Ranch-marinated chicken breasts

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Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 6:00 am

A few years ago, the hubby and I reorganized our dining room after we’d moved everything out and back in again while we were laying new flooring. The finished product was a clean, organized room that became my personal haven.

It was decorated with some of my favorite colors, like gray and turquoise, and everything had its place. I even had color-coordinated totes and baskets, just like you’d see in a magazine spread.

At last the clutter was gone from my dining room table and I had a space in the house where I could relax and feel like I had some modicum of control. It was MY room.

But a few years ago, my kiddo got a gaming computer for Christmas. And, because we were a tad reluctant about the idea in the first place, we wanted him set up somewhere on the main floor so we could keep an eye and an ear on what he was doing.

For logistical purposes – space, peace and quiet, proximity to the wireless modem – it made sense to put him up in the dining room, where his massive gaming computer took up a good third of my large dining room table.

And then the toys started to accumulate. My kiddo likes anime, and now the space is filled with Naruto figures, My Hero Academia posters and a Dragon Ball Z alarm clock. Because he needed it to feel like his space instead of mine.

This year for Christmas, my kiddo got an Oculus Rift, which is a virtual reality system for PCs. It may look like just a high-tech headset contraption, but people don’t sit still when they play in virtual reality; they’re actively participating in games, jumping and flailing around.

So after Christmas, we once again reorganized (de-organized?) the dining room. We took both leaves out of the table and scrunched it to one side of the room so my kid can engage in virtual sword fights without putting his fist through his monitor. The chairs that no longer fit around the table are haphazardly placed throughout the room. And the kiddo has started lining up his toys in front of the baskets and totes on my shelves, which sort of detracts from the look I was going for.

“You still have the kitchen,” the kiddo said. “No one else is using that room.”

So if you need me, I’ll be in my kitchen, cooking up meals like these easy baked chicken breasts.

And cleaning up after myself immediately, since this is MY room now.

For the recipe, see the Banner's online or print edition.

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