First Sunday of Lent: Italian Medallions

When I first thought of doing a pre-Vatican II-style meatless Lent with my family, I pictured the Sunday dinners as featuring a large hunk of dead animal:  a whole chicken, a pork tenderloin, a beef roast… and then I realized that all of those things, even if we have people join us for Sunday dinner, leave leftovers that we wouldn’t be able to use up during the rest of the week.  That made me wonder:  for those families of our ancient forebears who didn’t have Tupperware or refrigeration, did they even bother slaughtering something for a Sunday?  If they did, would groups of families get together to make sure it was wholly consumed before sundown, to keep the fast the rest of the week?  Wouldn’t that have been a nice community-builder (or community-affirmer)?  Wouldn’t our highly individualistic culture benefit from the same?  It’s something for me, the introvert, to ponder. 

In the meantime, we did have someone over for Sunday dinner:  my middle child’s godmother, who had come to join us for First Shift of Kids’ First Penance on Sunday night.  We’d already had bacon for breakfast, and then we went out for lunch, so we needed a lighter, quickly-made meal for dinner.  I did this in my Tupperwave stack cooker (which I ADORE for cooking meals like this).  While I was slicing the chicken into medallions, I was eyeing the Italian dressing with which I was about to douse it, and, well… now you know the origin of the name. 

Italian Medallions

In the bottom layer of your stack cooker, combine:
2 c water
1 c jasmine rice
1 T olive oil
1 envelope Italian dressing seasoning
2 T grated parmesan cheese

In the middle layer of your stack cooker, combine:
1/2 c Italian dressing
1 lb chicken breast meat, sliced into 1″ chunks

In the top layer of your stack cooker, make something. 
Okay, that’s so vague.  Sorry.  We opened up a 15 oz can of sweet potatoes, cut them into smaller chunks, dotted them with butter and sprinkled them with about 1T demerara sugar and some cinnamon.  When it all came out of the microwave, I sprinkled about 3 T mini marshmallows on top and let it sit to soften before serving.  It doesn’t really seem in the same “flavor family” as Italian dressing-laced foods, but it got eaten here, so I’m not going to question it. 

Anyway, put the whole stack together and microwave on high for 25 minutes.  Let sit 5 minutes before serving.  It served six easily. 

“But Mrs. Mackerelsnapper, I don’t have a Tupperwave stack cooker!” You can probably do the rice in a 3 qt. microwave-safe dish on high for 8-10 minutes, followed by the chicken dish in a 2 qt. casserole for 7-8 minutes.


About Erin McCole Cupp
Erin McCole Cupp is a wife, mother, and lay Dominican who lives with her family of vertebrates somewhere out in the middle of Nowhere, Pennsylvania. Her short writing has appeared in Canticle Magazine, The Catholic Standard and Times, Parents, The Philadelphia City Paper, The White Shoe Irregular, Outer Darkness Magazine, and the newsletter of her children’s playgroup. She is a contributor to and has been a guest blogger for the Catholic Writers Guild. Her other professional experiences include acting, costuming, youth ministry, international scholar advising, and waiting tables. When Erin is not writing, cooking or parenting, she can be found reading, singing a bit too loudly, sewing for people she loves, gardening in spite of herself, or dragging loved ones to visitors centers at tourist spots around the country. Find out more about her novels and other projects at .

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