Friday, June 29, 2007

Playing with Necessity

While it can be both healthy and fun to make a meal from scratch, there are some times when the idea of planning and executing a meal seems just too much. Our family has had just such a situation lately and I thought I would share it since, let's face it, we all live very busy lives these days.

We own two rental properties, one of them a World War II duplex that was our first home in Historic Hilton Village. When the latest tenant moved out, we decided to make some improvements to the house, and to remain within the budget, it required that all the interior painting be done by our sweat equity labor so our days and weekends have been taken up by scraping, patching, priming and painting, leaving not a lot of energy at the end of the day for cooking (and no time to go grocery shopping!) Combine this with very hot weather and you have the perfect basis for one of those "what do you want?... No, what do you want?" evenings.

One night we had egg salad sandwiches, another night I made tuna salad on a bed of sliced avocados and Roma tomatoes, but last night, we wanted some "real food". Unfortunately, my husband, since I started this blog, just says "make something up,... it will be good" No pressure.

So I took a package of boneless skinless chicken thighs, and inspired by a lemon-caper chicken I once made I took what I had... and renovation chicken was the result! I hesitate to call this a recipe since I didn't measure anything, I just kept tasting until the dish had the flavor I wanted. Because I also had no energy to do dishes, this chicken dish took one pan. As I said, I used what I had on hand so you could change the recipe based on what you had in you fridge, and it would still be good. If I did this again (on purpose) I would serve it with some crusty bread, since the pan juices were great for "sopping" (Sorry, I'm a Southerner!)

Play with Food "Renovation Chicken"

1 pkg boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 5)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium yellow squash

1/2 cup drained sundried tomatoes

1 cup marinated artichoke hearts

1/2-2/3 cup of white wine

2 tablespoons capers

1 small can sliced mushrooms (I told you that is what I had, you could use fresh!)

2-3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Put oil in large frying pan, add garlic and chicken pieces. Brown chicken on both sides then add all the vegetables. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine, salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer another 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and cook another 5 minutes. Taste and check seasoning. Serve with a delicious crusty bread. A delicious and easy one-pan meal!!


C'tina said...

Quite an accomplishment in any circumstance, the flavors sound fantastic!

Deborah Dowd said...

C'tina- Necessity is the mother of invention! I should've taken a picture, but we were too hungry!

BC said...

We have the same situation. We put a lot of sweat equity into our property and then look at each other when mealtime comes around - usually 1&1/2 hours after mealtime. I refuse to pick up drive thru food. Instead, I tell my children a eggs are fast food...and they are!

christine (myplateoryours) said...

I don't know -- the egg salad sounds just about right to me! Maybe because I am short on physical labor these days. :)

Deborah Dowd said...

bc-We recently found frittatas and they are a great way to have eggs for dinner too!

Christine- Our egg salad dinner was great-easy and light (and easy on the cook!)

Glenna said...

Excellent! You cook the way I cook. Really, when you think about it, recipes aren't for you, they're for other people to recreate what you did. So what you did do was experiment and be thrifty with what you already had and you were creative. All of my favorite things. Looks yummy.