THIS DINNER does not take less than 30 minutes, cannot be turned into leftovers for a week, doesn't cost 59 cents per serving and can't be cooked in one pan.
This dinner is for people who are sitting in their office thinking about what to pick up at the supermarket to feed a swain, boss, friend or family. It is not a slam-bang meal.
It is what I refer to as a nice dinner. It takes a little time, (less if you have a food processor), but no knowlege of cooking and all the ingredients can be picked up on your lunch hour in about five minutes. The groceries can be stashed under a desk. The butter might get a bit squishy (make sure it is not in the bottom of the bag) but it won't hurt it; the chicken, if frozen, might thaw, but it's supposed to. Poached Chicken Breasts Ratatouille Braised Celery Hot biscuits Apple Crisp
Shopping List: 4 chicken breasts (skined and boned), 1 small eggplant, 1 small zucchini, 2 tomatoes, 1 green pepper, 1 onion, 10 mushrooms, 1 bunch celery, 1 can chicken broth, 1 small box Bisquick, 2 sticks butter, 1 small can tomato paste, 5 tart apples (Granny Smith), 1 lemon, 1 small carton plain yogurt.
Spices & Staples: Cinnamon, rosemary, chervil, sweet basil, marjoram, garlic, salt and pepper, flour, olive oil, vegetable oil.
Costs & Preparation Time: About $12 and approximately 1 1/2 hours preparation. Poached chicken breasts ratatouille (4 servings) 4 boned and skinned chicken breasts 1 can undiluted chicken broth 2 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup olive oil 1/2 to 3/4 cup vegetable oil 1 clove garlic 1 onion chopped 1/2 green pepper, chopped 1 eggplant, diced (and skinned if time) 1 zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick 2 tomatoes, diced (and skinned if time) 10 mushrooms, sliced 1 teaspoon salt 1 small can tomato paste 1/4 teaspoon each of chervil and sweet basil Pinch of rosemary and marjoram
Place breasts side-by-side in a frying pan with fitted lid. Cover with 1/4-inch of chicken stock and add butter. Turn heat high and bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook, covered, for 5 minutes on each side or until done. Reserve liquid for braised celery. Remove to a platter and keep warm in oven.
In a large skillet or saucepan heat half the olive and vegetable oil and saute garlic, onion and green pepper until transparent. Add remaining oil and saute mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant for 15 minutes. Add tomato paste and 3 cans water. Mix well. Add salt and herbs. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour or more. This can be prepared in advance and kept in the fridge for a few days.
To serve spoon sauce atop chicken. BRAISED CELERY (4 servings) 1 bunch celery 2 tablespoons butter Chicken stock from above
Cut washed celery stalks into 2-inch pieces. Save heart and inside stalks for another use. Saute celery in butter until slightly transparent, about 4 minutes. Add chicken stock from above recipe and simmer celery until tender crisp. Serve with a few tablespoons of stock over celery. SPOON BISCUITS (Makes 10) 2 cups biscuit mix 2/3 cup milk
Mix biscuit mix and milk. Drop by large tablespoons onto greased cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve with unsalted butter. APPLE CRISP (4 servings) 5 apples peeled, cored and sliced 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1/2 cup all purpose flour 1/2 cup brown sugar 4 tablespoons cold butter 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 small container plain yogurt
Put sliced apples and lemon juice into a overproof dish. Cut butter into flour, cinnamon and sugar until coarse crumbs are formed. This must be done quickly so butter doesn't melt. Spread crumbs on top of apples. Bake for 30 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven. Top with plain yogurt.