Dinner Babble – It’s in the Pantry

yummersIf you spend a typical day in the Cheese household, you would hear the following conversation, at least once:  “what do you want for dinner?”  To surely be followed by, “I don’t know, what do you feel like having?”  And ’round and ’round we go.  My obsession with food dictates that I begin to think about dinner plans upon waking, or at the latest by mid-morning.   So when Mr. Cheese mentions it to me, I’ve already exhausted myself trying to figure it out.  Today was a good example.  Right now on the sofa, is Oprah and Bob Greene’s book Best Life Diet. Not for the diet info, but because I love to read Anything Food.  A foot away, on the coffee table, sits the Everything Grilling Cookbook, along with The New California Cook book and Dr. Dean Ornish‘s Everyday Cooking.  I have read them all within the last few days.  Yet, I asked myself upon rising today.  Again.  What should I make for dinner?  I don’t just want to copy something and put it up here.  So I dug through the pantry, looking for the missing link.  We have Italian sausages, how about that?  Mr. Cheese pipes in “nah, too heavy, but definitely this week!”  So we’ll save that for later and we’ll make it with spaghetti squash instead of pasta.  At least we agree that tonight’s dinner should be light and healthy since we’ve both indulged aplenty over the weekend. 

I glance around the pantry and spot the vinegar.  Without a thought, my head immediately formulates items needed for a kick-ass marinade.  Viola!  We’ll cook chicken breasts and have grilled chicken salads.  Sort of a cobb salad with gobs of chicken on top.  Healthy, filling, perfect.  We hit the grocer’s and see the boneless thighs on sale, so we buy those instead of breasts.  I’ve never been much of a breast lady anyway and thighs will add more flavor to the salad.  

The ingredients for this marinade are likely already in your pantry.  Constructing a good marinade is sort of like constructing a good soup.  You start with a basic concept and can switch up the ingredients as you like.  marinadePeople will tell you ten different variations on how a marinade should be made, but at the end of the day if it tastes good what does it matter?  Except of course that you’ll want to make it again if it’s wonderful, so if you don’t already have paper and a pen nearby when you cook, now is the time to set that gig up.  If it rocks, write it down.  Play around and experiment!  Just remember, if all else fails and it tastes like caca, you can order out.  And if you order out, might I suggest…..just kidding. 

Easy Chicken Marinade

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon brown mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepperchicken in a baggie
  • 1 pinch of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • salt & pepper to taste

How to Make It!

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and use to marinade meat or seafood. 

We put the chicken and marinade in a freezer bag, then let it sit in the refrigerator for about two hours, prior to grilling.  

Mr. Cheese cooksOnce he got caught up on his fantasy football phone calls, Mr. Cheese took charge and commenced to cooking the thighs.  


They turned out moist, with just enough salt and tang to hit on the other ingredients in our salads, like the corn from the cobs we cooked yesterday, the hard-boiled egg and tomato.  As the pictures of the salads might show, we prefer very different flavors (and sizes!), but the marinated, grilled chicken thighs complimented both our salads, perfectly. 


About tossingtheswissaround

I have been obsessed with food since I can remember. I grew up watching the Frugal Gourmet and Julia Childs in black and white repeats on TV. I made an elementary version of veal parmesan when I was all of 8 years old and even concocted a homemade version of vomit to drizzle along the hallway and oh-so-carefully in the bathroom so I could get of school whenever I wanted. Dad never caught on but I eventually came clean about that vomit recipe. About two years ago. My skills have greatly improved and my obsession has only deepened as the years go by. In the mornings, I ask my co-workers what’s for lunch, what they ate last night and what is on the menu tonight. I groan when I eat almost anything I like because I can barely contain my excitement. Because, well, because it’s food! I was technically trained and once worked as a formal chef but physically that takes its toll so I joined the much less strenuous, albeit entertaining, world of HR. Food is still at the forefront of my mind as I continue to cook and love all things food. Enjoy!
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6 Responses to Dinner Babble – It’s in the Pantry

  1. Triners says:

    YummmEEEEE!!! We are def. related. I think about dinner CONSTANTLY. (or breakfast, or lunch…) I’m glad you posted this recipe. We eat a TON of chicken at our house, but usually cook the breast. Might have to try cookin up a thigh every now and then. 🙂 Love your blog so much. Keep it up! 🙂

  2. PickyPick says:

    Your salad looked amazing and so delectible in comparision to Mr. Cheese. One time we presented Mr. Cheese a protein dish decorated with sliced avacado and he quickly made it clear that he never, never eat an avacado…not even guacamole…what’s up with that!!!

    Because of a great love, one is courageous — (Lao Tzu). A FOODIE mantra if I ever heard one!!

  3. PickyPick says:

    Name the place…I’m so there! I’ll try anything… well except for foods that are still moving… Sent Mr. Cheese home with a pack of Thai Basil seeds for your planting pleasure…they’re great in fresh spring rolls, stir fry, curry, and soup…yummm.

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