I got a really good deal on boneless, skinless, chicken breasts at Hornbachers on Saturday so this week is going to be chicken week on A Solitary Feast.
Let’s start chicken week with an idea I stole from Melissa Joulawan’s Well Fed Cookbook. Melissa’s idea is brilliant in it’s simplicity so brilliant it hurts. Her idea is called a hot plate. She cooks up a couple of kinds of protien at the beginning of the week then uses the basic formula of 3 – 6 oz of protien + 2 cups vegetables + seasoning + good fat to get meals on the table during the week in 15 minutes or so. Like I said, the idea is so brilliant it hurts. Melissa then gives over 40 different hot plate ideas to try.
The problem is I am not much of a meal prepper so I am probably not going to have pre cooked proteins laying around. I love the idea so much, though, I have been playing around with it to see if I could make them totally from scratch and still keep the prep and cooking time to 20 minutes or less. The good new is you can. I will be posting more of my hot plate recipes as I go along. I used my homemade Madras Curry powder. You can find the recipe here. You could use any curry powder you have if you don’t want to make your own.
In a 12″ skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the chicken, tomatoes, curry powder and salt. Mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, 10 minutes. Add the spinach and cover until the spinach is wilted.
3 cups chicken broth
¼ cup white rice
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
½ cup raw or cooked chicken
salt and pepper
Put broth in a large pot over medium high heat. When it is just about boiling, turn the heat down so that it bubbles but not vigorously. Stir in the rice, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the chicken. If it is raw, cook until it is cooked through, 5-8 minutes. If it is cooked, 2-3 minutes until hot. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary
This week has truly sucked rocks. One of my coworkers passed away on Wednesday. I found out my Aunt Janis is deathly ill. And because I am having problems with my phone, I can’t reach out to the people I normally do when the shit hits the fan. I am starting to feel isolated and alone. I think it is time for a gratitude post.
Gratitude posts are my way to remember to be thankful for the little bits of good that are wrapped up in the bad. I usually write them in a notebook by my bed but today I wanted to share 5 things I am grateful for this week with my lovely readers.
1. Being able to help a new coworker with some clothes and a pair of shoes. Her ex roommate stole all her clothes and money. I can’t help with the money. I do, however, have a pair of shoes and several pairs of pants and some tops that don’t fit me but should fit her.
2. Having enough money leftover from buying groceries to get a pretzel and a soda while I waited for the bus.
3. An extraordinarily good batch of my homemade spaghetti sauce.
4. Steph stopping by work to see me because we can’t text each other a million times a day.
5. The first season of MASH on DVD.
I was amazed at how this tastes exactly like the boxed version of stove top stuffing. It doesn’t take long to make even if you don’t make the packets ahead of time. Although it is good right out of the pot, it is even better if you bake it in a 350ndegree oven to get crisped it a little bit. Sometimes I even season a chicken breast or thigh and lay it on top of the stuffing as it bakes, 30-40 minutes.
¼ tsp marjoram
1 tsp onion powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp basil
1/8 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight bag. 1 packet
¼ stick butter
1/2 cup water
1 packet stuffing mix
2 cups bread cubes
In a saucepan, heat the butter, seasoning packet, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the bread cubes. Let sit, covered, until liquid is absorbed.
8 oz can pineapple chunks in juice, drained and juice reserved
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 TBS ketchup
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 TBS vegetable oil
2 chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 green pepper, julienned
3 scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces
In a medium bowl, combine the reserved pineapple juice, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, cornstarch and honey. Mix well; set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet, add the chicken. Stir fry over high heat until lightly browned. Add green pepper and stir fry two minutes. Whisk the pineapple juice it to mixture well then add it to the chicken, along with pineapple chunks and scallions. Cook, stirring, for1 or 2 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
A quick and easy recipe for a night I really didn’t want to cook but was starving. I always use water in this recipe because as it cooks it makes its own stock that absorbs into the rice. I also add a pinch or two of different seasoning blends to give it a little something extra. Tonight I used a healthy pinch of Italian seasoning.
4 chicken thighs
1 tsp olive oil
½ cup uncooked white rice
1 cup chicken broth or water
1 cup onion, chopped
In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the onion, pinch or two of your favorite spice blend, salt, to taste, and saute until soft and translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. When the onion is done add the rice and stir until covered with oil. Nestle the chicken pieces into the rice. Add the stock or water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the broth barely bubbles. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.