At a loss for inspiration… then it hit me!

Last night I walked into the kitchen and stared at the chicken breasts I’d taken out of the fridge. I knew I was making chicken for dinner, but I hadn’t planned in what way/which recipe and now I found myself at a loss of what to do with them.  I just stared at them.  Hmm. What to do with them?  I’d made curry the night before.  I’ve done Moroccan, Asian, Italian and Barbecue within the past week.  Just couldn’t think of something I’d like to make (quickly since we’d had tennis lessons, homework and other stuff) that the kids would eat.  I was trying to avoid any major meltdowns with food choices.  I looked in the pantry but nothing jumped out at me, but when I opened the fridge for the umpteenth time I had several lemons staring at me. 

Of course!  It made me remember how much my sons liked the Chicken Française I’ve made.  But no way was I interested in starting that process at 6pm.  I should have had dinner finished by now.  So instead I made a sort of Chicken Piccata. My eldest two love capers so I knew it was going to be a mostly whine-free dinner and since I’d just poured myself a glass of white wine I knew I had plenty for the chicken.

I cut up butternut squash into thin slices and started roasting them (really thin so it wouldn’t take long).  I then cut up some broccoli and cauliflower added to pan of water to steam.  I threw the 3 minute frozen organic brown rice into the microwave.  And then started cutting the breast meat into 2 inch pieces.  I didn’t use flour, just lightly browned the chicken, removed from heat and added white wine, lemon juice, chicken stock, capers, salt and pepper.   I reduced the liquid until it was thicker, added the chicken back to it and soon was ready to serve.  It took less than 20 minutes (yes, even with the butternut squash). 

Not only was it delicious it was stress-free and whine-free (well, I did have to serve it sans capers to my youngest).  Sometimes it just takes one thing to give you the inspiration you need to create a healthful, quick and yummy meal that all the kids will like.  They didn’t eat all their butternut squash, but I finished it off for them.

Have you found yourself at a loss at what to make?

We will be having that again: Chicken Piccata Française

“When are we having that again?”  Those words made my heart sore.  My eldest son asked me that while he cleared his empty dinner plate.  He’d just finished but wanted to know when I’d serve it again because he said it was “Great!” and “So delicious” (he) “loved it!”  It being a cross between chicken Française-Piccata-Florentine over rice.  I actually served the spinach on the side.

Now my other sons weren’t as effusive in their praise, but they too loved their dinner.  There was only some rice and small piece chicken left over on my youngest son’s plate.  They did a mother proud.  I love it when I find a dish they all love.  And I only made one adjustment—my youngest son’s sans capers.  Which considering all I had to do was scrape the capers off his plate onto mine, but still give him the sauce, it was easy enough and fine by me.  I gave them each a bit more chicken compared to vegetables than I normally serve, but since it’s not the norm, figure it’s ok. 

So, if you make it without the capers it’s Francaise; if it’s without the egg dip it’s Piccata; and the Spinach makes it Florentine. You can make it in any combination, it’s still good.  It doesn’t take long to make either, so it’s fine for school nights.

Chicken Française-Piccata (or Chicken Piccata-Française)

4 Chicken Breast pieces (I used a couple of thighs too, since that’s what I had in the fridge)

2 eggs

1/3 cup flour

salt and pepper

3 Tbsp olive oil

juice from 1/2 lemon

1/3 cup white wine (use a wine that you will actually like to drink)

1/3 cup chicken stock or 1/2 tsp chicken base (Better than Bouillon or Knorr) & 1/3 cup water

1/4 cup capers, drained

2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Tbsp butter

Cover chicken breast/thigh with plastic wrap (Trust me, you’ll be glad you did at clean up time.) and pound with mallet until about 1/4 inch (1 cm) thin.  In a shallow bowl beat egg, set aside. In another similar bowl mix flour with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper.  Heat olive oil in sauté pan.  Take one piece of chicken and dip in flour then egg. Place in hot oil.  Repeat with each piece without crowding pan. Flip over after 3 minutes and cook other side until done, flip again if necessary (about 8 minutes total for breast, thigh takes longer).  Place finished pieces on a plate.  Pour wine, stock and lemon juice into pan and scrape any browned bits into liquid.  After two minutes add capers and parsley butter. Finally stir in the butter.  Cook for another minute. Serve chicken over rice or pasta and spinach, pouring sauce over all.


I know I’ll be making this (and variations of it) again because my kids really enjoy eating this!