June 22, 2024
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June 22, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The Beauty of Advance Prep for Weeknight Dinners

So I had the opportunity to have a number of conversations about dinner this week. (No, I wasn’t talking to myself, although that was a good guess.) I spoke with young people, old people, people with kids, people with no kids, working people and stay-at-home people. (And I guess “people” is a euphemism for women.) The story doesn’t change much. Making dinner is hard. Not the actual physical act of making dinner (well, maybe a little), but timing, planning, pleasing everyone and timing. It seems that the question of “what’s for dinner” never goes away. So for those of you who thought it would get easier when your children got older, or when they moved out, sorry to break the news to you—from what I’ve heard, it does not. Unless, of course, you eat out every night. Or you are willing to eat the same thing every night. Or dinner is not your thing.

Everyone has their own tricks and habits, such as prepping and cooking everything on Sunday. Some people cook enough for a month and store dinner in the freezer, dated and labeled. And some people are in a panic every day at about 3 o’clock, trying to figure it all out. Since I usually fall into the latter category, this week I decided to take someone else’s advice and buy a lot of chicken and spice, marinate it in family-sized portions and freeze until ready to cook. I bought two family packs of chicken breasts, and three family packs of skinless and boneless chicken thighs. I divided the breasts into two gallon-sized bags, and made a honey mustard marinade for one, and a citrus marinade for the other (see recipe below). The same for the dark meat. One bag had a lemon and zaatar marinade, and another a spice rub. I felt very accomplished. Into the freezer they went, labeled and everything! Now the key will be to remember I put them there, and to remember to defrost them in time!

Citrus Chicken Breasts

 

  • 2 C. long-grain rice, rinsed in cool water and drained
  • 2.5 lbs. (about 6–8) cutlets
  • 2 medium onions, halved and sliced
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 C. boiling water (or broth)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 glass dish with oil, and spread the rice out in an even layer. Heat a greased skillet over a medium-high flame. Place chicken cutlets in hot pan for about 2 minutes per side, just until they get a little color. They will finish cooking in the oven. Remove the cutlets and arrange over the raw rice. In the same skillet add a tablespoon of oil, and the sliced onions. Saute onions until translucent and soft. Combine the juice and zest, salt, pepper, oil and garlic in a small dish, and carefully spoon over the chicken. Spoon the onions over the chicken. Carefully pour the hot water around the cutlets onto the rice. (Don’t pour on top of the cutlets or you will wash off the juice mixture.) Cover with foil and bake for 20–30 minutes. You will have a delicious, tangy and moist chicken breast with a built-in rice side dish to enjoy for dinner!

By Rachel Berger

Rachel is a recovering real estate attorney, currently thinking about what’s next. Check out her blog at thekosherdinnerlady.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram @TheKosherDinnerLady. You can contact her at [email protected].

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