Yesterday afternoon, Paige woke up long before Will from their afternoon nap, a very rare occurrence. Apparently, all that fresh air really did him in. Finally, as it neared evening, I had to wake him up. Paige was munching on tasty low-fat chocolate chip cookies and scampered into their bedroom with me. Did she boast about her bounty? No, she proceeded to try to feed a barely awake (he didn’t even have his eyes open!) Will half-eaten cookies. She even climbed onto the bed to get a better angle for shoving the cookies in his mouth.
It was really cute. I daresay she missed her big brother. But then, it got even better. After finishing the cookies, she scooted down in the bed and laid her head on the pillow, pulling the blankets up and over her. Will was just starting to open his eyes when she grabbed a book and started leafing through. Adorable.
They laid there, side by side, looking at books for at least 20 minutes.
I love how much my kids love each other. It’s the best thing ever. I won’t fool you: they don’t always get along (who does?), and they have little spats of jealousy here and there. Paige loves to steal Will’s drinks and drink them in front of them. Will doesn’t always like to share his toys. But ultimately, that is pretty normal. And at the end of the day, they both have showered each other with plenty of kisses, hugs and wonderful shared moments like this. I have two pretty great kids.
Another pretty cute thing? Will sometimes will finish his food and help Paige with hers, stabbing her food with her fork and feeding her. Even when she isn’t interested in being helped by Shawn or me, she usually likes her big brother to help her with her favorite dishes like macaroni and cheese or chicken (anyway).
Chicken makes very frequent appearances on our table here. It’s a lean protein that we all like and it’s easy and adaptable. It can be breaded into cutlets or cut into strips and stir-fried. It can be shredded and mixed with barbecue and put into sandwiches too… the possibilities are endless.
But sometimes, you just don’t want to fuss. In cases like that, having an easy go-to recipe that can be used in a ton of ways is so helpful. This recipe is that for me. The chicken cooks up quickly and comes out juicy every single time. Since you only use a spray of olive oil, it’s also pretty low-fat and dare I say healthy. The simple act of salt and peppering really makes this chicken pop with flavor, but it can also easily adapt to being used with sauces, in sandwiches, with pasta (and sauce, over rice … or whatever you feel like.
And I highly recommend pounding the chicken. It’s therapeutic and makes the chicken so perfect.
- 1 lb chicken breasts
- salt and pepper
- olive oil cooking spray
- Heat a large skillet on your stove’s medium setting.
- Rinse the chicken breasts and trim away any excess fat. Place in the center of a long (about two feet) sheet of wax paper and fold the paper over the chicken. Use the flat side of a meat mallet to pound the chicken to ¼ inch thickness.
- Cut each breast into 2-3 pieces.
- Spray the skillet with olive oil cooking spray. Sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
- Place the chicken salt and peppered side down on the skillet. Sprinkle the other side with salt and pepper too. Cook for a few minutes on each side until opaque and cooked through. Remove pan from the burner and set aside (or just use the chicken like that).
Alternatively, you can purchase chicken that has been thin sliced, however you will pay a big premium for it and really, pounding and cutting chicken doesn’t take that long or that much effort. I keep a pinch bowl filled with a 1:1 ratio of salt and pepper next to my stove at all times. It’s a great, inexpensive and easy way to flavor meat in a hurry. It also is great on veggies. Just make sure you pinch with clean hands.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.