I like to put it this way: if you were in a room that gave you anything and everything you needed the second you thought of it, would you ever need to be creative in order to find what you're looking for? Probably not. Sometimes in restricting ourselves or by being restricted by means out of our control, we find more opportunities to be creative, to find new uses and intentions for things that we have on hand in order to create the things we need. And creativity in the kitchen can result in some pretty delicious stuff.
This week, our goal was to cook a meal that was absent of dairy -- a tricky task when making mashed potatoes! Having dijon mustard on hand for the chicken was a great substitute for the butter and milk that would normally go into the mashed potatoes. There were mixed reviews on this one! Some folks found the potatoes lacking a bit of flavor and wished for more mustard than was used. Some were'nt a fan of the dill (you can adjust this). Some liked the taste but found the texture different than usual, which is to be expected. The dijon creates the right amount of moisture, but doesn't necessarily replace the creaminess you get from dairy. Though a butter substitute such as margarine could be used here, I felt it was important for us to try and avoid any direct substitutes and to get a bit more creative. For the chicken, you can use greek yogurt in place of the mustard if you want a more subtle taste (and aren't going for a dairy-free meal).
Breaded Dijon Chicken
1 package boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1/2 cup dijon mustard (we used smooth - whole grain will be spicier)
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil or cooking spray.
2) Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Go light on salt - the bread crumbs often have some in there already.
3) Separate egg, bread crumbs, and mustard into three separate bowls.
3) Dip each chicken piece into the egg first, then the bread crumbs (lightly), then into the mustard (wipe down excess) and then into a final layer of bread crumbs. Place into greased baking dish and continue until all pieces are coated.
4) Baked, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked (no pink flesh or juices).
Mustard Mashed Potatoes
4-5 medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and peeled
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped dill
1/4 to 1/3 cup dijon mustard (start with less, add more as you go depending on desired flavor)
Salt and pepper to taste
1) Boil Potatoes: Cut potatoes into quarters and place in a large pot. Cover with cold water, put a lid on the pot, and bring to a boil. Potatoes are done when a fork can be inserted and removed with no resistance.
2) While potatoes are boiling, caramelize onions. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. After a minute, add onions. Cook, stirring every minute or so, until onions are soft and have a golden color all around. Add salt, 1/8 tsp at a time, to reach desired taste. Let cool.
3) Drain boiled potatoes and put back in pot. Mash until potatoes are smooth with few to no lumps. Without dairy, this step is critical in achieving as smooth of a mashed potato as you can!
3) Mix in caramelized onions (as well as the oil in the pan) with the potatoes. Stir in mustard, 1/8 cup at a time, until desired consistency and taste is achieved. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add in dill just before serving.
4-5 stalks broccoli, washed, thick stems trimmed and stalks cut into small florets
1/4 cup olive oil
6-8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1) In a large pot with steamer attachment, fill pot halfway with water. Place broccoli in steamer basket and place the basket into the pot. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling. Once boiling, it should take about 10 minutes for broccoli to steam. You'll know it's ready when broccoli is bright green and a fork can be easily inserted and removed into the thickest remaining part of the stem. Remove from heat.
2) In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. After a minute, add garlic and saute, moving pieces around continuously for about 5-10 minutes. After each minute, lower heat slightly to prevent garlic from burning. It should get soft and lightly caramelize; if it begins to harden and turn brown, it will burn.
3) Place steamed broccoli into a large bowl. Toss with garlic, oil from pan, and salt and pepper to taste.