Three years ago, my first year out of college, I went home a lot on the weekends. I lived in a nice town populated mainly with twenty- and thirty-somethings, yet come Friday, I just needed a break.
I wanted to go to movies in my hometown and shop at my old mall.
I wanted to buy groceries in the nicer grocery store down the street from my mom’s neighborhood instead of the A&P around the corner from my apartment (I adamantly refused to buy a “granny cart” to lug my packages and anyway, I didn’t think the store was that clean).
So, every other week or so, I found myself on a train to my mom’s Philadelphia suburb for a weekend of sleeping without the interruption of my roommates coming home at 4:00 a.m. with their new best friends for a late-night dance party complete with pizzas that would inevitably arrive after they’d fallen asleep.
With my entry-level salary, I didn’t always have a ton of money for entertainment but I looked forward to a Sunday ritual with my mom: spending the afternoon and evening watching movies, eating junk food and cooking meals: pot roast, lentil soup, baked ziti.
We called these “girls’ nights” but it was a tradition that we relied on, a tradition that helped both of us through respective difficult transitions.
We both looked forward to these afternoons, for each other’s company, and most importantly, a delicious dinner, one we never would have made for ourselves if left to our own devices.
When you’re starting out on your own, but don’t have the luxury of heading home on weekends for a little TLC, you can make your own home-cooked meals for friends, a roommate or even just for yourself (if you’re committed to eating oven baked friend chicken for your next five meals).
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- ¼ cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 6 slices whole-wheat bread
- 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Using a paper towel to grip, remove skin from chicken. In a large bowl, toss chicken with buttermilk, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and teaspoon pepper. Marinate at room temperature 30 minutes (or refrigerate up to overnight).
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a food processor, pulse bread until coarse crumbs form. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and toss with oil. Bake crumbs until golden brown, 8 to 12 minutes, tossing twice. Transfer to a large bowl. Set a wire rack over sheet.
- Working with one piece at a time, lift chicken from buttermilk mixture (letting excess drip off) and dredge in breadcrumbs, pressing firmly to adhere. Transfer chicken to rack.
- Bake, without turning, until cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes, tenting with foil if browning too quickly
Were you homesick when you first moved out on your own? What made your own transition into the “real world” easier?