Monday, September 3, 2012

in the kitchen: final challenge update

Good morning!  How was your weekend?  We watched Sister Act 2 with Tommy (he loves music) and took a couple walks on Saturday and then listened to the rain pour down almost all day yesterday.  Hopefully you're off from work today and enjoying the holiday with family or friends or both.  We're cooking out later (if it doesn't rain!) and getting ready for Big T's first day of Kindergarten tomorrow!  I'm right on the line between being ok and losing it - hopefully I can keep it together tomorrow morning when I drop him off. 

It's been a couple weeks since we've talked about the kitchen challenge, and now it's over!  How'd you do?  Confession:  we went out to dinner on Friday night before the challenge was officially over.  It was Will's cousin's 31st birthday on the 31st and a blue moon so we decided to go out and celebrate with her.  I've been keeping notes on our dinners though, so here's a list of what we've eaten since I last posted:

08/13  Jamie Oliver's Ragu with Pasta (from here), green beans
Notes:  The sauce was good, but we like ours a little sweeter (my dad makes a mean spaghetti sauce that has brown sugar in it!).

08/14  Cookout in PA with family - hamburgers and hotdogs, etc.
Notes:  So love grilling - always good.

08/15  (In PA) Pasta with sauce, salad
Notes:  Tommy and Annabel's favorite meal.

08/16  (In PA) Dani's white lasagna
Notes:  Really good!  Need recipe!

08/17  (In PA) Pasta with basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella
Notes:  Always delicious.

(I'm just realizing that we ate a lot of pasta this week!)

08/18 (In PA; Annabel's birthday; Mom and Dad's suprise anniversary party!)  Grilled meat and veggie skewers, coleslaw, salad, bread, cupcakes
Notes:  PARTY!

08/19  (In PA) Leftover skewers, salad
Notes:  Just as good the second time around.

08/20  Spaghetti and veggies
Notes:  Kids and I got home from PA around 6:30 and Will had dinner waiting for us! 

08/21  BLT's, corn-on-the-cob
Notes:  Favorite summer meal; kids ate waffles, bacon and fruit.

08/22  Grilled cheese sandwiches, salad
Notes:  Will and Tommy had turkey, bacon, and American cheese; Annabel had plain cheese; I had turkey, brie, and apples.  A hit all around!  Should have used a more sturdy bread though...all I had was regular sandwich bread. Would have been better with something a little thicker.

08/23  Beef Wellington (from here)
Notes:  Really good - loved by all four of us.  Little time consuming - would be better made on Saturday or Sunday when there's more time.

08/24  Chicken tacos (from here)
Notes:  Not my favorite - the chicken is cooked in a lot of tomato sauce which gave it a really different taste.  Not the way I like my taco meat.  Surprisingly, Will thought it was pretty good. 

08/25  Egg scramble with bacon and veggies, toast
Notes:  I love eggs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner - always good.

08/26  Leftovers
Notes:  Cleaning out the fridge!

08/27  Spaghetti, green beans, salad
Notes:  Family favorite - we eat this at least once a  week (as you can plainly see).

08/28  Scrambled eggs with toast
Notes:  So quick and easy

08/29  Crunchy garlic chicken (also from Jamie's Food Revolution), salad
Notes:  Tommy LOVED this, which was surprising since it was green...I added a little bit more parsley than the receipe called for so the bread crumbs were completely green!)  I baked my chicken, but next time I would cook it on the stovetop.  Also, need to add more lemon next time.

08/30  BBQ chicken salad
Notes:  So good, and quick since I cooked the chicken the night before.

08/31  Erin's birthday dinner at Plaza Azteca!
Notes:  I don't miss eating out as much as I thought I would.  I always eat too much when I eat in a restaurant!

So there it is!  Challenge complete...well, minus one day.  How did you do?  Did you last until the bitter end?  I'd love to hear!

Since the Crunchy Garlic Chicken was such a hit, I thought I'd share the recipe.  You might have all the ingredients on hand in your kitchen right at this very moment.

Serves 4
2 cloves of garlic
2 lemons
36 saltine crackers
4 Tbsp butter
8 sprigs of fresh Italian parsley
sea salt and black pepper
4 heaped Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
4 skinless chicken breast fillets
olive oil

To prepare your chicken:
Peel garlic and zest lemon  *  Put crackers into food processor with butter, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt and pepper  *  Pulse until mixture is very fine, then pour onto a plate  *  Sprinkle flour on to a second plate  *  Crack eggs into a small bowl and beat with a fork  *  Lightly score the underside of the chicken breasts  *  Put a square of plastic wrap over each one and bash a few times to flatten out (I used the really thin chicken breasts so skipped this step)  *  Dip the chicken into the flour until both sides are completely coated, then dip into the egg and then the crumbs  *  Push crumbs onto the chicken so they stick and chicken is completely coated

To cook your chicken:
If baking, preheat oven to 475, place chicken on a sheet pan and cook for 15 minutes  *  If frying, heat pan over medium heat, add a few good lugs of olive oil, and cook for 4-5 min. per side, until golden and crisp

To serve your chicken:
Serve whole or cut into strips  *  Sprinkle with lemon juice and sea salt  *  Great with a lovely fresh salad or simply dressed veggies


My advice:  cook extra (plain) chicken and eat BBQ chicken salad for dinner the next night...

In a glass cake pan or pie plate, layer romaine lettuce, green pepper, red onion, black beans, corn, avacado,  broken tortilla chips, and chicken.  Mix equal amounts of your favorite BBQ sauce and rance dressing to drizzle over top.  Delicious!  (Thank you, Carrie, for this salad recipe!) 

Have a great week!  I'll be back on Thursday to show you Annabel's blanket and my newest knitting projects. 

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed all the yummy recipes and morning routines. Here is a tip for getting a muffin pan or any other baked on pan clean...fill with water and add some dry dishwasher soap,(the kind you put in the appliance that I don't have) let soak, and it will come clean easy peasy. :)