Weeknight Chicken Cacciatore

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Clearly I didn’t take my picture fast enough. The family member whose dinner this is was out when dinner was ready.

This is a go-to weeknight recipe for me because it takes about forty minutes from freezer to table and it’s a family-pleaser. I serve it with microwaved frozen veggies. It would go equally well over pasta or a hamburger bun, but I’m watching my carbs.

Ingredients:

  • Breaded chicken patties or fillets, up to 6
  • 1 500mL jar of homemade spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan or other Italian-flavour-friendly cheese

Follow package directions to cook the chicken patties to the point where you take them out of the oven to turn them. Pour the sauce over them as evenly as you can. Cover with shredded cheese. Bake for the longest suggested time remaining (so, if it says 10 to 15 minutes more, go for fifteen.)

Tuesday nights don’t get much simpler than this, unless you’re doing Random Orange Vegetable Soup.

 

If you can do it with pumpkin…

…you can do it with sweet potato.

Operating on that principle, today’s experiment in Use Up Some of that Mountain of Canned Sweet Potato is a variation on an old recipe of my mother’s, which she probably got off the back of a can of pumpkin: Pumpkin Spice Muffins.

Her recipe had exactly two ingredients: a spice cake mix, and a can of pureed pumpkin. She poured it into a muffin tray and it made about a dozen thick, cakey muffins. She would freeze them by the dozen and when we wanted a treat, we’d defrost in the microwave, cut them in half, butter them liberally, and enjoy. (I am the eldest of four and my mom worked full-time after the youngest sister was born, so quick, cheap, and pretend-it’s-healthy treats were a priority for her in terms of keeping us fed.)

I don’t like spice cake mixes. I find the spices aren’t sufficient for the flavour I want. So I mix up my own holiday spice mix around this time of year, in a Mason jar I don’t actually want to use for canning (for example, one of the wide-mouth jars I have lying around.) The mix is:

  • 8 parts cinnamon
  • 4 parts ground ginger
  • 2 parts ground cloves
  • 1 part ground nutmeg
  • Maybe a bit of mace

Mix it up fresh at least once a year and use it in anything you want to taste like the holidays, which is to say, any orange vegetable dish.

So the recipe I’m trying today is:

  • 1 jar sweet potato, with juice, mashed
  • 1 white or yellow cake mix
  • 1 tbsp Holiday Spice Mix

Follow the times on the box but be prepared for a longer bake time.

I will update the post with pictures of the yummy goodness that diabetics like me probably shouldn’t eat, as soon as I’ve made them. With any luck I’ll remember to take pictures of the muffins before I eat any.

Update, from left to right: the batter is thick enough for a fork to stand up in it; I filled the muffin cups fairly full so I only got nine muffins out of the recipe; I didn’t take the picture of the finished ones soon enough to get all of them. They’ve been pronounced delicious and please-make-again by my family, though I’ve been advised that silicone is not actually non-stick and butter would improve matters.

 

All in all, a successful not-pumpkin experiment!