Friday, June 18, 2010

A Little Slice of Reality

I think it's clear by now that I have no great culinary wisdom to share with you.  However, I will pass on an easy recipe that's really tasty and takes very little time to prepare.  It doesn't really fit in with my quest to use less processed foods, but that's a work in progress, so we'll go with an old favorite from the Kraft kitchens with a little twist:

Baked Pesto Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 packet of Shake and Bake Chicken Coating Mix
2 Tbsp Pesto (homemade if you're industrious, but I use a jar of Buitoni premade)
2 Roma Tomatoes - sliced
1/4 cup Mozzarella Cheese

PREHEAT oven to 400ºF. Coat chicken with coating mix. Place in baking dish.
BAKE 20 min. or until chicken is cooked through (165ºF).
TOP chicken with pesto and tomato slices, and sprinkle with cheese. Bake an additional 5 min. or until cheese is melted.

It's super easy and super yummy.  And you can omit the Shake and Bake and/or the tomatoes and it is still pretty fantastic, but I like it just as it is.  And just a note - I don't know about you, but I'm a freak about making sure chicken is fully cooked, so I usually let this go a little longer than the 20 minutes suggested.  I could buy a meat thermometer and simplify this process, but why, oh why, would I make life easier on myself when I could spend all that time worrying and overcooking my chicken instead?

But let's be honest...if we're not eating out, this is what dinner really looks like at my house most nights:

I haven't inked my endorsement deal with Morningstar Farms yet, but if they could see my freezer, they'd totally hire me.  But that's beside the point.  So my secret is out.  My pantry/freezer staples have been revealed.  On nights when work has been killer and I just don't have an ounce of energy left, I can't bring myself to stand in front of the stove for what will inevitably be at least an hour (regardless of what the recipe  says) and then tackle the dishes afterward.  We're also on the go fairly often and sometimes time just does not permit.  Luckily Mark is pretty easygoing and he'll eat just about whatever I prepare.  (I did however, wait to tell him that the BBQ Riblets and Italian Chik'n fillets were veggie patties until after he ate and enjoyed them.  Worked like a charm!)  We do some grilling, we make some crockpot meals, and though I act like I don't, I really do cook warm homemade meals fairly often, but this is the stuff that gets us by in the in-between times.  Suzie Homemaker I am not.  And I'm really quite okay with that.

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