Friday, April 8, 2016

Frugal Femme Two Week Menu #2: Week One, Friday - French Style Pan Sauteed Chicken with Vegetables and Herbs

Hello Everyone!
It's officially the week-end!!!  For most of us, that means two days off to do anything that we want to do.  Since buying a house a couple years ago, which was built in 1965 and hadn't been renovated since it was built,  I spend a lot of my week-end time renovating my home. Although, to be honest, I haven't done a lot of that lately as I have been working on other tasks and projects both for work and home.  But, it is spring, and my husband and I are starting to get the renovation bug again.  I think, within a couple of months, we will tackle the main bathroom and get it fixed and finally finish our pub.  And maybe start one or two projects for the outside of the house, like planting a vegetable garden and painting the exteriors of the entrance doors.  I say a vegetable garden, but I am really only thinking about growing tomatoes.  
I used to not like tomatoes, but I think that I don't like the flavorless tomatoes that you get in the grocery store, not tomatoes in general.  I have a friend and a father-in-law that grow vegetable gardens that are the envy of many gardeners and I LOVE their heirloom tomatoes.  So, I would like to try it myself this year.  And if that works out, maybe doing a Victory garden in the back yard next year.

I want a Victory Garden for a multitude of reasons:

                1.  It's practical, you are growing veggies that you eat in your back yard.  Nothing is more
                     frugal than free.  It definitely costs less to grow your own than to continue to purchase
                     produce at the store. 

I don't plan on growing this many vegetables, ever.  But isn't this the neatest chart?!?!  This one was created in Great Britain, where, due to being bombed almost daily, they were even more serious about rationing than those of  us here in America. 

                2.  If you plant them right, vegetable gardens can be very beautiful and, again, you can eat

This diagram shows a layout for a Victory Garden.  This one is pretty fancy.  A lot of the Victory Gardens that I have seen diagrams for are just rows of produce that people probably grew along a fence or behind the house.

                3.  They are so retro!!!!  This is probably my silliest reason.  But I love vintage, especially
                     40's vintage, and I would love to start a Victory garden without having the pressure of
                     rationing and potential starvation.
I know I'm this sexy when I garden.  Aren't you?

I knew that the Smithsonian Museum had a Victory Garden and I wanted to go, but I only just recently found out that the WWII Museum in New Orleans has a victory garden.  I MUST go.  I'm only an hour away from New Orleans and I haven't been to the museum since I performed several musical numbers, in costume, from scenes from Baton Rouge Little Theater's production of South Pacific.  (This was the first show that I ever auditioned for and I got a role as a performer.   It has a special place in my heart.  And I got to wear AWESOME WWII outfits.)

Bloomers, victory rolls and a pineapple "hat".  I never felt so pretty.
This is one of my favorite pictures of my husband and me.  If you are dressed as a WWII nurse, and he a sailor, why wouldn't your recreate this iconic picture?  (Picture taken by Kelly Ryan.)

But, that is a post for another time. And enough of being selfishly nostalgic.
Since it is the week-end and Friday night, I wanted to start the week-end and right and do the first Frugal Femme One Pot Meal!!!

French Style Pan Sautéed Chicken with Vegetables and Herbs

I had to do this recipe, as I am super excited about how well my herb garden is doing and this gave me a chance to use some of my herbs.

Frugal Femme Flour Mixture (Recipe below)  OR
   1/8 tsp. paprika
   1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
   1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 boneless chicken thighs  (Can use chicken breasts if that is what you have on hand.)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 small red onion, cut into quarters  (I had giant green onions, so I used those but any onion will do.)
1 giant or 2 medium potatoes, cut into quarters (I prefer golden.)
12 baby carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped (If you only have dry dill, use 1 tsp. dry dill.)
1 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves, chopped (If you only have dry oregano, only do 1 tsp. dry oregano.)
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped (If you only have dry thyme, only do 1 tsp. dry thyme.)

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Using the Frugal Femme Flour, coat the chicken with the flour mixture.
3.  In an oven safe, heavy bottom skillet with a lid, heat the oil over medium high heat. 
4.  Once the oil begins to "shimmer" and the butter to sizzle, add the chicken and cook until it is well browned on both sides.  Remove the chicken from the skillet.

5.  Add the onions and a potatoes to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. 

6.  Add the carrots, stock, lemon juice and oregano and heat to a boil. 

7.  Return the chicken to the skillet. Cover the skillet with the lid.

8.  Bake for 15 minutes. Uncover the skillet and bake for 10 minutes OR until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are fork tender.  (The carrots should be tender but still hold a little bit of their crispiness.)
Going into the oven.  (Yes, my oven is 70's vintage and I hate it.)

Picture of chicken with lid removed before going back into the oven.

Doesn't that look pretty and delicious?

9.  Sprinkle with thyme and serve.

As you may have noticed, there is no salt in this recipe.  I usually sprinkle on some creole seasoning to give it some extra umph, but it is good either way.

Frugal Femme Flour Mixture

I LOVE the flavor of this flour mixture on various things that I bread and fry.  So I make large batches and store it in a freezer bag in the pantry.  It also makes week-night cooking a breeze because I already have my flour mixture prepared.

2-3 cups all-purpose flour
1 envelope Lipton garlic and herb mix
1 envelope Good Seasonings Zesty Italian Dressing mix
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. dried dill
1-2 tsp. creole seasoning
1-2 tsp. pepper

1.  Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and save in a large resealable bag.

To be honest, I never measure these ingredients.  I just add them all together until they make the flavor that I want.  So please feel free to add and subtract ingredients for your own flour mix.

Well, that is it for this evening meal.  And, since I started retro, I am going to end retro.  The picture below is one taken by my father-in-law when he was first practicing how to do pin-up photography.  I always wanted to try this and I was a willing model.  My one request, since I had just recently gotten Basil, my French bulldog, was that we try to create the French bull dog pin up that I loved so much but with different colors.
This is what we created.

Isn't baby Basil just the cutest?!?!  (Picture by William Moore.)
Posting again tomorrow and we'll have one week down of a two week menu and one to go!

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