It is frustrating at times to be a passive-aggressive indecisive person living with an equally passive-aggressive indecisive person. Figuring out what to have for dinner often goes something like this:
Bill: I’m starving.
Me: Yep. It’s getting to be about dinner time.
Bill: It is. Oh my God. I’m starving.
Me: Did we thaw any meat?
Bill: What kind of meat do we have?
Me: I’m guessing that’s a “no,” so we’re going to have to go out to eat or pick something up.
Me: What are you hungry for?
Bill: (Playing Scrabble on smart phone) I don’t know. What do you feel like?
Me: I’m not the one who’s starving.
(Bill becomes re-absorbed in Scrabble and I go off to feed the dogs, who have blissfully eaten the exact same thing for dinner every night of their lives).
Bill: (20 minutes later) So, what are we going to do for dinner? I’m starving.
For a while, we thought we had this dilemma solved by inventing the ABC Restaurant Run game. Starting with the letter A, each time we went out to eat, we would choose a restaurant beginning with the next letter of the alphabet. Once we hit Z, I made up little pieces of paper with names of restaurants on them, and we would randomly draw one when we couldn’t make a decision. I think I need to find those papers again…
Why is it so difficult for us to figure out where to get a simple meal? Because we are JINXED, that’s why. You see, far too often, when we have a hankering for a certain restaurant and actually make a hard and fast decision, we get thwarted. To prove this point, within the past couple of weeks, here are some scenarios that we have encountered upon driving to our destination:
Chosen eatery: Colombo Italia. We decided to check out this restaurant in downtown Mt. Clemens that we had never tried. It was pitch black inside–creepy even, with no sign of being inhabited anymore…except maybe by Freddy Krueger. Which is entirely plausible, knowing what the basements of those old buildings are like.
Chosen eatery: Firehouse Lounge (on Harper). We got close and noticed that there were no cars in the parking lot, and there were no lights on. There was a note on the door, but we didn’t even turn into the parking lot to read it.
Chosen eatery: Quiznos. Closed at that location. Forever.
Chosen eatery: Zack’s Hot Dogs. I was craving a Rachel Dog. Sadly, they no longer have dinner hours at that location. Only lunch.
Chosen eatery: Maya’s Deli. This little place in downtown Mt. Clemens has some spectacular sandwiches! Only, apparently, they are not open on the weekends. So we decided just to get some tacos from Taco Bell. Simple enough, right? I shit you not, our local Taco Bell, which we pass several times a week, has suddenly been reduced to a pile of rubble. A pile of rubble! Because it knew we were coming.
This is why I am thankful for easy recipes, such as Salsa Chicken, that can be thrown together in a matter of minutes–even using oven ready tenders if we haven’t thawed anything–thus avoiding the drama of choosing a restaurant that will ultimately be unavailable. For example, last week, after returning home from a party where we had just nibbled on appetizers, Bill uttered his famous words, “I’m starving.” I yanked a package of breaded chicken tenders from the freezer, poured some salsa on them, topped them with cheese, and threw the whole thing in the oven. When it came out, we garnished it with jalapenos and sour cream–and it was the perfect stomach filling, liquor absorbing, post-cocktail dinner.
Salsa Chicken has many variations. For the meat, you can use boneless chicken breasts, tenders, breaded tenders or just about any other poultry parts that you know how to cook in an oven. The salsa can be from a jar, the deli department, or homemade–hot, medium or mild. Cheese? You know me with cheese…the more, the better!
Here is a link to the base recipe for SALSA CHICKEN that we’ve use for several years now: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/salsa-chicken/detail.aspx
More about the salsa: In the summertime Bill and I make two different kinds, using a base recipe, but throwing in whatever kinds of tomatoes and peppers happen to be ripe in the garden. The first salsa is good with chips and with the chicken, but because of the beans and corn it can also be eaten as a stand-alone side dish. The second salsa is a nice fresh pico de gallo. We adjust the heat by how many jalapeno seeds and membranes that we leave in. I would give credit to the creator, but I’ve had that one in my recipe book for a while, and did not print the source.
CILANTRO, BLACK BEAN AND CORN SALSA
FRESH AND CHUNKY SALSA
- 3 large ripe tomatoes
- 3 tbsp onion, finely chopped
- 2 small cloves garlic, minced
- 2 hot chile peppers, Serrano or Jalapeno, finely chopped
- 2-3 tbsp cilantro, minced
- 1 1/2 -2 tbsp lime juice
- salt and pepper
1. Boil enough water to cover tomatoes. Dunk them in for a minute, take them out and plunge in cold water. Peel, seed and chop.
2. Put chopped onion and garlic in a strainer; pour 2 cups of boiling water over them, then let drain thoroughly. Discard water. Cool.
3. Combine onion and garlic with chopped tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper.
4. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours to blend flavors. Makes about 2 cups of salsa.
Click FRESH AND CHUNKY SALSA for a printable PDF of this recipe.