OK originally #1 was to cook 30 new dishes. However, I only have 14 months until I turn 30 and that would mean that I would have to cook 2 new dishes a month. With my schedule though that is pretty near impossible, so I scaled it back to about half that. Challenges are always fun, but in this case I had to choose to do something more practical. All that being said tonight I got to make my first new meal for a group of friends.
So after work tonight I went over to my friends house and made this awesome chicken dinner. Chris and Selena are kind enough to let me come over from time to time and cook dinner for them, as I find new recipes that I want to try out, and tonight's dish was Chicken Thighs in a Plum Reduction sauce. I know it sounds really fancy, but it was super simple. Not exactly a 30 minute meal (sorry Rachel Ray), but it was still easy to make. Is serves about 4 people, if each person has 2 thighs, Chris had 3 and Daniel had 4 (which as any cook knows is a total compliment, so I was very happy that the guys ate seconds and thirds), while Selena, her daughter Lily and I each had 1. The side dishes were a salad, provided by Chris and Selena, and SUPER SIMPLE roasted potatoes. The recipe is below for those that are interested in what I made.
After dinner Chris, Selena, Daniel and I sat around talking and laughing about the excitement offered to us by playing old video game systems, and the enjoyment of watching old Saturday morning cartoons and Dukes of Hazard (side note: The General Lee is the coolest car ever). Lily made me read to her as the guys started talking about guy stuff (it was oddly reminiscent of my own childhood as I did much the same thing to the friends of my parents when I was 3 as well). Much to my chagrin I read one of the books wrong. Instead of reading the book, I should have been singing the book to the tune of 'Skip to my Lou', and of course leave it to a 3 year old (and her parents) to make sure I read it correctly. Chris showed me and sang it first, which Daniel and I found extremely enjoyable, LOL! Then Chris reminded me that I was in the choir and technically more capable of singing the book myself. So I did. Let me just say that it's way easier to sing in a choir in front of a congregation of people, rather than on your own in front of 3 people. It's very intimidating, and this is coming from a person that is a total ham. Lily, also told her Dad, that she liked having me over at there house and that she liked me, which was very cute in and of itself, and means a lot as my family does not live close by. It's always nice to be needed, even by a 3 year old. All in all, the dinner was a success and it was a fun time hanging out with everyone and sharing in some Christian fellowship.
Chicken Thighs in a Plum Reduction Sauce:
1 1/4lbs. skinless, boneless chicken thighs (if you can't find boneless, bone in will be fine)
1/2 tsp. Chinese 5 spice powder (make sure all pieces have some distributed to it)
3 green onions (or more to taste)
1/2c. chicken broth
1/2c. plum jam/preserves
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1. In bowl, toss thighs with 5 spice powder and 1/2 tsp. of salt. From dark green end of onion, finely chop enough to equal 2 Tbsp; reserve for garnish. Cut remainder of onions into 1" pieces; set aside.
2. In 12" skillet, heat olive oil on medium high until hot. Ad thighs and cook on each side (turning once)until meat is no longer pink, and browned; approx 10-15 min. Transfer chicken to plate and cover to keep warm.
3. In drippings from skillet saute onions until light brown. Stir in broth, jam, and vinegar; heat to boiling then reduce to a simmer (med heat) until sauce is syrupy. Return thighs to skillet and coat with sauce. Return thighs to plate, or serving dish. If extra sauce exists poor over chicken for extra flavor. Serve with your choice of sides.
2lbs. of red potatoes
Salt & Pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 450 deg.
2. Chop potatoes into quartered pieces (if small). If potatoes are larger make sure that they are cut into bite size pieces.
3. Coat generously with Olive Oil, and Salt & Pepper to taste.
4. Put potatoes into roasting pan and cook for 40 min.