Home Ec 101

Those of you who are old enough, remember going through Home Ec in junior high and/or high school. I remember hating the class—the cooking was boring, the recipes were gross, my sewing was horrid (and still is). However, the one thing I did like about the class was that I learned that cooking is about some very basic principles: when followed, you get a good result, when you don’t follow them, you don’t.

BUT—not all the time! There are times when you can fly by the seat of your pants and improvise as you go. And isn’t that exactly what LIFE is all about? There are foundational principles for making a quality life happen.

I remember when I was experimenting when I was younger with cooking and everything was over spiced or the wrong seasonings were used. But I learned as I went that a little thyme in beef stew made for a much more delicious end result; that when you crush rosemary with your fingers before adding it to the dish you’re making, you will help release its flavor.

My cooking improved with experience, education (mostly self-education) and trial and error. I learned the basics first; then put my own spin on things. As a result, I won a cooking contest, became a food editor for a newspaper, wrote 5 cookbooks (so far), started a weekly newspaper column, which goes out to hundreds of newspapers nationwide–who knew?

This is the very essence of life: it all boils down to a few foundational principles and making them your own. That’s what I love about cooking and that’s what I love about life: it might look different at your house than it does mine, but look at what our lives can become when we’re willing to take some baby steps in the right direction!

The recipe for life comes through principled living. And once you understand how those keys unlock your life, you will find your own unique set of ingredients. These are the spices of life!

Remember this: when you put ACTIVE yeast into a lump of dough, it will rise!

You have the tools to cook in the kitchen of life and get busy. You also have the tools to cook on your own stove, so while you’re working on the quality of your life, try my most often requested recipe, Garlic Lime Chicken in your own kitchen:

Garlic Lime Chicken
Serves 6

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (can eliminate if too spicy for you)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 tablespoons lime juice

In a bowl, mix together first 7 ingredients. Sprinkle mixture on both sides of chicken breasts.

In a skillet heat butter and olive oil together over medium high heat. Saute chicken until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove chicken and add lime juice and chicken broth to the pan, whisking up the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Keep cooking until sauce has reduced slightly. Add chicken back to the pan to thoroughly coat and serve with remaining sauce drizzled over the top.

Per Serving: 343 Calories; 11g Fat; 55g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 147mg Cholesterol; 612mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 7 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Fruit; 1 1/2 Fat.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Steamed broccoli, baked potatoes and steamed baby carrots.

VEGETARIANS: This recipe works very well with Boca Chikin patties. Cooking time is less.

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