Main dish – Russian Chicken

I love a crowd-pleaser recipe, and this one I kept hearing about from its contributor, Laura Parat. Her three boys in middle and high school love it, so I figure it should be good.

Had a tiny bit of trouble finding Russian dressing. Italian, Ranch, Catalina, French, Balsamic were all in abundance, but Russian was more scarce. Still, Jewel provided a great selection so I nabbed it there. The store was packed on Saturday amid what seemed one of their busiest shopping days of the winter. Seemed like everyone in Elmhurst was there trying to get their eggs, milk, and oj before the winter storm approaching.

Now that January is settling in, I’m feeling that familiar blech of a Midwest winter–lack of light, lack of energy, lack of … oh I’m too apathetic to bother finishing this sentence. I just want to go hibernate for the afternoon, or weekend, or whole winter. I envy bears.

And this winter is proving to be more, well, winter-y than last year’s. Pot holes are already dotting the streets due to the up-and-down temps of Dec., most of a foot of snow buries the grass, and sub-zero temps and more snow are on the way. I’ve started dreaming of warm sandy beaches. Oh, who am I kidding? I’ve been dreaming of warm sandy beaches for two months already. Only four more to go!

I like to think that Midwestern winters make us stronger, better able to face challenges in life than those pansies in sunnier and warmer climates. But who am I kidding? Winter just makes us all cranky, irritable, and depressed. Okay, fine, there is something nice in wearing cozy sweaters, sleeping between flannel sheets, and watching snow softly fall outside our windows. But still, it basically sucks. 

Last winter, in an attemptto shake the malaise brought on by the gloom outside my window, I purchased a treadmill. It went mostly unused during the warmer months when I rode my bike or walked outdoors. But now I’m back on it. In fact, I am walking on my treadmill using my treadmill desk as I write this. Actually treadmill “desk” is a little high-falutin for what is actually an old board laid across the arms of the treadmill with a cardboard box on top of it and my laptop balanced on that. It works, though.

So what does this have to do with Russian chicken? Not much. But Laura, the contributor of this recipe is an inspiration to me because of the challenges she gives herself. Last year, she attempted to walk 1,000 miles in 6 months. While she was out booking around our neighborhoods, we all sat around like blobs watching TV. But she did it! 1,001 miles in 175 days. Very impressive. Laura inspires me by her gentleness, her positive attitude, and her stick-to-it-tiveness, and partly due to her, I’m attempting my own healthy goals in 2014.

But now on to the Russian chicken. This was super easy. I bought the smaller 8 oz. bottle of dressing. I may have purchased the wrong thing for the cranberries. The recipe called for a can of whole cranberries, but all I could find was cranberry sauce, so hopefully I didn’t mess that up.

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The chicken is in the oven, bubbling away in its savory-sweet sauce. Smells amazing. I like cooking a lot on the weekend so that we can have leftovers on weekday evenings since they’re busier for me. That’s proving not to be the case this week, however, since this snowstorm is forcing everyone to stay home. But on normal weeks, doing a lot of cooking on Saturday and Sunday helps me plan my meals out for the week. I prepare my list on Thursday and Friday, shop Friday, and cook Saturday and Sunday. I stopped into GFS yesterday. They had frozen chicken breasts on sale, so I bought a package. They’re trimmed and a nice size, so I’ll be getting them again.

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Savory-sweet Russian Chicken

Yum! The chicken was moist and delicious. Thank you, Laura, for such a great contribution!

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