Just Add Chicken: How to Cheat at Dinner

Five ingredients = 1 dinner? Baby, I’m down.

I was especially down last night…The Ryan, as most of you know, is pulling stupid long hours at the office and not coming home until, say, anywhere between 7 and 9 p.m. Since he is in a locked up room with no cell signal and no internet, I never have any idea how long he will be, when he will be coming home, when to start dinner…you get the point. As you can imagine, that is rather like playing dinner roulette as far as cooking goes.

So, this weeks theme is basically “What can I make within the 20 minutes it takes him to get home?” or “What can I make that will stay in the oven forever and ever on warm without fatally drying out and becoming cause for ordering a pizza at 9 p.m.?”

Last night’s dinner fell under option A, with only five ingredients to seal the deal. We all know how much I enjoy making my own sauces and marinades, but I have to admit to cheating a little. Last time I was in Target, I was wandering around their canned goods isle for some Ro*Tel tomatoes, and I spotted a jar of Tikka Masala sauce. I figured, hey, why not try it? So I picked it up.

Yesterday, I knew that the Ryan would be home pretty stinkin’ late (try 8:30 p.m.) and I wanted something quick and easy, so I thought I’d go ahead and break out the Tikka Masala jar. I thawed out some chicken, picked up some naan bread at the store, and decided on basmati rice and baby bok choy to round it all out.

When the Ryan called me to say he was on his way, I sauteed the chicken in a pan, heated up the sauce (which I found to be too sugary, so I added garam masala, cumin, lemon juice and cayenne pepper to it), mixed them together, cooked the rice and quickly wilted the baby bok choy in a frying pan. I heated the naan bread on a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven to make it nice and warm, and voila! In the 25 minutes it took the Ryan to get home, I had a hearty Indian-themed meal steaming hot and ready to go. We barely used any of the sauce, too, so if you’ve got a family of ~4 people, you will be golden with just one jar. If you don’t – LEFTOVERS!!

The swiftness of the meal also left us some extra time to hang out before I had to crash out for work today..which is always nice. Who doesn’t wanna re-watch Scrubs and cuddle on the couch with their honey?

For dinner in a pinch, this is definitely one to try (and it will make it look like you put so much more effort into it than you did!).

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