It's been a long day on the mountain and the gang is happy, tired and hungry.
I know this time of day. I look at my oldest and think, We can eat anywhere! I look at my youngest and think, I hope House of Mac & Cheese is open.
And I look at the wet boots and mittens, the exhausted children and the snow outside and I know that we're not going anywhere. We're eating in. Sometimes eating out just isn't an option. But scraping the cupboards for two doughnuts and a multivitamin isn't exactly an option either.
You know what is an option? Planning ahead. Make a trip to the market on the first day with some recipes in hand for easy, delicious dinners. I talked to Sarah Blackburn, a personal chef and mother of two in Boston and she gave me a couple of her favorite après ski recipes.
1 pint organic cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 small onion, chopped
salt + pepper
1 pound penne pasta
4 oz. fresh mozzarella (about 2 balls), cubed
1 small bunch fresh basil, stemmed and sliced or torn
parmigiano reggiano, for serving
Serve with a green salad + vinaigrette and crusty country bread
1. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.
2. Heat 2 T olive oil in a large skillet and add the tomatoes, garlic and onion. Season with salt and pepper and saute until the tomatoes have softened.
3. When the water boils, add the penne and cook according to the directions on the package, about 10 minutes for al dente.
4. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the skillet and toss through tomato mixture.
5. Pour the pasta into a large, warmed serving bowl and add the cubed mozzarella, the basil and a small handful of parmigiano, tossing to combine. Serve hot, with more parmigiano to pass at the table.
Chicken Smothered in Onions and Feta from the Peloponnese, in Greece
3-3.5 lb chicken cut up into serving pieces (or 4 bone-in thigh-and-leg quarters)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
6 large red onions, sliced
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb. Greek feta
About an hour before you plan to cook the chicken, sprinkle the chicken liberally with kosher salt and the red wine vinegar. Leave it at room temperature on the counter, covered. (You can also do this in a zip-top bag, allowing you to massage the vinegar into the flesh of the chicken.)
Heat the olive oil in a skillet (large enough for all the chicken to fit, oven proof and with a tight-fitting lid) and add the onions and the bay leaf. Saute until they begin to brown, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pan, letting the onions steam in the oil for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the onions from the pot with a slotted spoon and reserve, leaving the oil behind; raise the heat to medium-high.
Shake the chicken to remove any excess vinegar and add the chicken pieces to the pan to brown them. (There will be a fair amount of sputtering. Persevere.) Remove from the pan as they brown, then return the onions and chicken with the onions forming a nice bed underneath the meat.
Sprinkle with a little more salt, some fresh pepper and cover. Cook over low heat for about an hour, checking here and there to be sure the onions aren't burning -- add a bit of water if need be to keep the bottom moist.
When the chicken is cooked through, crumble the feta into the pan, cover and let it melt into the onions and chicken juices.
Serve with copious chopped fresh herbs sprinkled over, using primarily parsley, but added thyme, mint, or dill would be nice as well, and some rice or potatoes.
Sounds good, doesn't it?
I know. You're worried about my youngest. Little Miss Mac & Cheese.
Don't worry. She'll be fine.
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