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Cooking Lesson One: A Swanky Meal In Minutes

A simple chicken-and-side-dish dinner that needs few ingredients and even less time.

Okay, not minutes exactly, but here's a meal that is totally easy to fix (even if you've never cooked before!!) and looks and tastes like you knocked yourself out fixing it. Guaranteed to impress!!!! This will feed 2-4 people. For more, just double all ingredients.

You will need: Tequila (any brand will do), lime juice, boneless chicken breasts (one per person), 1 15-ounce can of black beans (not soup, beans), 1 15-ounce can of Green Giant "Mexicorn", Tabasco.

First: the main dish. Use one chicken breast per person. Put them in a pan or container with high sides and add (using a standard measuring cup) 2/3 of a cup of tequila and 1/3 of a cup of lime juice (use Rose's Lime if you feel extra swanky -- it's in the cocktail section). This makes your marinade. Let the chicken sit in the marinade for at least 30 minutes. (You can let it sit as long as you like -- but put it in the refrigerator if it's going to be more than half an hour.) Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat with a small amount of oil in it. Add chicken a few pieces at a time and cook until browned on both sides. Pay attention -- chicken burns easily. If you're not sure if it's done, cut through a piece and look at the inside -- if it's pink cook it a little longer. If you have a grill -- this is especially good grilled!

The side dish. (This is pathetically simple but people always think it's complicated.) Take the can of black beans and rinse them in a strainer. (You can do this while the chicken is soaking.) When the chicken's about half-way done, dump a 15 ounce can of Green Giant "Mexicorn" into a second frying pan over medium heat. After about 2 minutes, add the rinsed black beans. When heated through, add a few drops of Tabasco and turn the heat down until you're ready to serve it.

Ta-da! Now you have made a posh-looking dinner. Serve the chicken and vegetables with a salad, some rice, or for extra bonus points, bake some cornbread!! Cornbread is super-easy to make and uses only a few ingredients. Find a bag of cornmeal in the baking section -- recipe and directions are on the bag. Have a nice dinner!

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