Tag Archives: mashed potatoes

Bland Beige

22 Mar

I love to cook.  But its hard to hit it out of the ballpark every time you go to bat.  I’ve had some famous flops.  A fallen cake.  A kale fail.  A burnt grilled chicken.  Even with my resources, a well stocked pantry, and a fridge and freezer with great leftovers, I blow it.  The other night was once such miss.

I think about a lot of things when composing a meal.  When meal planning, I consider nutrition content, leftover potential, budget, who will be at the table, and what the meal will look like on the plate. No one wants to eat something looking like dog mush, even if the flavor is fantastic.  But I had come home from work late and in a rush to get a good meal on the table.  Into the oven went some lightly seasoned chicken to bake.  It would be ready in about half hour.  Out came some leftovers to round out the meal.

Being busy and distracted, I didn’t go through my typical due diligence getting a meal onto the table.  What leftovers did I pull out to accompany the chicken?  Mashed potatoes, creamy mushroom sauce (perfect to jazz up the baked chicken) and roasted cauliflower.  Sounds good, right?  But put it on a plate, a beige plate at that, and its flat.  No panache or pizzaz.

I will show it to you, but promise not to laugh.  Like I said, everyone misses now and again.  What have your misses been?

My beige dinner.  Delicious but blah.  Especially on a beige dinner plate.

My beige dinner. Delicious but blah. Especially on a beige dinner plate.



And Go!

4 Jun

Its 6:14. P.M.   Time (or past time!) to start dinner.  Well, it is a little late tonight, but I am busy mom that works outside the home in addition to managing my family.  This will have to do.  Whats for dinner?  A wonderful home cooked chicken dinner.  Chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans.  And ready in a snap.  Here we go.

I cut the red potatoes into quarters, put them in a large sauce pan and covered them with water.  I tossed in a teaspoon of salt, and put the pan on the stove.  I turned the burner to high until they started boiling,  then down to medium heat.  I covered the pot, but left a crack in the lid for the steam to vent.  15 minutes and they would be done.  By the way, potatoes can be “rustic” and don’t always need to be peeled, especially if short on time.  Mashed potatoes are delicious with the skins mixed in.

Next, I took boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut them in half (okay, I call chicken breasts like these  Dolly Parton Chicken…) and sprinkled them with a little salt and pepper.  I sprayed a large skillet with non stick cooking spray and put it on a medium high heat.  I let the pan heat up for a minute and then in went the chicken.  6 pieces in all.  I am feeding myself and my three teenagers.  It is 2.17 pounds of chicken, and I hope it calms the beast of a stomach within my teenagers!

Then I put a time saver move into play,  but a nutritious one and necessary at this point. I opened 2 cans of green beans and poured them into a microwave safe bowl.   I added about 1 tablespoon of butter and a healthy grind of some fresh ground pepper.  I put them into the microwave for 4 minutes.

In the meantime, I drained the red potatoes.  (There is a lot of steam when you do this.  If you kind of put your face over the potatoes, but not too close, when you drain them into the sink. I call this my “busy moms mini facial”. Ha!).   I put them back on the stove with no heat under them.  The residual water needs to evaporate for a minute. Then, I added about 1/4 cup skim milk, about 2 tablespoons of butter, a few tablespoons of fat free sour cream, and some horse radish for a punch of flavor to the potatoes.  I used my hand mixer to smooth them out a bit.  I finished by added some salt and pepper.

When the chicken was done, I oozed a bit of flavorful barbecue  sauce onto the breasts.  The cover went on the pan, I removed them from the heat, and let the flavors take hold.

While the meal was cooking, I called my kids into the kitchen to set the table so it was ready when the food was.   They also put some nice music on.  They helped get the food to the table, and dinner was served.   And the rule in my house?  Whoever cooks dinner is off the hook for dishes!

That’s it.  Dinner is ready to come to the table in less time than driving to the local fast food place.   In a snap my family had a good home cooked meal to share.  We also always enjoy dinner time to catch up about school, new movies, and what friends are up to.   It is a great time to connect as a family.  And it is easy, nutritious, and budget friendly!