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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Dinner That I Didn't Burn, Overcook, Undercook, or Otherwise Mangle While Doing Ten Things at Once

Tuesday, February 02, 2010 By No comments

Augusta, Ga. - I came home to find that my husband was about to do something horrible: He was about to fry chicken!

Okay, I love fried chicken. But I've been SO good lately, that I asked him if I could cook instead. He said yes - like he was really gonna argue. But then I realized that I had no idea what to do with two thawed chicken breasts and some random odds and ends of vegetables, not one of which measured up to a full serving of jack squash. (hee... see what I did just there? hee?)

Stew, I thought... no, that's boring. Stir fry? Too predictable. And we just had rice last night. And then I saw the box of jodhpur lentils that have been sitting in the cabinet for about six months.
They issued a challenge, and Emmie and I answered by whooping bootay.

Here's the recipe I made up, accompanied by my usual meticulous attention to measurement and detail. Please note the complete absence of salt, most fats, and the ability to go completely low-carb. You won't need any of that stuff:


  • Some chicken, thawed and cut into cubes
  • Some vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces. We used broccoli, potatoes, and carrots; but I can imagine black-eyes peas tasting amazing in this. Also consider: onions, turnips, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, zucchini, squash, green beans, lima beans, butter beans, and sweet potatoes
  • One regular sized can of tomato sauce
  • One 8-oz can of evaporated milk (note: NOT sweetened condensed milk; but if you're wearing your fancy pants, you can substitute coconut milk, or similar)
  • Light butter/margarine/Promise/I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, olive oil, or something else that will keep the chicken from sticking to the pan
  • Yellow curry powder, cumin, garlic powder
Cooking Instructions
  • Melt butter and brown chicken cubes, while microwaving any vegetables that are particularly long-cooking (potatoes, carrots, etc.) for about 5 minutes
  • When chicken is mostly brown, add about a tablespoon of curry powder, two teaspoons of cumin, and a teaspoon of garlic
  • Finish cooking chicken, microwaving veggies longer if necessary. You want them a little underdone. They'll finish cooking when they simmer in the sauce.
  • Pour the cans tomato sauce and evaporated milk over the chicken and stir well
  • Simmer for a few minutes, then taste to see if you want more curry, cumin, or garlic. Think about black pepper, but you don't have to use it
  • Pour in vegetables that were microwaving, and any that weren't
  • Simmer for 10-15 minutes
  • Think about throwing in something that will add some crunch, because it is kind of a stewy mess - maybe peanuts, almonds, water chestnuts, raw celery or other cruciferous vegetables. We didn't do that, but that's what was missing from the dish. Next time, I'll add water chestnuts. 
  • Serve over instant brown rice, on a bed of spinach leaves, or by itself (which is what we did, with the lentils on the side)
Total prep time: Maybe 10 minutes - it would have gone faster, but Emmie was "helping"
Total cook time: Maybe 20 minutes, 'cause I had everything going at once
Total satisfaction level: High - and I mean Emmie even ate the broccoli! That's saying a lot. Heck, she tried to lick the sauce off her plate!

So try this healthy, veggie-and-fruit-packed low-carb, low-fat, high-flavor dish with your family. It's definitely one we'll be revisiting!

Okay, it's not the prettiest food picture ever. But it sure was tasty.


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