Time is of the essence.
An age-old saying which could be the motto for this stage in my life. A twenty-something woman has a lot on her plate. A lot of us have not just one, but two jobs (three in my case). Often we work shifts, have boyfriends, appointments, family dinners and daily social engagements. Besides that, we take our time to get ready, sometimes contemplating for 20 minutes or more on a single outfit. We wait for our nails to dry, for our blackberries to be charged, for our skirts to be ironed. We rely on other people for drives, if we haven’t already missed the bus by one, stupid minute. We take yoga classes, play on teams, go on dates … write blogs … We plan our days by the second, making sure everything fits into place and hoping there’s time to maybe, if we’re lucky, get in a few good hours of sleep.
I, for one, over-pack my schedule and sometimes think in a contest against the Energizer Bunny, I’d probably win. In keeping with the first recipe I shared with you nuts, I’m always looking for timesaving secrets. Every minute of my day counts because God knows I’m probably already late for something. So I present to you my go-to meal, “Catherine’s famous dinner” as Kate so affectionately calls it.
I love to cook but in no way consider myself an exotic master of the kitchen. I’m big on taste and simplicity. The reason this recipe is so useful is because I can simultaneously do tasks (wash my hair, shave my legs, change my outfit – six times, etc.) while it cooks. So by the time the buzzer rings I’m half way to getting ready and have a mostly healthy meal waiting for me that’s not thawed in the microwave.
– 1 -2 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
– green vegetable of some sort (broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts)
– 1 sweet potato
– hot sauce
– (light) parmesan cheese
– spices: chilli flakes, garlic salt, black pepper
Step 1: I always make two chicken breasts even if I’m eating alone. That was I have meat for my lunch salad or sandwich the next day. Take the chicken and place it in a ziplock bag. Pour a generous portion of hot sauce in and make sure the chicken is coated everywhere. If you’re a star you could do this the night before and let it marinate over night, but I usually just let it sit while I cut up my potato.
Step 2: Chop the sweet potato into slices and then quarters. Make sure the slices aren’t too thick because you want the potato to be cooked through. If you’re using broccoli or any other veggie that needs to be cut also, now would be the time.
Step 3: Place both chicken breasts and potatoes in a large pyrex dish or on a baking sheet covered in tin foil. Make sure the potatoes are in a single layer. Pour the extra hot sauce from the ziplock bag over the chicken. Spread a little margarine on top of the potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste.
Step 4: Spice up your chicken. I like things ultra hot so I’m generous with the chilli flakes. Shake on a little garlic salt and black pepper as well. The parmesan cheese is the perfect touch, use as much as you like.
Step 5: Place in oven, on the middle rack, at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. Chicken takes a while to cook through so here is where I run off to complete part of my “getting ready” to-do list.
Step 6: After your shower (etc) check on the meal and flip the potatoes with a spatula. Generally I let everything cook an extra five minutes at this point allowing me to cook the veggies. If you have a few extra minutes you can boil them on the stove top, but I usually throw them in a microwaveable tupperware container with some water and a pinch of margarine for 5 minutes on high. Leave the lid open a crack and make sure to be careful when you’re pouring out the water – it’s HOT!
Step 7: You know the meal is ready when u can stick a fork into one of the potatoes and it comes out clean. Always cut into the chicken to make sure it’s cooked properly – all white, but still juicy.
Step 8: Enjoy, preferably with a glass of wine. But don’t lounge for too long, those nails won’t paint themselves… In a nutshell.
** A yummy variation on this meal for the non-spicy lovers is to coat the chicken breasts in Creamy Alfredo sauce. Delish. **