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Peanut Chicken

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Cooking is a comfort. After a busy day, there is nothing like losing yourself in the creation of a dish – particularly a new one – to chase worrisome thoughts from the mind.

Chopping, measuring and stirring can soothe an overworked pysche – especially when accompanied by music and perhaps a glass of wine.

When I’m working on a meal, I am completely engrossed in the task at hand. I rarely find myself dwelling on bothersome thoughts (such as never-ending to-do lists).

So while some people may view cooking dinner as a chore, I look forward to preparing a meal at the end of the day (in spite of the fact that we sometimes find ourselves eating at 7:00 or 8:00 in the evening).

Last Monday is a perfect example – nipping at the heels of a too-busy weekend and not enough sleep. I was agitated from the moment the morning alarm annoyingly yanked me from a few brief hours of rest.

And the day did not improve, which is unusual. Even if they get off to a bumpy start, my days generally smooth out as they progress.

But when I got home from work that evening, I immediately set about breaking down the steps of this Peanut Chicken recipe. By the time dinner was on the table, my outlook had brightened considerably. And I got to sit down to a good meal with my family!

What about you? Is cooking more about putting food on the table, or an exercise in relaxation?

Peanut Chicken
Recipe adapted from Chef Bev Shaffer
(Makes 6 servings)

Peanut Sauce
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Paste
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Combine peanut sauce ingredients in small bowl and stir until blended.

Combine orange peel, ginger root and garlic in another small bowl. Stir in oil until paste forms; spread evenly on both sides of chicken breasts. Place chicken on greased broiler pan. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat, turning once, until chicken is tender (about 15 minutes). Serve with peanut sauce.

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