Last weekend my mom was in town for a visit, and on Friday night I came home and she had cooked a ton of food—the house smelled amazing! I can’t tell you how luxurious it was to come home and have dinner already almost done. She cooked loads of gorgeous yellow beets, green beans with shallots, roasted potatoes, delicata squash and sautéed chicken. We were set up with enough leftover that I didn’t have to cook anything from scratch all week.
The happy scene in the kitchen:
Beets are just so jewel-like. These were roasted and peeled, then sliced and dressed with a simple dressing to accompany a lovely arugula salad with goat cheese and walnuts.
Autumn colors! Orange beets, yellow squash.
Delicata are so delicious–roasted cut side down, the edges caramelize. We serve them with butter, salt and pepper, and they are creamy and sweet.
It sounds ridiculous, but I avoid cooking chicken; it makes me feel insecure. I have had fairly successful experiences so far, but I hate pounding the breasts flat, and I’m paranoid about overcooking. My mom cooked chicken on the stove to demonstrate how simple it is (this really does seem silly-simple, but oh well!).
After cleaning and pounding the breasts to an even thickness, pat them dry and rub them with olive oil, salt and pepper:
Get a heavy pan good and hot, then place the chicken in:
After a couple minutes flip the chicken, admire its lovely golden crust, then COVER while it finishes cooking. This is the step I didn’t think of, so the chicken tended to start burning before cooking through. This keeps it very, very juicy.
Edited to add better instructions from Mom: “Cook the first side 3-4 minutes until a nice crust forms (don’t move it or it won’t); cover and cook 2-3 minutes. Check for done-ness by touching the meat; soft and squishy means it’s still raw, springy means done, and firm means over-done. All meat continues cooking once it’s off the heat and it needs to rest a few minutes to resorb its juices before you eat it.
Easy! Here is our delicious dinner:
As for the leftovers, we ate some over the weekend, and I used half of the remaining chicken in an absorption pasta with some of the arugula tossed in at the last minute:
The other half I added to pasta with tomato sauce for a very last-minute dinner with a friend from B’s b-school class last night.