Munchies with Moonkat: Week 2
Welcome to this week’s installation of Munchies with Moonkat! This week I’ll be doing a recipe that’s very close to my heart (and, of course, my stomach). You won’t find this one in any cookbook or any online recipe site, mostly because it’s a family original. That’s right, this little dish was created by Moonkat’s grandmother back in the early 90’s, and has been a Moonkat clan staple ever since.
Allow me to introduce you to Chicken Tonight. (Note: The picture below is not actually the dish, but it’s close enough in appearance!)
When you have a family of a deep south husband, a picky grandchild, an even more picky daughter, and two other daughters who pop in and out at random, finding foods that everyone will sit down together and eat is a bit of a challenge. But Moonkat’s grandmother rose to meet this challenge.. and proceeded to stomp it into the dirt. By combining some healthy ingredients in an electric skillet and letting the whole kit and caboodle cook for a while, you end up with a simple one-pan meal that’s hard to hate. Unless you’re one of those people who just doesn’t like tasty things. Shame on you. For those interested in how this dish derived its name, the answer is quite simple: When asked what was being made for dinner one night, Moonkat’s grandmother, who was making this exact dish, replied simply, “Do you want chicken tonight?” An excited young Moonkat proclaimed, “Chicken tonight?!”, and the moniker stuck.
- 1.5 lbs chicken breast tenderloins
- 2 lbs petite yellow potatoes
- 3 cups steamed broccoli
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup
- Lemon pepper seasoning to taste
1) What cut of chicken you use is really just a matter of preference. I like to use the tenderloins because they’re already pre-cut into pieces that will cook through fairly quickly, and require nothing done to them, except to toss them in the lemon pepper seasoning and pop them into the pan. If you prefer larger chicken breast slices, those also work – or if you’re a fan of dark meat, thighs are an excellent alternative. I’d stay away from anything with bones, though. They’re just an unnecessary hassle for clean-up.
2) The type of potatoes you use are also up to you. Normal-sized potatoes will work as long as you cut them up into smaller pieces before adding them in. You could also use small russet potatoes. I like the yellow ones because they’re smaller, softer, and have a pleasant taste that mixes well with the other flavors.
3) Broccoli is a favorite vegetable of mine, but it wasn’t the original vegetable used in this dish: My grandmother always did lima beans and carrots. But I personally dislike lima beans, and my picky husband doesn’t like cooked carrots. Those are, however, an option; just dump in some frozen lima beans, and/or toss in some baby carrots. Other vegetable options include brussel sprouts, celery, mushrooms, and peas, if you like that sort of thing.
4) If cream of chicken soup doesn’t float your boat, try any of the other variants, though I recommend sticking with something that contains the vegetable you’ll be using. So if you’re using broccoli, use cream of broccoli; celery, use cream of celery; mushroom, use cream of mushroom. You get the idea.
First off, coat the chicken in lemon pepper seasoning. The seasoning is optional, but it really adds a flavorful kick to it, so I highly recommend it. Then spray some cooking spray in an electric skillet – if you don’t have one, a wok or traditional stove-top skillet will do. Just make sure it’s got a lid, and keep an eye on everything as it cooks, so nothing burns. Add chicken and let it simmer on medium-low heat – about 250 to 300 degrees.
While the chicken is cooking, this is when you tend to your potatoes. Make sure they’re clean, scrub them really good with a vegetable brush if you’ve got one – the last thing you want is dirt in your mouth, ick. Now you have two options here: You can poke some holes in the potatoes with a fork and pop them into the skillet (they’ll take about 45 minutes to an hour to cook that way); or you can be lazy and poke holes in them with a fork, put them on a microwave-safe plate, and put them in the microwave, cooking them for 5 minutes at a turn. Some people don’t like the way microwaved potatoes taste, so this is entirely your choice.
If you’re putting them in the skillet, firstly, make sure your chicken is cooked through. Then you need to crank the heat up to about 400 degrees so that it won’t take forever for them to roast. Then put the potatoes in the skillet and cover everything with the two cans of condensed cream of chicken soup. If microwaving potatoes, heat them up then add them to the skillet, without increasing the temperature, and add the cans of soup.
Let everything sit and simmer for a while. If you’re roasting your potatoes in the skillet, check them every 10-15 minutes to see how they’re coming along (a cooked potato will be easily pierced by a fork, with no resistance or crunching noises), and make sure to stir everything occasionally, so nothing sticks or burns. While this is going on, you can steam your broccoli (if using fresh), or otherwise cook it (if using one of those handy dandy steamer bags, which I always do). Once the potatoes are done, add the broccoli (or vegetable of your choosing), and replace the lid.
At this point, it’s just a matter of letting all the flavors blend a little bit. Stir everything once in a while, and once you’re positive the potatoes are done, congratulations! It’s officially Chicken Tonight. Dish out onto plates and enjoy. The quantities in this dish feeds four, at about 486 calories a serving, with the ingredients I use; adjust the quantities and ingredients as needed for your own serving and caloric requirements.
Pro Tip: This dish is absolutely amazing if you top it off with some sour cream (light sour cream or plain Greek yogurt are also options), then sprinkle a little McCormick Salad Supreme on top. The Salad Supreme is calorie-free and flavor intense, and just really tops it off in a most delicious manner.
There you have it! Happy cooking, everyone!
Posted on 04/21/2016, in Munchies with Moonkat and tagged broccoli, chicken, cream of chicken, easy clean-up, electric skillet, lemon pepper, one-pan meals, potatoes. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.