|Ms. Sarah Hunter||
After last weeks crushing defeat, I was a little weary of this week's big meal. Nonetheless, I marched forward with head held high and pulled together some recipes. Not just one recipe. Not two recipes. But THREE. Recipe number one: I decided to revisit the sautéed asparagus/mushroom side dish combo that I made in week one since it was such a big hit with the kids. Recipe number two: garlic roasted potatoes. Recipe number three: Shake & Bake chicken!
Let's pause for a moment to reflect. Last week I managed to fail on "the world's easiest crock pot recipe", and this week I tasked myself with cooking three separate dishes simultaneously. In other words, I don't do well with defeat. Nor do I do well at making things easy on myself. Here were this week's main ingredients:
There was one major factor working in my favor this week when cooking dinner: the kids were at karate, and my Stepdad was picking them up and bringing them home. So it was just me and baby, and he was content snacking on Puffs in his highchair watching me dart back and forth in the kitchen like a madwoman.
Now, for the prep: I started with the potatoes, since they were going to take the longest to make. I washed, sliced, and diced. And then it came to the mincing of the garlic. Uh oh. I've never cooked using garlic in my life (don't judge me). How do I get all these flaky layers off to get to the actual clove? They're not peeling off very easily...time to phone a friend. No, I'm not kidding. I had to call my Stepdad to ask him how to get the outer stuff off of the garlic. He advised me to get a can and smash the base of it directly onto the clove. I did that and, boom! The layers magically all came away in one piece. Put it all together, put it in the oven. I'm really cooking now!
Next up: chicken. Mince parsley and mix with the Shake 'n Bake on a plate. Take the chicken, cover in Mayo, dip in the mix on a plate, covering the chicken with the mix. Ok, I've got this! This is going great so far! But I do take issue with the fact that there appears to be NO actual shaking prior to this baking. I get it, shake is essential for the catchy name, but there was no indication in the prep directions that I should actually shake. It seemed more to be like dip and bake. But it just doesn't have the same ring to it. So, I successfully prepped the chicken and added to a baking sheet in the oven above the potatoes. Miraculously, the cook time on the chicken was just over 20 minutes, and when I put it in the oven with the potatoes, there was 20 minutes left of cook time on the potatoes!!!! I didn't even plan it that way, but it totally worked out!
(*Note to self: study cook times before starting each dish moving forward, so that this happy accident becomes routine)
With 20 minutes on the clock: veggies. Wash, slice, repeat. Onions and butter first. Add mushrooms when onions start to caramelize, add asparagus when mushrooms start to brown. Cook until asparagus is soft but not too soft and still a vibrant green.
This meal was a MAJOR success! Kingston loved the chicken, Charli loved the veggies and potatoes. The potatoes were seriously DELICIOUS. I cooked the leftovers up with my breakfast the next morning. Redeemed!! I'll definitely be sticking with the veggie and potato recipes. As for the chicken, I think I'll pass on the Shake n' Bake next time around and keep looking for an alternative that isn't quite so packaged and, well...orange.