When I was a little girl, my family would spell names and critical words when talking about sensitive subjects at the dinner table. And that was all fine and dandy for keeping me in the dark … until I learned to spell.
But, being a curious child, I kept quiet about knowing what they were spelling for awhile. I loved having a secret inside look at adult conversations. But finally, one day, I couldn’t take it anymore.
“You know I can spell, right? So, there’s really no need to keep spelling H-U-G-O … just say Hugo, it’s easier!”
Ironically, years later my kids had a near similar conversation with me.
Who taught those kids to spell anyway? Oh. Right.
But family dinners are more than just a time to share family gossip and discuss things impacting us. It’s also more than a place to talk about our days. It’s where we bond as a family, where I learn about what’s happening on the playground and the interests my kids are developing. It’s where I can offer advice but also just listen (and moreover, teach them to just listen to each other). It’s where the magic happens.
And sometimes that magic includes uncontrollable laughter, which is good for all of us.
No, really, it’s good for us. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter has actual health benefits — from stimulating your heart, lungs and muscles to relieving stress and soothing tension. Laughing more is a good thing.
Sometimes that laughter has to do with funny things that happened during the day. Sometimes it has to do with things happening right at that second. Whatever causes it, it’s good.
After long days filled with work, school, homework, practices and more, it’s good to just laugh a little. And it’s also good to not get stressed out by making dinner.
Cue the idea for easy dinners that take minutes to toss on the table. This recipe for an easy chicken marinade can be a part of that. This takes a minute to whisk together in the morning and toss in a resealable bag with chicken.
If you’re using boneless chicken breasts, you’ll need 20 to 25 minutes to cook ’em before serving. Or you can make them ahead of time and slice them up to enjoy in dinner.
Easy Chicken Sandwich Bar: Marinate and cook boneless chicken breasts and slice into 1/4-inch slices. Serve with hoagie rolls, sliced tomatoes, thinly sliced red onions, sliced cucumbers, julienne cut carrots and lettuce. You can also include spreads like pesto, mayonnaise and hummus. Let everyone design their own sandwich creation.
Chicken Rice Bowls: Layer hot cooked rice with sliced chicken and veggies in individual bowls. Top, if desired, with a fried egg. These can be seasoned simply with salt and pepper or spiced up with barbecue sauce or hot sauce.
Quick Chicken Tomato Broccoli Pasta Toss: Toss together diced cooked chicken with halved cherry tomatoes, steamed broccoli, grated parmesan cheese and hot cooked pasta. Season, as desired with salt and pepper and dig in.
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp dried rosemary
- Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl. Add to a resealable plastic bag with boneless chicken. Marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Longer is better though.
- For boneless chicken breasts: Once chicken is done marinating, bake breasts at 375 degrees on a baking sheet or cast iron skillet for 20-25 minutes, flipping once.