I think I gained 5 pounds this week…

I was away at a conference this week. I was busy busy busy and I ate more than my usual.

I *tried* to be mindful of my eating and I made sure I exercised every single day…but still. I ate. *sigh*

Tonight was my first chance back in the kitchen and I decided I wanted – no NEEDED – to experiment. I wanted to make all sorts of crazy things but calmed down and decided to go simple…only experimenting with ONE dish…not the whole meal. Yeaaaaaah. You can already see where this is going. When will I learn? *shaking head*

I made breaded chicken cutlets, couscous and a spinach-mushroom medley…except I added ingredients to the spinach stuff. Nothing huge… a little onion, a little garlic confit oil, a little thyme…oh and instead of regular white button mushrooms I used brown Creminis. And then I decided it’d be a good idea to add Dates to the mix. Now, I’ve used dates in dishes before. I stirred them into olives and cauliflower. I’ve added them to pasta and capers. THIS time, I forgot to balance the sweetness of the dried fruit with something acidic or salty. The dish ended up being fine, but not repeatable.

Oh well. Maybe I’ll get back into the swing of things tomorrow.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Crispy

Crispy

Breaded Chicken Cutlets by Me

Printable Recipe HERE

Dairy-FREE

Ingredients:

2 lbs. Boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts (about 4 large ones) **I cut each breast into segments – 3-5 pieces depending on the size of the breast.

1/2 cup Flour = Bowl ONE

2 eggs + a little water + 1 teaspoon minced Garlic, beaten = Bowl TWO

1 cup Breadcrumbs = Bowl THREE

Oil for frying

 

How To:

1- In a large skillet heat 2 Tablespoons of oil at a time. You want it hot enough that when you flick some water droplets into the pan the oil spits at you. Turn your oven on to 200ºF (or ‘Warm’ if you have that setting) and shove a baking sheet inside.

2- While the oil is heating up you need to dump a few pieces of chicken into the flour. Toss to coat then shake off the excess flour. Drop the coated pieces – one by one – into the egg. Roll to coat then place each piece into the breadcrumbs. Use your fingers to press the crumbs into chicken.

3- When you have several pieces of the chicken coated and the oil is spittin’ hot, add in a few pieces of the chicken – not so many that it crowds the pan though. After 3-4 minutes flip the pieces and cook a few more minutes. Cut a thick piece open to ensure it cooked through then transfer all the pieces to the heated baking sheet. If the frying pan is dry add more oil 2 Tablespoons at a time. Give it a second to heat up and then add your next round of chicken. Repeat until you’re done.

Try not to burn your fingers on this chicken. It’s pretty good – OH! And it was toddler approved!!

A basic starchy side

A basic starchy side

Couscous by the Side of the box

Printable Recipe HERE – though, since I just followed the recipe on the side of the box I’m not quite sure why you’d want this version… Maybe you just have a fixation with printing things??

Dairy-FREE

Ingredients:

1 box Couscous

Salt, Oil – as per the side of the box

Margarine – I used 1/2 stick for a whole box of couscous

How To:

1- Boil the water and oil like the instructions on the box say.

2- Add the couscous and stir in. Cover and remove from heat. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes, then top with margarine and salt and then fluff with a fork. Re-cover with the lid and let the margarine melt a bit. Feel free to mix in some herbs or squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top. You know, to keep things interesting.

3- Serve!

Next time I won't include the dates.... Or maybe I'll add something to balance their sweetness.

Next time I won’t include the dates…. Or maybe I’ll add something to balance their sweetness.

Spinach Mushroom Medley with Dates by Me

Printable Recipe HERE

Dairy-FREE, Gluten-FREE

Ingredients:

1 package frozen chopped Spinach, thawed **I threw the square o’ frozen spinach in a covered microwaveable dish and nuked it for 4 minutes.

1 container of Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced THICKLY **Today I used a 10 oz. thingie of Cremini. Feel free to use what you have on hand.

1 medium sized Onion, chopped

1 Tablespoon Garlic Confit **Alternatively, use 1 T of Olive Oil mixed with 1 teaspoon minced Garlic (the confit is better).

8 dried Dates, chopped

3 sprigs of fresh Thyme

Salt/Pepper to taste

**Even though I didn’t, you should totally make this with a handful of olives or capers or something salty. Perhaps even a squeeze of lemon or something…. Anything to balance the sweetness of the dates really.

Ahh well. Always room for improvement.

Ahh well. Always room for improvement.

How To:

1- If your spinach isn’t defrosted already,  do it now please.

2- Heat up a large skillet without oil. When very hot add the sliced mushrooms and let them sit until they release their water. After their juices have started to evaporate stir the mushrooms then add in the spinach, chopped onion, garlic confit, chopped dates, thyme and your salty addition. Turn the heat down and let everything simmer together for awhile. If you’re making this ahead of time, you can let this cool to room temp and then transfer to the fridge. Just heat up slowly over medium heat when you’re ready to eat – should take 5-8 minutes to reheat on the stovetop.

3- Season liberally with Salt & Pepper to your taste and then serve.

I should've added something tangy or salty to balance the sweetness of the dates

I should’ve added something tangy or salty to balance the sweetness of the dates

..At least it made a pretty picture.

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