For my first post, I tried 2 recipes from “the pile”. I sifted through the pile to come up with some new weeknight dinners. You know the drill..quick to make, quick to clean up and, most importantly, delicious.
The first contender was a crusty, mustard chicken. This was a recipe that I got from a Martha Stewart DVD (Favorite Family Dinners) that I had. In a nutshell, the recipe called for slathering the chicken (I used boneless, skinless breasts) with a mustardy, thyme concontion and then coated it in plain bread crumbs. Easy enough. The part, however, that I was skeptical about was that I was supposed to cook it under the broiler. I’ve never cooked meat under the broiler. I’m always afraid I’m going to burn whatever I’m making by using the broiler.
To get started, I made the mustard concoction a few hours before we were going to eat. It was pretty easy, but it did call for fresh thyme and shallots — which, when I bought them, the cashier informed me that I was the first person she had ever sold shallots to in her several years of grocery store employment! She made me explain to her what they were and how I was planning to use them! In hindsight, I should have given her the link to my blog!
Anyway, back to the chicken…I mixed up the mustard glaze/marinade and put it in the fridge. When it was time to fix dinner, I painted the mustard all over the chicken with my basting brush (you could probably even put it in a ziploc bag and smoosh it around). Wait! That’s a great idea! I think I’ll write that down for next time! So much easier than brushing it on!
Once the meat was fully covered in mustard, I poured plain (not seasoned) breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. I rolled the chicken around in the breadcrumds so that every bit was coated.
I think it’s important to note that, because I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I did NOT pre-broil the chicken before coating it in mustard and breadcrumbs like the recipe called for. It just didn’t seem right to me since there was no skin to crisp.
Once the chicken was fully slathered and had its crunchy coating, i placed it on a non-stick foil lined baking sheet (I always line my baking sheets with non-stick foil since I hate, hate, hate to do dishes) and I slid it under the broiler. Five minutes. Flip. Three more minutes. I watched it like an eagle the entire time since I didn’t want it to burn. Then, as Martha had instructed in turned the oven down to 500 degrees and continued to bake it for another 8 minutes (mine didn’t take the full ten minutes) until it read 165 on the meat thermometer. That’s it. Easy enough. Put it on a plate and covered it with foil unti the rest of dinner was ready.
On to the creamy polenta. I had never had polenta until this day, but I had alway wanted to try it. I found a great looking recipe in a Southern Living magazine. The photo in recipe looked delish. And, the recipe seemed easy enough. So, I brought the chicken broth to a slight boil, added the corn meal and turned the heat way down. Now it was time to stir, stir, stir. Within a few minutes, it was thick, just as the recipe indicated. I then added the cream cheese and last cup of chicken broth. It looked right, I guess. I didn’t really know since I’d never had it before. The whole thing took under 10 minutes. Definitely easy enough!
Finished the meal off with some garlicky green beans — my own concoction. No recipe.
The only thing left to do was dig in and see if the chicken and polenta recipes were any good. Within a few minutes, my little guy had devoured several pieces of chicken. A very good sign. The husband, on the other hand, is more analytical and has to check it out from all angles, give it a sniff and then take bite. Then another bite, and another. Me, I go for the polenta first. I was very eager to see what it was all about. Now, here’s what I don’t understand. Sometime during the three seconds it took me to spoon the polenta onto my plate and walk to the table, the polenta had turned to a gelatinous blob. So I give it the benefit of the doubt and take a bite (a very small one). The taste was OK, but the texture…not good! It was a little too solid (not sure if that was the right word) for me. And that was my first and last bite of polenta.
The chicken, on the other hand, was fantastic! I couldn’t believe that something so tasty and crispy could be so easy to make! It even had a little hint of heat from the red pepper flakes. That dish got a big thumbs up from all of us! Though we all agreed that the polenta was not for us. Good thing we had plenty of garlicky green beans to fill in the gap!
The result…the chicken…it’s a keeper! The polenta…not so much!
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