Monday, March 8, 2010

chx/starch/veg

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Oh, and while I'm sitting here, I will update with my dinner, too. When we do our meal plan every week, we try not to go too crazy on meat. We don't eat much meat to begin with, because it's expensive (or rather, because we choose to buy expensive meat for a variety of reasons.) but we get tired of chicken so we try not to get one more than once or twice a month. (More during soup season, though.) When we get a chicken we break it down into breasts & whole legs, then use the carcass for stock.

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Because the breasts are boneless and can't stand up to long cooking as well, we almost always use them as just a grilled or baked protein, with a side of vegetables and some kind of grain. I am fine with straight up brown rice, but my husband gets really bored with that (and I know that he misses fluffy white jasmine, but whatever dude- it's for the greater good) so this week our meal labeled "CHX/VEG/WHATEVER" became CHX/VEG/POLENTA.

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Because I'm lazy and also because it's DELICIOUS, the vegetable is usually just something roasted in a pan in the oven. I can start it before I start all the other stuff, it's low maintenance, and DUDE HAVE YOU EVER HAD OVEN ROASTED BROCCOLI? Olive oil, salt & pepper, 425ยบ til it's done. Do it right now. Let the edges get crispy. CRISPY BROCCOLI.

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You'll notice that my chicken breast looks sad and skinless. This is not because I am restricting my calories, which I am- this is because chicken skin is DELICIOUS and I ate it immediately after it came out from under the broiler, while it was still really crispy. It was awesome. Chicken skin only adds something dumb like 50 calories, you guys- and you're eating DINNER so just eat the extra 50 calories. It tastes good. And it keeps the chicken moist.

When I make chicken breasts I just salt & pepper it, pan fry it on my cast iron on either side until it's nicely browned, then I pop it into the oven (which is already hot because I roasted some vegetables, remember?) skin side up until it's done, usually 10 or 15 minutes, I think? I just keep an eye on it and I also use a meat thermometer because I'm a little weird about cooking meat. Right before it's ready to come out, I turn the broiler on high to crisp the skin back up. Then I immediately gobble the skin because that's the part that tastes good.

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Tonight's polenta might have been my favorite I've ever made. We like our polenta on the soft side, not molded or whatever. I got it started before I started the chicken, actually. I sauteed finely chopped celery, carrot, and garlic in some butter and bacon fat until they were very soft, and then I dumped in a cup of polenta and mixed it in until it coated all the veggies. I toasted it in the pan for a minute or two and then dumped in 3 cups of heated chicken stock and turned the heat down to low and stirred it often until it was just barely stiff.

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I love dinner like this. And I love that it's light out long enough to take natural light photos of my dinner. Time changes in a week or so, right? AWESOME. The more daylight, the merrier, please.

15 comments:

brandysart said...

I've never had polenta but I've wanted to try it for awhile...what exactly does it taste like?

Shanna said...

Sing it for the daylight/natural-light food pictures sista! ;)

Tyler said...

I recommend a little sugar on the broccoli before roasting.

Wendy said...

Yum, that sounds so tasty. I haven't ever made polenta and will have to try it. Soon. Like tonight. Thanks for the recipe.

Also, oven roasted vegetables are my favorite. Now that asparagus is in season, I could eat it all the time. I love how brown and crispy it can get. Though I think cauliflower is still my favorite.

If you're interested, you can scroll down to the bottom of this post to see a bowl of roasted Indian cauliflower. So very tasty!

http://wisdomofthemoon.blogspot.com/2009/11/mexican-cabbage.html

LoveFeast Table said...

I'm so freakin' ready for daylight savings to kick in!! Come on sunshine...and fresh veggies!

julie said...

i am a little late on replying to your cooking with bacon fat - but do you just save your bacon grease, or buy it seperately??

Sarah said...

So excited today that you had 3 posts I hadn't read yet.
Add lemon juice to the roasted broccoli, it makes it wonderful.
I loooove chicken skin. Don't care if it's fatty, it makes my glucose level very happy for some reason.

pity said...

I love polenta, any shape, any thickness, and your dish is a real beauty, cheers from london

Dani said...

What did we do to deserve so many posts?!? Must be the new computer. Jealous.

hannah said...

precisely. what bother counting calories??

Alicia Lynn Carrier said...

hannah, to answer your question: because i was fat.

i do count my calories, all of them.

Eliana said...

This sounds like a fantastic dinner and I think I'm gonna make polenta like this tonight :)

eileen said...

man, we made polenta from scratch for the first time last week, and it was so good: big soft whacks of delicious mush with chickpea-tomato curry over the top. the best part is leftover polenta and a fried egg for breakfast.

kate so said...

Thought of you last night when we were making our bean/rice/veggie burritos. Sometimes when I want to add a little more interest I cut up some cabbage real find, chop a bunch of cilantro, and dice a 1/2 of onion. Then I juice a lime and throw in some salt and sugar till its the right tart - salty - sweet taste I like. Pour it on the cabbage mix and chill for a bit. So good.

Cheers.

Lisa Eirene said...

I love polenta. AND chicken skin! :)

P.S.
Hello fellow Portlander!