Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Less Is More

Sometimes it is just better to keep it short.

Here is a list of things I think are better when people take the "less is more approach":

FEATURE-LENGTH MOVIES: I prefer them to be no longer than 100 minutes.

PHONE MESSAGES: In fact, who needs them at all when you call someone who already has your number programmed in your phone?

LIFTING WEIGHTS: Lower number of reps means you can lift more weight.

BRIDESMAID DRESSES: Sure they should be to the knee for the actual wedding, but lopping off some of that material with your amazing new sewing machine (thanksbostonlady!) can transform that thing into an awesome cocktail dress!

Before (photo by the amazingly talented wedding photographer, Jenny, who has posted lots of Meagan and Jon's wedding pictures here):


I cannot wait for a good reason to wear this little number.

I used to think things are always better when you cook them longer in the slow cooker. This may have been wishful thinking since I usually turn it on in the morning and do not make it home to turn it off for at least 10 hours. I have always cooked things longer than the recipes calls for, and everything has always been delicious. I was under the impression this was actually helping rather than hurting. I do want to keep this post short to maintain the theme, but I should say, make this dish for a nice comforting, non-intimidating-attempt-at-using-polenta-for-the-first-time recipe.

It is easy, satisfying and healthy. However, do not cook it in the slow cooker for longer than the recipe recommends. In this case, less is more when it comes to time in the pot as the chicken can get a little on the dry side.

Keep It Short Chicken Ragout with Polenta and Veggies

3 cups frozen mixed vegetables (preferably Italian style)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 (14-ounce) jar pasta sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/4 C dry sherry (or another dry white wine)
1 (24-ounce) tube pre-made polenta, sliced 1/2-inch thick
4 slices provolone or mozzarella cheese (optional)

Combine frozen vegetable medley in the bottom of a slow cooker.
Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Place chicken on top of vegetables.
In a large bowl, stir together pasta sauce, tomato paste, garlic and sherry.
Pour 2/3 of the sauce over chicken and vegetables.
Top the chicken with polenta slices and cover with remaining sauce.
Cover and cook on the LOW setting for 4 to 5 hours.

Totally optional and not part of original (healthier) recipe:
Scoop out the chicken breasts when they are finished cooking, and place them in a small oven-safe dish.
Top each chicken breast with a slice of provolone or mozzarella cheese, and broil in the oven for about 2-3 min (until cheese starts to turn golden.
Then serve chicken on a plate, scooping out the vegetables and polenta onto the plate as well directly from the pot.

Serve hot with Parmesan cheese if you decide not to take the last step with the cheese slice.


The Boston Lady said...

Well, I guess you knew I'd be the first to comment :-). I'm liking the dress and I'm thinking my son needs to take you somewhere fun and glamorous to show that baby (and you) off! The Maven can babysit Mr. Stan! Yummy sounding recipe. I have never had polenta. And I wish you could see the last bridesmaid dress I had to wear when I was 8 months pregnant with The Writer. Think The Great Pumpkin...

nicky said...

You have so many hidden talents ! Reminds me of your aunt Janet. Your dress is perfect! Nobody could tell it was a bridesmaid dress.
Love , mom

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