Friday, February 11, 2011

A Quick Dinner Idea

Every once in a while, I find something that makes my life seem a little easier and less chaotic.

I just had to pass along what I made for dinner tonight, and I will tell you why I am so darn pleased with it.

I am actually a pretty good cook (Little Diva is quick to point out that I am NOT a Chef, like her daddy, but I can definitely hold my own in the kitchen). However, my current culinary repertoire is limited to meals I can cook in the 20 minutes or less that I can hold off The Baby from tearing the entire kitchen apart AND something that Little Diva will actually eat. I refuse to spend a substantial amount of time preparing a nice meal for myself, knowing full well that it will be scorned and I will have to nuke a batch of chicken nuggets before I actually get to sit down and eat.

So when I can find something quick, easy and cheap, that is not Hamburger Helper from the clearance rack, I get a little excited. (Yes, my life IS really that boring)

This was a really simple little dinner that reminded me of France for some reason. In my early adulthood, I was quite a Franco-phile, so it was fun to eat something that brought back memories. I am not even really sure why it seemed like a French dinner, but I kept calling it jambon aux asperges to impress Little Diva, so maybe that is why.

Dinner consisted of Ham, Sauteed Asparagus and Baguette with Butter. The ham steak was buy one, get one this week, asparagus was on sale for $1.99/lb and the bread was left over from yesterday's meal. It literally took me 20 minutes, the majority of which was waiting for the water to boil to blanche the asparagus.

Here is how I did it.

1) Boil about an inch of salted water in a large skillet. Add trimmed, peeled asparagus and blanche 3-4 minutes until tender crisp.

2) Meanwhile, heat non-stick frying pan over medium heat and add ham steak. Turn it a couple of times during the next step. Turn heat to low when ham steak has lightly browned on both sides.

3) Drain asparagus. Wipe skillet dry. Add about 2 teaspoons olive oil. Heat until shimmering. Add 2 peeled and slightly crushed cloves of garlic and asparagus. Add 1 tablespoon melted butter.  Season with salt and pepper. Saute until asparagus starts to brown slightly. Drizzle with about a teaspoon of lemon juice. Remove from heat. Toss with 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley.  Move to serving dish and grate parmesan cheese over the top.

4) Cut ham steak into 2-3 servings. Serve with dijon mustard if you like it.

5) Serve with fresh bread and pour yourself a nice glass of crisp white wine. Yum!

Neither kid ate the asparagus, but it was so good, I was happy there was more for me. I will make sure they get an extra spoonful of grape jelly on their toast tomorrow to make up for the lack of vegetables tonight.

I guess there is something to be said for keeping it simple.

Bon apetit!

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