Approach life gently. Treat life kindly. Live life fully and with enthusiasm.
Respect life--always.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Comfort Foods


DSCF2420The other day, I talked to my Dad again. We’ve been talking often lately, which is a good thing. Only this time he had bad news. It did not catch me completely off guard, however, because when he was in the hospital a few weeks ago, I half expected a diagnosis of lung cancer to be the end result. What took me by surprise is that the doctor believes that it has already metastasized. This I was not ready for. It complicates matters more than he needs them to be.

When I am upset, I can tend to be destructive. I used to throw things, scream, and pitch fits like any overgrown two-year-old. In my maturity, I have learned to channel my frustration, my bitterness and tears, into cooking or cleaning or something along those lines. Loud music when I know I can get away with it. Crying in the shower when I cannot.

For dinner that evening, I took my aggression out on the poor chicken breasts which I had thawed earlier. And I made a huge mess of potatoes to go with. Starches, no matter their origin, seem to be universal in their comforting ability. Potatoes. Rice. Pasta. Bread. Pastries. My all-time favorite comfort food is mashed potatoes with white sauce. If I happen to have some frozen peas that I can throw in the sauce as I am making it, all the better. That night, however, I did not make mashed potatoes, though I could have easily taken more of my frustration out on mashing them to bits, that is, if I had a masher in the rig.

PA200014RECIPE: Pounded Chicken Breasts

This is the simplest way I know to make chicken breasts. And the best part is that they come out moist and tender, instead of dry as chicken breasts have a tendency to be.

Hold the chicken breast so that you can easily cut it in half, making two thin filets from each breast. Next, lay a piece of plastic wrap on your cutting board. Place one filet on top and fold the plastic over it. Take your handy dandy meat tenderizer (something no kitchen should be without) and whack the heck out of the filet until it is thinner. Turn it over and do it again. Pound each breast filet in the same manner, and feel your pent up anxieties as they leave your body.

Heat up a skillet, and add a few tablespoons of oil to the hot pan. Dredge the pounded breast filets in flour (I used rice flour to make then gluten free) and place them in the pan. It only takes about two minutes or so on each side for the filets to cook. Salt and pepper to taste.

Fixing them this way makes them about as low in fat as you can get, and still be flavorful. It is quick and simple, and there isn’t a lot of extra calories from sauces or dips to moisten the chicken after it is cooked (unless, of course, you want to add a sauce).

I served them with red potatoes prepared with bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Wild rice is also a good choice. We also had a green salad on the side, with home-grown tomatoes. (What would life be without home-grown tomatoes?)

Once I was finished cooking and eating, I wasn’t as upset about my father’s health situation.

DSC00322A warning, be careful not to turn your back when you make such wonderful smelling food, or you may return to find your plate has been sampled already.

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