GREEK LEMON CHICKEN & TATZIKI
I LOVE HAVING PEOPLE OVER FOR DINNER - Even on weekdays!
However, this was not always the case. People drop by for food and snacks so often that my weekend entertaining spills into weekdays.
Smarter people than I make weekday plans with their friends at restaurants rather than host, but I'm not that bright.
My Moleskine planner is basically a restaurant reservation book that lists who's coming over for dinner and what I'm making along with people's food preferences and dislikes.
There's something about weekday entertaining that invites Murphy's Law to govern like The Capitol in the Hunger Games where all of your good intentions are viciously sabotaged at every turn. You suddenly have to work late, do a last minute grocery run, your electrical circuit keeps shorting out every three minutes. And then on cue, your friend(s) who are notoriously late are surprise - Punctual!
This is a go-to weekday meal because you can do so much the night before, or with a little bit of planning get the higher maintenance part of the recipe done even the weekend before. Therefore, on the actual night you just have to listen to your friends gush about how you pulled off a 3-part homemade meal on a Wednesday evening while wearing a spill-free outfit.
Oh and what? You had time to thoughtfully PVR an episode of Girls your friends haven't seen yet, and customize a Spotify playlist that combines their love of '90s Hip Hop and polka pop? Yea, I did.
LEMON HERB DE PROVENCE CHICKEN
6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (pounded thin of equal thickness)
1-2 lemon juiced
1/2 C flour
1 tbsp of Herb de Provence, or dried oregano
sea salt & pepper
1/2 C white wine
1 tbsp of butter
1/4 C of chicken stock
1. Mix the flour, dried herbs, salt and pepper into a bowl.
2. Dip each chicken thigh on both sides into the flour, shaking off any excess.
3. Pan fry each chicken thigh in a cast iron pan until brown on both sides and set aside.
4. To make the sauce, put white wine into the pan scraping up those delicious brown bits.
5. Add in chicken stock. Once reduced and slightly thicker, add in 2 tbsp of lemon juice (reserve the rest for the rice salad & tatziki) butter and reduce further.
6. Put the chicken back into the sauce coating both sides. You can keep warm in the oven while you finish the rice salad.
Warm Rice Salad with Cucumber, Tomato, Black Olives and Feta
2 C rice, cooked
1/2 C grape tomatoes, halved
half a cucumber, chopped
6-8 black olives, chopped
2 tbsp dill, chopped
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
sea salt generously & lightly pepper
1 C of crumbled feta cheese
1. Toss the first five ingredients into a bowl. Oh shit, you already prepped this though right? So this should be easy peasy.
2. Mix lemon juice, sea salt, pepper and slowly whisk in the olive oil. Dress rice salad and crumbled feta.
1/2 C of cucumber, chopped
1/4 C of white onion, chopped
1 C of thick Greek yogurt (with a little fat is best!)
1/4 C chopped dill
2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1/4 C of chives, chopped (or green section of a green onion)
3 tbsp lemon juice
sea salt and black pepper to taste
1. (For best results - Do this the night before you need it) Put the cucumber and white onion in a sieve over a bowl. Toss with a bit of salt and let it drain for at least an hour, up to 12 hours in the fridge.
2. Mix the cucumber and onion with the Greek yogurt. Add in garlic, dill, chives and lemon juice.
3. Add in salt a little bit at a time until desired. Finish with some black pepper.
4. Serve with lemon chicken.
WEEKDAY PREP TIME SAVERS
These seem obvious, and yet we rarely do them. I make a list to keep organized and then the execution actually happens!
* On weekends, if I make a dish that requires rice, I always make an extra cup because you can use it as salad, a side, or a last minute Chinese fried rice on weekdays.
* Clean and dry your herbs ahead of time so they're always ready when you need them.
* Be honest, do you skip the lemon juice part of a recipe because it's a pain to get out the citrus juicer and dig out the seeds every time you need just a tablespoon? Take the time to juice 3-4 lemons ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. You'll be surprised at how often you just need just a squirt of lemon juice.
* I always pre-chop garlic on the weekends in my mini food processor, so I always have minced garlic on hand.
* Prep the chicken the night before by putting it in a ziplock bag and pound it thin with a meat cleaver
* For the chicken, make the seasoned flour the night before in the bowl you'll use the next day, so all you have to do is pull it out of the fridge and it's ready to pan fry
* Make tatziki the weekend before you need it. It lasts a whole week in the fridge and you can use it as a side to basically any protein you eat for the week. It's amazing as a sandwich fixen, a vegetable dip or I sometimes will add a can of drained tuna as a cracker dip with extra protein.
* The morning or night before you need the tatziki, prep the cucumber.