Today, when I went to the grocery store, I was inspired by the produce. I didn't really have a plan; I just put it all in my cart. I also grabbed a package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs as my kids love this as a protein.
I think that it's great to have a stack of recipes on hand but at the same time, so much of it is just cooking. Can you guess all of cooking methods I used in the photo? They are shredding, marinating and grilling, steaming and roasting. Each item didn't take very long so if you can multi-task, it's easy to put together a dinner like this. Here's how I did it:
BBQ Chicken- I placed the chicken breasts in a glass pan and added bbq sauce. The marinating time is quick so you can leave the chicken out for 20 minutes while you prepare the other dishes. My favorite is Bone Suckin' Sauce; my kids like it too. It's sweet but not too spicy. I set the grill to medium and cooked each side for 7 minutes or so. The nice thing about thighs is that they are hard to overcook because of the fat. I added some extra bbq sauce during the last 3 minutes to give it a glaze. Total time: 30 minutes.
Green Beans- After the chicken was marinating, using a kitchen scissor and cutting the stem end of 3-4 at a time, I was able to prep a pound of green beans in about 10 minutes. I cut them one more time in the center and then plopped them into a pot with a steamer basket. There was more water than just to cover the bottom of the pot but not too much that the water was above the steamer basket. I placed a cover on top, set the heat to a little over medium and then lowered it a bit when I heard it steaming. 5 minutes later or so, I had perfect beans. Some times I add olive oil, butter or sesame oil with a little salt but tonight, they were perfect plain. This took about 10 minutes of prep and no more than 5 minutes of cooking.
Coleslaw- You can buy shredded carrots and even shredded cabbage. If you don't have access to either, get out the cuisinart. In a bowl, I mixed 1/2 c mayo, 1/4 c sour cream (use Veganaise if you have dairy issues), 1 Tbl agave nectar, 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 3/4 tsp sea salt and 1/4 tsp white pepper. After I shredded a half of a head of cabbage (many produce sections will do this upon request), I added it to the mixture along with a handful of shredded carrots which I had gotten from the store. The whole process takes about 15 minutes but if you make it frequently, it is helpful to be familiar with the recipe (I had done it the day before).
Roasted Dino Kale- Start by pre-heating the oven to 400F. This whole process couldn't be easier (assuming the kale is fairly clean). If you have to remove a lot of dirt, it does take longer. The bunch I bought was pretty clean and only needed a rinse and a shake. I don't even cut out the stem in the middle any more; I just make thin strips starting from the top. Place it on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a silicone mat. Drizzle a teaspoon or so of extra virgin olive oil, add some sea or Kosher salt and toss together. 10-12 minutes later you will have a lovely dish of kale chips. I'm still amazed my kids eat this but they do.
What you didn't see in the photo was a brown rice and red quinoa pilaf. My math was off so I had to add more water and cook it longer. I'm guessing it's because I was cooking 4 things at once!
I hope this meal inspires you to do some plain, ole cooking. Some times that's all you need.
------------------------- Author Information: Amy Fothergill, San Francisco, CA Amy Fothergill is the mother of two and owner of The Family Chef. She teaches cooking classes and provides consultations. She blends her culinary techniques with delicious ingredients to create gluten free, healthy dishes that the whole family enjoys. Website: http://www.amythefamilychef.com Blog: http://thefamilychef.blogspot.com (a food blog which is a blend of gluten free and regular recipes) Email: Amy Fothergill Gluten-free recipes: http://www.examiner.com/x-13910-SF-GlutenFree-Food-Examiner