Today’s #reverb10 prompt comes from Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project (the blog and the book) and who I was fangirl-delighted to meet at BlogHer ’10 this summer. (If you don’t know what #reverb10 is all about, read my previous post or – better yet – go here and sign up!)
Prompt: Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?
The last thing I made? Does oven “fried” parmesan chicken (also known as tonight’s dinner) count?
Actually, I think it might … at least in my world. (I’m not really that crafty, although I’m very into scrapbooking and I’m hoping to rediscover making cards. But aside from completing several scrapbook pages over Thanksgiving weekend, I haven’t touched the scrapbooking supplies collecting dust in my dining room for more than a year, so I don’t think the scrapbooking really qualifies.)
So. Dinner. Plus food is always more interesting than paper, no?
Twelve months ago, a friend asked me about my New Year’s resolutions. Since I usually don’t make them, I quipped, “I’d like to get back to making more dinners.”
It was more wishful thinking than anything else because at the beginning of this year, I was commuting upwards of 4 hours a day to work. (Yes, two hours one way.) I did this for three years. (Yes, I know I am insane. I also know I needed a paycheck in this shitty economy, so up and quitting because I was sitting in traffic more often than not wasn’t an option.)
I was lucky enough to negotiate a somewhat flexible schedule; leaving by 3:30 or 4 p.m. got me home in time to sit down to dinner with The Husband and kids, but rarely to cook it.
As a result, we were eating a lot of pasta in every shape and size, a lot of “taco nights” with veggie ground beef, a lot of Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese. We were in processed food heaven … or, more accurately, hell. On the weekends, my crockpot worked overtime, crankin’ out chili and soups and other concoctions. (I’m paranoid about the crockpot being on while we’re not home, which I fully realize defeats the whole purpose of the thing.) I wanted to do better at planning our meals and making things ahead of time, despite my apparent lack of ability to plan well in this area.
So when a new job came along in May, my commute was reduced from four hours to about four steps – as in, to my dining room where I do the majority of my work. At home. Which means I can do what I did today: take a break at 3:30 to bread some chicken and put it in the oven for an hour before picking up the kids.
I’m no gourmet, but I’m making a mean macaroni and cheese in the crockpot, my own marinara sauce, and muffins instead of buying said foodstuffs. I know I could have made the time to do this when I was commuting, but who am I kidding? There’s something about spending four hours in the car that leaves you a frazzled wreck each day and a couch potato on the weekends.
Some people’s jobs come with an expense account to dine in fancy restaurants. Mine comes with the time to cook – and eat – in my own kitchen.
As a gift to you, here’s tonight’s incredibly simple and easy dinner recipe (“the materials I used”) … which you can even prepare ahead of time, if you want.
Oven “Fried” Chicken (I got this from allrecipes.com)
12 chicken thighs (I used drumsticks)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper
1 tsp. paprika (I didn’t use … instead, I substituted parmesan cheese)
1/2 c. vegetable oil (this is for greasing the pan; I used cooking spray, which worked fine)
Preheat oven to 350. Place flour in shallow plate or bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Put breadcrumbs in another shallow plate or bowl.
(One could also do this with plastic bags too …)
Beat eggs in another bowl.
Dredge chicken in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs.
Pour oil in 9×13 pan (this is where I opted for the cooking spray)
Add chicken and back 30 minutes. Turn over and bake another 30 minutes.
We had this with stuffing and peas.
copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo’s Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.