Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Potato Croquettes, Leftover Mashed Potato Glory

Potato Croquettes--a deliciously decadent way to use leftover mashed potatoes!

Continuing with our series on American Classics, we turn our attention to mashed potatoes.  Claire maintains that she has not found a potato varietal stateside that mimics the light, fluffy mash of her youth in London, poor lass.  Since I have Irish American roots,  a serious love affair with carbs, and no childhood idyllic notion of root vegetables, mashed potatoes practically flow through my veins. 

I'm not going to give you a mashed potato recipe; I grant you more culinary credit than that.  I am going to suggest a few interesting variations on the traditional, and then share a recipe on what to do with leftover mashed spuds--if you have any, which at my table is never a given.

The variations:
  • In place of butter, use cream cheese or mascarpone.
  • In place of milk, use buttermilk or yogurt.
  • In place of both, use sour cream.
  For some interesting flavor twists, add any one of the following:
  • roasted garlic
  • horseradish
  • grated cheese (sharp cheddar or Parmesan)
  • grainy dijon mustard
  • chopped scallions
  • pesto
  • Wasabi
And now for the recipe:

Potato Croquettes.  My daughter and I have had an ongoing obsession with these since lunching at Positano Coast some time ago and sampling theirs.
These balls of mashed potatoes, breaded and deep fried, sprinkled with cheese and served with pesto dipping sauce are a little trip to spud heaven.

Recently, we had the good fortune to  create a home made version.  Ours were not as pretty, and we didn't have the pesto dip, but these carb-alicious orbs were a great way to use leftover mash, in a way that didn't feel like leftovers. 

Potato Croquettes (makes 8 croquettes, serving 2 or 3)

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1 egg
1/2 c panko
1 tsp Beck's Devil Dust (or your favorite spice blend--Old Bay, Lowry's etc.)
Oil for frying

Heaven in a skillet

Crack egg into a small, shallow bowl and mix.  In another medium sized, shallow bowl, pour panko and seasoning; mix.  Wet hands, grab bite sized portion of potato, roll into ball, douse in egg, then coat with panko mixture.  Heat oil in skillet and fry croquettes to a crispy brownness.  Drain on paper towels and enjoy.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Mom's Apple Pie

There is nothing more quintessentially American than apple pie.  It's the cliche standard, for cryin' out loud. 

My mother,  who raised 5 kids, and is in the process of spoiling 14 grandchildren, is an award winning pie baker.  Her crust, taught to her by her Czech immigrant Nana, is flaky, light, and perfectly browned.    Most of the time, her fillings are seasonally driven--peach and blueberry in summer, apple and pumpkin in fall, but she'll churn out a pecan, or chocolate cream or lemon meringue upon request.

For Mothers' Day, Mom baked a rainbow of pies, in spite of the fact that it should have been her 'day off'.  We shot the apple "in progress" and took notes on her methods.  Since she doesn't follow a recipe, we had to watch and record.

Mom's Apple Pie
Serves 8
Heat oven to 425
NOTE:  this makes 3 crusts, which means you can do a pie with a bottom and top crust (like the apple detailed here) as well as a single crust pie like a pumpkin or lemon meringue.  If you don't want to make the second pie, the dough can stay in the fridge for a few days or freezer for a few months.

For the pastry:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup Crisco
6 TBSP butter
9 TBSP ice water

For the apples:
5 or 6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced--Mom uses a variety of types for optimal flavor and texture.
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 TBSP butter

Cut butter and Crisco into flour with pastry cutter or two butter knives.  When it forms a coarse meal, stir in ice water 1 TBSP at a time, stirring until dough forms.  Knead briefly to completely blend.  Cut dough into 3 equal pieces, roll each into a ball and then flatten into a disk.  For the apple pie you will need 2 of the discs; reserve the other for another pie or quiche.  While you prepare the apples, refrigerate the dough.  Mix all ingredients except butter, and toss well.  Back to the dough:  roll out the disk on a floured surface or pastry cloth with a floured rolling pin.  The circle needs to be several inches larger than the pie dish and no more than 1/4 inch thick.   Carefully lift the pastry round and gently place it into a 9 inch pie dish.  Fill with prepared apples, and cut the remaining 2 TBSP butter into pieces; place atop apples.

Roll out second disk of dough and place on top of the pie.  Wrap the overhanging dough together and pinch it to seal.  Mom makes a sort of wavy, ruffle pattern, but she said you can also mash it down with a fork if you are not inclined to the decorative.  Once the pie is sealed, poke about 10 holes in the top crust with a fork; this will allow steam to escape and avoid a crack or worse.

 Bake pie for about 40 minutes.  You may want to wrap the crust edges with foil to prevent overbrowning.  Remove when crust is a beautiful golden color and edges are just slightly brown.  Serve warm, topped with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

And now for the true confession:  I am not a great lover of pies, despite my mother's prodigious skill in creating them.  To me, if a dessert doesn't contain dark chocolate, it better have a caramel center, some rich, buttery cake or at least a hefty scoop something gooey and custardy oozing over the top.    Pies, to me, are an awful lot of work for something that kinda resembles breakfast.  But I am definitely in the minority; my mother's pies invoke raptures in most people.  Perhaps it is due to the fact that they were commonplace in my childhood; whereas scarcity breeds desire, their near daily presence in our kitchen made them not so rarified.   But that does not diminish my my appreciation for her gift, or my awareness that perfect pastry is really difficult to execute.  I strenuously disagree with the adage "easy as pie."

Friday, May 25, 2012

The BEST Macaroni and Cheese

Mac and Cheese, ready to bake.

Few dishes conjure up the universal rapture of mac and cheese, particularly for the minimal cost and effort it involves.   It's a sure fire crowd pleaser for kids, adults, vegetarians, and omnivores of all types.  It is economical, and is  great do-ahead option as it can sit in the fridge for a couple days before using or in the freezer for a couple of months.  I can be counted on most summer weekends to deliver a mammoth sized trough of this to the beach, and it is always a welcome addition to the inventory--kids often eat the leftovers (if there are any) for breakfast.  If you use  high protein noodles you have a pretty nutritious meal without meat, and even picky pasta palates won't recognize the subterfuge when the noodles are bathed in cheese.

Perfect Mac and Cheese

Serves 6

1 box pasta--Penne, rotelle, farfalle medium shells, elbows, or any short pasta shape.
1/2 lb Cooper Sharp cheese (available at the deli counter)
1/2 lb Super Sharp Cheddar cheese (also from deli counter)
1 1/3 cup milk
1/2 stick butter
Wondra flour as needed--approx 1/4 cup  (for thickening)
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs, panko, or crushed Cheese-it/goldfish crackers  (optional, for topping)
1/2 cup grated cheese (optional, for topping)
salt/pepper/garlic powder to taste

Cook shells according to package directions til al dente (usally one minute less than they recommend on the box.)

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, melt butter, milk and cheese together over low heat, stirring frequently. When totally melted, sprinkle Wondra flour into sauce, whisking constantly til creamy and slightly thickened.  Drain pasta, pour into greased 13x9 rectangular pan and pour sauce over pasta. Mix well. Top with bread crumbs and grated cheese if desired. Bake 30 minutes at 350 til top begins to crisp, or cover and place in fridge or freezer til needed.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A FAST American Classic: Monkey Bread

Why is Monkey Bread so named? It's a great name. I'd never heard of it before moving the U.S., and according to Wikipedia, no-one outside the U.S. eats it.

Casting my mind back to parties/brunches at which I'd seen this delicious baked pastry served I had a theory about how this sweet treat might have earned its name. It's 'cos everyone jumps on the pastry the minute it's pulled from the oven.  And because the bread is piping hot which means it is thrown from hand to hand in order to cool it down, those eating the bread look less like ravenous wolves and more like a group of monkeys eating communally.  Well that was my theory.  (And it's shared by several others according to my very superficial internet research.)

Another site, however, offers a more learned suggestion.  It may be related in some way to the appearance of the monkey puzzle tree, or even look like monkey brains.  Feel free to pick the story you like best.

This recipe, lifted from People magazine, has a scant four ingredients.  This is my type of baking!  Quick and very few dishes to wash up as you go along...

Here's how to do it...

  • 4 z 7.5oz cans refrigerated biscuits
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tbsps cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter

Monkey bread in the raw - who knew baking could be so easy...?

1. Preheat oven to 350degrees
2. Combine 1 cup sugar and 2 tbsps cinnamon in a ziploc bag
3. Cut biscuits into quarters, add to bag and shake until coated
4. Transfer to a greased 12inch tube pan/ring
5. Melt remaining butter and sugar and cinnamon and bring to the boil.  Pour over the biscuits in the tin.
6. Bake biscuits until dough has risen and they are all nicely puffed up - approx 35-40mins.
7. Remove fromn oven and allow to cool.
8. Invert onto a plate and watch your guests tear the bread apart!

People started tucking into this before it got out of the baking pan!

Now I'm a believer.


Monday, May 21, 2012

An American Classic with a Twist: Meatloaf Minis

Meatloaf minis..doused in ketchup
As a transplant to the U.S., many of the dinner staples - the "meals like Mom made" - have passed me by.  I didn't grow up dining on such dishes as meatloaf and mac 'n' cheese.  It's been an interesting process acquiring these recipes for my own family.

I found the latest addition to my repertoire of "American classics" while waiting in a doctor's office, perusing a copy of People magazine.  In the food section of the magazine is a 'Great Ideas" page, which is basically a cook-it-quick recipe that anyone can make. 

This recipe earned a place at our table because while my son adores meatloaf, my daughter won't touch it because the meat is just too dense. 

This recipe keeps all parties happy;
  • it's a souped up meatloaf (you wouldn't know that it's crammed with healthy veggies!);
  • it's much lighter than a standard meat-heavy meatloaf - the recipe uses grated vegetables and rolled oats which seem to break up the density of the meat itself;
  • and I like the aesthetics!  The meatloaf minis look more like oversized meatballs, which I prefer to having a slab of meatloaf on my plate. 
Win, win, win.

The meatloaf minis I made looked just as gorgeous as the (no doubt digitally enhanced) photo in People  magazine, but I promise you they come out of the oven looking most pretty...

Although this recipe uses turkey, I substituted the same quantity of ground beef.  Likewise, rather than using shredded broccoli, I substituted already grated carrots (see above).

  • 1/2 cup grated onion (I didn't fancy grating an onion - and ruining my nails in the process - so bought a pre-chopped pack of diced celery and diced onion).
  • 7tbsp ketchup
  • 1 1/4lb lean turkey mince
  • 3 cups shredded broccoli coleslaw, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fat free liquid egg (I didn't have these in my pantry so used a real egg instead!)
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Heat oven to 350degrees
  • Line 9-10 compartments of a muffin tin with baking cups or spray with a non stick spray
  • Combine all ingredients except 3tbsp of ketchup in a bowl and mix thoroughly (I actually pre-fried the onion and celery I was adding, in order to ensure that they were nicely softened, but the recipe doesn't call for this...)
  • Divide mixture evenly among the cups.  Brush each muffin with 1tsp of ketchup
  • Bake for 30-35 mins.

Now on to dessert - cheat's Monkey Bread! 

This is more an assemblage than real baking. 

But that suits me perfectly. 

This too from People mag.  It was a pretty productive trip to the Dr. that day...

Recipe to follow.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sbraga: Art on a Plate

The Eggplant Terrine was a good looking number

Wish I'd tried the scallop with pork belly, watermelon and tabouleh!

Keri and I wanted to treat our menfolks to an upmarket dinner.

The timing was perfect.

The meal became a four way celebration of one wedding anniversary and three birthdays: two of the four of us are Pisceans while one other is guided by the dynamic star sign, Aries -- so this was a belated birthday treat for the majority of us!

We tried to get a reservation at Vetri.  No joy.  Had heard the buzz around Sbraga, and thought we'd give that a shot.  We got a table but waaaay early.  We secured a 6.15pm seating, which wasn't ideal.

Sbraga occupies a curious location.  It's a bit of dead zone for pedestrians, straddling the corner of Broad and Pine and many a restaurant has failed in this particular spot.  Still, it's been nominated for the Best New Restaurant in Philly, so we wanted to see whether it lived up to its PR...

The decor is muted.

The walls sport slabs of reclaimed wood while the wallpaper complements this with its discrete woodland theme.

The focal point of the restaurant is a sizable open kitchen with real wooden fires that burn dramatically.

The menu is a four course fixed price meal, with an option to pair your dishes with libations chosen by Sbraga's own experts.  Three of the four of us went this route.

Nice touch for openers...instead of the obligatory bread basket, we were each served our own truffle-infused popover.

This was a good start - in lieu of bread we had a popover made with truffle oil

I just had to run with the foie gras starter.  It came accompanied with wafer thin slices of melon, an almond crumble and guess what...?  

The plate was finished with a gentle melon sorbet.  It worked - beautifully.

I loved the presentation of my cod second course.  It looked like a flower growing off a stem.  The leaf was indeed a solitary bok choy leaf that had been caramelized to a crisp.  

The cod was cooked to perfection, but it lacked a certain something; it looked spectacular but seemed dull after the foie gras opener.

The lamb belly was certainly an unusual cut...

My husband had the Bronzino, which came with a crispy crust

The chocolate tart: the pistachio ice cream swayed our decision

We finished with the obligatory cheese course....
Our overall impression of Sbraga was good.  We had to wrestle with the wait staff to get a decent sized glass of wine to accompany the food.  (Unlike when you've bought the bottle yourself and the wait staff keep topping your glass up to encourage you to drink it as quickly as possible.)  Some of the drinks pairings were decidedly odd.  I'm not sure that we'd repeat that part of the meal again.  However, the food was delightful, innovative and surprising.

I'm planning a repeat visit when next my family is in from the U.K.  It does feel like a special occasion restaurant.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Secret to Marinara Sauce

In a previous post, we promised to share La Cucina at the Market Chef/Owner Anna Florio's secret to Marinara sauce.  Here it is:

Don't overcook it.

Anna elaborates:  "When Italians first came to this country as immigrants they were generally poor.  This meant that they could not afford expensive cuts of meat, so what they did buy had to be simmered for hours to make it tender and palatable.  Hence the notion of the pot of Italian Gravy cooking all day."

But Marinara sauce is different--you're essentially cooking tomatoes.  Anna continues:  "The word 'marinara' derives from mare which is Italian for sea.  Historically it was a tomato sauce that contained seafood, which cooks very quickly.  It has evolved into a simple tomato sauce--and how long does it take to cook a tomato?  Not very.  Marinara sauce only needs about 30 minutes in the pot."  And with the warm weather coming, and tomato season arriving soon, this sauce is a great go-to for a simple, light summer meal.

Anna shared another great trick of the trade.  Cook the pasta just to al dente (generally a minute less than the package recommends) then pour it into the pot of sauce.   Anna explains:  "This enables the pasta to absorb some of the sauce's flavor and blends everything well.  Most people drain the pasta, then pour it into a serving bowl and put the sauce on top.  The sauce never gets a chance to infuse with the pasta, so people tend to keep adding sauce to achieve sufficient flavor.  Putting the pasta into the hot pot of sauce for a couple of minutes avoids that problem."

Anna Florio's Sugo Alla Marinara

1 lg can whole peeled tomatoes, San Marzano recommended
Olive oil
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon pepperoncini (red pepper flakes)
½ teaspoon dry oregano
4-5 leaves fresh Basil

Pour olive oil into a large sauce pan.  Add chopped garlic and sauté just until garlic is golden.  Add tomatoes, then fill tomato can 1/2 way with water, rinse can and pour water into pot.  Add oregano and hot pepper. Using the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher, gently crush the tomatoes. Add basil.  Stir well, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes.

When pasta has cooked al dente strain the pasta and add it to the sauce in the pan.  Simmer about 2-3 minutes, gently stirring.

Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl and serve immediately with freshly grated pecorino cheese.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Elegant Berries Chambourd

Berries Chambourd on a bed of pound cake, topped with fresh mascarpone whipped cream

Our focus on berries dovetailed nicely with a dessert we had the good fortune to encounter recently.  This preparation is simple, versatile, and can be done at the last minute immediately prior to being served, or in advance and heated before serving.

Ready to simmer...

Elegant Berries Chambourd

2 pints berries--strawberries work well, cored and sliced, but you can use also use a blend of blue, black and raspberries
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup Chambourd

In large saucepan melt butter and sugar.  Add berries and stir, cooking until they begin to break up.  Pour Chambourd over, and bring to boil, continuing to stir a few minutes more.  Serve ladled on pound cake topped with mascarpone whipped cream, or drizzled over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Strawberry Bread

We promised you a recipe for Strawberry Bread, and being women of our word, here it is.

I am a frequent baker of these types of fruity breakfast/tea breads.  I am always tempted to call them sweetbreads, but of course, that refers to the thymus gland and pancreas of a calf or lamb.  Not something I'd be inclined to eat, well, ever, but least of all with coffee at breakfast or with a cup of tea in the afternoon.

As a mom who aspires to have her children eat a wide array of healthy, fresh fruit, I tend to purchase a generous basket full each week.  I gravitate towards whatever is in season, but also go for bananas,  and, admittedly, what may be on sale.   But my children don't cooperate.  Son eschews fruit of all kinds, and daughter is selective to an extreme degree--for her to eat fruit it must be perfectly ripe, sweet, textured and without the slightest hint of a bruise.  The result is that the notion of my children grabbing an apple or orange as a snack takes the same route as my date with George Clooney does; that is to say, the express train to fantasy land.

But I persist in buying the fruit, which ends up largely uneaten in its original form and transformed into bread before it spoils, to the delight of the mailman, the school faculty, team coaches, any repairman who happens through the door,  various neighbors and sometimes, even my kids.   So without further ado, here is my latest creation...Isn't the batter a pretty color?

Strawberry Bread
Makes 1 loaf
Heat oven to 350.

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk, plain yogurt or milk
1 3/4 cups fresh strawberries, coarsely chopped

Mix all ingredients.  Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake 50 mins or so until top is lightly golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cooks notes:  You can also make these into muffins--just bake them for about 22 mins.   I avoid muffins because I am lazy; I hate ladling the batter into those annoying little cups; it spills, it drips, it burns, ick.  Plus, I often don't have the paper liners on hand, and greasing those individual tins is unthinkable, so bread it is.    If you don't have a loaf pan, or you are in a hurry and share my neurotic irritation with muffin pans, use a square 8x8 inch baking pan.  Bake for about 30 minutes, using toothpick test for doneness.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mother's Day Gifts at the Reading Terminal Market

Looking for some interesting gift ideas to supplement your (standard) bunch of Mother's Day flowers?

We've got you covered...

Mooching around the Market this week we were struck by the range of potential Mother's Day gifts and thought we just had to tell you!

The Reading Terminal Market is more than just food; it's more than a lunch destination.  It's more like a department store with both fresh produce and items related to the consumption and enjoyment of food.

So here it is.  Our top five Mother's Day gift ideas...

     1.  First stop has got to be the Pennsylvania General Store.  Every holiday, including Mother's Day, owner Michael and his team pull together an impressive selection of chocolates, candies, cookies and other generally sweet produce for our delectation.  No need to gift wrap.  The store is happy to do this for you.  If you'd prefer to lean on their mail order service see,  the Pennsylvania General Store website.

    2.  The linens at Contessa's are heavenly.  Bright, lively prints and colors, fit to grace any table, on any occasion...

    See Contessa French Linens for further styles and info

    3. Ever tried the handmade soaps and bath salts at Terralyn? 

    Owner Lynette Manteau makes up to 70lbs of soap a week! 

    This soap is all natural and is like nothing else.  Its a combo of oils including olive, coconut, palm and soy butter.  Once you've tried it you'll be hooked!
4. Is your mother into cooking?  If so, she'll enjoy meeting with Anna Florio, chef and owner of La Cucina in the Market.  Anna runs regular cooking classes, including Ladies-only "Girls' Night Out" classes, which are always packed to the gills (excuse the pun).

We checked out the last Girls Night Out. 

The pictures speak louder than my words can :)

To view the upcoming calendar for La Cucina, visit Anna's website.

5. Last but not least, anyone who is a baker will love the preserved fruits, spreads, jams on sale at the Pennsylvania Dutch stands. 

I have a particular fondness for preserved pears and preserved peaches - these are especially useful in the Fall when you're in the mood to make warming crumbles and pies.  These are beautifully packaged at the Market, many are available in gift sets.

Happy Baking, Eating and Celebrating this Mother's Day!

Monday, May 7, 2012

It's a Great Year for Strawberries!

LAST year's berries at Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market; we're counting the days til local berries arrive....

Doesn't everyone love strawberries?   This year’s harvest is especially sweet, because the berry crops are bigger than ever and arriving early.  Berry season usually starts in June, but due to the mild winter, we can expect to see fresh strawberries in May.  
As we always do when we have a produce question, we hoofed it to Reading Terminal Market and consulted with the experts.   When asked about this season's bumper crop, Jimmy Iovine of Iovine Brothers Produce told us, “This is a good year for berry lovers.  Customers should be able to get a lot of berries for reasonable prices.  The berries have been great all year, but they will be the juiciest very soon, better than we have seen them in a long while”. 

Consider the possibilities:  Chocolate dipped strawberries or Strawberry Fool.   Healthy choices can be tasty, too—fresh strawberries atop a yogurt parfait, or pureed in a smoothie.     Don't want to make your own?  Head to the Down Home Diner; their strawberry topped pancakes have a near cult following!

Berries are bursting with necessary vitamins and minerals, and this year’s bumper crops promise to be both delicious and affordable.    Next post:  my newly developed recipe for strawberry bread.  What's your favorite way to enjoy strawberries?  (Daquiris anyone?)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cinco de Mayo Lime Coconut Tart

Mexican desserts....what a glorious topic.  As you know from our previous post, we're celebrating Cinco de Mayo this weekend.  Each year, we donate a thematic dinner party to a local school, which is auctioned off as a fundraiser--remember last year's Kentucky Derby 'Do?--and this year's winners are getting a Mexican feast. 

I have been tasked with making dessert, and in keeping with the dinner's flavor motif,  I'm going with something lime.  I have to admit, I was torn; Mexican chocolate pulled at me (remember our love squares?) as did flan or something  featuring Mexican vanilla.  I even toyed with the idea of cotija caramel (made from goat milk)  but ultimately I opted to keep with the lime theme.

So I am making a coconut lime tart.  Here's how:

For Crust:
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup flour
1/2 stick melted butter

Mix all ingredients, and press into bottom and up sides of a fluted tart pan with removable bottom.
Bake 10 minutes at 350--watch it carefully, coconut burns!  Leave oven on.

While crust bakes, make filling:

2 cans sweetened condensed milk
4 eggs
1 cup plus 4 TBSP freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp grated lime zest

Whisk all ingredients together until mixture begins to thicken.  Pour filling into baked coconut shell and bake another 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, cool completely, and chill for at least 4 hours.

When ready to serve, remove tart from side of pan,  slice and top each piece with a scoop of fresh whipped cream.  Take a bow.
 Speaking of lime and coconut...sorry, couldn't resist.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Fettuccine for the Flyers Game

How 'BOUT that Danny Briere?  I'd like to have him for dinner....

Sunday dinner is usually a relatively involved meal in our house.  It's the one night of the week that we are all guaranteed to be home, so we always have a semi-elaborate sit down dinner.  But this past Sunday, both cooks in the house wanted to watch the afternoon Flyers Game, so dinner required some logistical attention.

It meant that  preparations either needed to be mostly done by 3pm, or really, really minimal at around 6.  I scanned the fridge inventory, found a lb of fresh fettuccine, some boneless chicken and a bag of sundried tomatoes.  Inspiration struck.  And the very best part of the whole thing is that my ever-critical teenage daughter tasted it and said, "This is good!  Is it Lidia?"   I replied, "No, I made it up."  She said, "Oh, then it's 'Mom-ia.'"

Chicken & Pasta Mom-ia AKA Flyers Fettuccine

4 lg boneless chicken breasts
2 TBSP chopped garlic
3 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup sundried tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup water

1 lb fettuccine (or whatever pasta you like)
Parmesan Cheese

In Dutch oven, heat oil and garlic.  Sear chicken on all sides, and add salt, oregano and pepper and tomatoes.  Stir briefly, the add liquids.  Reduce heat to low simmer, cover pot, and forget about it.  I checked it and flipped the chicken between periods, giving it an occasional, brief stir.  This can simmer for anywhere from 1 1/2  to 4 hours.  When the chicken is fork tender, pull it apart.  I used a wooden spoon to break it up--having cooked it for about 4 hours it was almost shredding itself.  Cook pasta to just al dente, drain, pour chicken mixture over top, and toss generously with Parmesan cheese.  This, with a simple arugula salad and a loaf of bread made for a pretty terrific Sunday dinner--and I didn't miss a goal.