- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 10, 2007

If you’re pushing the deadline, mired in your income tax preparations, you’re not alone. Procrastination is a natural instinct. And if you end up having to send the Internal Revenue Service a check, you’re probably not in a rush to do so.

Even if you’re planning to chain yourself to the computer until you finish your taxes, you need a break. A comforting, homemade meal may be just what you need to recharge your spirit and find that last tax deduction.

Rather than make a hash of your tax form, make hash for dinner, using a medley of vegetables including bell peppers, onion, corn and potatoes. Unlike your 1040, the hash recipe is very easy to execute with no surprises.

However, like your tax form, this hash offers several options.

If you’re in a rush, sprinkle shredded cheddar over the hash just before pulling the skillet from the heat. The cheese will melt into a rich blanket for the vegetables.

With five minutes to spare, you can make a side dish of scrambled eggs.

However, if you’re basking in freedom because the form is in the mail, indulge yourself with a delicious entree of chicken thighs to accompany the vegetables.

Vegetable hash

1 tablespoons olive oil

cup thinly sliced red onion (1 small onion)

cup sliced red bell pepper in thin 2-inch strips

4 small new potatoes, cooked and thinly sliced, not peeled

3/4 cup corn kernels (see note)

1/8 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/8 teaspoon pepper or to taste

1/8 teaspoon crushed dried thyme

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet. Add onion and bell pepper and cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add potatoes, corn, salt, pepper and thyme.

Cook over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until potatoes turn golden brown.

Makes 2 servings.

Note: 3/4 cup corn kernels is the equivalent of one large ear of fresh corn; use one ear fresh corn or measure out 3/4 cup frozen kernels.

Lemon-flavored chicken thighs

1 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

cup chicken broth

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed skillet. Place flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag. Add chicken and shake well to coat. Add floured chicken in one layer to skillet. Don’t crowd. Brown over medium-high heat for 4 minutes per side.

Remove chicken from skillet. Add broth and scrape up any browned bits. Add lemon juice and stir to mix in. Return chicken to skillet. Cover and cook on low-medium heat for 5 more minutes per side or until completely cooked.

Serve chicken with pan sauce. Makes 2 servings.

Bev Bennett is the author of “30-Minute Meals for Dummies” (John Wiley & Sons).


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