Tuesday, February 23, 2016

3 Elegant {and easy} Make at Home Dinners

When Eric and I were dating, we had a standing Friday night date.  Almost every Friday for six years, we cooked suppers, went hiking, explored trails in his truck, read Bibles together, and prayed together.  Sooooooooo much fun!!!  Well, having a Friday night date every week, with five little ones, isn't so easy anymore.  Buuuuuuut, does it have to be like that?  We decided it doesn't.  We may not be able to jump in his truck, and take off, just the two of us, anytime we want to.  But, we can still spend time together and have fun, right?  So, a few weeks ago, we reinstated Eric and Iris Fridays.  I feed the kids and get them to bed early, and then make a "special" dinner for just us.  It's been fun!  I get to actually find out what's happening with him at work and during his days, without interruptions every few sentences ;).

So, since it's such a special time, I've tried to pick meals that are a little different than what I'd normally make for the family.  Something semi fancy ;).  But, also something I could tend to, even while doing bedtime routines, finding lambies and puppies, and kissing foreheads.  So, this week, I'm sharing the three meals we've done so far.  I'll post one every few days.  You might like to plan your own date night :).

Up first, Chicken Mushroom Alfredo on a Bed of Buttered Spinach.  I like to use chicken thighs, because they almost always turn out moist and tender, even if you've been distracted and let them bake a little longer than you should have.  Don't ask me how I know that.  You'll need:

3 lbs. Chicken Thighs
1/2 cup water
sea salt and black pepper
3 T Butter
1 T minced garlic
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp Tarragon
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 cup mushrooms, chopped (I used Portabella)
2 16oz bags frozen spinach
3-4 T Butter
salt and pepper
Extra Parmesan cheese, Tarragon, and Sage to garnish.

Place chicken thighs and water in baking dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, 45 minutes, or until no longer pink in center.

During last half hour of baking, melt 3 T butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic, mushrooms, and heavy cream when butter is just melted and frothy looking.  Stir constantly, until steaming.  Remove from heat, and add Parmesan cheese and Tarragon.  Stir until melted and sauce is at desired thickness.

Place spinach and 3-4 T butter into a medium size stockpot over medium-high heat.  Cook until heated through.  Note: you may need to add a little water, a splash of heavy cream, or more butter, if spinach is looking dry.  Your finished product should be steaming, moist, buttery, and creamy.

In the center of your fanciest plate, place a nice size serving of buttered spinach.  Lay one chicken thigh on top of spinach, and season with sea salt and pepper.  Spoon mushroom sauce over chicken, and garnish by sprinkling some shredded Parmesan, a little sage, and a little tarragon over your meal.  It looks fancy, and it's creamy and yummy!  Eric ended up putting some shredded cheddar over his also, and that was good, too!  Just tailor it to your tastes :).

Tomorrow, we'll share Elegant Dinner #2.  While your waiting on that, be thinking of something special you can do for someone you love.  I'm learning to be intentional about showing love to my husband, and to my kids.  They're worth a little extra effort :)


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