The Frantic Mom’s Guide to Dinner

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Too bad supper doesn’t roll around when we have excess energy instead of at the end of the day!  “Should we just go out?” one ponders.  But if $40 is to go towards gas and not a so-so restaurant than mama has to get in the kitchen and figure it out.  Pour a glass of wine, Mama, I will walk you through an easy dinner using just what you have in the kitchen.

Choose a protein- hamburgers, veggie burgers, veggie chicken, chicken breasts, salmon, bean patties, whatever you can find.  I found a package of Ahi tuna in the freezer.

Make a sauce for the protein- Find jelly in the fridge or pantry.  Apricot, chokecherry, jalapeno, apple, blueberry, peach….Now combine it with bbq sauce or soy sauce.  The jelly should be the highest ratio.  Add a dried spice like chipotle, red chile, garlic, dill, basil…be creative.  Add a little broth or white wine to thin to desired consistency or use a jar of jelly that didn’t set!  Done.  Top cooked protein.

Meanwhile choose a frozen or fresh vegetable- artichokes, green beans, carrots, cabbage, anything tastes great with this method.  In the boiling water add a few cloves of garlic, a sprinkling of chipotle, 2 tablespoons of lemon extract (lemons soaked in vodka for two months) or fresh lemons, and sea salt.  The water infuses the vegetables lightly.  A bit of butter and salt is all it takes to transform the vegetables.

IMG_2146Make a pilaf.  I used buckwheat which cooks in 20 minutes.  Rice works too.  Cook in rich broth with raisins and salt until ready, add walnuts and walnut oil or any nut or fruit.

In twenty minutes or so you have a gourmet, delicious, nutritious meal on the table while saving money because it uses what is already there.  Now you have time to start Christmas cards after supper!

Margarita Chicken (easy to make, quick dinner, great with a margarita! Ole!)

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Sometimes coming up with three meal ideas a day can be tiring, even daunting.  I needed inspiration and a margarita and that is how this recipe came about.  The next time you want an easy dinner that is festive and delicious, try this one.  For the complete experience play salsa music while cooking, sip on your margarita, and dance around the kitchen.  Olé!

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In a zip lock bag (I just used the one the thighs were defrosting in) pour a real good splash of margarita mix and tequila over two good sized pieces of chicken.  We get hungry over here.

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Put back in fridge until ready to use.  I kept them in there a few hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

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In your first bowl add 1/2 cup of flour.  This is the key to good, crisp chicken.  Dredge the chicken in flour thoroughly first.

In the second bowl break a large egg and beat with a fork.  Dip the flour covered chicken pieces in egg.

In the third bowl combine 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup of cornmeal, 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning, 1 teaspoons of lime salt (or regular sea salt), 1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper.  Chicken makes its last stop in this bowl.  Completely cover with flour/seasoning mixture and place pieces in a cast iron pan or baking dish.

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Bake for one hour.

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Corn and a crisp salad with chipotle ranch would be delicious with this.  ¡Buen provecho!

Now where’s Mama’s margarita?