It’s not that fancy. I think it’s fancy because it has wine? Or is it the swiss cheese?
I do a lot of skillet cooking for dinner. Skillet or Saucepan or a combination of the two. The oven has been reserved for cookies and loaves of bread and rolls and maybe the occasionally roasted veggie.
It’s hard sometimes to be able to set aside an hour to let something cook in the oven. Which is insane because, what, do I have to chain myself to the oven while it cooks? No. Is it actually easier for me? Yes. But it’s the start time that’s always getting in the way.
With everyone at home all the time I’ve tried (multiple times – we’re on version 4.2) to create schedules for everyone. I’m not a stern taskmaster or anything. I just know structure helps literally all of us. Especially my 12-year-old son and 1.5-year-old daughter.
And like, I don’t know how anyone who has jobs away from home feed their toddlers in time to put them to bed when they’re supposed to go to bed. I view folx like this with such awe and wonderment. And again, not a military mom, I just want the best for these kids. I worry if I’m providing enough – are they safe – are they feeling safe? Do they know what to expect?
I can’t control out there. But in here? In here I can allot an hour of screen time after an hour of reading for Brau. I can make sure I don’t plop Devona in front of the screen just to “get some work done quickly” and seven episodes of Muppet Babies later start panic googling “too much screen time for babies”. (But I’ve absolutely done that tho)
In my heart, I know. I know I’m a good mom. But sometimes it’s hard. And the expectation to be the kind of mom our moms were or their moms were AND be bringing home a portion (at least) of the bacon is stressful.
Sometimes a frozen pizza or a drive-thru is easier. And I allow myself that grace when I need it. We have to give ourselves grace.
Especially if we have multiple jobs.
Especially if our kids are at home learning.
Especially if there’s a pandemic.
Especially in the wake of loss at every turn in new and unimagined ways.
There’s so much happening all the time. And the more pressure I put on myself, the more I put myself in a place where I’m liable to crack. Yell over something stupid. Get irritated at the Wheels on the Bus playing for the 65th time this hour.
We have good days and bad days. Which means our kids have good days and bad days, too. So do our partners and friends and coworkers and parents. And if we can practice giving grace to ourselves? Well, it’s so much easier to offer it to somebody else.
And we all need.
Anyway. When you can spare your grace for another day, and you’ve got the capacity to bake dinner, try this Fancy Wine Chicken.
I serve it with jellied cranberry sauce and green beans, any way you like ’em. Maybe just do frozen this time? It’s okay to do frozen sometimes.
Cheese, Butter, Croutons, & Labels
I don’t care what brand of product you get. I don’t. But I am a brand loyalist. I didn’t realize this was particularly strange until my husband blinked like a scared deer as a complained that the shredded Colby blend cheese he bought wasn’t Kraft. Or when I asked for sharp cheddar and he came back without Cracker Barrel? It’s a wonder he went through with marrying me.
With the job insecurity and economic struggles, we faced this past year I had to come to terms with my brand loyalty and, quite frankly, the champagne taste I’d been traipsing around town with for the last 34 years. Were these specific brands really bringing anything extra into my life?
Yes. There are brands of products that are obviously superior. And if you can splurge for imported swiss cheese every time, I am 100% not trying to stop you. But I’m also telling you, it’s okay. You can get the thing in the package that looks sad without your dinner being sad. You can get the deal cheese. You can get the store brand croutons. I do it. If I mention specific brands it’s because that’s the way I make it. But you can make it with your brand. Or you can make it with the brand you can afford today. Or you can make it with whatever you grab. And it will still be delicious.
Fancy Wine Chicken
- About 1 lb of chicken breasts (usually about 2 chicken breasts these days, which I cut in half to make four pieces) *If you’re running into smaller chicken breasts (which would honestly be a shocker) just get four. Otherwise, I’ve found as long as the total weight of the chicken is around a pound it always feeds my family of four well.
- 4 slices swiss cheese
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1/4 C chablis or dry white wine of your choosing
- 1 box pepperidge farm (*see note on brands above) onion garlic croutons, crushed
- 1/4 C unsalted butter, melted
- 9×13 baking dish
- Mixing bowl
- Stirrin’ spoon
- Various measuring cups, spoons, etc.
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4
- Rinse your chicken, pat dry. In necessary cut into 4 equal cutlets. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper
- Lightly grease the bottom of your baking dish
- Place the chicken in the baking dish. Cover each chicken piece with one slice of swiss cheese.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the soup and wine well. Pour evenly over the chicken and cheese.
- Spread the crushed croutons on top and pour melted butter evenly over.
- Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through.