My Version of Mom's Baked Chicken Served with Buttered Brussels Sprouts

There appears to be a correlation between "busy mom dinners" and "single girl dinners." When my mom was in a pinch, she'd bake chicken and let Lawry's Seasoning Salt work its magic.

FOR THE CHICKEN

4 pieces of chicken (It's your choice of cut. I happened to buy chicken thighs. Why four pieces? Trust me, you'll want leftovers for the next night.)
3-4 large cloves of garlic 
1 medium-sized onion
Lawry's Seasoning Salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
Half a lemon 
Extra virgin olive oil

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FOR THE BRUSSELS SPROUTS

A handful of brussels sprouts
A knob of salted butter 

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1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. 

2. Peel the onion and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices, cross-wise. Then, smash and peel the garlic cloves. Layer both the onion slices and garlic cloves onto the bottom of a cast iron pan or baking dish. I think having that layer of onions at the bottom keeps the chicken moist.

3. Shake Lawry's Seasoning Salt evenly on both sides of the chicken. Rub in the seasoning and place the chicken on top of the onion and garlic. Wash your hands thoroughly. We don't want salmonella, now do we?!

4. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the pan and crack lots of freshly ground black pepper over everything. Drizzle some olive oil over the contents of the pan to finish.

5. Once the oven has reached the proper temperature, slide in the pan or baking dish with the chicken. Let it bake for about 40 to 45 minutes or until the chicken is nicely browned. The juices should run clear. If you're not sure, slice through the center of one of the pieces to check. It shouldn't be pink.

6. Meanwhile, wash the brussels sprouts and slice off the browned bits. You can cut them in half or leave them whole. Add them to a small pot of boiling water, along with a knob of salted butter. Cover the lid and let them cook for about 13 to 15 minutes or so, when they've become tender but not mushy.

7. When the chicken is ready, take the pan or baking dish out of the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Make a little nest of the now-softened onions on your plate and place thechicken on top. Arrange a few brussels sprouts on the side. They should have a soft, buttery glaze. 

Spaghetti with Fried Egg

I first saw spaghetti with fried eggs in Amanda Hesser's book Cooking for Mr. Latte and it's been in my repertoire since. My kitchen may be bare at times, but I'll usually have a box of pasta and a few eggs on-hand.

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Dried pasta (I used angel hair pasta here because that's all I had!)
1 organic egg
3 cloves of garlic
Butter
Sea salt
Black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Aromat Seasoning (optional)

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1. Smash the garlic cloves, discard the peels, and roughly chop. Set aside.


2. Cook pasta according to directions in salted water with a drizzle of olive oil, so that the pasta is nicely flavored and doesn't stick.


3. Right after you drain the pasta, return it back to the pot and add a tablespoon of butter and a splash of olive oil. Toss the hot pasta with the chopped garlic so that the flavors infuse. 


4. Dress the pasta with sea salt and black pepper--feel free to add whatever seasonings you like. I happen to like Aromat, the Swiss seasoning salt. Taste and adjust the seasonings.


5. Heat a small frying pan over medium-high heat with a slick of olive oil. Crack the egg into the pan and cook it sunny-side up. Make sure the whites are set. You can put a lid over it for a little bit until they do, but make sure not to overcook it because you want the yolk to still be runny

6. Meanwhile, make the pasta into a nest on your plate. When the egg is done, place it on top. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and cut into the yolk. Mix it all up and enjoy.

Lani's Farm Japanese Eggplant with Wild Garlic & Thyme

I never know what to do with eggplant until I learned how to make this fabulously simple dish from the Lani's Farm stand at the Union Square Greenmarket.

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3 small Japanese eggplant, or a small regular eggplant
3-4 large cloves of wild garlic, or regular garlic
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
Extra virgin olive oil
Maldon sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper 

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1. Wash and dry the eggplant. Cut into thick 1/2-inch slices. Set aside.

2. Peel and slice the garlic into big chunks.

3. Heat up a cast iron pan over medium-high heat with a slick of olive oil and add the sprigs of thyme. Move them around with a wooden spatula so that they infuse into the oil.

4. Scatter the garlic into the pan and brown them. Make sure you get both sides. I find that chopsticks are a helpful tool in flipping the garlic. Remove from the pan and set aside. They should be nice and crispy!

5. Lower the heat to medium and add the sliced eggplants to the pan. What you'll find is the eggplants will be extremely absorbent, so you'll have to periodically adding a splash of olive oil to the pan while they're cooking. Continue cooking until they soften and brown. Crush some Maldon sea salt flakes over the pan and add a shower of freshly cracked black pepper.

6. Turn off the heat and remove the stems from the thyme. Fold in the crispy garlic with a wooden spatula and pile onto a plate or into a bowl.