Monday, November 5, 2012

Pantry Purge

We are fully in the throws of my favorite time of year. Knee deep in the holiday happy. I love this season: the aroma of cinnamon, pumpkin, and apple pie. The twinkle lights, the festive music, the children decked out in matching pajamas. Bing Crosby belting out our favorite holiday tunes. Oh yes, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. In preparation for the good eats and sweet treats that come with the holiday season, I take the opportunity ( that a word?) to clean out the pantry of miscellaneous ingredients collected throughout the year and to delve into the bowels of the deep freeze in order use up any extra random cuts of meat or frozen casseroles. This sometimes usually results in my family enjoying choking down meals consisting of my haphazard concoctions thrown together from said miscellaneous ingredients. Such is life. They will survive. Occasionally, however, I hit a home run with my unpredictable meals and happen upon a winner. Something I might actually make intentionally at some other time of year. Totally lacking in any great feat of culinary skill, but yummy and simple and fairly quick too - I hope you and yours enjoy it as much as we did. 
Italian Chicken & Rice
2 cans chicken broth
2 cans italian diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
4 large chicken breasts, split in two to yield 8 cutlets (cutlets cook faster and are more tender)
garlic salt and pepper to taste
mozzarella or monterrey jack cheese
First, bring to boil 2 cans of chicken broth, 1 can italian diced tomatoes, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1 tsp. garlic powder. Add two cups of rice, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. While the rice is cooking, melt 3 Tbs. of butter in a cast iron skillet. Season about 8 chicken cutlets on both sides with garlic salt and pepper and brown in the cast iron skillet until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Then place the chicken on a sheet pan, cover with a spoonful or two of italian diced tomatoes and a layer of mozzarella cheese, sprinkle a little extra dried oregano or basil on top. Place in the broiler for a few minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve on top of rice. 
*photo's taken with iPhone 4s and edited in Photoshop CS6