My memory of Sabrina during those years is in bits and pieces, each strung together by her voice. The nights before she would leave, she’d tuck me into bed. We’d say prayers and she’d sing songs. When she’d sing, it seemed to come from the heavy part of her gut. It made me feel calm and loved. It still does.
There were regular songs like He Came From Heaven to Earth and the occasional guest star such as Fill Me Up Buttercup. My favorite was always I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane.
It’s ironic. Sabrina stayed in the Mid-West. Jet planes are our relationship’s lifeline (along with the free long-distance, email, and texting).
Recently, I flew to St. Louis and we laughed until our stomachs hurt. We sipped wine. We gossiped about boys and babies. We compared wardrobes, exchanged small workout tips, and chomped on candy. The night before I left, I sat on the floor of her twins’ room and listened to her sing.
Needless to say, I’m a big fan of jet planes.
If you didn’t catch on, my sister has kids. Three in fact. She and her husband Doug don’t have a lot of time, what with the diaper changing, bottom wiping, and toy-picking-uping. I was pretty lucky to have them share some of it with me.
After the kids were down for the night and the toys were picked up, we ate. Correction – we devoured. The first night we had one of their staple meals – Mediterranean Chicken Packets. Easy to assemble, packed with flavor, and nearly foolproof, I think this will become a regular for me too.
Mediterranean Chicken Packets
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 – 8 ounces)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 14.5-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
4 TSP capers
½ cup crumbled feta (about 2 ounces)
½ tsp Italian seasoning
1 TBS olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place four 12-inch parchment squares on the counter. Place one chicken breast on each square. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Mix tomatoes, artichokes, olives, capers, feta, Italian seasoning, and olive oil. Divide evenly on top of chicken.
Fold parchment paper over, and crimp edges to create a sealed packet.
Place packets on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 – 22 minutes, until chicken is white all the way through.
Note – If you are worried about the chicken being done, open one packet slightly and insert an instant read thermometer into the chicken breast. It should register 145 degrees.
Serve warm with a side of couscous, rice, or potatoes.
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