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When I moved into my first apartment on my own, one of the first things I thought would be good to do, as a single guy in a my early twenties, was to invite an attractive woman over so that I could cook a meal for her. The fact that I had never really cooked much more than an omelet really didn’t register until after I had already extended the invitation so I did what any relatively grown man would do when faced with such a situation: I called my mother. She provided me with the following recipe which served me well through all of my single years and became my go to first date meal.


  • 10″ or larger frying pan (the kind with vertical sides)
  • 10″ or larger sauté pans (the kind with sloping sides)
  • 2 qt. pot with lid
  • 3 qt. or larger pot
  • Big knife
  • Scissors
  • Metal colander that will fit in the large pot
  • 2 cutting boards (one for chicken and one for vegetables)
  • Tongs
  • Spatula
  • Oven
  • Small bowl (like a cereal bowl)
  • Dinner plate
  • Fork


  • 1 cup long grained brown rice (wild rice is even better but I used brown rice in the picture …)
  • Water
  • Butter (just have a stick on hand, you won’t use the whole thing)
  • 1 lb regular old white button mushrooms
  • 1 lb fresh French green beans (you could use any beans really but the French ones look fancy)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Dry white wine
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons good mustard, preferably dijon with the seeds in
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Time: About an hour

Serves: 4


  1. Put 2.5 cups of water, a tablespoon of butter, rice, and a pinch of salt in the smaller pot (the one with the lid) and bring the water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Stir once, turn the heat down, put the lid on, and let it simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Trim the chicken and season both sides with salt and pepper.
  4. Wash your hands and your knife.
  5. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and slice them about 1/8″ thick (This step can be avoided if you buy pre-sliced mushrooms).
  6. Use the scissors to cut off the ends of the beans and put them in the colander.
  7. When you are 30 minutes into the cooking of the rice, put the sauté pan and the frying pan on the stove over medium high heat.
  8. Put about a tablespoon of butter in each pan.
  9. Turn the oven to its lowest setting or set it to bake at 125º
  10. Fill the big pot about 2/3 with water, add some salt, and put it over a burner on high.
  11. When the butter is totally melted and bubbling a bit, put the chicken in the frying pan.
  12. Add a splash of white wine to the sauté pan and add the mushrooms and stir occasionally.
  13. After about 7 minutes turn the chicken over using the tongs.
  14. When the mushrooms have turned light brown, remove them to a small bowl and put in the oven to keep them warm.
  15. When the rice is done cooking, remove it from the heat and leave the lid on.
  16. The chicken should be done by now, cut a slice into the largest breast and make sure there is no pinkness in the middle.
  17. Put the chicken on the plate and put it in the oven to keep it warm.
  18. Turn the heat down and pour a splash of white wine (about 2 tablespoons) into the pan that had the chicken in it, scraping up the crispy bits of chicken with the spatula.
  19. Add the cream and mix.
  20. Add the mustard to the cream and stir again.
  21. Let it bubble away for about 4 minutes stirring occasionally. You will know it is done when you can dip the fork in the sauce and then lift it out and some of the sauce stays between the tines (those are the pointy things) of the fork.
  22. Carefully put the beans in the colander into the big pot of water which should be hot if not boiling by now.
  23. Get 4 dinner plates and layer 1/4 of the rice, followed by 1/4 of the mushrooms, and one chicken breast on each plate leaving some room on the side for the beans.
  24. Using the tongs, take the beans out of the water and put 1/4 of the beans on the side of each plate.
  25. Put one tablespoon of butter into the cream sauce and stir until it is melted into the sauce.
  26. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.