Monday, April 4, 2011

The Disappearing Dinner

I made a dish tonight that was gobbled up so quickly I did not even have time to take a picture! I apologize, I know the pictures help.

However, it was so yummy that I still have to share.

I started with a non-stick pan and about a tablespoon of butter.  I slowly melted the butter over low heat and added about 2 heaping tablespoons of flour.  I slowly mixed this together until it became chunky.  Then, I added the magic ingredient: homemade chicken stock.

This is basically a mix of water, olive oil, and spices used to slowly cook chicken breasts in.  When the chicken is thoroughly cooked, you are left with a pot full of wonderful, flavorful chicken broth that beats anything you can get at the store.  You can refrigerate it for...well, I'm not sure.  Mine was about 2 weeks old, but once I scraped the fat off the top it was as good as new.

I slowly added the chicken broth to the flour-butter mix, throwing in some pepper, a touch of sea salt, Italian spices, tarragon, parsley, and dried garlic.  In all, the base of this sauce probably took about 3 heaping tablespoons of flour and 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth.

Then I added the veggies: 1/2 cut up zucchini, 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms, 1/4 cup chopped red onions, and about a cup of torn up fresh spinach leaves.  I let this slowly cook for about 30 minutes until the veggies were soft and the sauce was nice and thick.  I then boiled some whole wheat pasta and topped it with the chicken/veggie sauce and mozzarella cheese.  It was kind of like a chicken alfredo, but with veggies instead of chicken.

It was SO GOOD...we ate every last bite.  It was rainy and stormy all day today, so this warm dish made for the perfect meal.

How did I come up with this?  Well, I looked in the refridgerator and picked one ingredient that I needed to get rid of, and fast, before it was too late.  Then, I brainstormed what I could add to that ingredient to make a full meal.  Tonight, this ingredient was the chicken stock. 

If you struggle with coming up with new ideas to cook with, or always feel like you are tethered to a recipe, now is the time to get creative.  Pick one ingredient you love and trust your instincts.  You will be amazed with what you can come up with!  And as most things go, practice builds confidence!

Now I just need to apply this principal to my gardening skills...

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