This morning while I was drying my hair and marveling at how it can still be so thick when I lose a mouse-sized amount in the shower every morning, I tried to come up with some ideas about things to write about in my blog. Several of the blogs I read regularly post lovely photographs and recipes for delightful meals, and so I laughed as I imagined posting a picture of dinner in our house last night: a plate of too many Safeway brand cheese ravioli, unappetizingly slopped with more than one portion of Barilla tomato and basil pasta sauce. And two glasses of Plungerhead zinfandel. The previous night’s dinner would have appeared better at first glance: an attractively browned chicken breast next to a ton of yellow squash (and a glass and a half of Sanford chardonnay). But then I would give you the recipe for 4 chicken breasts:
½ cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
4 tblsp bread crumbs
Combine mayo and parmesan and spread on chicken breasts. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes.
Yes, I made a recipe that involved coating chicken with mayonnaise and cheese. Of course, it keeps the chicken quite tender despite the baking at high heat, but still.
The other problem with dinners these days is that they only happen after we have gotten the baby to sleep. He’s usually asleep by 7:30, but that’s after getting home at 6, a bath at 6:30, then a bottle and whatever soothing it takes to get him to pass out. There’s no time to even get anything started before he falls asleep, so it’s usually a decision about whatever is easy and fast and not too processed or full of preservatives.
On Sundays I try to make something a little more involved, but even then I don’t really rise to the level of gourmet cookin’. For example, last Sunday I made stuffed green peppers. As one friend said, “Oh, school cafeteria food.” Actually, they were very good and very healthy, but I guess they do smack a bit of childhood dinners. Not of lunchroom food, though; that was more stuff like “chili mac.” Which I also tried making recently and which was pretty gross.
Don’t get me wrong, I CAN cook more impressive meals, and I try to do so at least when we have dinner guests. But during the week, there’s no time for that, or even for a trip to the grocery store after work to replenish the larder and avoid another evening of frozen chicken tikka masala and naan (Tandoor Chef brand – actually the best I have ever had in the States).
Here’s one very good, quick recipe for you, though:
Feta cheese (preferably this Australian brand they carry at Whole Foods that’s really soft and soaking in olive oil and herbs and costs too much - $10 for a little plastic container)
Drizzle olive oil over the salmon fillets and bake them at 350° for however long it takes. My salmon never seems to cook as fast as recipes say it will, so I’m a little clueless here. Maybe 25 minutes? When the salmon is just about done, toast the pine nuts in a skillet. Smear a bunch of that awesome feta cheese on the cooked salmon fillets (as much as you want – don’t skimp, it is SO good), drizzle it with a little more olive oil, preferably from the feta cheese container if you bought the stuff from Oz), then “scatter” the toasted pine nuts on top. I say scatter for you bird-like eaters; I dump a bunch on.
That is such a good recipe and yet somehow I managed to make it sound disgusting. Good job, me.
Anyway, it’s quite good with that Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice fast cook rice, even if that stuff has enough sodium to blow you up like a balloon for a week. Add a veg, and Bob’s your uncle – an easy, delicious dinner.
Tomorrow: Let’s learn to macramé! I hear it’s coming back in vogue.