Tag Archives: easy dinners

Micro-Whaaat? Microwaved Egg, Tomato and Kale Wraps

11 Jul

spring.earlysummer2013 055

Friends, you know how much GKG loves eggs as the basis of any meal. Protein + healthy fat + all in a neat little package? What’s not to love? I’ve made these hard-boiled egg snacks, these Italian-style baked eggs for supper, and even these other variations on egg-based meals.

But here’s an unexpected cookery equation for you: One Budding Chef+ One Standard Microwave + one serving of eggs = an unexpected match made in culinary heaven.

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New GKG Feature: Meat-Free Meals for Lent!

13 Feb

[Totally irrelevant side note: Found Maria Carey’s entire 1995 “Daydream” album on Youtube this morning. Good Lord, do I love the Interwebs sometimes. I’ll be jamming to “Fantasy” and “One Sweet Day” for the next month or so, just so y’all know. 🙂 ]

For my friends of the Christian and Catholic varieties (or simply for those wondering why a few folks are walking around with dark spots on their foreheads?), today’s observance of Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. While yesterday’s Mardi Gras was an opportunity to binge and go more than a little calorie-crazy (hello, paczkis that I ate en mass. NOM NOM NOM), Lent ushers in a time of penance, prayer and sacrifice. Even if you’re not particularly religious, a re-start on New Years Resolutions probably won’t hurt!

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February Resolution: A Month-Long Passport to … ?

3 Feb

nye 2013

Back again with my 2013 Monthly Blogging Resolutions! As I posted a month ago, I’ll be tackling monthly resolutions about GKG all through 2013. Rather than a few year-long goals, I’ve broken them up into month-by-month challenges. Here’s to growth and new adventures! Want to read the original post? Check out all of my 2013 girls here!

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Easy Dinners: Tortilla Pizza

11 Dec

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Love pizza? (Who am I kidding? If you didn’t love pizza, I suspect you wouldn’t be on this pizza-loving woman’s blog.)

Don’t have the time to roll out fresh dough or whip up your own? (I.e. like every 20-something on a weeknight.)

Hunting through your fridge for some semblance of nutritious food, and coming up a bit short? (Again, like a lot of us. Unless you work at Whole foods. I bet their employee discount is ridiculous.)

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Kitchen Nightmares: FRANKENSTORM? Or, 8 Tips to Prep for Power Outages

29 Oct

Image sourced from ibtimes.com. No, it’s pronounced, “Eye-gore” of the storm.

Friends, it appears as thought the STORM OF THE CENTURY (AIEEEE ACK ACK DRAMA-FEST OH MY GOODNESS) is about to hit the DC area, and power outages are all but guaranteed. Hurricane Sandy is on her way, and she looks like a tempestuous chica with extra wrath to spare. (Insert bad “hell hath no fury like when Sandy was scorned by Danny Zuko” joke here.) The magic combination of a Category 1 Hurricane, low air pressure, and a serious cold front (thanks, Greenland?) means this strange, perfect storm is due to hit DC in t-minus 5 hours.

Until then, I’m holing up in my apartment, eating pretty much anything perishable and hyperactively charging my electronics before the inevitable power outage hits. I’ve shared my thoughts on disaster-based dining and “Will It All Rot?” fridge-managing earlier this year (all hail the 2012 Derecho), but with the prep-work that THT and I have done of the last few days, I figured a post on prepping your kitchen for potential storm-related drama would be helpful. Plus, it helps me perpetuate the illusion that I’m in control of the weather and its affects. Like Gaia on “Captain Planet!” Win!

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Budget Eats: Well, Stew Me Some Chili And Call Me Your Dinner

4 Oct

Image sourced from thepioneerwoman.com. Nommy nom nom.

This week’s Budget Eats entry is one of my favorites, mostly for the sheer ease of it all. If you’re looking to save some serious cash, get adventurous, and have yourself a tasty meal for days to come, give this idea a shot:

Cook a huge batch of soup, stew, or chili and divide it into individual portions.

Win! Here’s what I mean, in a bit more detail:

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Viva Italia: Healthful Chicken Parmigiana

23 Sep

When the History Teacher mentioned a craving for Chicken Parm recently, he and I both took a peek or two at various recipes in our collections. (Cookbooks, magazines, Pinterest — which is slowly becoming a recipe book-sized collection in itself!) Each recipe we found, it seemed, called for lots of oil, gobs of cheese, and a few more calories than either of us might need in one meal. Or an entire day.

I decided to tackle the beast that was one of Italian-American cuisine’s most iconic dishes, but in a healthier way. Could it be done? Would it be a fruitless effort, like whoever decided to try manufacturing fat-free ice cream? (Oxymoronic at best, nasty at worst. Oif.) Would I end up with a chicken-tasting hockey puck of low-fat grossness? Time would tell.

But, lo and behold, I came up with this beauty:

Nommy nom nom goodness.

The recipe’s low-fat, easy-prep secrets? (I’ll let you in, faithful GKG readers, because you’re lovely and awesome.)

  1. Pound the chicken breasts to tenderize the meat.
  2. Double-Bread the chicken (directions below) to seal in moisture and create a crispy crust
  3. Downplay the cheese by only adding enough for flavor, rather than letting the chicken drown in fromaggio.
  4. If you have it, use whole-wheat pasta, which has a nuttier flavor and a hefty “bite” when cooked al dente.

Now, some of you may be raising a red flag at the mention of lowering the recipe’s cheese content. After all, what’s Chicken Parm without gobs upon gobs of melted mozzarella? Here’s my reasoning: If the chef uses less, but makes the cheese available to her guests and patrons, then they can add as much cheese as they see fit. And, thus, their future heart attacks are not on the chef’s conscience. Plus, I like a lighter layer of cheese with the whole-wheat or whole-grain pastas. Something about their nutty, wholesome flavor screams “Please don’t drown me in dairy!”

And so, friends, here’s my recipe for an easy and surprisingly healthful Chicken Parmigiana. It’s really the meat-pounding-and-double-breading that makes this recipe special, and the techniques are so simple that they can be easily applied to any cut of meat that you choose. Try it with pork chops, chicken thighs, or even a thin steak if you’re feeling particularly Southern. Happy eating!

Surprisingly Healthful Chicken Parm — Serves 4 (easily reduced to 2 or doubled)

You’ll need:

  • 4 medium-sized or two large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (regular, Italian-seasoned or panko are all fine)
  • A hefty sprinkle of Parmesan, plus more for serving (approx 1 tbsp)
  • 1-2 tsp Dried or fresh basil, parsley and oregano, crushed (if dried) or finely chopped (if fresh)
  • Salt & pepper to season
  • 1 recipe homemade tomato sauce (or 1 jar of your favorite marinara)
  • 1 lb whole-grain or whole-wheat spaghetti (or 1 lb regular spaghetti. Your carbs are your prerogatives, my dears.)

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, set a pot of water (with a pinch of salt) to boil on high heat.
  • In a small saucepan, heat 2-3 cups pasta sauce.
  • Place your chicken breasts on a cutting board between two layers of wax paper or plastic wrap. (If you used 2 large breasts, cut ’em into evenly-sized portions). Using a meat tenderizer or whatever heavy, blunt object you don’t mind getting slightly covered in chicken guts (I used the bottom of a jar), pound out the breasts until they are at least 1/2 of their original thickness. They should end up about 1/2 to 1 inch thick. (The recipe can handle a little variation.)
  • Arrange 3 bowls or serving dishes. In the first, add the flour, some salt & pepper, and 1/2 of the herbs. In the 2nd, add the beaten egg (with an optional pinch of garlic salt). In the third, add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and the rest of the herbs. Dredge the pounded breasts first in flour (shaking off the excess), then in egg, and finally in the breadcrumb and Parmesan mixture. Set aside on a serving dish.
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. (Optional: Add 1/2 tsp butter to the pan for additional flavor. Add the chicken breasts (2 at a time) and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until well browned. When browned, transfer to a lightly sprayed baking sheet. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until completely cooked through.

“Hissssss.” — Breadcrumb coating meets olive oil.

  • Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse lightly, and transfer to serving bowl / dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and a little remaining pasta water to keep pasta from sticking together until chicken is done.

Lonely pasta, just waiting for some friends.

  • To serve, top pasta with chicken breasts. Spoon sauce over breasts and pasta until well-covered. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to garnish, and top with additional dried or fresh herbs. Serve to the hungry hordes!

Almost ready! Check out that sweet crumb-coating.

Oh yeah. Sauce & cheese take that chicken to the next level.

A few final points, my dears:

First, if you’re serving this for dinner, a simple salad and crusty loaf of bread are the perfect side dishes. Secondly, you can up the veggie quantity by using a veggie-filled sauce, adding sauteed veggies to your premade sauce, or even using peeled eggplant slices / squash slices instead of chicken breasts. And if you’re really craving that cheesy goodness, assemble the dish in an oven-safe, deep-sided pan, top with mozzarella, and broil for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is gooey, bubbly and browned to your liking. (“All things in moderation, including moderation.” — some wise, awesome person.)

Lastly, what really makes the dish is that double-breading. It creates a crisp coating that locks in moisture, leaving your chicken breasts juicy and the outsides browned, crunchy and delicious. You really can’t go wrong!

Are you guys fans of this Italian-American classic? Have you ever double-breaded chicken breasts before? What are your favorite techniques for recreating this dish at home?