Sunday, June 22, 2008

another kitchen in the family

if you prepare food in someone else's kitchen (and especially if you're trying to make the result something that every generation in a family will eat), it works best to limit your ingredients, utensil requirements, mess-making and time suckage. cook smart not hard! also remember that any holiday dinner tends to suggest at least one relative's particular preferences.
my solution wasn't vegetarian friendly, but i guarantee it didn't have to be. my only requirement was textural digestibility... and food that people would want to eat, if they felt like eating.

i bought pre-made cannelloni, bacon, fancy pasta sauce, and a wedge of decent parmesan at leon's. (also more salad mix for 99c, and berries for days.)

after assessing that purchase and figuring out a further plan, i stopped by hy-vee on the way over to family. bought a bag of baby carrots, a couple of potatoes big enough to peel quickly and easily, a tub of ricotta cheese, and a pound of boneless chicken thighs.

i used most of the jar of sauce on and around the cannelloni (which i split between two dishes, so that one could drive away if need be). i stirred some ricotta into the sauce before loading the parboiled pasta tubes into each dish. i used a carrot peeler to sliver parmesan over the top of each pan. baked them at 450 for half an hour. removed the pans to cool, and turned down the oven to 350 for the chicken.

the chicken: which i'd been prepping while the pasta was baking. into the pyrex pan in which i had boiled the pasta, i layered most of a bag of baby carrots and two peeled and chunked potatoes. i stirred in some chicken broth (thanks!) and the chopped, cooked bacon from leon's. on top of that mixture went the chicken thighs (coated with the rest of the marinara sauce), which were then covered with the rest of the wedge of parmesan (sliced into a thickness of about an eighth of an inch before layered over the pieces of bird). between the tomato sauce lending color, and the cheese that looks like breading, you don't have to brown the meat first. but you do still have to make sure it's safe.

as an aside: this post is the first one on this blog showing photos taken anywhere outside of my current apartment. happy father's day, dad. and mom.


Anonymous said...

This chicken dish is very delicious, it is one you can "get your teeth into", yet flavorful. You can taste all the flavors therein and each one can season it or "spice it up" as they wish.
We can't wait to try the second disn.
Thanks a bunch!

Anonymous said...

Ah! The second dish (cannelloni) was just as great. How nice to have an inspired cook come into our kitchen and prepare such tasty meals. Again, thanks a bunch!