The thing about cooking in this house is that, frankly, we don’t really like it. Consequently, anything we make needs to be “Erika Proof.” Pretty much a recipe is not gonna get made in the ClutterKitchen if it contains:
Excess Any chopping, dicing, or slicing
B) Fancy ingredients or spices
Recipes must also take no more than 30 minutes to prepare. 30 minutes is pushing it, though, because our evenings usually go something like this:
Clutterhubs: “I’m hungry, let’s go out to eat.”
Erika: “We have food here so let’s eat at home. What do you want?”
And then we stare at the fridge and cabinets but dinner doesn’t magically make itself.
Erika: “I’ll start the car. Where do you want to go?”
You see, undomestic Erika never plans dinner ahead of time. By the time we’re ready to make dinner, we’re already hungry. That’s why Clutterfood has to be fast and easy (and also cheap, but that’s because Clutterhubs is a penny pincher).
We had dinner at a friend’s house one evening, and they made this fancy Chicken Parmigiana that involved slicing and beating the chicken so it was small and flat, dipping it in some kind of liquid and then fancy spiced breading, and doing all kinds of other cooking things that I’m not actually capable of.
So I Clutterified the recipe and got it down to a 25 minute, no slicing and no fancy spices version. I’m lazy.
First, grab yourself some frozen chicken tenders and bake them according to the directions. Mine were 15 minutes at 425 degrees.
Yeah, I wrapped my pan in foil because I'm too lazy to clean it afterwards. Don't judge me.
But to expedite the process, start boiling some water while your oven preheats.
Those lemons are for lemonade that I'll probably forget to make and they'll go bad. Sigh.
My chicken went in the oven about the same time my water started to boil, so I tossed in my pasta. I’m pretty sure Chicken Parmigiana is supposed to be made with spaghetti, but I could only find curly pasta in the cabinets so that’s what I used. Same difference. The chicken needed 15 minutes, and the pasta needed 11.
Bubble bubble toil and trouble
While my super labor intensive chicken and pasta were cooking, I made my super special sauce.
Dumpy, dumpy, stirry, stirry
‘Cause that’s what I had in the cabinets. You could probably add some spices, some meat, or use your own sauce and it would probably be delicious. I’m lazy, though, so I dumped what I had available into a microwave safe tub and zapped it for a few minutes (so it was hot . . . I dunno, maybe 3 minutes?). While that was nuking, my pasta finished so I drained it. I didn’t have to drain it much, though, because I didn’t really start with enough water and most of it boiled off. Rachel Ray would probably think it was a disgrace. Tastes the same to me, though . . .
Our dinosaur Welch's jelly jar glasses from the '80s are the best part of this picture.
Please don’t let the clean dishes drying in the background of the picture fool you into thinking I am on top of my housework. Those are glass casserole dishes. My husband had a potluck dinner at work on Wednesday evening and I took a couple things. We didn’t get home until after 9, so I did the mature thing and put the empty (but dirty) dishes in the fridge until I felt like washing them. The only reason I finally got to them, nearly 48 hours later, was because I want to make a cake for my Girl Scouts and I need one of the dishes. Typical.
Since we’re already off on a tangent, let’s take a minute to admire my awesome dishes we purchased in Japan. I love cherry blossoms because they’re tiny, pretty, and dainty. I am none of these things, so I’m strangely drawn to things that are. I fell in love with these and begged for them for my birthday last year. You can see that Clutterdog (with his pretty freckled face) just loves cherry blossoms, too.
Today we discovered that the Clutterdogs also *love* strawberries. Just like Erika!
Anyway, back to the food! Here’s everything all cooked and stuff. I would have put the extra pasta in a plastic storage container thing, but I couldn’t match any bottoms with lids so into a Ziploc bag it went.
"Ingredients" for our "Recipe"
So, after roughly 20 minutes of SLAVE LABOR over a HOT STOVE you get to mix it all up and eat it. Most grown ups would slice their chicken at this point.
I use scissors to cut meat because I am inexplicably and completely irrationally afraid of knives.
And then add some saucy sauce.
Nom nom nom.
You might have noticed that I seem to have forgotten to add even one crumb of Parmesan anything. That’s because I don’t have any and going to the store would mean I’d have to put on acceptable clothes and make my hair look sensible, so I just left it out. Yeah, I know. You probably thought this would be closer to Chicken Parmigiana and use spaghetti and have cheese. I told you I Clutterified it, though, and what is more Clutterholicy than forgetting the Parm in Chicken Parm?
It tastes good to me! But my tastebuds are about as refined as I am, soooooo it probably just wouldn’t cut it in a household where people each fancy food and avoid preservatives and stuff like that. Here at Blue Palm Manor, we eat high fructose corn syrup and transfats and we enjoy every bite. If that’s not your thing, you are welcome to make this recipe out of natural ingredients and fresh vegetables. 🙂 Just promise you’ll invite me over so I don’t have to cook and can save myself the 25 minutes!