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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

3 Days, 3 Menus

Monday was as usual our Meatless menu, the kids were sick and my husband had been very ill all weekend, we actually ended up in the ER on Sunday morning. We just fed the kids yogurt, bagels, cream cheese and bananas. DH and I were so tired we just went to bed.

Tuesday we I made some baked chicken breasts, steamed green beans, and "dressing", which is identical to stuffing except not actually stuffed into anything but baked separately in it's own pan. My take on baked chicken breasts is to place the raw breast in between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound the breast until the fatter side of the breast is the same thickness as the thinner end. I seasoned the breasts on both sides with cajun spice mix and some kosher salt and then lightly seared the chicken on both sides in a hot iron skillet. You could continue to cook the chicken on the stove top, but I just wanted to get some color on them before finishing them in the oven (350 degrees). I put a little bit of butter on each piece of chicken as well. While I was doing this I was also steaming my green beans with a bit of butter in the microwave.

To make my dressing I cubed some stale bread I had in the freezer and placed it in a buttered casserole dish. I minced 1 small onion and 1 large carrot and quickly sauteed them with a bit of butter in the same pan in which I had cooked the chicken. I added some rosemary as well. When it was nice and fragrant I tossed the veggies with the bread crumbs, I opened up a quart of chicken broth (you could easily use veggie broth) and tossed everything together, when it was nice and moist I topped the dressing with some dots of butter. I threw it into the oven to bake at the same time as the chicken breasts.

I took my steamed green beans and added them into the same pan with another splash of olive oil. I seasoned the beans with salt and pepper and let them cook over medium high heat until they got come nice brown color. I deglazed the pan with a bit of soy sauce and stirred them all around. If you have some fresh ginger you can add a teaspoon or so at this point and it makes the green beans even better, but I didn't have any; another nice addition to these beans is a bit of caramelized onion or some chopped cooked bacon.

Wednesday's dinner came out really well too actually. I made a meatloaf, just make whatever meatloaf you like but I can give you some tips from my Great Gramma who taught me to make them when I was about 10 years old. First of all, use enough egg, if you have trouble with your meatloaf falling apart add another egg and see how it goes. Secondly, mix your ingredients thoroughly but gently, use your fingertips and make sure everything is mixed in well. Thirdly, when you prepare the loaf either shaping it free hand or pack it into a bread pan pick the meat up, pat it together firmly and then whack it up and down into the mixing bowl. That way you remove any air bubbles and get a loaf that does not fall apart when you slice it. I placed tonight's loaf in the center of a glass baking dish and surrounded it with cut up carrot and onion pieces which I seasoned with salt and pepper and a bit of rosemary. When the meatloaf was close to being done I snapped and steamed some asparagus. I steamed the asparagus in a bit of chicken broth and some butter. When they were done steaming I salt and peppered them and then added a bit of freshly grated parmesan and then a squeeze of key lime over all. The asparagus was wonderful I will definitely make it again.

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