I am currently blogging about everything. Jump in where you are and thanks for coming by!

Friday, November 4, 2016

No Mess November

What is No Mess November? I am so glad you asked! It's a chance to re-center yourself, re-energize, refresh yourself before (hopefully) the onslaught of winter holidays and prepare for the new year! It's about cutting out the mess, whether that be literal, like taking the trash to the curb every time, or the more metaphorical mess. Like not wading into a political argument with your bully of an uncle at Thanksgiving.

Myself, I am doing one thing a day at work and at home to either literally clean up my mess or metaphorically do it. That's my goal, just ONE thing a day. Yesterday I got a second wind at work and took care of a phone call I had been dreading making. As it usually goes I had built this up into a much bigger deal than it actually was. I also took a few extra minutes and cleared off my desk and emptied my wastepaper basket.

When I got home I made that one pan chicken dish and while it cooked I unloaded and re-loaded the dishwasher. After my dinner was out of the oven I kept the oven on and roasted a whole pan of Brussels Sprouts and onions so that they could cook while we ate dinner. While the sprouts cooled I helped my little one with Math, which would try the patience of a saint. She's ADHD and I am just ADD. So here I am trying to pay attention for the both of us and she's bouncing across the room and attempting a half-gainer off the end of the couch. I put the sprouts in a storage container and put them in the fridge, got the last of the dishes into the dishwasher and hit start. Then I went to bed.

That sounds like a cozy domestic scene, yeah? Not so much really. There's laundry that's been chilling on the couch for so long, at this point it's become a member of the family. The dining room table is covered in random detritus from where a shelf came down last week and left me no place to put my assorted cookware. I had to feed the kids at a makeshift "coffee table" I put up in the living room. My husband had a blinding headache and wasn't his usual ultra helpful self. My dog was ignoring her kibble and jumping from child to child trying to make them spill some precious, precious chicken.

So, my life, is kind of a glorious mess. No Mess November is about taking a moment to make things a little bit cleaner, a little bit calmer and a little bit kinder every day.

Please follow #NoMessNovember on social media! If you like you can also follow me on Facebook!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Greens, Potatoes and Chicken

I was having one of those days, one of those weeks actually, where meal planning goes out the window and all your best intentions get wiped out once you hit the front door. Work has been very hectic lately, my husband has been ill, the kids have been in a mood, even the dog decided to wake me up every half hour on the hour last night. So as I drove home talking to my husband via cell phone he told me the closest he had gotten to starting dinner was defrosting some chicken thigh fillets. He offered to go pick something up for dinner.

As tempting as that was, we have been eating out way too much and that's not good for our health or our wallets. I knew I had some sad vegetables in the fridge that needed to be cooked or tossed STAT so I told him to meet me at home.

I started finishing the defrosting of the chicken in the microwave while I surveyed the vegetable situation. A 16 ounce bag of collards that had seen better days, several onions and a cereal bowl full of white creamer potatoes. I formulated a plan for a one pan meal that would hopefully feed my family of 4.

I rinsed and sorted through my sad collards, some of them were wilted beyond salvation, but most of it was fine. I put it in a sheet pan. To that I added one thinly sliced onion, and I halved lengthwise all of the creamer potatoes. I tossed them all with generous slugs of olive oil (maybe 1/4 C all together?) some sea salt and some black pepper.

When the chicken was good and defrosted I opened up each fillet and seasoned them on both sides with salt, pepper and paprika (mostly for color). I placed the chicken thighs on top of my oily, salty veggies and then placed aluminum foil over the whole thing and put it an oven set at 450 degrees. I let the chicken cook covered for 20 minutes. When that was up I checked the chicken and vegetables and decided to roast everything uncovered for another 20 minutes to get some color and finish cooking.

When I pulled the pan out of the oven everything was browned and crispy. Even some of the fronds of collard greens had turned crisp! I took the chicken and placed a piece or two on every plate, then I tossed the hot vegetables together in the pan one more time to coat everything in pan juices and served the green and potatoes alongside the chicken pieces.

Variations of recipe:

You could toss the vegetables with a mixture of olive oil and bacon fat if you had some on hand. You could even add bacon pieces to the pan and let it cook with the chicken.

You could add a 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the greens as well for a nice kick of heat.

You could use a good baking potato cut up into one inch pieces in place of the creamer potatoes, or you could use turnip greens and turnip pieces in place of collards and potatoes.

Instead of using boneless, skinless chicken thighs you could use chicken leg quarters, but I'd separate the drumstick from the quarter and add more time for cooking. Maybe an additional 10 minutes?