So I got this nice note from a reader the other day:
I have to tell you I did my first real deconstructed meal the other night where I was not catering to the kids. It was so easy, such an epiphany! My husband and I made Chicken Tikka Masala with browned cauliflower and frozen peas in it. Before adding the (jarred) sauce, I loaded up plates with juicy sauteed chicken chunks and browned cauliflower and added some grapes and they Gobbled. It. Up. I had hot dogs at the ready but was feeling very sad about it. So this was amazing!! Thank you! — Jennie T.
Chicken Tikka Masala! That is some brave new territory, and it made me think that we’ve covered the DALS Top 10 Quick Meals, Top 10 Side Dishes, Top 10 Ways to Use a Rotisserie Chicken, and even Abby’s Top 10 Reads last summer — so I think it’s high time we rounded up our favorite Deconstructed Dinners for the family table. Break it down now:
1. Tortilla Soup (Which also has a nice definition of Deconstructed Dinner for those of you completely in the dark here)
2. Chinese Chicken and Broccoli (like Jennie T., just save a few of the unsauced chicken chunks for kids who might object to the hoisin)
4. Steakhouse Steak Salad with (or without!) Horseradish Dressing
6. Orrechiette with Sausage and Broccoli (the classic)
7. Kale Cobb Salad (hold the Easter egg dye)
8. Chicken Orzo Soup, shown above, page 290 Dinner: A Love Story (When Abby was a soup-o-thrope, I used to pluck the tender shredded chicken from this and lightly pat it with a paper towel before serving it to her with lightly dried carrots and a mound of orzo. What can I say? I really wanted her to like my favorite soup.)
9. Spicy Peanut Noodles (it’s just “plain pasta with a side of crispy snow peas” to the kids if you serve the peanut sauce on the side), page 261 Dinner: A Love Story
10. Quinoa with Spinach, Egg, & Sriracha (No matter how much I deconstruct and disguise this, my kids will not touch, but you might have better luck.)
Don’t see your favorite? What is it?