The Lazy Chef at Wine O’Clock

Whenever the husband is out of town and I have no one else to cook dinner for, I always have this urge to gorge on totally non-dinner foods. Yogurt and cereal for dinner? Sure! A breakfast muffin and a bottle of wine? Why not! And I may have downed an entire box of Annie’s Shells & White Cheddar during one or more of his business trips…no shame!

I discovered Annie’s Shells and White Cheddar while babysitting two neighborhood children about a million years ago. I was 15 or so and their parents didn’t want them watching TV. But, I got to read them Harry Potter before bed, which made my then-closeted nerd girl self very happy. This was back when the only thing I could cook was boxed mac and cheese anyway, so every dinner time was a chance to showcase my talents. They were tiny little humans, so there was always left over Annie’s. I’d wait for them to go to bed, put a movie in my portable DVD player (oh, the early aughts!) and get down on some Annie’s pasta. I was fired from the job shortly after hire for wearing what the parents called an “inappropriate shirt” to the job one night. I hope you aren’t picturing a scantily clad, bubble gum popping teenager who would bring her boyfriend over after the kids went down. No, I was what the 90s would have called “angsty”, with no boyfriend in sight, and a big fan of Hot Topic t-shirts which featured some snarky, mildly sexual reference that I probably didn’t even get. This one had a cat sleeping on a big, cushy pillow and said The Pussycat Lounge in a retro font. So, I lost the job, but my love of Annie’s pasta carried on.

Now that I’m a big kid I try to avoid binging on entire boxes of prepackaged pasta, no matter how good and wholesome the bunny on the box says it is. So tonight I got my priorities straight and opened a bottle of wine, then promptly prepared the simplest, yummiest, most idiot proof chicken recipe I have ever found. It is so easy and so delicious, that it would actually take me more effort to stir powdered cheese into a pot of shells.

Stupid Easy “Crispy Italian Chicken Thighs” courtesy of Stupid Easy Paleo

  • 1 lb bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 Tbl garlic powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  2. Mix your spices together in a small bowl or empty spice bottle
  3. Place the thighs on a baking pan with foil or parchment paper, and pat them down with a paper towel. This is where the “crispy” comes from, so don’t skip this step!
  4. Sprinkle with the seasoning mix. Flip and repeat. (I almost always have left over seasoning, but use as much or as little as you’d like. I save my leftover seasoning in an empty spice bottle for future use.)
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes in a convection oven or 35-40 minutes in a standard oven.
  6. Throw a salad on your plate and enjoy!

Easy and CHEAP! Sure, we’re living the DINKY lifestyle, but we certainly aren’t made of money. Which is why I stopped buying my other Annie’s obsession – gluten-free ginger snap bunnies – since I can only find them at Whole Foods and seriously, who makes enough money to shop there on the regular?!

R procured season 2 of Bates Motel for me before he left for his trip, and I now have a meal that totally qualifies as dinner. And I love dinner. And TV. Marathon commence! Thanks for listening – A


How creepy is that??



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