Some folks may describe me as a titch “competitive,” but that’s only because they are sorry ass losers in the game of Scrabble or Cranium. Or anything else that I’ve ever played against anyone. Ever. I will admit, though, that in the realm of video games, I am putrid. I am the all-time worst Guitar Hero player, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t get booed off the stage 8 or 9 times in a row attempting The Killers without letting anyone else have a turn JUST so I can prove that I can get further into each level with each try.
The other night, I was in a competition with myself. Read: dork.
I felt like timing myself. Really, really timing myself when it came to making dinner for the family. And to see if I could come up with dinner from start to finish in under 30 minutes. I had everything set aside on the counter, so I’m NOT counting that. But, I didn’t have everything chopped and ready (onions, garlic, chicken, artichokes, tomatoes), so that prep time counts as this dinner-ready-in-32-minutes. And, believe you me, when dinner was ready at 6:22 and NOT 6:20, I just about shit myself. Instead, I poured another glass of wine. This is just my crazy internal monologue about how I failed. But I wanted to share it with you anyway.
Ugggggh I was really, really, really hoping for 30 or under. Goddamnsonabitches.
I challenge you to have this ready in 30 minutes and tell me how awesome you are.
But, I will let you know that I had to
a) select a new video on Netflix for the kids during this process (approx. one minute and 37 seconds)
b) refillmy wine glass twice during the cooking process (about 8 seconds each)
c) boil the water for the pasta because I forgot to do that at the beginning. Shit. If I had done this in the beginning, then I will say that this FOR SURE can be done in under 30 minutes. FOR SURE. That’s my personal guarantee.*
With some crusty bread to sop up the juices, this makes for a fantastic meal when holed up inside trying as hard as you can to stop watching Hurricane Irene coverage on the news. And, if you followed my advice on the “kitchen staples” post, you probably already have all these ingredients in your kitchen, right now, at this very moment. Right? SO go home, make this in under 30 minutes, and rub it in my face. I can take it.
*All personal guarantees cannot be exchanged for cash value, just hugs and kisses if I were ever to see you.
chicken alla cucina (page 96, Savor the Memories)
This was a staple dish at Cucina for catering orders, luncheons, and at the deli counter.
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion diced (So, apparently at some stores, you can buy onions pre-diced. If you’re in a balls out huge hurry or hate chopping onions, might I suggest you start buying pre-diced onions, or get some new knives. New, quality Henckels (ask for this Santoku Knife for an upcoming gift receiving occasion if you don’t already have one) knives make for a happy kitchen. They do. And can cut minutes of your prep time.)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (Again, buy the pre-chopped or minced garlic if you’re in a hurry, but my mom would turn her nose up at you, like she did to me once when she saw me put it in my shopping cart.)
1 1/2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons flour
15 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine (Mommy loves recipes that involve white wine.)
1/2 cup julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes (I had to cut my own. Imagine that! This also contributed to my 32 minute meal preparation time.)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
grated Romano (optional)
pasta or rice of your choice (I used egg noodles), or even polenta
Begin by boiling water for pasta.
In a large skillet (one that has a lid to cover later, I always forget this part), heat the butter and olive oil. Add the onion; saute for at least 2-3 mins. or until softened. Add garlic and chicken pieces. Saute until chicken is cooked through. Stir in the flour until incorporated in the chicken pieces. Add artichokes, chicken broth, white wine, sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Cover; simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. (At this point, your water should be boiled and ready for your pasta. While the chicken mixture is simmering, your pasta should be cooking and miraculously 8-10 minutes later, they will both be ready to meet up.) Taste for seasoning. Serve over steamed rice, polenta, or pasta of your choice. Sprinkle with cheese and garnish with fresh herbs from your garden.