Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Busy Mom's Weekday Dinner

Okay, so I work outside the home. And with a busy sixteen-year-old son, and a ten-year-old daughter who dances competitively, I need to get dinner on the table, fast. I like to cook, don't get me wrong, but for a weekday dinner, I want something that takes me less than 30 minutes in the kitchen. And the fewer the ingredients, the better.

Many of you know I lost 60 pounds last year. That would've been impossible eating bland, flavorless food. So here's a recipe I grew up with that packs in the flavor, but not the calories.

Soy Sprite Chicken -- BONUS! This recipe only have 4 ingredients, and one of those is the chicken! I should get, like, an award or something like that.

 I get home from teaching about 2:15. I whip up this marinade and get it going then. I try to have dinner on the table about 5:00 - 5:30, so it's a quick marinade that doesn't take hours or overnight, though you certainly could do that.

If you follow my life saga (and it's a saga!) on Facebook, you'll see why I recommend this next step. I mean, no one wants a huge, oily, soyly mess in their kitchen, right?

So use a tupperware or bowl, and use your friend, the ziplock bag. It maximizes coverage.

After a few hours in the fridge, you're ready to grill! I am a habitual over-cooker of poultry! I've never been able to get it right. So I started timing, and then taking the meat off even when I think it's not done. And you know what? It usually is done!

Since I'm a take-all-the-help-I-can-get-from-the-grocery-store type of cook, I whip out my bagged salad to go with this. I actually get angry if I have to eat salad for every meal when I'm dieting, but this chicken is so good, I don't mind it here. And there are a ton of different bagged salad choices now to also up the flavor. (Bonus: this one has my favorite food: BACON!!)

I always add extra croutons! They're pretty much the only bread I get, and yeah. Bring on the croutons!

You can simply slice this and eat it with your salad on the side, or put it ON your salad for a whole new meal! 


Soy Sprite Chicken:
2 chicken breasts, pounded to uniform thickness, all fat trimmed
1/2 c. Sprite (can use Sprite Zero, or Mountain Dew, Diet Mountain Dew)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. soy sauce

1. Measure the ingredients -- and let the kids help! My daughter makes this marinade while I trim and pound the chicken. Nothing better than cooking with kids!

2. Put the chicken in a ziplock bag, and put the bag inside the bowl or tupperware. DO THIS FIRST, so you don't end up like me with marinade all over your floor, and boots, and yeah.

3. Pour the marinade into the bag, which is securely held in the bowl. Again, kids can do this.

4. Squeeze out all the air, zip tight, and put chicken + marinade in the fridge for a couple of hours.

5. Heat the grill on high -- until it reaches about 400 degrees.

6. Grill chicken on the first side for 5 minutes. Flip. Grill for another 3 minutes, depending on thickness. Discard extra marinade.

7. Remove to plate and let sit for a few minutes while you open your salad and add those extra croutons! You can also add anything else you want, it just requires chopping. Some nights I feel like tomatoes, and some nights I don't.

8. Enjoy!

Dietary Information: I count calories, so that's what I'm looking at here. I don't know about fat and protein and stuff. But I'm sure I could Google it...
1/2 chicken breast: 250
Salad -- read package nutritional information.

I'm looking at a quick, easy, delicious weekday meal that's under 500 calories and done in less than 20 minutes. How much easier can it get? 

What's your favorite, quick, weekday meal? I might need to steal it from you.


Crystal Collier said...

That's a great recipe! We had to ditch our grill in the last move, so I'm desperately looking forward to Father's Day when I get to spoil my hubby with a new one. In the meantime, my gas stove is a close as I get.

My favorite quick meal? Not sure. We have a menu of about 7 different ones that come together in 20 minutes or less, and it really just comes down to mood.

Rebecca Gomez said...

I like sweet and sour things, so maybe I'll give this a try one of these days.

My favorite quick weekday meal is spaghetti. I make my own meat sauce, but it still usually takes me less than 30 minutes. All you need is one large can Hunts (or whatever is your favorite) tomato sauce, a half pound ground beef, a heaping tablespoon of basil, a sprinkling of garlic powder and a bit of onion powder. (you can do a half of a chopped onion instead). Another option is to add diced or stewed tomatoes. And/or some chopped fresh mushrooms.

Brown the hamburger with a little salt and pepper. Drain the fat and add it to the sauce along with seasonings. Simmer about 20 minutes (long enough to cook your pasta). Serve over spaghetti or some other fun pasta.

Another good one is fajitas. My daughter requests this quite often when she comes home from college.

Chop up a pound or so of chicken breast and season it with salt, pepper and kikoman teriyaki marinade (my Mexican mother-in-law does it this way). While that sits for a bit, slice a sweet onion and a green bell pepper, sauté in olive oil with a little salt and pepper. Remove from the pan, add a small amount of oil, and sauté the chicken pieces until no longer pink. Return the cooked veggies to the pan and heat through. Serve on flour tortillas with your favorite salsa, shredded Mexican cheese blend, sour cream, guacamole, etc. Yum yum!

Shari Green said...

Thanks, Elana! (Sprite...go figure!) Love that it's only 4 ingredients. :)

Jo Schaffer said...

That looks yummy. =)

Crystal Carson said...

Thanks for sharing the recipe. It is good to have meals that are quick and easy to make, and don't pack on the pounds. I have never used a soda in a meal like this before, it will be interesting to try out. Judging from the photos it looks absolutely delicious!

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