Monday, October 26, 2009

Doorknock Dinners--Fried Chicken,Stuffed Bell Peppers, and More

After two days of being taken out to eat, and a day of fast food, my friend begged me to come over and help her move. I was starving and I told her as much. "I'll help, but I can only stay for a short time. I have to make dinner for myself and the fiance."

"You can cook here," she said, waving at the partially enclosed, well lit kitchen. "The middle shelf in the refrigerator is mine. You can use whatever I have on there."

My friend lives with two other roommates,hence the "personal shelf". And lemme tell ya, this kitchen is a dream. It's the size of my dining room, you can see into the living room and the rest of the area, and it has a GAS STOVE. I haven't cooked on a gas stove since I moved out of my parents' house!!! Needless to say, I consented, and pulled off my own version of "Doorknock Dinners."

My appetizer came from my friend's fruit bowl. Who knew kiwi and banana could taste so good?

Kiwi and Banana Hors'dOeuvres

2 kiwis (ripe, yet fairly firm)

2 bananas

1/4 cup chai honey

Slice the kiwis and bananas crosswise. Stack the banana slices onto the kiwi slices, arranging on a nice plate. Heat the honey in a separate container for 15 seconds, and drizzle over the fruit. Done!

While my fiance and her boyfriend ate the fruity hors d'oeuvre, I started in on the side dishes. Bell peppers, yams, and ground chicken are your friend. And so is sugar and butter.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

3 bell peppers

1 package ground chicken (sold in a sausage like tube; about 1/2 lb)

1 small can sliced mushrooms

2 cloves garlic, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Take the tops and seeds off the peppers. In a separate bowl, mix the ground chicken, mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper. Stuff the bell peppers with the mixture and place in an oven safe pan. Bake at 350 for roughly 45 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.

After starting the bell peppers, I realized I needed to make the candied sweet potatoes. I then remembered that I could cook them in the microwave. And it would take about the same amount of time as the bell peppers!

Microwave Candied Sweet Potatoes

3 sweet potatoes (the ones with the bright orange flesh)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 stick butter, cut into small pieces

Cinnamon to taste

Peel the sweet potatoes, then slice crosswise. Put the first layer in a microwave safe container, then add a small piece of butter on top of each slice. Sprinkle the whole thing with a teaspoon of sugar from the 1/2 cup. Do the same thing with the next layer of sweet potatoes, and continue till all the potatoes are gone. Add the last of the butter and sugar (if there's any left), then carefully pour the orange juice down the side of the container to avoid washing off the butter and sugar. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon. Cover with saran wrap or a lid, and microwave for 30-40 minutes on high. Serves four.

Last but not least, at one point in the evening, my fiance had to go home to pick up some tools for my friend's computer. I asked him to bring back the chicken I'd just defrosted in the refrigerator. It became our main course. Who knew one chicken could feed four hungry people?

Fried Chicken for Four

1 chicken, cut into pieces (separate the thigh and leg, and cut the breast into four chunks)

4 tablespoons oil

Salt, pepper to taste

Carefully dry the chicken parts and season with the salt and pepper. Pour the oil into a hot pan (use medium to medium high heat). Once the oil is hot, carefully place the chicken pieces into the pan, with the bone-in pieces close to the center. Cook for ten minutes on each side. Serves four, depending on the number of pieces per person.

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