Not Your Average Cutlet

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While stewed chicken is delish and comforting, your time in the kitchen may not allow for it. In this case, it is good to stock up on chicken or pork cutlets which is essentially a boneless breast or chop that’s been cut in half to reduce cooking time. If you need a 20-minute dinner option, this balanced and flavorful option is certainly a winner. Pairing the jazzed up chicken with a whole grain like millet or a seed like quinoa, and a vegetable of choice keeps it simple and balanced.

I’ve mentioned quinoa before in posts and while it can be hit or miss on the like-o-meter, the key is to add flavor. I like to cook it with stock or wine with herbs and a touch or butter. Of course you can add a little cheese, herbs and spinach or broccoli for an alternative to broccoli and cheese rice or a variation of rice pilaf. For this dish I added white wine, water and seasoning and finished with a dab of butter.

I also kept the veggie simple by microwaving some frozen spinach with a little seasoning and butter. This dish is great with and without the addition of quinoa. If you skip the grain or seed, I would double up on the cutlets.

Check out the recipe below.

Ingredients:
Chicken:
1-1 1/2 lbs chicken cutlets (4-5 cutlets)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup sliced onion (small onion)
1 cup sliced mushroom (white or crimini)
1/2 cup sliced bell pepper
1/2 tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. coarse black pepper
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup of white wine

Quinoa:
1/2 cup dry quinoa
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup of white wine
1 tbsp. chopped basil (optional)
1/2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. onion powder

Spinach:
1 cup of spinach
1 tsp. onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. butter

Directions:
1. Rinse quinoa with water and strain. Add to a small pot with liquid and other ingredients and mix with a fork. Place over medium heat.
2. Bring quinoa to a boil and once boiling, reduce heat to low, top it and let cook for 18-20 minutes. While waiting for the quinoa to boil, peel and slice a small onion in half. Slice each half into thin strips for even-sized pieces.
3. Rinse bell pepper, cut in half and remove seeds, then slice thinly. Wipe mushrooms with a damp paper towel before slicing thinly. (Do not rinse as this can make the mushrooms tough).
4. Place a large pan with oil over medium heat to heat oil. Rinse chicken cutlets, then season with a pinch of each seasoning. Place seasoned side down, in hot pan and sear for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Season other side and then flip to cook for the same time on the other side.
5. Remove chicken to a plate and add vegetables and remaining seasoning. Let cook for 1 minute before adding liquids to deglaze the pan. Let cook for 3 minutes before adding chicken on top the veggies and reducing heat to medium low. Remove from heat after 3-5 minutes to prevent over cooking the chicken.
6. Add spinach and ingredients to bowl and place in the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes.
7. Add butter to quinoa and mix well to melt. Add some of the sautéed onions, peppers and mushrooms with quinoa, mix with fork and add to a plate. Top with chicken and more sautéed vegetables and add a serving of spinach to the plate.
8. Enjoy! (A glass of wine is a great addition.😊)

Stewed Comfort

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Cold weather calls for soups, gumbos and comfort food. One of my favorite comfort meals as a kid was stewed chicken. It’s something easy to make, whether you are breaking down a whole chicken yourself or taking some help from the store with a mixed pack or a package of your favorite piece of meat. It’s helpful, when you can, to go for the whole chicken whether the store cuts it up or you and you can save parts for gumbo or a homemade stock for some chicken noodle soup for another week. Stewed chicken is simple dish and easy to serve over rice or with potatoes. I like to double down on the veggies with sautéed greens and a side salad. The cook time is about 1 hour and 15 minutes, though the slow cooking for the latter 35 minutes can be spent elsewhere in the house with a set phone or stove timer. Though a standard 10″ deep pan will do, a cast iron pot or a Dutch oven. Check out the recipe below.

Ingredients:
1 3-3 1/2 chicken (cut into serving pieces)
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion (2 cups diced)
1 small bell pepper (1 cup diced)
4 cloves of garlic ( 2 tbsp.)
1 tbsp. onion power
1tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
2 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. salted butter
1 cup chicken stock or water

Directions:
1. Add olive oil to a large pot over medium heat.
2. Rinse chicken and pat dry with a paper towel before sprinkling on salt and pepper. Brown chicken in 2-3 batches for 2-3 minutes per side. Add batch to a plate once browned and repeat.
3. Add butter and then flour to melted butter. Using a fork or whisk, mix flour continuously for 3-5 minutes, browning in the pan dripping and butter. Once brown, add water or stock and remaining seasoning and mix with the fork or whisk.
4. Peel and mince garlic. Peel and dice onion and bell pepper.
5. Add onion and bell pepper, garlic and chicken back to the pan. Top and reduce to medium-low heat to simmer for 30-35 minutes.
6. Put on rice 10 minutes after chicken begins to simmer so that food is ready about the same time.
7. Plate and enjoy.

A Bit Of Chicken

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I knew this would be a week where I would need to eat dinner quickly to get work done and workouts in, so I went with my favored chicken legs. I am a huge fan of making half the pan of baked chicken flavored different ways and I continued that trend this week with my pan of 10. I seasoned half the chicken with cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne and the other half with smoked paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper.

For sides I rinsed and warmed a can of organic black beans that I mixed with cumin, canned diced tomato and cilantro as one side. I also brought a few ears of corn that I cut off the cob and seasoned with fresh herbs, salt and pepper.

For my lunch and dinner this week, I alternated between chicken with those two sides, chicken tacos and a basil and peach salad that all used that original pan of chicken from Sunday.

The chicken took 35 minutes to cook, the black beans 10 minutes to be warmed through and seasoned and the mango pico took 10 minutes to make. I cut the corn off the cob and seasoned it as needed for meals since it doesn’t need to be cooked and also diced tomato and cucumber for salad lunches in the morning before work.

The “cooking” this week took less than an hour for 10 of my 15 workday meals and also totaled $24.91 or 2.49 per meal. It helps if you can pick flavors and main items first and build from there. See the details below and give meal planning a try!

1 can of organic black beans – $.89
1 can diced tomatoes- $.98
2 ears of corn- $.29/each
Romaine and arugula- $7
Chicken legs- $2.31
Hola Tortillas- $2.59
Fresh tomatoes- $5
Cucumbers- $1
Peaches- $2
Mango- $.98
Avocado-$.99
Cilantro- $.59

A Bit Of Simple

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I mentioned in the last post that I was really going to apply my Sunday game plan over the few weeks to do meal planning for the week on a budget. For this week I decided to work with baked chicken and a variety of sides including the dish listed below. Chicken is an easy win because you can literally season it any way you’d like. If making twice or triple the amount, I would challenge you to put one half of the servings in a marinade and simply dress the other half in olive oil, rosemary and salt and pepper for some variety. Since corn is technically a whole grain and not a vegetable, I figured it could count in both categories for an easy meal. It’s always great to pick one or two and grab extra veggies for an easy side salad. Check out the recipe below and certainly share your thoughts.
Oven baked chicken and tabouli corn relish

Chicken ingredients:
1 package of chicken legs (4-6)
1 tbsp. local marinade (olive oil, herbs, citrus)
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper

Tabouli and corn relish
2 husks of corn (1 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup of tabouli (mom’s garden)
1 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt

Directions:
1. Combine all of the chicken ingredients into a ziploc bag. Close it and shake it well and rub in ingredients to make sure it is well blended.
2. On a foil-lined baking sheet, and chicken in an even line. Add to a 350 degree oven and bake for 30-45 minutes depending on size of chicken legs.
3. Remove husk corn and rinse corn well.
4. Cut off the kernels into a small bowl with the flattest end down into the bowl for stability.
5. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
6. Serve and enjoy.