"Bacon is the candy of meat."

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dinner is Served

Photo from Food & Wine, my plating isn't halfway as attractive as this.

I'm going to do a massive post at some point about all the joys and frustrations I'm experiencing in cooking dinner more or less daily for a family of five, including three young gentlemen who are, shall we say, not all that diplomatic about expressing their point of view about the offered fare, but I figure if I wait to get it all written, another month will have gone by before I get it all assembled and then I'll have to catch up all over again.

So here is a report on last night's meal, and I hope to update daily-ish. It might get really boring for everyone involved, so I might just start posting highlights and lowlights, but we'll see as it unfolds.

I really wasn't sure what I wanted to make. Some days I feel inspired or have a craving, so those are easy. Some days I am super incredibly uninspired, so we have a Tea Dinner or I fall back on the oh-so-reliant Mother's Little Helper of Annie's Mac & Cheese, some frozen edamame, and some sauteed chunks of boneless chicken breast (a/k/a Daddy Chicken). Or we get pizza.

I knew I wanted to make something but was just out of ideas. I checked out some of the Buzzfeed Food lists, and found some attractive options at a page called "51 Healthy Weeknight Dinners That'll Make You Feel Great." Sold!

I went with a nice simple recipe from Food & Wine for Curried Chicken & Vegetable Pan Roast. It's boneless chicken thighs in a quick curried yogurt marinade (just yogurt, curry powder, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper) roasted over a bed of cubed butternut squash, halved Brussels sprouts, and red onion wedges that have been tossed in canola oil and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. As suggested, I served it with a little extra yogurt and naan, plus some leftover basmati rice.

I love a one-pan dish, and extra points for the two-stage prep taking place in the same bowl, so fewer dishes to wash.The most time-consuming task was breaking down the squash into cubes, which wasn't really that terrible. If you have access to the precut squash, this is a good use for it, and will help get dinner on the table even faster. Stated cooking time was 60 minutes, and I think I could cut that down, because everything looked good after 40. The extra 15 I gave it made the squash softer than it probably had to be.

Verdict: Mr. Gateau ate two servings of vegetables, which isn't a given, older boys pretty much cleaned their plates without nagging, younger boy ate only starch, which seems to be how things are going lately, and I felt very satisfied with just the chicken and vegetables. I expect this dish (and pan-roast variations) will be in heavy rotation going forward.

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