30 minutes or less?

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.  --Julia Child

Chris and I often commute together to and from work, which is very nice. We ride the train into the city together each morning and usually come home together about 3 nights a week. (Chris often stays in the office later than I do, and when he does, I try to get an earlier train so I can get a head start on dinner, etc.) 

However, last night we were on the same train home.  I had planned to make a nice meal of chicken, potatoes and some veggies that were waning in the crisper, and mentioned that plan to Chris on our short walk home.  He gave me a worried look, which I knew meant "how long will that take?"  I told him to trust me, and it would be ready in 30 minutes or less.  He raised his eyebrows skeptically and left me to my project.  That was 7:06 p.m.  By 7:28 p.m., we were sitting down to dinner.  Score.

Here's what I did:

I preheated the oven to 400F degrees and lightly oiled a baking sheet. I took three boneless, skinless chicken breasts, patted them dry, added a dash of salt/pepper to each and sautéed them in a pan (medium high heat) with 2 TBS butter and 1 TBS soy sauce until browned.  I transferred the browned chicken to the baking sheet and then covered the top of each piece with garlic powder, brown sugar, and pinch of salt. Don't be shy with the garlic/sugar.  I baked in the oven for about 10-12 minutes, moving the sheet to the top rack for the last 5 minutes so the sugar could get all nice and caramelized (keep an eye on it though).  

While the chicken was browning, I took 6 smallish potatoes, peeled and cut them into bite-size chunks. I put them in a microwave safe bowl with 1 TBS of butter and some garlic powder  (a dash or two) and zapped them for 1 minute until the butter had melted. I stirred the potatoes and then put them back in the microwave for another 12 minutes, until cooked through and tender (check at the 10 minute mark, depending on microwave power). When they were done, I stirred in some powdered ginger (a pinch), a handful of sesame seeds and 2 tsp of sesame oil, along with a pinch of salt. I covered the bowl to keep warm.

I had some baby bok choy, so thought I'd continue the Asian-theme of my meal. I cut off the very bottom stem of each piece and then separated and rinsed the little leaves clean. I wiped out my chicken pan, leaving just a bit of the browning juices behind, and then tossed in the bok choy. I added a bit more soy sauce, 1 tsp of minced ginger, a pinch of salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes and cooked until they had softened a bit.

The chicken was juicy and garlicky and sweet, and the potatoes were nutty and soft. The bok choy added some color and the flavors all went very well together.

The picture doesn't do it justice, but since time was of the essence, I didn't want to waste it getting a perfect shot. It was a really tasty meal...and best of all, it didn't take all night!