Baked Chicken with a Touch of Honey

I guess another reason why I love the snow is because I’m forced to stay in the house, which is sometimes a good thing.  I finally cleaned off the dining room table (scattered papers and mail everywhere), organized, and spent lots of time in the kitchen.

Soup for lunch and baked chicken for dinner.  No empty bellies here!

Honey Roasted Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F).
  2. Mix all ingredients (except for the chicken) in a bowl.
  3. Place chicken thighs on baking tray.  Brush with marinade.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes.  Brush the remaining marinade and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

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In Honor of Cinco De Mayo…

I love shopping clearance at Target.  You honestly never know what you will find!  I peruse the clearance shelves in every section.  Clothing, cosmetics, personal care, home decor, stationary, grocery – ah, the list goes on and on.  I found these packets of Frontera taco seasoning packets and thought I’d give it a try.  The ingredients aren’t too bad (Tomato, water, New Mexico mild chile pepper, onion, tomato paste, guajillo chile pepper, garlic, chipotle peppers (chipotles, tomatoes, salt, sesame oil, paprika, vinegar and spices), salt, evaporated cane juice, white vinegar, agave nectar, expeller pressed canola oil, extra virgin olive oil, and oregano.).  Rick Bayless is one of my favorite chefs, so I knew this would be worth the $2.11.  No more Old El Paso for us…

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Chicken Tacos

Makes 10 tacos

  • 1 packet of Frontera taco skillet sauce
  • 1 lb of boneless chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 10 corn tortillas (use Romaine lettuce as shells for a Paleo recipe!)

Avocado Salsa

  • 1 avocado, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 6 tablespoons cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • A bit of lime juice
  • Sea salt
  1. In a medium skillet over medium to high heat, drizzle olive oil, and saute onions for about 5 minutes.
  2. Drizzle additional olive oil, add in chicken breast and cook until browned around the edges, an additional 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add Frontera taco skillet sauce and mix well.  Remove from heat.
  4. In a separate bowl, add all salsa ingredients and mix well.
  5. In a separate skillet (or in the microwave), warm up the tortillas.
  6. Place tortilla onto plate, spoon on chicken and onion mixture, top with avocado salsa.  Serve with lime wedges.  (Optional toppings – sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese).

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Oyster Sauce: The Not So Secret Ingredient

It’s quite amusing to see the shocking reaction from people when I tell them to buy oyster sauce for their Asian cooking, NOT soy sauce.  They often seem so confused and say something along the lines of: “You’re telling me that soy sauce isn’t the holy grail of Asian cooking?!”  No, it’s not.  There are so many other wonderful sauces to use when cooking Asian dishes that provide so much more flavor.  My mom’s go-to sauce is oyster sauce for just about everything…. And so, this recipe is dedicated to mama.

Lemongrass Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 skinless chicken drumsticks
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • About 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  1. In a large skillet, over medium to high heat, drizzle olive oil.  Add shallots and garlic, saute for a few minutes until shallots become translucent.
  2. Place drumsticks to skillet, drizzle oyster sauce and lemongrass atop, and cook for about 8 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.DSC02467

 

You Can Stuff a Turkey, so why not Stuff a Chicken Breast?

I love cooking with chicken breast.  I used to hate it because every time I made it, it was either raw on the inside or overcooked, dry, and tasteless.  I think cooking the perfect chicken breast just comes with experience and experimenting in the kitchen.  You have to rough it out through the bad times to get to the good times!

The thing I liked about tonight’s recipe was the juiciness of the chicken breast.  Searing it before placing it in the oven really helps to retain the delicious juices.  Also, look at how fancy this dish looks!  It was so simple to make; I’m adding this to the list for my next dinner party!

Sundried Tomato & Broccoli Stuffed Chicken Breast

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 organic skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 sundried tomatoes (preferably not in oil), julienned
  • 2 broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1 oz of shredded mozzerella cheese
  • 1 oz of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of  your favorite dried herb
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F).
  2. Mix all ingredients listed above in a bowl (except for the chicken breast); this will serve as the stuffing.
  3. With a paring knife, lay the chicken breast on the cutting board with the smooth side down.  Place your hand on top of the chicken breast (watch your hand!) and insert paring knife into the middle of the breast.  Move the knife around to create this “pocket” in the chicken breast.  Insert stuffing into chicken breast.
  4. In a medium skillet over medium to high heat, drizzle olive oil, and sear both sides of the chicken breast, approximately 4 minutes on each side.  You want the breast to achieve a nice golden color.
  5. Place stuffed chicken breasts onto a baking sheet, season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, and bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Serve with pasta, rice, or oven roasted broccoli.

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A Twist on a Classic Filipino Dish

What do you do when Mother Nature dumps nearly 3 feet of snow on your front door? You cook, bake, and eat!  (After you’ve shoveled, of course…)

Yes, we got hit hard by the blizzard dubbed “Nemo” in the Northeast.  Thankfully, we don’t get crazy blizzards like this every winter, but when we do, all of us New Englanders wonder “So, why the heck do we still live here?!?!?!?”

After what felt like endless digging outside, we retreated to the couch with a marathon of Downton Abbey, and frequent visits to the kitchen.  Eating, munching, cooking, tasting; a perfect lazy Saturday afternoon.

Tonight’s dinner is a twist on the Filipino dish, chicken adobo.  It has very similar flavors (as you can see, the ingredients are nearly identical), except I’ve used a combination of balsamic and sherry vinegars, and added California golden raisins and mushrooms.

Vinegar Braised Chicken & Mushrooms

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of organic chicken drumsticks, bone-in (approximately 8 drumsticks)
  • 16 oz baby bella mushrooms, halved
  • 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of sherry vinegar
  • 14 oz of chicken broth
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Bacon fat (or olive oil)
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  1. In a large pot (or dutch oven), over high heat, melt bacon fat, and add onions and garlic.  Saute until the edges are brown.
  2. Season chicken generously with sea salt and black pepper.  Add chicken to the pot and brown for about 5 minutes on each side.  You don’t want to cook the chicken, but rather just achieve a nice and crispy golden brown color.  Remove chicken from pot and set aside.DSC02279
  3. Add mushrooms to the pot and cook for about 7 minutes, until tender.  Remove all ingredients (mushrooms, onions, and garlic) from pot and set aside.DSC02281
  4. Place pot back onto the stove top over medium to high heat.  Add balsamic and sherry vinegar to the pot, stirring and scraping off any browned bits from the pot.  Add chicken broth, raisins, bay leaves, and the reserved chicken, mushrooms, onions, and garlic to the pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat, and simmer for 25 minutes.DSC02284
  5. Remove bay leaves prior to serving.




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Chicken Breast can be fun, too!

Tonight was one of those nights where I had no idea what was for dinner…. until I opened up the fridge and found random goodies.  A few hours later, our tummies are satisfied and the fridge is a little less cluttered.  Hooray!

Orange Lime Grilled Chicken with Mango Avocado Salsa

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup, olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon, cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

Ingredients (Salsa)

  • 1 mango, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 avocado, cut into chunks
  • A little bit of lime juice
  1. Mix orange juice, lime juice (save a bit for the salsa), olive oil, cayenne pepper, sea salt, and black pepper in a bowl.  Add chicken breasts and marinate for two hours.
  2. On a medium skillet, over medium heat, drizzle olive oil.  Add chicken breasts and cook 6 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
  3. In a separate bowl, add mango, avocado, and a little bit of lime juice.  Toss well.

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Now you see it… Now you don’t!

My 5 day juice cleanse ended on Friday.  I sure was doing my happy dance at the end of it!!! Man, it was tough, but I’m glad I did it.  I’m always open to new experiences, good and bad, but especially ones that can help to improve my health.  I’ll post about my overall experience shortly…. But until then, I wanted to share one of the first meals that I had to break the cleanse.  A huge spinach salad, topped with beets (YUM, and my new favorite vegetable), sundried tomatoes, hard boiled (cage-free) egg, and a 4 oz. piece of organic chicken breast (grilled to perfection with some olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper).  And last but not least, drizzled with a bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Bjorn: You’re going to eat a salad (out of all things)?  You don’t want pizza? Ice cream? A nice juicy piece of steak?

Me: Those all sound pretty tempting, but I’m beyond excited to dive into this right now. (In all honesty though, my body was craving this salad.  They other junk food sounded all fine and dandy, but my body didn’t want that.  I guess one of the things that the cleanse has taught me is to make healthier and better decisions when it comes to food…)

Bjorn: It does look really good.  Let me try (grabs a fork and dives in with me).

Me: Well?

Bjorn: If all salads were like this, I’d eat this all the time!

Me: mrgreen

**Several minutes later**

Me: (scraping up the last pieces of the crumbled egg yolk off the plate)

Bjorn: Wow, you must’ve been really hungry….

Now you see it…

Now you don’t! 😛

 

Over easy, medium, or hard?

How do you like your eggs cooked? Over easy for me, please!  My husband likes them over hard.  What’s wrong with him?  As a matter of fact, what’s wrong with all of you people that enjoy your eggs over hard?  Add that to the list of things in life that I’ll never understand.
Sausage scramble topped with a fried egg

Ingredients

  • 12 oz package of Applegate chicken sausage (or any sausage of your choice), chopped
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 sundried tomatoes in olive oil and herbs (adds a really nice flavor), chopped
  • 6 baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 6 artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 4 large handfuls of spinach
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  1. In a skillet over medium to high heat, drizzle olive oil and add onions and garlic.  Saute for a few minutes until the onions become translucent.
  2. Add sausage, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and mushrooms to the skillet.  Mix well and saute for 5-7 until cooked through.  Season with sea salt and black pepper.
  3. Throw in spinach, cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, while mixing the spinach in with the other ingredients.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. In the same skillet, over medium heat, drizzle olive oil and fry your egg to order (optional).

 

Dinner for one

Bjorn wasn’t home tonight for dinner…. so dinner alone.  Even better though because then that means I can eat whatever I want!  The old me would’ve had a fluffer-nutter sandwich or a banana and Nutella sandwich or one of  Trader Joe’s infamous frozen entrees.  But guess what — you can put together a quick and easy dinner with fresh and simple ingredients.

Based on what I had in my fridge, I decided on a salad.  I’m not really sure if this post calls for a recipe… Many people know how to put together a salad right?  Hehe.  The flavors of this salad were fantastic – didn’t even need any dressing on top.

A note to those who dine alone – always eat at the dining room table.  Don’t plop yourself on a couch in front of the T.V.  This is how over-eating happens!! You’re so fixated on the T.V. show and you’re just shoving food into your mouth.   Meals should be savored and enjoyed till the very last bite.  Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to catch up on your T.V. shows after you eat dinner… but just make sure you don’t bring the tub of ice cream with you. 🙂

PS – I’ve made this salad before… Bjorn says: “If all salads were like this, I’d eat it all the time!!”

PSS – I used the big plate for this one 😉

Baby Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken

Ingredients

  • 3 big handfuls of baby spinach
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, quartered
  • 6 oz. chicken breast, grilled
  • 4 sundried tomatoes (not marinated in oil), sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Lay baby spinach on a plate; top with eggs, sundried tomatoes, and avocado
  2. Season chicken breast with sea salt and black pepper.  Drizzle olive into skillet and grill over medium to high heat for about 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
  3. Slice up chicken breast, place on top of salad and enjoy!

Sundried tomato obsession (this will be the first of many sundried tomato posts)

I’ve always loved sundried tomatoes.  I’m not really a huge fan of grape tomatoes or raw tomatoes, but boy do I love sundried tomatoes.  It’s something about the texture and the tang-iness that I love.  I also love basil.  Mmm.  When I found this recipe for sundried tomato and basil paste, I immediately knew that I had to make it.  After making this dish, I’m also a huge fan of layering the components on the dish.  This way, you get a little bit of the goodness in each bite.

Bjorn gives this: 2 thumbs up (and very satisfied afterwards!)

Baked Chicken Breast

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Olive oil
  • Dried herbs
  • Sea salt and black pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degreees.

2.  Lay chicken breasts in baking pan.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Add a few pinches of dried herbs (e.g. Italian seasoning) and some sea salt and pepper.

3.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Sundried Tomato and Basil Paste

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup oil from the sundried tomatoes

1.  Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

2.  Serve on top of the chicken breast (or use as a dip!)

Mixed Veggie Saute

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 handfuls of spinach
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper

1.  In a large pan over medium-high heat, add in olive oil, onions, and garlic.  Saute for 5 minutes.

2.  Add in chopped zucchini, green pepper, and mushrooms.  Throw in a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.  Cook for another 7 minutes until tender.

3.  Throw in spinach.  Remove from heat once the spinach is wilted.

4.  Serve as a component of your dish.