Wednesday, April 20, 2011

easy changes to some homecooked classics

Mom is here visiting so I spent last week doing a little meal planning.  She thinks it is alot of work, but for me, it a chance to try out a few dishes and I get great enjoyment from seeing people enjoy my food.

I have been kind of fascinated with an Italian dish, veal Milanese.  This dish usually features a veal chop pounded very thin, sometimes still on the bone, breaded, fried, and topped with a thick tomato ragu or just lemon wedges.  My version is a chicken breast, pounded very thin, egg washed and breaded in panko crumbs seasoned with parsley, garlic, oregano and Parmesan cheese. I lightened it up by topping it with a salad of arugula tossed with sherry-lemon vinaigrette. A squeeze of fresh lemon on the meat really works, too.  I made a side of shallot sauteed carrots and the meal was a hit.

Last night I made an easy (cheat) version of arroz con pollo (chicken and rice).  First, I seasoned 2 chicken breasts with salt, pepper and chili powder and lightly browned them in olive oil in a cast iron skillet.  I set them aside and in the same pan--no cleaning, want those good bits--I added a package of Spanish rice mix and cooked 25 minutes per the instructions.  In the meantime, I sauteed one whole yellow onion, sliced, till soft.  In a French white medium casserole dish with glass lid I placed the chicken breasts, half a jar of salsa (use your favorite) 2 TB of butter, and all the onions.  Trick--I microwaved the dish for 3 minutes. Easy.  Spoon rice onto the plate, top with chicken breast and spoon onions and pan juices over the top.  I garnished with a little chopped green onion.  Sour cream would be good, too.  Chicken was as tender and juicy as if I had simmered it for an hour.

So what's up next?  I think a little pre-Easter dinner Saturday night with baby lamb chops on a bed of Parmesan risotto.  Sounds good.