Weeknight rhythm

Lately, I seem to be having more and more “uh-oh” moments regarding dinner. You know the scene: you get home from work, tired and fuzzy-headed. You slip into some comfortable, around-the-house clothes (known affectionately as cozies ‘round these parts), grab a glass of wine, and then hop onto the computer to check emails, pay bills, the usual. Before you can say Mafia Wars it’s 8:30PM and dinner has not even crossed your mind yet. Uh-oh, right?

 

 It’s just me and the hubby, so lack of planning or forethought isn’t exactly the end of the world. But it certainly makes for a scrambly, non-peaceful night. 
The trick, I’ve found, is to put together a few items that you always have lying around and make something of it. For me, that list typically includes yellow onions, sweet potatoes, boneless chicken thighs, chicken stock, and wine.  I love sweet potatoes because they serve as both vegetable and starch, at least they do in my kitchen. Here’s what I make with it all:
I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to take an appetizing photo of raw chicken.
Chop a medium sized onion and one or two peeled sweet potatoes.  Heat a glug of extra virgin olive oil in a medium skillet, and then add the chopped ingredients. Give a good stir to coat, then move on to the chicken, but be sure to stir the mixture every so often. Rinse, dry thoroughly, and generously season the chicken with kosher salt and black pepper. Heat a glug of olive oil in another skillet and sauté chicken. When it’s nearly done (i.e. golden brown and delicious on both sides), add a good slosh of white wine. Simmer a minute or two, then flip the chicken and simmer a minute more. Remove from the pan and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Add the liquid goodness from the chicken skillet to the sweet potatoes and stir until liquid is absorbed, which should take just a minute. Add a big splash of chicken stock, turn the heat down to low, and cover. Stir this mixture occasionally until liquid is absorbed and potato is desired tenderness. Season with salt and pepper.

 

 Slowly, painfully, I am finding my weeknight rhythm. It requires simple but quality ingredients and the proper application of spices, sauces, and herbs. This is especially necessary in summer, when it’s all about maximizing taste using minimal time and effort. Who knew a season could help teach me to cook?
Ladies and gentlemen, the hubby.
Two other ‘uh-oh’ dinner favorites: 
-Creamy polenta topped with a fried egg, diced salami such as soppressata, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese
– Spaghetti, a splash of balsamic vinegar, a handful of fresh basil, a clove of diced garlic, and a couple tomatoes, diced and seeded.
Now that, my friends, is amore.

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