“If you plant peas, you get peas.” This was my mother’s favorite and most frequently used idiom, which I believe she coined herself. She used it as a replacement for “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” if my sister or I did something silly… you know, something my father would do.

I loved my mother’s food. It was fun and creative but also healthy and balanced. She kept to a strict protein, carb, veggie rule, which I’ve clearly adopted into my own cooking. If we were eating hot dogs and beans, which we did eat relatively often, she made sure to also include a side of broccoli or a salad. If we were eating chicken cutlets, we were also eating a vegetbale forward soup, for example.

She cooked almost every night of the week so that we’d have a nutritious dinner, but her food was never boring.Every time she made roasted chicken, or pasta fagioli, or a personal favorite of mine, pork chops and applesauce, my sister and I would tell her it was the best thing she’d ever made, to which she would respond, “You say that every time I make this!” It was always true though.

There are a few dishes she made that stand out to me as being uniquely “her”, including the dish that inspired my recipe for Bright and Briny Chicken. I know her method was simple, but I don’t remember the details. I was just the sous chef after all and not as interested in cooking back then as I am now.

I know her dish contained chicken, roasted peppers, artichokes, and chicken broth, but I can’t remember what the carb would have been. Pasta? Beans? Cous Cous? Garlic bread? She loved all of these things. What other flavors were in it? Did she bread her chicken or not? This is why I almost never attempt to recreate my mom’s food. I’m totally afraid I either wont be able to do it, or I will be able to do it and won’t enjoy it as much as I enjoy the memory of it.

Therefore, instead of trying to replicate, I usually take what I do remember of these memorable dishes, skip the brain-wracking aspect of trying to recall all the details, and turn the ingredients into something I want to eat. This week, I wanted chicken with roasted peppers and artichokes. I hope you enjoy my personal take on my mother’s idea. And please, serve it with whatever carb you see fit.