Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Despite all of my meal planning, I don't always have dinner planned to the last detail. Sometimes it's as simple as: meat, a grain, a veggie. Last night for instance, I knew that we were having chicken. It was thawed and waiting in the fridge. I just didn't know what would accompany the chicken on my plate. With dinner hours away, I had time to think about it.
In the meantime, I cut the chicken breast halves in half again and placed them in a resealable plastic bag.
I grabbed a bottle of teriyaki marinade from the pantry and poured it over the chicken.
Sealed it back up and put it into the fridge to marinate until dinnertime.
Since I was in no mood to trek back and forth across my deck to the grill in the freezing cold while pushing the children back indoors every time my sliding glass door opened, I fired up my little George Foreman grill. It was a gift from a friend when I graduated from college and moved into my first single apartment. I'd lived with between 4 and 72 women all through college. A studio apartment all by my lonesome was definitely a change. Solitude took some getting used to. These days sometimes I dream about just 20 minutes all to myself. Isn't it funny how life changes? Anyway, I cooked many a meal for just lil' old me on this Foreman grill.
Here's the chicken. I flattened it a bit before cooking so that it'd cook more evenly.
Before I got the chicken out, I started doing some side dish inventory in my pantry and fridge. I had brown rice in the pantry, broccoli in the freezer, mushrooms, a sliced onion, and some wilty looking green onions in the crisper, a little deli ham, and a can of crushed pineapple. I was totally making this up as I went along. Here's where I ended up...
I started cooking up the brown rice in chicken broth according to the package directions.
I sliced up a couple of green onions and chopped some ham and threw it on my griddle until the ham got a little crispy.
Then I added the ham and green onions to the rice with some drained, crushed pineapple. This combination is loosely based on a delicious rice dish that my Aunt Lili sometimes brings to family gatherings. I'm not really sure what goes into hers, but I bet she's reading and would be happy to respond in the comment section. Thanks in advance, Aunt Lili!
Now for the veggie. I cooked the broccoli in some more chicken broth until it got tender.
Then I added in some sliced, fresh mushroom and onion. I also stirred about a tablespoon of cornstarch in a little water and added it to the mixture. This made it a little more like the veggies we get at the Chinese take out place.
There you go. A "fly by the seat of my pants" dinner in less than 30 minutes.