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.
- 1 lb bone-in chicken thighs
- 1 Tbl garlic powder
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
- Mix your spices together in a small bowl or empty spice bottle
- 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!
- 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.)
- Bake for 25-30 minutes in a convection oven or 35-40 minutes in a standard oven.
- 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