Midday Fix: Easy recipes for college kids from Carol Mackey

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Carol Mackey


Indoor Grilled Chicken Breasts

boneless, skinless chicken breasts
olive oil, for rubbing
instant read thermometer

Preheat oven to 375F.  Preheat grill pan over high heat.  Rub chicken with just enough oil to lightly coat. Season your chicken with salt, pepper, and any other spices or herbs. Grill chicken for 1.5 minutes per side, turn a quarter turn for perfect grill marks. Do not move the chicken while it’s grilling – you’ll only get good grill marks if you let the meat stay in constant contact with the pan. Move the pan to the oven.  (Or, if you need to grill more than one batch, remove already grilled chicken to a baking dish or pan.)  Bake 8-10 minutes or until the internal temp is 165 F as measured by your thermometer.  Remove chicken from the hot pan immediately to avoid overcooking. I recommend the Lodge cast iron grill pan www.lodgemfg.com; great for any meat and perfect for Panini sandwiches, they also sell a Panini press to press down the sandwiches!

Poached Chicken Breasts

1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
parsley with stems
2 whole chicken breasts; boneless

Put everything into a pot and cover with cold water, bring to just a rapid simmer.  Cover and remove from heat and let sit for 20 minutes (if breasts are exceptionally large cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.  If you do not have vegetables or the other ingredients just use cold water. The poached chicken can be shredded while still warm or diced, add to pasta, great for white chicken chili, quesadillas, etc.  Also, great to put in freezer bags for a future quick meal.


3 eggs
veggies of your choice
cheese of your choice

Whisk together 3 eggs, set aside. In a  8-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, add 1 Tbs olive oil, add whatever veggies you would like and sauté until soft, if you are adding garlic add at the very end so it does not burn, no need to cook garlic more than about 30 seconds, you just want to “sweat the garlic”. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet. As mixture begins to cook, gently push the edges of the omelet towards the center (I use a high heat rubber spatula, encouraging uncooked portions to flow around and underneath the cooked portions of the egg. Continue this process until the omelet is evenly formed and gently set, sprinkle a little cheese around, flip. Remove the just-cooked omelet from the skillet by sliding it onto a plate, season with salt and pepper.
Roux is a mixture created by cooking flour and fat as the thickening agent. A roux is used in three of the mother sauces of classical French cooking: béchamel sauce, velouté sauce, and espagnole sauce.

Mac & Cheese

6 Tbs  butter
6 Tbs flour
pinch of salt and white pepper
3 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup cream (optional)
3 cups cheddar cheese (Splurge-Barbers aged cheddar)
1 cup Swiss (Splurge-gruyere)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
dash nutmeg
1/4 tsp chipotle powder (can substitute cayenne)
1 pound pasta, cooked (I like DeCecco Cavatappi)

fresh bread crumbs or purchase panko breadcrumbs, about 1/2 cup
3-5 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic

Add olive oil to a pan, add breadcrumbs and toast until brown, add the garlic once the breadcrumbs are almost the desired color, as to not burn the garlic. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat and add flour to make the roux, let cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Whisk in milk and stir until mixture thickens add cream if you desire, add Dijon, nutmeg, chipotle powder and season with salt and white pepper.  Next, gradually whisk in cheese (you must do this about a half a cup at a time and fully incorporate the cheese until you add the next addition). Combine cheese sauce and pasta, can serve without baking in the oven or place in casserole dish for baking later, cover with foil and bake at 350 until hot (about 20-25 minutes).  Sprinkle with a little extra cheese over the top and toasted breadcrumb mixture.

Classic Vinaigrette

1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbs  balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil or grape seed oil
sea salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste

In a small bowl whisk the mustard and vinegar. Slowly pour in oil to form an emulsification.  Season to taste.