• domesticity,  Stealthy Spy Cooking

    Meal Planning Day Five!

    Roman Chicken

    I’m back. I’m sorry to leave you in the middle of the meal planning but life got in the way—that pesky life. So where was I? Meal Planning Day Four was leftovers. Technically, I was in Pasadena having fancy pizza with Bethany and friends but Toby was at home having leftovers for me.

    Meal Planning Day Five was Roman-Style Chicken (ala Giada) with oven-baked potatoes and onions. I love Everyday Italian with Giada. I watched her show once and thought, I could do that. So I did. It’s never happened again. But then, I don’t get much time to watch television anymore.

    Below is my trailer-park version of her fabulous recipes.

    oven-baked potato fries, not yet oven baked

    I make the potatoes first because they take longer to cook. This time I decided to make sweet potatoes with my potatoes. Are they yams or sweet potatoes? I always get them mixed up. They call them one thing in the store, another on the internet. I think we should just call them “swams.” You know which ones I mean. They are reddish purple on the outside and orange on the inside. They cook up to be nice and sweet and not dry or mealy like the white ones.


  • 2-3 big swams and/or potatoes (whatever is equivalent to 2 lbs. red potatoes)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 package of cippolini onions blanched and peeled
  • Directions:

    1. Blanch your little cippolini onions in boiling water for one minute. Let them cool under cold running water, then peel and cut the ends off.
    2. perhaps my favorite kitchen tool

      I like cooking cippolini onions because it gives me an excuse to use this neato strainer when I blanch them. I got it cheap from the Chinese market. Sometimes I can’t find little cippolini onions. I’ve tried regular boiled onions and they were a pain. It’s really not that big of a deal if you leave them out.

    3. Peel and chop up the swams and potatoes into bite size pieces. Sometimes I cut them up to look like french fries, sometimes I don’t. You just want them thin enough to cook evenly. I probably loaded up my pan too much in the photo above.
    4. Toss swams and potatoes and onions in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper so that all pieces are coated with oil.
    5. Spread evenly on a tinfoil-lined cookie sheet. I spray the tinfoil with cooking spray because even though these puppies are dripping with olive oil, they still stick sometimes! What is up with that?!!
    6. Bake at 400 F for 45 minutes or until cooked through.
    7. Empty into a serving dish and you’re done!

    Onward with the Roman-Style Chicken!



  • 1 package of chicken (I use boneless skinless thighs)
  • 1/2 package (or 1/2 lb) bacon (this is supposed to be prosciutto)
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 orange bell pepper, 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup white wine (doh! I only had red)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic (paste for the lazy)
  • a dash of oregano
  • a few snips of fresh thyme leaves (if you happen to have it)
  • (I skipped the capers because Toby doesn’t like them)
  • Directions:

    1. Season chicken with pepper and salt.
    2. Brown chicken lightly on both sides in olive oil in a pan. Remove and set aside.
    3. In the same pan add peppers and bacon. Cook until bacon is crispy (ish) and peppers are browned.
    4. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
    5. Add tomatoes (with juice), wine and herbs.
    6. Her recipe says to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan but I’ve never had that… I may be missing something in this part of the recipe but it still tastes good.

    7. Return chicken to pan. Add stock and bring mixture to a boil.
    8. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is done. About 20-30 minutes.

    Meal Planning Day Five

    Serve with potatoes and a green salad and enjoy!

    Upcoming: Day six is leftovers again and day seven is lasagna but I’m taking a rain check on the lasagna because I made a quick trip out to the sticks instead. Next week perhaps!

  • domesticity,  Stealthy Spy Cooking

    Meal Planning Day Three!

    meal planning day 3

    La enchilada! La enchilada! La la la la la la lah! Oh hi! I’m just singing our enchilada song which has nothing to do with anything except that I like to sing it when I’m making enchiladas. I’ll have Bug sing it for you in a movie one of these days. Anyway, this is it: the green enchiladas. I overcooked them a little bit but anything can be covered up with some homemade pico de gallo and avocado. Avocado heals all in my book.

    I think this recipe came from CC or my mom but I’ve altered it over the years to include more vegetables and whole wheat tortillas—which, by the way, Toby informed me last night taste like cardboard. But then Toby and I disagree on a lot of things when it comes to taste so I say ignore him. I think whole wheat tortillas taste great.


    Without further ado, the ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. chicken (I use thighs)
  • 1 28-oz. can of green chile enchilada sauce, mild, hot or medium—your choice
  • half a small can of sliced olives
  • 1 dozen medium tortillas (regular old flour, whole wheat, or corn–your preference)
  • 2 bell peppers (I like orange and yellow)
  • 3 big celery stalks
  • 1 14-oz. can of black beans
  • Shredded cheese (I’m not sure of the amount but this is really to your taste anyway, you just want enough to make it gooey…2-3 cups? I’m not sure)
  • Directions:

    1. Get up at the crack of dawn and put your chicken in a crock-pot with 2/3 can of enchilada sauce. (Don’t be like me and forget to save out that last third for the topping later)
    2. Smell the yummy chicken cooking on low all day long.
    3. Later in the day, when the chicken is all cooked, get out your 9×13 baking dish (or two 8×8’s) for assembly.
    4. pulled chicken

    5. Remove chicken pieces from the crock-pot (leave the sauce in) and place them on a cutting board. With two forks, shred your chicken and then return it to the pot.
    6. a little margarita helps keep things interesting

    7. Chop up all your peppers and celery. You can sauté them if you like your vegetables more caramelized. Personally, I can’t really tell the difference.
    8. Make yourself a margarita to keep you going, if you like.
    9. Add your peppers, celery, cheese (save some for later topping) and can of black beans to your crock pot for mixing
    10. Mix thoroughly.
    11. Assemble your enchiladas by scooping 1/4 cup of cheesy chicken-vegetable mixture into a tortilla. Roll it up and place seam-side down in the pan. Repeat, placing the rolls snugly next to each other, until pan is full.
    12. Pour the rest of your saved enchilada sauce on top, sprinkle with some cheese and olives to your taste.
    13. all prepped and ready for the oven

    14. Bake at 350 F until cheese and sauce bubbles (about 30 minutes)

    la enchilada! la enchilada

    Garnish it with some homemade pico de gallo and avocado and you’re done. Our pico de gallo is basically just tomato relish (for Bug who doesn’t like it too spicy) but I recommend this recipe.

    And now a word about my cooking skills. I know I said I’m a horrible cook. Don’t let the pretty photos fool you. Let’s just say I’m a much a better photographer and food stager than I am a cook. What you don’t know from these pictures the last few days is that the pork in the stir-fry was so chewy Bug refused to eat it, the meatballs were pretty tasteless since I didn’t add enough salt and pepper and the enchiladas were dry and crispy. I don’t think these are problems with the recipes, it’s just me and my distracted way of doing things. I’m sure these recipes will turn out much better for you.

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© Brenda Ponnay