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Let me preface this post with a public service announcement. It is currently 97 degrees at my home, outside Cleveland, Ohio, with a heat index of 105. Yes. I said 105. Let’s all just think about that for a moment. This is the third day in a row that our heat index has topped 100 degrees by 11am and stayed there until at least 8:30 pm. If I could have figured out how to crawl into my freezer without having to remove all the popsicles first, I would have. I did consider getting into a cold bath and adding said popsicles just to get the water even colder. Maybe that’s what I should have done with the evening, but, being as how my brains have been slowly poaching in their own juices for the last three days I decided that what made more sense was to spend the heat of the day running errands and then come home to make a big cooked dinner. My intelligence knows no bounds.

Here’s what I made:

So, I know the pic isn’t amazing… if we hadn’t been so hungry I’d have tried to do more food styling.  It all tasted awesome though!  The chicken is this Parmesan Crusted Chicken from The Enchanted Cook (via Pinterest). It’s a Hellman’s recipe, and I generally HATE mayo, but it looked good, and seemed uber-simple. I basted the mayo onto the chicken in a very thin layer before adding the bread crumbs and it turned out fabulously moist, with a great tang. I did make a change from the original recipe, I sprinkled the chicken breasts with Herbs de Provence, California style garlic powder, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. I’m glad I did, as I think the chicken would have been bland without those additions.

The potatoes are also from Pinterest. These Seasoned Roasted Potatoes from Iowa Girl Cooks were probably the highlight of the meal, although I wish I’d left the larger ones in the microwave a bit longer. We don’t eat a whole lot of baked potatoes, so my skills in that regard are a bit rusty. I used fresh grated parmesan and in retrospect I should have gone with my gut instinct to add the parm AFTER baking the potatoes. The cheese started to burn before the potatoes themselves got as dark as I would have liked. I’ll adjust that for next time. I do wholeheartedly recommend NOT skimping on the butter that you use here. I bought a small block of Kerrygold regular butter and put entire slices of it on top of each potato to melt in. Not exactly low cholesterol, but AH-MAZING flavor. For six potatoes (twelve halves) I used a solid three quarters of the block.

The broccoli is entirely fiance’s creation. He took a number of recipes and through trial and error has melded them into our go to broccoli preparation. I have no idea what he does to it, I just eat it happily!

For dessert, the fiance also made these Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Balls from Avocado Pesto (via Pinterest again). First though, I had to show him how to assemble a double boiler, and explain the theory behind it’s use. Unfortunately, they were all gone before I could get any pics… but that should tell you something about how good they were. There’s not much you can do with chocolate and peanut butter that I won’t enjoy! Our one edit to this recipe was to roll the balls in mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, rather than crunched up Heath bar, based on the recommendation of several pinners.

Overall, dinner was a resounding success, making up for the fact that I turned on the oven in 105 degree heat. Did I mention that fiance and I live on the 4th floor of our building?  And that the wall of windows in my living room faces the setting sun, allowing us to bake all afternoon?  Hmm… maybe the poached brains really are getting the better of me. Ah well! Cheers all!

If more of us valued food and cheer above hoarded gold, it would be a much merrier world,

~J. R. R. Tolkien

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