Just one more day.
It gets that close sometimes. It’s the day before payday, the man has taken most of your take-home, and, well … the kids insist on dinner. Rather than break out the plastic to break bread, I’ve found another way – and I suspect you have too.
Inspiration often comes from the show Chopped.
Last week, I nabbed a pack of chicken from the freezer (cut into tenders and stored in zip-lock bags, because we’re out of freezer bags), and mulled over the random assortment of canned goods and other tat lining the shelves.
Being a lefty, I often go from left to right.
This night, I picked up a can on the left and pulled the remnants of half-and-half from the fridge and got to defrosting and contemplating. (Defrosting a pound of chicken gives you just enough time to consider what the hell you’re doing.)
One Day ’til Payday Spicy Skillet Chicken
What you’ll need
- 1 pound (give or take) of chicken, nugget sized
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 can hot diced tomatoes with habaneros (or some variation, depending on your heat index and tolerance)
- 3/4 cup half and half
- 1 box bowtie pasta (or whatever you find in the pantry from the noodle family)
- dash chili flakes (if you’re not satisfied with the considerable heat of habaneros)
What you’ll do
1. Place olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat.
2. Add chicken pieces. Turn them once in a while so they don’t burn. Cook until you see no pink spots.
3. Add half and half. Allow mixture to boil a little like a cauldron. Add chili flakes, salt, and pepper to taste.
4. Add tomatoes. Stir, but not so vigorously you splatter everything.
5. Cook pasta according to package directions.
6. Drain pasta, and add cold water. Drain again. (This keeps the noodles from sticking together. Mostly.)
*Note: If you falter in draining pasta and half your noodles fall into the sink, be mindful that even through a closed window, your family can hear you when you exclaim SH*T! (Don’t worry. Your daughter will remind you there are leftover noodles from the other night, penne, Mix with bowties.)
7. Serve chicken mixture over mixed-bag of noodles. Add a glass of milk and include a box of tissues nearby to combat the taste-bud-assaulting heat you’ve just created.
*Note: Ask your kids to make chocolate chip cookies after dinner. This is an especially effective time to ask if they’ve enjoyed dinner.
I think I’d forgo the chili flakes next time. In my defense, I didn’t see the word habaneros hiding inconspicuously on the can. Really, something like that, it should be set off in a different color. Still, it was tasty and cleared the sinuses.
The time of need for habaneros
Some nights are like this.
You get a bit far from payday, with stuff to still pay for. You buy stuff like hot diced tomatoes with habaneros with another recipe in mind, on some long-ago trip to Aldi, but end up turning to it in a time of need. I’m thankful I had the choice.
Marie, the middle child, hasn’t shown the gusto to cook like her sisters do – but she just might be the best of the bunch.
I acknowledge that two of my three daughters have surpassed me not only in athletic ability (they did that after one week of practice) but also in the culinary arena. And for the third child, it’s just a matter of time.
Marie made the cookies, with Grace’s help.
They turned out cookies roughly 31% better than my last batch, a perfection of exact parts chewy and crunchy. Marie made me scrambled eggs recently, too. They were light, fluffy, not a spot of overcooked egg to be found, but also not a bit of runny undoneness.
Makes me proud, and kind of makes me want to retire from my post of the weekend chef, that two-day period between pizza Friday and the Monday grind that shows a solid 50/50 chance of delicious results.
A trip into recipe archives (or 2015)
I love to cook, though.
Last night, I made this recipe, for heat-and-serve breakfast sandwiches. I’d found it in 2015. There’s not a statute of limitations for the time break between discovering a recipe and actually making it, I was happy to discover.
This morning, Marie gave me props.
That breakfast thing was good, she said as I hugged her goodbye for the day. Sweet! It was kind of like the Iron Chef not spitting my chicken out onto the floor. Kind of makes me want to see what else I can rustle up just before next payday.
The rest of the A to Z to this point:
A is for Addiction to Devices
C is for Interview with a Cat
D is for Do What I Do and Eat What I Eat
E is for Eight Things I’ve Left Behind
F is for Foods That Bring Me Comfort
H is for Halfway There
I is for Ice Cream
J is for Justification for the Blog Life
K is for 7 Women I’d Sing Karaoke With
M is for Men I Forgot to Be
N is for the New Plan