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Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

Fancy Fast - Like a High Flying Bird

Spending Monday Night Slaving Over a Stove is for the Birds

As a caretaker, the most precious commodity that you have is time. Time to spend with your loved one(s). Time to make as many special moments as possible. So, leftovers are a no brainer. In this case, the squash casserole is a leftover that's still delicious. 45 seconds in the microwave and boom -- you're done!

There are a few things that I always keep on-hand in the freezer: meats, breads and a frozen dessert (like ice cream). This is a HUGE time saver. The chicken seems fancy, but it's outrageously simple. Olive oil in a pan on the stove top. Simmer in some fresh green onions. Salt and pepper the chicken and lightly dust with another pantry must-have: Italian bread crumbs. I can't tell you how many times the bread crumbs have saved me time. Tonight, for example, I was out of garlic (another staple). Because the Italian bread crumbs are already seasoned, you can go from zero to one hundred lightning fast. Cook the chicken until lightly browned on the outside (almost cooked through). Top it in the pan with some fresh lemon juice. Fresh lemon is a good source of Vitamin C helpful for digestion.

In the last 1 to 2 minutes, top the chicken with some shredded cheese (I used a Swiss and Gruyere shredded blend, but you could also use Parmesan).

I can't stress enough the importance of purchasing a pan that can go from stove top to the oven. I have learned over the years to invest in key pieces of cookware: A good stove top to oven skillet with a lid, a large pot with a strainer lid and a Dutch oven. You can go cheaper on things like a non-stick baking sheet because over time they will likely get corroded, and they are not that challenging to replace on a budget.

After the stove top, place the chicken in the oven at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes (depending on how hot your oven gets) on the middle rack. On the top rack, toast your garlic bread, or Texas toast. Texas toast is a thicker sandwich type bread with butter and garlic. While the bread and the chicken warm all the way through, you can heat up the leftover squash casserole.

It's Time to Wine Down

I paired this dinner with a Sauvignon Blanc from Jacks & Swan Cellars in Monterey County. You could go slightly bolder with this dish and serve it with a Chardonnay or Viognier, but the Sauvignon Blanc brightened up the meal. It's bright lime citrus notes with the green apple was a perfect complement to the meal.

Remember, fancy can be FAST!


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