Meals from an overwhelmed kitchen

As I may have mentioned, we recently moved to Portland from Bangor. It’s been a period of extreme adjustment for us, in no small part because my new kitchen is about a third of the size of my old one, and I’ve been breaking my brain trying to get all the tools and appliances I use most frequently to remain easily accessible without overwhelming what little counter space I have to work with. (My bite-sized refrigerator and freezer are another story for another day.) It’s an ongoing process.

I wanted to bring you a few more maple recipes today to close out what I’ve internally dubbed “Maine Maple Madness Month” here in Fia’s Maine Kitchen, but I’m afraid that in spite of the glass half-gallon of syrup from Merrifield Farm sitting patiently next to my stove, they will have to wait until I figure out in which remaining cardboard box I hid the rest of my pots and pans. Here instead are three dishes you can make relatively quickly and easily and without dirtying every dish you own — should you have a busy week, a kitchen overwhelmed by moving, reorganizing or renovation, or just feel inclined to take it easy — from simplest to most complex.

The salad is a French classic; simple, elegant and delicious, it’s by far the fastest and easiest to throw together, as well as the least expensive in terms of ingredients. To make it more hearty and filling, simply add another poached egg on top of each portion. The chicken is based loosely on an old favorite dish my mother made frequently when I was a child, though I’ve replaced honey with brown sugar, and brightened it up with a bit of orange juice and a little heat. The cannelloni are obviously based on the popular party dip, and were originally born in my kitchen as an experimental way to use up leftover eggroll wrappers after a homemade Chinese food evening, while already staring down a huge stack of dishes in my sink.


Salade Lyonnaise

  • 2 fresh eggs
  • bitter mixed greens (frisee, arugula, mustard, etc.)
  • bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • red onion or shallot, sliced
  • croutons
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Arrange greens in two bowls with onion, bacon and croutons. In a jar, shake together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic and salt and pepper. Drizzle over salad. Lightly poach eggs and place on top of salad, break yolks and garnish with salt and pepper.


Sunny Mustard Chicken with Rice

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth or prepared buillon
  • 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha or other hot sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lay chicken breasts in a shallow baking pan. In a medium saucepan, combine rice, 1/2 cup orange juice, chicken broth, garlic powder and a bit of pepper. In a small bowl, combine remaining orange juice, brown sugar, minced garlic, mustard, sriracha and salt and pepper to taste. Pour this mixture over chicken and place in oven 25-30 minutes. Simultaneously cook rice until done. Serve chicken on rice, and spoon remaining liquid over both.


Spinach and Artichoke “Dip” Stuffed Cannelloni

  • 12 Nasoya eggroll wraps
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 eight-ounce package cream cheese
  • 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 jar alfredo sauce
  • 1 bag shredded Italian blend cheese

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except sauce, shredded Italian blend and wraps. Spoon generously onto wraps, roll up, and place in a greased baking dish. Pour sauce over rolled cannelloni, then top with shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake 25-35 minutes, or until cheese begins to bubble and turn a nice golden brown.

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Fia Fortune

About Fia Fortune

Fia Fortune is a home cook who enjoys gardening, creating recipes for her two blogs, cooking for herself and her boyfriend, and trying to keep up with their blended family of four cats.