Thursday, June 8

Quick Eating

Tuesday night I actually had the chance to do something that I haven’t done since Liam was born: try a new recipe. I use to try new recipes all the time. In fact, I’d say about half the meals I made were something new, but then, as my husband would tell you, you’d never know if it was a new recipe or not because I am completely incapable of making a recipe the same way twice. (I consider this trait a good thing.) However, in light of our new family member I’ve had to adapt my usage of time a wee bit and so only tried and true, quick to fix meals have been prepared lately. The first couple weeks I even had my husband cooking. Not that many husband don’t cook on a regular basis and do so very well, but lets just say my husband is now one of them and while I’m grateful that he was willing and able to step up to the plate in the kitchen, I’m quite happy that his assistance is no longer needed on that front.

Anyway, the recipe I made was out of the Rachael Ray’s Express Lane Meals, which was recently given to me by my father-in-law. He truly loves to cook and surprises me with a random cookbook every now and then. Not that I’ve gotten a chance to thumb through it and examine it as much as would like to do, but I do believe that it was the most fitting cookbook I have ever received. I've never watched her show or looked at one of her cookbooks before, but I do beieve she had made herself a new fan. I love the way it’s organized. The first group of recipes are “Meals for the Exhausted.” The second group is “Meals for the Not Too Tired.” The last group is “Bring it On! (But, be Gentle.)” She also has a really nice pantry guideline and with each recipe alerts you to what you'll need to get and what you should be able to pull out of your pantry if you follow her guidelines. Naturally, I choose one from the first sectionthat I had most of ingredients in stock for and instead of doing my usual picking and choosing, I simply decided to make the very first recipe in the book. All I knew is that it wasn’t rice and beans, which I love, but even I must admit have been made just a little too often recently. Instead we had “Leek-y Chicken and Couscous,” which turned out to be quite yummy.

As for kitchen efficiency, I had everything prepped and ready to go when Liam got woke up. My husband was working late, so after feeding Liam I put him in his swing and hopped into the kitchen to make dinner. I was able to make it and eat all but the last two bites of my meal before he got restless in his swing. I’m not quite sure if that’s a testimony to just how easy and quick the meal was to put together or a testimony to how much longer Liam’s attention span has gotten. A week or two ago he had about a two-minute tolerance for his swing or activity mat, now he’s content for around 15, which seems to free my arms up quite a bit.

UPDATE: I knew I was going to get in trouble for mentioning a recipe without providing it, So as requested by J Bo, who will be doing her own baby juggling soon enough. (If you are member of the copywrite police, think of it as advertising)

Leek-y Chicken and Couscous

1-½ cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
¼ cup golden raisins, chopped
1 ½ cups plain couscous
2 Tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1-½ pounds chicken tenders, cut into large bite-sized pieces
Salt and black pepper
2 med. leeks or 1 large leek
1 cup dry white wine
A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Heat the chicken stock and 1 tbsp of the butter in a medium pot with a tight fitting lid, when liquid boils, add raisins and couscous. Take the pan off the heat. Stir the couscous and place the lid on the pot. Let it stand.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the EVOO. Add the chicken in a single layer and season it with salt and pepper. While the chicken browns on all sides, trim the rough tops and root ends off the leeks.

Cut the leeks in half lengthwise, then cut them in 1-inch half moons. Place the leeks in a colander and run them under cold water. Separate the layers to release the dirt and grit. Rinse well, then drain well. (I recommend rinsing them and separating the outer layers before cutting them)

Add the leeks to the chicken and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine and let it cook down by half, 3 to 4 minutes. The leeks should still have some color, but should be tender and the chicken should be cooked through. Add the remaining tbsp of butter and swirl into the sauce.

Fluff the couscous with a fork and stir in parsley. Place a bed of couscous on each dinner plate and top it with the chicken and leeks.

Makes 4 Servings. (Of course, I adapted it a bit by reducing the chicken it 1 lb which feed my husband and I, both hearty eaters, very well without leftovers)


Bearette24 said...

I'm glad you're cooking again. I saw that cookbook in the store and was tickled by the format as well. I would have bought it if it had more veg recipes.

J Bo said...

Please share that recipe! I may just have to pick up that cookbook!!

Lisa said...

I've been picking up the Rachael Ray magazine and have found some great recipes that even I can make! And her veggie cookbook is on my wishlist.

Glad the little guy is starting to ease up on you!

J Bo said...

Thank you, Lora! I went to Costco yesterday and saw the book there and should have picked it up- it was a great price- and has so many tasty recipes!