a piece. If it’s still pink, cook it a little longer on the stovetop.

Once all pieces have been cooked on the stovetop, place the chicken in the oven while you make the pan sauce. This will keep the chicken warm and finish cooking any pieces that may not be quite done.

Add the wine to the skillet, keeping the heat at medium-high. Let the wine reduce by half, while you scrape the brown flavorful bits from the bottom and sides of pan. Add the water or chicken broth and continue to stir until the liquid has thickened slightly and reduces a bit more. Add a tablespoon of butter to the skillet and swirl the pan around until the butter is melted. Add the parsley. Turn off the heat. The first time I made this I measured exactly. You don’t really have to. I like to make extra sauce so I eyeball it. You can do this when you cook, not bake. Taste as you go along. You can add salt or more water if need be.

Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, squeezing the lemon juice over the chicken. Sprinkle with additional parsley for garnish if you’d like.

This is a perfect recipe if you’re cooking for yourself or for a group. You can play with the sauce ingredient amounts.The leftovers are delicious too, so make extra!

The original recipe is Mark Bittman’s. Here is the recipe with thorough directions and variations.

Enjoy!

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Dinner in a pinch!

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Flabread Pizza with Spinach, Caramelized Onions and Feta

Week.night.dinner. Did you just roll your eyes and sigh? Me too. As much as I love to cook, I don’t enjoy cooking on weeknights. By the time you get home, the thought of making dinner is a bit overwhelming. Add traffic, a stop at the grocery store and other errands, and the dinner clock is ticking at half-past-where’s-dinner. The Greek chorus is crooning, “we’re hungry, feed us NOW!” The sun is setting and I am longingly looking at my knitting. Sigh. I often call on my standard, uninspiring failsafe meals like pasta, sauce and sausages. My kids know it’s Monday when I make this dinner. Quick and simple. Last night I had to stop at the grocery store for dinner makings. It had been a gloriously sunny day and making dinner was not on my mind until my lunchtime walk. Luckily I remembered this wonderful recipe. It needs only a few ingredients that you may have already. I grabbed all of them in a few minutes and headed home. It’s delicious. You can use a combination of any cheese that you have around the house; it doesn’t have to be feta cheese. The boys aren’t fans of caramelized onions or feta, so they went without the onions and I used a blend of cheese. Still delicious. If you have any leftover cooked vegetables, you could toss these on before you add the cheese. Use your imagination. Just remember one thing, keep it simple. Sometimes simple is delicious.

Naan or other flat bread

Alfredo sauce

Fresh baby spinach leaves

Cooked chicken

Caramelized onions

Feta cheese, or other cheese of choice

I usually make one flatbread pizza for each person. I buy them 2 to a package at my grocery store. I try to keep a few in the freezer for emergencies. I buy the Alfredo sauce. If you don’t have leftover chicken, a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store is perfect for this. Caramelized onions take about a half hour to cook. I start these right away when I get home. Once they are on the stove, I look at the mail, check my email and glance at the news. When the onions are almost done, I start to assemble the flatbread pizzas. No fancy pans or machines needed. Easy cleanup too! You can use as much or as little of each ingredient. It’s up to you!

Layer the above ingredients on the flatbread and cook in a 400-degree oven for about 10 minutes. Shall I repeat this? Just a word to the wise, the feta cheese doesn’t melt. The combination of cheese that I use does melt, so I put that on and then the feta. Since everything is cooked, you are really waiting for the cheese to melt and the spinach to wilt. This is a perfect meal for one or however many people you have to feed. I am using the leftover spinach, chicken, and cheese with some hardboiled eggs for my work dinner salad tonight. Nothing’s wasted here!

Here’s my Ina moment, “How easy is that?”

Credit to Our Best Bites for the original recipe!

It’s all about the sweet, ’bout the sweet, no! Salty….

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Birthday Cake Batter Popcorn

 

I’ve tried to make many recipes that involve cake mixes. They usually go terribly wrong for me. This one, however, called out to me. It’s two things at once (Doublemint gum reference!): sweet and salty. Kids love this recipe. They love anything coated in sprinkles. I have found most adults are first curious about this popcorn, and then, addicted to it. If you have small children, this is perfect for birthday parties. You can fill zip snack bags with it. Use it to fill up those gift bags you feel obligated to hand out at the end of the exhausting party. As always with children, check for food allergies. If you are thinking of making this with your small children. Just.stop.now. If you want to be picking up sticky popcorn and sprinkles off your kitchen floor, then go ahead. I would at least try it once by yourself before doing this with children of any age. There are a couple of tricks that you need to master.

 

1 ½ cups of melted almond bark (vanilla) or white chocolate chips

¼ cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)

1 ½ cups of white or yellow cake mix (non-pudding ones)

6 cups Popcorn (I used microwaved, but stove top works too. Just remember to salt it.

¼ sprinkles

Mini pretzels, mini M & M’s, or any other candy you’d like. (optional)

 

I place the popcorn on a parchment lined baking sheet. I’ve tried many methods of coating the popcorn with the chocolate and this works best. It’s a little messy, but more manageable than a bowl. I use the best tools I have to coat the popcorn: my hands.

 

Melt the almond bark/chocolate in the microwave. I use a microwave safe glass bowl. Put it in the microwave for 20 second intervals. I like to stir between each 20 seconds until it’s full melted. Chocolate can burn, so be careful.

Add the vegetable shortening to the almond bark/white chocolate and stir until it’s melted. I sometimes have to put it back in the microwave to completely melt the shortening. It helps to cut up the shortening before you put it in the bowl.

Then add the cake mix to the almond bark/chocolate. Stir until it’s all incorporated.

Pour the coating onto the popcorn and coat evenly. Again, I use my hands to toss it, you can use two spoons. My prize at the end is to lick off the hardened chocolate from my fingers during cleanup. Sprinkle immediately with…..sprinkles! I like to use the multi-colored ones that look like jimmies. If you’re not from Massachusetts, then the ones that look like chocolate sprinkles. You say potato, I say……

Let the popcorn mixture harden. It doesn’t take that long. You’ll find it impossible to stop sampling it. When it’s hardened you can break it up as much or as little as you like. Keep it in an airtight container. It won’t last long!

 

The original recipe is from the Tasty Kitchen blog found on the Pioneer Woman’s website. I just tried to link it, but the site is down, probably for maintenance.