My Facebook status tonight said something like, “Tonight I cooked with jalapeno peppers for the first and last time. omfg.” Every time I make a recipe that calls for jalapeno peppers, I automatically skip them. Spicy things just usually aren’t my thing, and even more so when it’s a meal I’m sharing with the kids. Today I decided to throw caution to the window and not skip over the jalapeno peppers. Trust me, that won’t happen again. And honestly, I didn’t even COOK with them. I just chopped them up. I carefully scooped out all the seeds, since that’s where most of the heat lies. The problem is that I, of course, rubbed my eyes shortly thereafter. I’m the kind of person that takes a pan out of the oven, and then not a mere 10 minutes later, I forget that it came out of the oven and grab it with my hands. Clearly short-term memory deficits are not my friend in the kitchen, so to protect me from future jalapeno pepper incidents, I’m going to just go back to skipping them. Moving on…
Usually on gym nights, I like to keep dinner simple and it’s a fend-for-yourself night or leftovers, but I feel like I haven’t cooked much this week (um, because I haven’t), so when I saw this recipe for Emeril’s Chicken Patty Pockets, I threw the set bedtime out the window and made a full dinner when we got back home. The recipe comes from a recent issue of Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine, and is crazy simple to make. The recipe calls for putting the patties into a pita pocket and then filling it with lettuce, tomato and cucumber, along with a Minted Yogurt Sauce. But then I saw a recipe for Pico de Gallo and Guacamole from The Pioneer Woman and decided to change things up a bit. I served the patties on the plate, topped with the Pico de Gallo and the Minted Yogurt Sauce on the side. The Pico de Gallo was where I got into trouble with the jalapeno peppers.
The chicken patties were a nice diversion from a red meat patty, and with the abundance of fresh vegetables, it was a meal I could feel good about serving, make quickly and one that would be kid-friendly to boot. Madeline is particularly crazy for tomatoes, and as soon as she saw me slicing and chopping them up, she clamored for a few pieces. She actually ended up eating a whole tomato before I even got dinner on the table. Nick was a little suspicious of a chicken burger, but actually ended up going back for a second. We were both a little suspicious about the Minted Yogurt Sauce. I ended up liking it (and I’m usually not a fan of mint in savory recipes) and he didn’t.
So when time is short, but you still want to deliver a homemade meal full of flavor and vegetable goodness, this meal is a great place to start. But if you’re like me, nix the jalapeno peppers. Just sayin’.
I have this photo collage in the kitchen that I’ve been working on for the past two months or so. Originally I wanted to make it in the shape of a heart, and while I could get the heart shape of it right (and it is not as easy as it sounds), I couldn’t get it to fit the space I had picked out for it. So it slowly evolved and now takes up residence on our two pantry doors. I catch the kids going over and looking at the pictures often, pointing out different ones to friends, or just looking up smiling. That’s definitely one reason that I put it up. It’s fun to look back at the different pictures and remember the memories associated with each shot. Instead of getting put into a photo album (and believe me, we have many), it’s nice to have a daily visual of what’s important. I know people quickly scan and look to see if The Ex is up there, two have actually mentioned it. Of course he is. I think it’s important for the kids to see happy pictures from when we were all together. And that’s what these doors are all about. Happy pictures. Happy times. Happy memories.
Emeril’s Chicken-Patty Pockets
Recipe courtesy of Everyday Food
1 lb. ground dark-meat chicken
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon course salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons olive oil
lettuce, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, for serving
Minted Yogurt sauce, optional, recipe below
1. Heat broiler, with rack in highest position. In a large bowl, combine chicken, egg whites, bread crumbs, onion, parsley, garlic, salt, and spices and mix until well blended. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and drizzle with 1 T. oil. Divide chicken mixture into 8 portions (about 2 1/2 to 3 ounces each) and place on sheet. Shape each into an oval patty and use your hand to flatten slightly. Drizzle 1 T. oil over patties.
2. Broil until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook until cooked through, about 4 minutes more. Serve in pita pockets with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and Minted Yogurt Sauce.
Minted Yogurt Sauce
In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves, and 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, up to 1 hour, to allow flavors to come together.