We’ve all been there! Tough day at the office. Our beloved partner is tied up in a client meeting (why don’t they just call it business cocktails with an appetizer or two thrown in for good measure?). The kids have been home from school for hours. They’re glued to their cell phones or game console. The likelihood of homework being done is right up there with solving global warming. But everyone’s hungry. What’s a soul to do?
Yes, a bowl or three of Lucky Charms could solve everything. Takeout is a godsend. But we love food, we love to cook, and every so often our conscience is nagging that we’re getting an F for good parenting. Hence the 5-minute dinner.
Chicken first! Who doesn’t love chicken? Who doesn’t love it juicy and crispy and salty? And what could be easier to make? One family pack of breasts, a little oil, some yummy salt and pepper, and into the oven it goes. Voila!
Now, to solve your nutritional guilt, zucchini is your best friend. Not only is it the easiest vegetable to prepare, but it is also the cheapest. I swear, I often wonder how farmers make a living on anything that costs $1.19/pound and diced and sautéed can feed a family of twelve.
Lastly, since the second you command that your kids turn off those phones, they are going to shriek that they are starving. So here is a fun midwinter starch. Stuffing with a few accompaniments to liven it up. Again, cooks up in 5 minutes and is awesome for sopping up all that juicy chicken tenderness.
Nothing in this preparation takes more than 5 minutes. And bonus time, while the chicken is sitting in the oven for the 45 minute that it takes to cook (unwatched), you can clear all those annoying emails and cozy up with a glass of Cabernet.
Baked Chicken and Veggies
For the chicken:
• Preheat oven to 375
• Place breasts in glass baking dish and paint lightly with extra virgin olive oil
• Season with salt and pepper (or any fun seasonings)
• Place baking dish in oven and cook for 45-60 minutes or so
• Cut into thick part of breast to test done-ness
For the veggies:
• Buy crisp zucchini or squash, and wash
• Dice with skin on into small chunks
• Pour into mixing bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper
• When chicken is done, heat a little more oil in wok or frying pan
• Add garlic or onion to oil and sauté lightly (do not brown)
• Toss in veggies and flash fry, tossing often until hot and still a little crunchy
• Red pepper or carrots add a nice dash of color to this dish
You can do this dinner for two or six people. It does not add to the time nor the simplicity. And it goes well with stuffing, rice, mac ‘n cheese, a baked potato – any starchy side dish your kids crave and cooks up in 5 minutes or so.