Earlier this month we (sans Chris) traveled to Winnipeg, Manitoba (yes, brrr…) be with my extended family – my grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins on my mom’s side. One of the highlights for me (besides breathing the crisp, clean air and coming back with a nice stash of Oma’s knitted goods) was taking my vibrant and eager 17-yr-old cousin, Sierra, through the entire comprehensive program that I offer. If I could work with teenagers every day I could. They are so full of life!
We gave her home’s pantry a makeover and spent a couple of hours at Superstore making sense of it all. But the best part was experimenting in the kitchen with this creative young woman!
We concocted a light and delicious blueberry vinaigrette. Then Sierra came up with the idea of putting feta cheese in the salad and it was perfect with the fruity dressing!
And I so wish I had a picture of her face when we re-created the red curry coconut soup from her favorite Thai restaurant – she could not believe how easy it was! We were so excited that we ate about three (ok, five but they were small-ish) bowls at midnight – woops!
When it was my turn to cook for the family, I showed her how simple it is to make fajitas for a small crowd. This style of cooking is not only easy, but it keeps the chicken very moist and flavorful. People oohed and aahed.
In fact, it was such a hit with my Winnipeg folk that I made it again last night for Chris’s family (7 adults and 3 kids including us). We spent the evening at our house visiting with his cousin, Michael, who is here on a business trip.
More onions…then on went the butter.
As a side salad, I just sliced some romaine and topped it with chunks of avocado, lime, sea salt and pepper.
I usually put bowls of chopped jalapenos, lime wedges and shredded cheese on the table, but this time I just made some Southwestern Cilantro-Lime Dressing (to the left of the flowers):
And then, a couple of sweet potato pies with whipped cream for dessert. Clean plate club all around!
3 pounds chicken breasts (about 6)
A little olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
2T mexican seasoning (Or 1T chili powder, 1t cumin, 1t salt)
1 1/2 bell peppers thinly sliced into strips
1 small-med. onion, sliced
6 pats butter (not quite a tablespoon each, one for each breast)
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Drizzle a little olive oil over the bottom of a 9×13 glass baking pan (it doesn’t have to perfectly coat the pan). Place the breasts into the pan (I usually rinse and pat dry first). Rub the smashed garlic all over the chicken, then place the cloves under the breasts. Now you are ready for your spices.
2. Sprinkle on the mexican seasoning (or the chili powder, cumin and salt) over the breasts as evenly as you can (measure each seasoning the first time to get a sense of how much is needed and you can eyeball it next time.)
3. Scatter the peppers and onions over the chicken and place the butter over each breast. If you are assembling this dish in advance, stop here and place in the fridge. Doing this the night before will allow the spices time to sink into the chicken, but it’s not necessary.
4. Sprinkle a little extra salt and pepper over the entire dish, cover with foil, and bake for 15 minutes. Take the chicken out of the oven briefly to pour the juices over, then right back into the oven.
5. Up the temperature to 400 and bake an additional 10-20 minutes, or until done (one way to tell is that the juices run clear, another is a160-165 reading on the meat thermometer or I cheat and just cut into a piece to see).
6. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
- I like to set up a wooden cutting board and cut the first couple of breasts into thin slices. Then, I leave the knife and pan with the vegetables and remaining chicken near the board for guests to help themselves.
- Don’t forget to have a spoon in the pan and remind your guests to pour the buttery, flavorful juices over their meals!
- I serve these with a big pot of rice and have little sides such as guacamole, shredded cheese, chopped jalapenos, Southwestern Cilantro-Lime Dressing and lime wedges.
- Don’t have a crowd to feed? You will have a nice little bounty for lunch salads, or a great freezer meal a busy night!///
(Also shared on The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter 8/29/2013)