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No Shirts Sundays

La Petite Maison Verte: No Shirts Sundays

Sunday, April 25, 2010

No Shirts Sundays

I never used to like Sundays, that was until I became a domestic-engineer. When I was in school full-time or working Monday through Friday, I started anticipating the return to the daily grind some time around 3 pm on Sunday afternoon. Every week like clockwork as Sunday afternoon would roll around my mood would change to one of subdued melancholy. It's not that I hated working or really disliked school, its just that I knew it would be another FIVE WHOLE DAYS until the next weekend. Pessimistic, sure, but that's just how it was.

Now that I don't have a job, one day is just the same as the next. The only thing that separates a Monday from a Saturday is the fact that my husband is usually around to hang out with me on the weekends :) Because I don't have to worry about working on Monday, I am free to really enjoy Sunday now, and I LOVE it!

This morning my hubby cooked some Old Fashioned oats for breakfast for the two of us. Mine were topped with brown sugar, fat-free half & half, golden raisins, whole almonds and sliced fresh strawberries. We enjoyed our oatmeal with some rich and smooth 100% Kona coffee we picked up on our trip to Hawaii a few weeks ago. Mmmm....

Our Sunday routine typically involves relaxing outside in the driveway in our Adirondak chairs, soaking up the sun (affectionately called "Dundalkin' It" by those of us who hail from the Baltimore suburbs) - my sister calls it "No Shirts Sunday" and I think that's just the perfect name for it (well, I wear a shirt but B usually doesn't). Then in the afternoon we usually bring Hudson to meet up with my friend Megan and her little Boston Terrier, Rosco, at the dog-park on base, followed by grocery shopping. Today was overcast so we just got a little yard-work done and made our weekly trip to the commissary. No matter what else we do on Sunday, we always make a delicious dinner to bring the weekend to an end.

Today was no exception. I made Chicken with Mustard Wine Cream Sauce which was served with some beautiful, crisp asparagus and a homemade Olive & Cilantro Bread. Without further ado, here is the recipe:

Sauteed Chicken with Mustard-Cream Sauce

Adapted from Everyday Food

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 ounces each)
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine, or chicken broth (I used chardonnay)
1/2 cup heavy cream or half & half
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ tsp dried tarragon (or fresh; or you may substitute 1 tsp fresh thyme)
Garlic powder to taste (optional)

1. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken; saute until cooked through, 12-15 minutes, turning once. You may need to tent pan with foil or cover with lid for the last 2-3 minutes to insure chicken cooks through, depending on thickness of chicken breasts. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.

2. Pour wine into hot skillet; cook, stirring, until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Whisk in cream, mustard, tarragon or thyme, and garlic powder (if using). Cook, whisking, until thickened, about 2 minutes.

3. Pour any accumulated chicken juices into sauce.

4. To serve: Pour a small amount of sauce onto plate, top with chicken (and any vegetables you are serving) and then drizzle remaining sauce over chicken.

This was a very delicious and elegant meal. I used a bright chardonnay in the sauce and then served the same wine with dinner. I forgot to pick up fresh tarragon at the store so this time I used dried herbs. I also lightened the sauce by substituting half the volume of cream for fat-free half & half. The sauce certainly didn't seem to suffer without the extra cream and I think it would be fine if you substituted half & half for the entire volume of cream. Very good, very quick, very simple. I'm sure it would be very good with some crispy oven-roasted potatoes or even a baked sweet-potato. We will certainly make this meal again, hopefully using fresh herbs next time!

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