Practicing the Art of Planning and Cooking Dinner

Last night I did something I love very much to do: Cook dinner in my parents’ kitchen!  I especially love it because I usually have nothing but a fridge, a water boiler, and a French press to work with in my dorm room, bleh.  So I guess I could make Jell-O, if I really wanted to, but that’s about it.  But it is spring break!  And I can use a real kitchen.

Here’s what I did (Note: the only things I actually measured were the marinade ingredients.  I didn’t actually measure or time anything else).  First, I baked a pumpkin spice cake, with a box mix of spice cake and a can of pumpkin instead of the suggested liquid ingredients.  Then I marinated 2 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite sized pieces) in 2c red wine, 1c Italian dressing, and 1/3c white wine vinegar for about 3 hours. After 90 minutes, I kneaded them for a bit from the outside of the plastic bag.  Then I peeled, sliced, boiled, mashed, and seasoned 5 potatoes.  That was Lucas’s favorite part, I believe.  Then I chopped, rinsed, and steamed some fresh broccoli and prepared salads.  With 30 minutes to dinnertime, I poured the marinade into a pan and cooked it on medium about 10 minutes or so, until it reduced somewhat.  Then I added the chicken and chopped up about 3/4c white onion into the pan.  I kept stirring and checking the chicken until it was cooked through, then I reduced heat and added some flour to thicken up the sauce and a little bit of sugar to taste.  Everything was hot and ready to eat right on time for my wonderful family and fiancé!

If I were to cook this meal again, I would cut out the vinegar in the marinade and sauce.  I made a similar recipe once before, but I used sweet white wine instead of dry red wine.  The vinegar was fine with the sweet wine, but I don’t think the dry wine needed it.  And instead of making mashed potatoes, I’d serve the chicken and sauce over pasta.  There was too much sauce to go around.

Still, this was a really fun afternoon and evening.  I am very much looking forward to getting better at meal planning and execution, so I can be the best wife and mom I can be. :-)