We scoffed at snow.
Snow was not going to keep us cooped. Not us - we had a plan.
Because the rest of the week would be crazy-busy, my husband and I decided we'd carve out a little time Tuesday night and go out to dinner. They'd predicted a blizzard, but we figured we'd opt for somewhere close and be able to make it home before it really got bad.
But Mother Nature had other plans. The storm started right on schedule, whipping snow into little tornados of white, severely limiting visibility. My husband's place of work closed. We were staying in! And... no chance of grilling, either!
Uh-oh. What to do? We had a couple of veggie side dish leftovers, but nothing that could even remotely resemble an entree. Now what?
My first "Quick Change" of the evening. Take inventory: I had chicken breast filets in the freezer. Lucky for me they weren't full breasts, because that made them that much quicker to defrost.
But then what? I pulled out a couple of cookbooks, but nothing looked all that great. I had a pound of fresh mushrooms (what is it with mushrooms lately?), some dried onion soup mix, bread crumbs and wild rice. Surely I could come up with a casserole with those ingredients!
What I wouldn't have given for some cream of chicken soup right then. But I was out.
What follows is my improvisation. One that turned out spectacularly well, and garnered lots of compliments throughout dinner. I was pleased enough to write it all down so I can make it again. Soon!
There's another quick change in here as well. More on that in a moment...
QUICK CHANGE CHICKEN
1.5 lb +/- chicken filets. You can use whole boneless chicken breasts, but you'll have to adjust the cooking time. Or just cut the breasts into strips first. I kinda liked the serving size.
2 eggs beaten in a medium bowl
1 cup Panko crumbs
1/2 pkg of dry Italian salad dressing mix
1 pkg dry onion soup mix
1 lb of fresh mushrooms, sliced
On a plate, or in a medium bowl, combine dry Panko crumbs (heck I had them left over from last week, why not use them!) with the dry dressing mix. Set aside.
Melt about 2 -3 Tbsp of butter in a good-sized frying pan, and just as it gets hot, dunk the chicken filets in the beaten eggs, one at a time. As soon as you pull each filet from the egg, dredge it through the panko mixture then place it immediately in the hot frying pan. Continue until all filets are done. Brown one side, turn, brown the other side. Don't cook through, just get it nice and crispy on the outside.
Combine half the mushrooms with the dry onion soup mix. Place it in the bottom of a 10 x 14 glass casserole dish. Add chicken. Top with remaining mushrooms. Dot liberally with butter. I probably used half a stick.
Place in a 350 degree oven until chicken is cooked through and mushrooms merge with butter and begin to cook.
QUICK CHANGE #2
It was at this point, our eldest daughter texted to say that her place of work was closing for the evening and she was coming home. You need to understand that this daughter does not like mushrooms. Not at all. For me to serve her such a heavy mushroom entree would be ... well, a disappointment.
Not to worry. The chicken was just about done, so I moved the filets to a separate plate and returned the mushroom/butter/onion soup/leftover crumbs-that-fell-off back to the oven. I warmed up our leftover veggies and I'd also made some wild rice to complement the chicken.
Perfection. Robyn never knew I'd cooked the chicken with the mushrooms, which my husband and I used as a side dish. She and my husband both raved about the chicken. It was juicy, tasty, and crispy on the outside. They kept saying how great dinner was.
I felt pretty good. Heck, I hadn't even planned to cook at all that night, but with a little improvisation, and a few quick changes - dinner was served!
You probably can't really make out the chicken in there, but we forgot to take that last "Ta-da!" picture before we started eating. Fortunately, my husband remembered.
Sometimes foodie experiments don't turn out so well. Lucky for us, this one was great!
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