Thursday, October 9, 2008

Back on Track & Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders

I kind of feel like I'm getting back in the groove now that I know which way is up.

My problem is that if I don't plan ahead I end up making things that aren't the best meal (like throwing in a frozen pizza). That, or I opt for the easy way out and we get fast food or take out. These aren't only expensive, but they are unhealthy and are sometimes a risk if we don't know the restaurants' ingredients.

I think the falafel got me back on track because it was so quick and so easy. It also felt great to put a nice, fresh salad on the side. I felt inspired to keep up the good work.

I've caught this show, Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller, a few times on The Food Network. While it's not the most interesting half hour program they offer, because it lacks Emeril's "Bams!"and Racheal Ray's cute recipe names, you sure do walk away with some knowledge.

Here's the blurb from their website about it:

Busy people everywhere face the same dilemma – how to get healthy weeknight dinners on the table with only minutes to spare. Cookbook author, nutritionist and food journalist Robin Miller guides us through the landmines of getting food on the table nightly with her stress-free meal-planning strategies. Her easy, day-by-day plans help even the novice cook master these quick and tasty recipes. Plus, each week's menu comes with its own shopping list so you only have to hit the store once. Problem solved!

Robin has this really interesting way of preparing meals. From what I've seen, she plans out like 3 or 4 meals in advance, does one big shopping trip for all of them and preps them all at the same time. Cooking two meals that both need carrots? She cuts them up at the same time! Only one cutting board and knife wash needed.

She then divides all the meals into ziplock bags or small tupperware containers and stacks them together with a label in the fridge. Then, when Tuesday's stir fry night rolls around, she just grabs out that container or bag and it's right there ready for her to toss in a pan or the oven.

Sure, the first night probably takes a lot extra time to plan and prep all that out- but the relaxation it provides and time it saves sure seems worth it!

I didn't plan as ahead or in depth as Robin, but realized that meals go a lot better when I have at least some idea of what I am going to cook, what the sides will be and if I make sure to thaw frozen items. That is probably my worst mistake- always forgetting to thaw.

Last night I took out a package of chicken breasts and a package of Jimmy Dean sausage links to thaw for tonight and tomorrow night's dinner.

Tonight, when I got home, I took out the chicken and cut it into strips. I dipped the strips in a honey mustard sauce I whipped up from scratch by combining yellow mustard, dijon mustard and honey. Then I coated them in the corn flake breadcrumbs that I seasoned with onion and garlic powder along with dried parsley and oregano flakes. I layed them on a foil-lined baking sheet and baked them the same time as some Ore-Ida french fries. While these baked I made another side salad for us, as well as some additional (untainted by raw chicken) honey mustard sauce.

I just had the two baking sheets to clean, which were easy because I lined them with foil. The honey mustard as a coating for the bread crumbs to stick to works out well because it not only adds flavor, but keeps the chicken moist. I like using coatings like these because they're not as fattening as other coating options I see a lot of other recipes using like melted butter or mayonnaise.

Tomorrow night I'm already planning ahead, too. I thawed the sausage to use for Friday night's dinner because that is the end of the work week. Johnny has been taking sandwiches to work and usually ends up with about half of a loaf of bread leftover. Sometimes we freeze it, or he'll use some up the beginning of the next week. A lot of times it starts to get old, though. So tomorrow I'm going to use the bread up and make french toast before that has a chance to happen! Add sides of scrambled eggs, sausage and some fresh fruit and it'll be a great dinner.

I love breakfast for dinner. We never have time for a big, hot breakfast during the work week. We both are night owls and hate mornings so we'd prefer to sleep in on weekends and not wake up to cook a breakfast, either. It works out great to have breakfast for dinner every once in awhile or else we'd probably never have a hot breakfast!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I love breakfast for dinner. I like to have it at least once a month. My kids get so excited about it! I make pancakes, turkey sausage, scrambled eggs, muffins! It's so good!