Thursday, January 24, 2013

Simple Spicy Chicken

Cold weather very frequently means cold and flu. When I have a cold or flu, I often find myself craving Indian food or other spicy deliciousness. Jeannene, on the other hand, leans toward comfort food. Last night, we had a great compromise between the two. I'd picked up a new cookbook, The Good-to-Go Cookbook by Kathleen Cannata Hanna, on a whim and this was the first meal I'd cooked from it. The recipes are designed for busy families who don't have oceans of time or money for meals, but who don't want McDonald's every night there's band practice or a late meeting at work. Or both. I highly recommend picking up your very own copy. It's full of creative snack ideas, quick breakfasts & lunches, things that can be eaten in the car, 30-minute and one-pot dishes, and an array of desserts. We had Texas spice-rubbed chicken, green bean sauté, and creamy potato casserole. It was all delicious, although the green beans turned out a little sweet for me. It might just have been that particular crop of beans, too. Jeannene loved them! Here are my adaptations of the recipes:

Texas Spice-Rubbed Chicken

1 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. seasoned salt (I use my own blend, but use your favorite)
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. oil
3 chicken breasts (skinless, boneless)
2 tbsp. oil for frying

Mix the spices. Add the 2 tsp. oil and mix to make a paste. Rub it evenly on the chicken. Heat rest of oil in skillet (I used the skillet I'd used to sauté the onions & garlic for the green beans, which added great additional flavor) on medium-high heat and cook chicken about 7 minutes per side, until browned on the outside and cooked through. You can also grill this, if you are so inclined. Serves 3.

Green Bean Sauté

1 lb. green beans, trimmed
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Steam beans about 10 minutes. Sauté onion and garlic about 7 minutes. Toss everything together. Serves 4.

Creamy Potato Bake

3 decent-sized potatoes, peeled, diced
8 oz. reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 c. milk
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 c. shredded cheddar
8 oz. french-fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2-quart casserole. Boil and mash the potatoes. Or, you can use about 3 cups of leftover or store-bought mashed potatoes to save time. Mix potatoes with sour cream, milk, garlic powder, 1 cup of cheese. Place half the mixture in the casserole. Top with onions. Cover with remaining potatoes. Bake 1/2 hour. Top with remaining cheese and bake 5 minutes. Serves 4-6.

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