Thursday, March 11, 2010
Easy Cheap Weeknight Dinner #1
I have to cook. So. I do have some old stanbys I go to for weeknight meals. They must fit the following requirements: economical, crowd-pleasing, good-for-you but tasty, and involve some vegetable. My parents made sure we had some fresh veg on the dinner table, most often in summer it was homegrown. How spoiled I was and did not even know it! Thanks Mom!
Here's a goodie adapted from the Lemon-Oregano Chicken my parents made all year long. Sometimes even in winter Dad would grill even in snow. This one is an oven-baked version and uses economical chicken legs. Thighs or even breasts can be subsituted, but I find my kids love to grab the leg by the handle!
The squash dish was made up (by who? I don't know) but used the bumper crop of zucchini and yellow squash we often ended up with in summer. You can buy zucchini and yellow squash all year long, or substitute any home-grown summer* squash variety. This dish single-handedly converted my former squash-hating husband. He and 2 out of the 3 kiddoes love it. Not bad! (*Remember: Summer squash are the thin-skinned ones, not those pumpkin-like rock-hard rind winter squashes)
The other good thing about this meal: for about 10 bucks I fed a family of five. The chicken was 6.57 and the squash was 3.31. I had the sauce leftover, the onion, and everyhting else is a pantry staple. Easy-Peasy-Cheap... hmm this could be a series....
Baked Lemon Chicken with Herbs and Garlic
Family or "Super-Size" Pack O' Chicken Legs
3 large garlic cloves, sliced thin or chopped
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon grated zest of one of those lemons
3 tablespoons McCormick Montreal Chicken Seasoning (or dried oregano)
1/2 cup water
Place in the oven and cook at 400 degrees. Turn once during this cooking time to evenly bake. Bake until the skin is crisp-looking and the chicken juices run clear when pricked..... This should take a total of 1 to 1 1/2 hours...(If LOTS of liquid appears,like 1/2 cup or more, take the pan out of the oven and carefully drain it off and discard, as this will prevent browning) Meanwhile, mix up the remaining lemon juice, zest, olive oil and the 1 garlic clove. Just before serving, pour this over to coat all the legs and serve. This is the "secret" to lemony chicken-- putting this lemon marinade on after its out of the oven. Let chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Make THIS while the chicken's in the oven:
Cheesy Squash Skillet
1-2 lbs summer squash, such as zucchini, yellow crookneck, pattypan, etc..., sliced into uniform pieces
1 medium onion, sliced
1 small can tomato sauce (or can use diced tomatoes, 1/2 of an 8-oz can, or leftover sauce from past night!)
olive oil or pam
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese
1/3 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese