Saturday, August 20, 2011

Date Night Chicken Dinner

We've gotten to that point where we have date night. Sigh. Every Saturday night, we try to carve out some time together between reading books, running errands, working, and spending time with Helmut, our cat. Last week, we started date night with an argument. But from there, we got back into a cozy place and decided to stay in and cook with what we had, enjoying each other's company instead of going out to a crowded place.

Such a good decision! We happened to have frozen chicken tenders from Trader Joe's, fingerling potatoes, carrots, and frozen spinach, so we improvised a chicken dinner that turned out to be five-star quality. One of the best meals we've ever had.

Give it a try--pre-meal argument optional!

Cover the inside of a 9 x 13 pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Toss in cut up fingerling potatoes (peels on) and peeled carrots, all cut into chunks. If you have an onion, slice it up and toss it in too (we didn't.) Massage veggies with a bit of olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper, minced garlic (maybe not best date night choice), and oregano. Top veggie mixture with six frozen chicken tenders that you've tossed with a little oil, salt, pepper, and herbs de provence (one of my fav spice blends).

Put this all into the oven at about 400 degrees, and wait until it smells like chicken dinner to take it out. Check it after half and hour, and it will probably be done by an hour and change, but make sure you check your chicken. If you want to do this faster, par boil the veggies and use raw chicken. Same great flavors.

While this was all well and good, the star of the meal was the creamed spinach. I vaguely recall seeing creamed spinach with corn on a menu or having it at some point recently, though I can't recall where. So we flew by the seat of our pants on this one...put half a bag of frozen spinach and 1/2 c. frozen corn in a skillet. Drop in a tablespoon of butter and a teaspoon of olive oil. Add salt, pepper, cream cheese (we used 1/3 less fat), fresh grated parmesan, 4 T. cream, and a dash of milk. If you have some minced garlic, toss it in, and give it a sprinkle of nutmeg. Cook until creamy. This is irresistible with the corn and a new family favorite.

What is your favorite date night meal?

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