Last minute, scrounged up dinner for six

We are on the east coast for a month visiting my family and, well, because there are six or seven adults and four kids running around (and as many different schedules), dinnertime has been hectic. When we do cook at home, there is a lot of grilling and a bit of each team taking a dish.

Last night we were supposed to be having dinner at the snack bar at the beach while the kids competed in beach games. “Supposed to” be the operative words. They snack bar ran out of food.  At 6pm.  And as we are eating out tonight and the next night, we didn’t have a lot of food in the house. I beat the rest of the family home, got the kids fed and then scrounged around until I found some dinner for us to eat. Normally I wouldn’t even post something like this, but my sister ate it…and liked it. And she usually doesn’t really like food…she eats because she has to. I know, I know. Isn’t that just bizarre? Not loving food?! ANYWAY. I told her I would give her the recipe. It wasn’t really much. But everyone seemed to enjoy it so here ya go!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large breast of chicken (boneless/skinless)
  • 1/2 bag of Trader Joe’s 10 minute Farro
  • 12 oz chicken broth
  • 12 oz water
  • 3 zucchinis
  • 2 precooked beets
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • herbs du provence
  • salt/pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • two teaspoons balsamic
  • cherry tomatoes
  • grated peccorino cheese
  • a head of romaine, cleaned and spun, for the plating

 

In a large pot I put the broth and the water and brought to a boil. Meanwhile I chopped the chicken into one inch pieces, trying to keep the size consistent. I also chopped the onion finely. Once the water/broth was boiling, I added the farro and cooked it in the still boiling broth/water for 10ish minutes, until chewy. In a skillet, I heated the oil, added 1/4 of the onion into the pan when it was shimmering, let that cook for a minute, pushed the onions to the outer ring of the pan and then added the chicken to the pan. I added salt and pepper and the herbs du provence as then hit the pan, let them cook until the outer edge of the chicken was white and then flipped each piece. I let it cook for a minute or two more and then mixed all of the onions and chicken together. Once cooked through, I poured the chicken into a bowl to save for later.  While the chicken cooked, I chopped the zucchini into 1/2 inch pieces and, after trimming the ends off of the asparagus, chopped that into 3/4 inch pieces. 

I added a bit more oil to the pan and, as it was warming back up, drained the farro and left it on the over, no heat. Once the oil was shimmering, I added the rest of the onion and cooked until translucent (medium heat). Then I pushed the onions to the outside. I poured all of the zucchini and asparagus into the pan and let it cook for a few minutes. While that cooked, I cut the beets into small pieces (I usually do this INSIDE a bowl so that everything doesn’t turn red) and the cherry tomatoes in half. 

Once the veggies in the pan started to soften, I added the white wine and let it cook down, having stirred the veggies so they evenly were covered. I put in a bit of salt and pepper (more pepper than salt…a few turns of a salt mill, about ten of the pepper mill) and then the balsamic. 

Once the asparagus was cooked through and the zucchini softened, I dumped in the rest of the veggies (the beets and tomatoes) and then re-added the chicken and the farro, letting the farro soak up all of the delicious juices at the bottom of the plate. It was honestly beautiful. Really colorful and smelled amazing. 

I added two leaves of romaine to each bowl and then spooned in about a cup and a half of the mixture. My dad then took the honors of adding a bit of peccorino to each bowl. I wish I had taken a picture. But everyone was starving at that point (and also trying to put babies to bed) so no picture this time. 

This would be a great one-dish meal for a dinner party, too. 

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Basil Pork with Squash Rounds, Red Pepper and Farro

I was exhausted Monday. I needed and wanted to cook dinner for our little group but my brain wasn’t processing properly. I was having trouble sequencing my thoughts when I was at the grocery store doing our weekly shop so came home slightly unprepared for how and what I was cooking for dinner. This dinner was a little bit of what I could find in our kitchen and a request from the hubs for “that farro stir fry [I] made a few weeks ago.” Documenting the dinners my family enjoys is the main impetus for this blog…and requests like this, when I can barely remember what I had for lunch (Monday? a yogurt with honey, a spoonful of peanut butter, a handful of sprouted sunflower seeds and some carrots. Holy crap! I remembered).

In the fridge I found a pork tenderloin, almost at its sell by date, three yellow squash, a few red shallots and two red peppers. I also went into the garden and grabbed a handful of big leaf basil. 

  • pork tenderloin
  • handful of basil
  • 2 large shallots
  • 3 yellow squash
  • 2 red peppers
  • oyster sauce
  • 1 meyer lemon

The first step was to cook the 10 minute farro that we love. I use chicken stock instead of water. Boil the chicken stock, add the farro, stir occasionally.

While the farro is cooking, cut the tenderloin into 1 inch by 2 inch pieces. Salt, pepper and douse in oyster sauce, coating evenly. Slice shallot thinly. Heat olive oil in large saute pan over med-high heat until shimmering and then add the shallot. Cook quickly until slightly soft, push to the edges of the pan and add pork. 

While the pork is browning, cut squash into discs and zest the lemon (saving the lemon for later). Turn pork if starting to brown and cook through. In a separate pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add squash. Turn the squash in the olive oil to coat and then arrange them so that most are laying flat on the bottom of the pan. Lightly salt and pepper.

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While the squash softens and browns, chiffonade the basil and cut the peppers into thin strips. Turn the pork as it should be getting near finished, add the basil and lightly coat with oyster sauce again. Squeeze half of the lemon on the pork. Mix thoroughly. Turn the squash so that all pieces are evenly browned. Remembering that the pork will continue to cook in the pan and that pork should have a bit of pink in it, turn off the burner and move the pan off the heat. Add the red pepper to the squash. 

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(Be sure to take out the lemon seeds after squeezing…or, you know, avoid them all together 🙂 )

When the squash is soft and slightly browned, add reduced balsamic and coat. Turn off heat.

Serve by adding to a bowl a layer of farro, the squash/pepper mix and then top with the pork. It was DELISH.

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