Get your mind out of the gutter. I was talking tenderloins. Chicken tenderloins. This is my second in my “That’s What She Said” series – dedicated to sharing health and wellness tips and tricks from my friends and family. After all, that’s where I get all of my best food, fashion and all around fabulous-ness advice.  This time I’m gabbing with a guy.

So, we recently hosted a big family vacation. My husband’s parents and three siblings from both coasts, along with their six collective kids joined us for a summer romp through our beloved Big Shoulders. To help manage feeding the large group, we went Girl Scout camp kaper chart style: assigning each family a night to plan and cook dinner (and another to clean up!).

Chicago fun with the whole gang.

Chicago fun with the whole gang.

At the end of the visit, we’d not only made loads of memories, but also gained some great family meal ideas. Specifically, I discovered my brother-in-law Dave’s endless list of “family favorite” ways to prepare chicken tenderloins. Before I share the recipes, an aside.

We’re jealous of Dave and his wife Jill and their kids (eight year old twins and a six year old) because they live in Sonoma County, Ca. You know, the “more affordable and less pretentious” wine country* with year-round perfect weather and ocean coastline? Still, they put on their pants one leg at a time just like the rest of us and have familiar struggles feeding their family – which includes two working parents, three kids with three different palettes and five pets. Note: their pet rats are familiar to us city folk for a different reason.

splash mountain

Dave’s family at one of their favorite spots – Disneyland. According to Dave, “We don’t know the guy in the back but he looks like he’d be fun to have a drink with.”

For their dinner night during Peterson-palooza, Dave made delicious pulled barbecue chicken, topped with slaw and served on Hawaiian rolls. As I exclaimed how much I loved it, he rattled off all of his other favorite preparations. I thought – if plaid is the new black, these tenderloins are going to be the NEW rotisserie chicken in my house.

A natural chef who likes to experiment in the kitchen, here are the top three winner, winner chicken dinners Dave’s family requests most often (if, like me, you wondered the origin of this phrase – check it out). He uses smart cooking strategies – like poaching chicken in various liquids – to increase flavor and reduce fat in these meals that each feed a family of five and take 30 minutes or less to prepare.

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*After the kids go to bed, Dave recommends winding down with a bottle of Zinfandel from his local favorite Dry Creek Valley or Anderson Valley regions.

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  • Lisa raatz

    Your writing is so entertaining, while I’m always on the look out for easy, family recipes, I loll at the recipes merely as an added bonus to a great read.

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