Some of you might know that the handsome-and-talented husband and I met while we were both working at Philips Design in the Netherlands. We got to be good friends through our work and the handsome-and-talented husband came over to mine every week for dinner for a year, before we even started to “date”*.
Weekday dinners can be challenging, especially after work/classes/gym, and just want something fast to prepare and eat. Being single makes it even more so, since you’re cooking for yourself and often the idea of getting a ready-made meal from the supermarket or a takeaway is super tempting.
There’s a couple of “hacks” to get around this “cooking for one” barrier, in my experience.
- Prep your meal on Sunday for the week ahead. A very easy one is making a big pot of soup or curry on Sunday, then freezing the portions or keeping them in the fridge for the week ahead. Defrost by putting it on the kitchen counter before you leave for work, and then in the evening, warm up the soup or curry, have it with oven-warmed bread, pasta or rice and/or a side salad, and you have a meal in about 20 minutes.
- Making a dinner meal plan. Once you get used to meal prepping, progressing to meal plans should be easy since you have some of the components already made and just need finishing components. As I haven’t gotten round to writing a blog post on this, I’ll refer you, dear readers, to the great resources at:
- Cook for other people. At university, I cooked for my housemates often; in one household where five of us were living together, one person cooked per night for the rest. A great mechanism, really, since you cooked just once a week but always had a homemade meal throughout the week, there was a wide variety in what people cooked and ate, and the five of us would have dinner together almost every day. When I started work, I didn’t see why I shouldn’t cook for my colleagues and friends after work.
Anyway, this Happy Chicken recipe was one of the recipes I cooked for the handsome-and-talented husband after work way back when. It’s fast, delicious and versatile; you can have it with rice, pasta, potatoes, bread and/or salad. I hadn’t made it in a while (for obvious, lactose and gluten reasons) and the other day the handsome-and-talented husband asked me to make it. So here it is!
Ingredients, for 2 servings:
- 1 large chicken breast, diced small
- 250g bacon pieces, or spekreepjes in Dutch
- 200g of wild mushrooms, halved lengthwise
- 1 large pear (or 2 small ones), diced, I like it with skin
- 4-5 small apricots, diced, using dried apricots is ok
- 2 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
- chives for garnish, finely sliced
- 200g basmati, jasmine or brown rice, cooked as per instructions
- Cook the rice as per package instructions
- In a frying pan, over medium fire, heat the olive oil with the garlic. Once fragrant, add the chicken and bacon pieces. Turn up to high heat and stiry fry for a few minutes until the chicken is browned and the bacon crisps.
- Turn down the fire to medium then add the mushrooms and oregano. Stir fry again for a few minutes until the mushrooms have wilted.
- Add the pears and apricots. The fruits and mushrooms will release liquids so if this happens, you can turn the fire up temporarily to evaporate some of the liquids. You want some liquid but not too much since we will add the cream later.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Turn off the heat, add the cream, spoonful by spoonful. The cream should warm up, but not cook or boil over. Stir to coat all the ingredients with the cream.
- Serve over the rice, sprinkle chives as garnish.
* My mother always told me that the way to a man’s pants is through his stomach.