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March 7, 2019
The thing about chicken is that it’s just so simple. Simple to cook and simple to mess up.
I planned on serving parmesan encrusted chicken and roasted potatoes for dinner.
Earlier in the day, we had shopped at Costco and were heading home when I realized I forgot to buy chicken. That’s okay, I thought, I have other things I still need. I’ll order groceries.
Not too long later, I received a text from our shopper letting me know that the chicken I requested was not in stock. She offered an alternative that was significantly more expensive, I then asked about organic, frozen chicken. That’s what ended up in my kitchen.
I first made french bread. After pulling the bread out of the oven, I realized I would need to bake my chicken and the potatoes in the oven at the same time, at different temperatures. I made a new plan.
I planned to serve parmesan encrusted chicken and smashed potatoes for dinner.
I cut my potatoes, added them to boiling water, drained the water, smashed them up, added cream, some butter, salt and pepper. Delicious.
We placed the frozen chicken in the refrigerator which was probably not the best idea, because when I pulled it out, it was still frozen solid. I pulled four giant chicken breast from the bag and placed them on a plate, then swiftly made it to the microwave to defrost. Suddenly, I realized my time was running low to bake and serve dinner, as Noah had orchestra practice.
Several thousand minutes later, or maybe it was seven, I retrieved the chicken and noticed that it was still very much frozen. And also, very much large. How big was this chicken to have such large breast, I wondered. I went ahead and cut the pieces in half but some were still so very large so I grabbed my meat pounder from the drawer and took a good swat at some of the pieces. For the most part, this worked well until I came across the biggest piece, I swung the pounder down and it swiftly flew across the counter. Such a slimey little sucker. Realizing I should have placed saran wrap or wax paper on top of it, I pulled the chicken back and tried again and ended up with chicken juice on my face, shirt and coffee maker.
I eventually gave up and decided to leave the fussy chicken large.
Looking at the clock, I decided to make a new game plan.
I planned to serve skillet parmesan chicken with smashed potatoes for dinner.
I grabbed my trusty iron skillet, I placed four tablespoons of butter on my hot pan and then four cloves of chopped garlic. I placed flour in one shallow dish and grated parmesan cheese in another. Making sure my chicken was rinsed and dried (using a paper towel), I coated the pieces of chicken in flour, then in parmesan cheese, I placed them in the skillet and heard that beautiful sizzly noise. I took a few sprigs of thyme and tossed them in with the chicken, butter and garlic. I placed the lid on the pan. It was around this time that I realized I ended up not using my oven at all.
After a few minutes, I turned my chicken, which revealed the most beautiful, golden color you’ve ever seen. I love it when that happens. After a few more minutes, I checked the temperature and removed the chicken once they reached 165 degrees, one by one, finally pulling the big fat, fussy piece off last.
I allowed my new, golden, tasty chicken to rest, then made plates and called everyone to dinner.
We sat down and enjoyed the most tender and flavorful of chicken ever made (at least in my house) and ate some fairly cold smashed potatoes.
As we sat and talked and forks hit plates and seconds were requested, I looked over at the empty tray of chicken and chuckled to myself. Things don’t always go as planned in the kitchen, even when we meal plan, but it’s best to make the most of it.
Many years ago, I likely would have thrown a fit at the big, giant frozen chicken and ran out to get pizza. Instead, I’ll just make it seem like we had exactly as planned…parmesan encrusted chicken and potatoes.
Everything else will just be our little secret.