I told you I was going healthy for the Superbowl. We brought this – Chicken, Chard, Bean and Butternut Squash Soup. We also brought some berries and greek yogurt with honey – plus vegan chocolate avocado cupcakes. We did splurge though because my sister in law made some awesome queso with sausage that was great with chips and they also had some Buffalo Wild Wings. It was a small gathering, but there was plenty of food and even though our favorite team disappointed, we had a good time (well most of us).
I bought my butternut squash last fall at the farmer’s market. We put them into baskets and stored them on shelves in the unheated basement. The food doesn’t freeze down there, but it does get rather nippy downstairs. Last year I tried storing them in a warmer spot, but some of my squash went bad. This year, they are in perfect condition and not even drying out. I’m thrilled that we put up a nice shelving unit to use for winter storage.
Anyway, I also have been trying to work with beans more, but dry beans not canned beans, and so that was the start of this soup. I roasted most of the vegetables in a glass pan in the oven until almost cooked. I also baked the chicken breast rather than fry it up. I wanted the broth to be clear when I served it and not muddied, which is why I did it this way. And to give it a nice bright taste, I grated lemon peel and squeezed lemon juice into it. This soup is one of my best tasting, I recommend it for family dinner, or a gathering of friends, or just the two of you.Diana
Here’s a simple and easy Roast Chicken that’s practically fail-safe. This is a reprint of one of my favorite recipes to prepare
This is a good comfort meal when you need to sit down for a family meal that anyone can prepare. I do mean anyone. I have a clay baker that I bake my chicken in, but you can use a roasting pan if you like. I added some ginger and lemongrass to give it a zingy springy flavor along with garlic, cause I love garlic. I usually bake the chicken and about half way through throw the potatoes and spinach into the pan – use whatever fresh vegetables you like best.
- 1 whole Chicken
- Olive Oil
- 3 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 onion
- lemon grass
Lightly spread Olive Oil over the chicken. Place garlic under the skin – all over. Grate ginger and lemon grass and sprinkle that under the skin of the chicken, plus throw a little in the cavity along with some of the garlic. Sprinkle the other herbs and spices along with salt and pepper on top. Place the chicken into the roasting pan, or clay baker, slice an onion and place around the chicken. Cover with foil and bake at 325.
In a bowl, places chopped up veggies and sliced potatoes, sprinkle with some herbs, salt and pepper and toss. Twenty minutes before the chicken is done – add the potatoes and veggies to the baker and recover. You can uncover about ten minutes before the end if you want a crispy skin, but we don’t eat the skin, so we don’t do that part. The chicken needs to be 165 deg F, but I’ll take it up to 155, and then let it sit for about ten minutes. It will rest and go up to about 165. A meat thermometer is one of my best friends. I don’t cut apart the chicken to test like my mom used to, just poke it with the meat thermometer.
This chicken is delicious, easy and oh so good. My husband sits and picks the bones clean, there’s never enough left for another meal.
- 1 whole Chicken
- Olive Oil
- 3 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 onion
- lemon grass
- Lightly spread Olive Oil over the chicken.
- Place garlic under the skin – all over.
- Grate ginger and lemon grass and sprinkle that under the skin of the chicken,
- plus throw a little in the cavity along with some of the garlic.
- Sprinkle the other herbs and spices along with salt and pepper on top.
- Place the chicken into the roasting pan, or clay baker, slice an onion and place around the chicken.
- Cover with foil and bake at 325.
- In a bowl, places chopped up veggies and sliced potatoes, sprinkle with some herbs, salt and pepper and toss.
- Twenty minutes before the chicken is done – add the potatoes and veggies to the baker and recover.
- You can uncover about ten minutes before the end if you want a crispy skin, but we don’t eat the skin, so we don’t do that part.
- The chicken needs to be 165 deg F, but I’ll take it up to 155, and then let it sit for about ten minutes.
- It will rest and go up to about 165.
This recipe for Oaxacan Chicken was originally for the barbecue, but it’s been a rainy dreary day today, so I baked it in the oven. The Oaxacan sauce for the chicken is ketchup based (though it was my home made ketchup that I used), with tequila and a little bit of heat. It’s kind of a spicy sweet sauce, but has a lot of flavor. There’s plenty of time left to do grilling and I look forward to trying it again barbecue style, but baked in the oven it was perfect for our dinner tonight. Tomorrow I’m using the leftovers to make some chicken tacos. This recipe is not my own it is by Chef Javier Plascencia, the tequila was provided by Don Julio. I thought it would have a much stronger flavor with the tequila in it, but really it was very mild. If you want more heat or less – work with the hot sauce to set the heat level you like. If you want a lot more heat, try upping the hot sauce and leave it out if you don’t like any.
- ½ onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup Tequila Don Julio Anejo
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tablespoon sea salt
- 2 cups ketchup
- ¼ cup plum tomato, chopped
- 2 teaspoons mole negro
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup shredded piloncillo, Mexican brown sugar (Substitute: ½ cup dark brown sugar and 1 teaspoon molasses)
- ⅓ teaspoon Mexican hot sauce (Tamazula, Valentina or Búfalo)
- 2 pounds chicken, cut into pieces (may be substituted shrimp, mushrooms, onions and anything else)
- In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the onion, garlic, and tequila. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Mix in the black pepper, salt, ketchup, tomato, mole, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, piloncillo, and hot sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Run sauce through a strainer if you prefer a smooth sauce.
- ~~~~This is where my changes come in since I baked the chicken.
- Place chicken pieces in baking dish in a single layer. Brush with sauce. Place in oven and bake at 350 - after about 15 min, brush with more sauce and place back in oven for another 15 minutes or so until the temp read 160 when taken with a thermometer.
- Brush sauce all over chicken.
The recipe and Don Julio Tequila were provided to me to try out. Any opinions were my own.
Yeah, Yeah, I know, the name is too darn long, but what should I leave out? Look at the photo, the whole thing is pretty and leaving anyone of those things out would make a not so interesting meal – visually and tastefully (flavorfully?). I still have spaghetti squash in my cold basement, but I fear it won’t last long since it’s been so warm and we need to work it in to our recipes since winter is quickly coming to an end. Chard has been regularly showing up in our Weekly Market Bag along with mushrooms less frequently. I thought this meal, stacked and then drizzled with a maple basalmic vinaigrette would be really delicious, and it was. The maple sweetness took the bite off the vinaigrette and the vinegar cut the sweetness a little.
I had plenty of spaghetti squash leftover, as well as chicken and chard (that I hadn’t covered in vinaigrette). My second meal of the week I added pasta and pesto and my third meal of the week I took the pasta dish and placed a cheese sauce over top and baked it – plus added a few more veggies like tomatoes and peppers. No photos of those, but I have to say it was a applewood cheese sauce and it was terrific. When there are only three of you, leftovers can go a long way.
I roasted the spaghetti squash with a little olive oil, sauteed the chard with onions and a little garlic – chop the stems and throw them in also, it’s all good. I sauteed the mushrooms and (leftover) roasted chicken in a little butter to soften and then topped the whole thing with a Maple Basalmic Vinaigrette. The sauce was soooooo good.
- Spaghetti Squash
- Olive Oil
- small handful of Swiss Chard
- ½ onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 tbs butter
- Crimini Mushrooms
- Roasted chicken
- ½ cup Basalmic vinegar
- Maple Syrup
- Split spaghetti squash, and scoop out, drizzle half with olive oil and roast in oven until squash comes off easily with a fork in spaghetti like strands.
- Chop chard, onions, galic and chard stems and saute in two tbs of olive oil until onions are translucent.
- In a separate pan, melt butter, then saute mushrooms and chicken until mushrooms soften.
- For vinaigrette:
- Melt 2 tbs butter in small pot or pan, add vinegar and stir, then slowly drizzle in maple syrup just until the vinegar bite is mellowed.
- Stack the chard mixture, the spaghetti squash and the mushrooms and Chicken on plate and drizzle with vinaigrette.
Cooking from what you have on hand can sometimes feel like a chore because we can’t always make what we have a taste for and instead have to make our tastes fit our refridgerator and pantry. Lots of greens in the fridge right now – which means I need to make sure to get them into our dinners and lunches. We receive a bag of groceries each week that have local, and non-local seasonal produce and artisan goods that are also mostly organic. I wondered if I would be able to keep up with the produce – and the greens have started to pile up because my husband and son don’t throw it in as often as I do. So while I was on a trip to Vermont, the greens weren’t used – except for arugula, my son loves that on his sandwiches. Today I used my dutch oven to use some of the produce I received in my Weekly Fresh Market Bag.
Kale, shallot and potatoes along with chicken and some white beans are not only delicious, but packed full of good stuff; just what I need to counteract the sugar laden beginning of the week. I sauteed the shallots with some garlic in olive oil, then added some wine and chicken broth, threw in the chicken, kale, potatoes and some spices all in my dutch oven. When the chicken was cooked, I pulled everything out, then made a light gravy with the juices and a little more broth and wine. Mostly a one pot – or rather dutch oven meal.
I told my son that he could easily make this with his pals and it would be a great substitute for the pizza they often eat together and pay less for this meal. (He agreed -but I’m not dumb, he’ll still grab the pizza). The recipe makes about 4 delicious servings and didn’t take long to put together. If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can cook it stove top or in a clay baker or small roaster.
- 2 whole chicken breasts -
- 1 large shallot or medium onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- olive oil
- 1 large handful Kale
- 3 potatoes
- 1 can of white beans drained
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp celery seed
- 2 tbs butter
- 2 tbs flour
- 2 cups white wine
- 2 cups chicken broth
- Dice shallots, and garlic, saute in olive oil in dutch oven.
- Place chicken breasts skin side down on top of shallots and garlic to brown.
- Remove chicken, garlic and shallots from dutch oven, add 1 cup white wine and deglaze.
- Slice potatoes about ¼ in thick slices.
- Place chicken mixture back in dutch oven, along with kale, potatoes, beans and spices.
- Add 1 cup chicken stock cover and bake in oven at 350 for 30 to 40 min.
- Remove from heat and place ingredients in a serving bowl, and the liquids into a separate smaller bowl.
- With the dutch oven over the stove top, melt butter in the bottom.
- Add in two tablespoons of flour and whisk.
- Pour in 1 cup of white wine and deglaze again, then add 1 cup chicken broth, whisking while it thickens.
- Pour gravy over serving bowl and serve.
Sometimes I am at odds with my son about dinner. If it takes too long, he won’t bother. If he has to read directions, he won’t bother. If it takes too many pots and pans, he won’t bother. This isn’t to say he’s hopeless or can’t cook. Slowly we are building up his repetoire and the meals he does cook are very delicious. My method with him is to encourage him to try to experiment by adding different vegetables and herbs to a basic recipe.
This time we took some chicken from our roast chicken the other night and added pasta, some broccolini, a few herbs, smash some galic and voila – dinner is served. This is a good college kid meal, you can change up the pasta, the veggies, substitute the oil with broth to make it a little lighter. Swap the lemon with white or red wine vinegar for a little different. We stood side by side at the stove cooking this dish. When we were done, I asked my son if he thought he could do it all over again, and he assured me that he could.
- 1 lb pasta (penne)
- Nice bunch Vegetables (broccolini)
- 1½ cups cooked meat (leftover chicken)
- 2 garlic cloves
- Herbs and other veggies (dried tomatoes, basil)
- Salt & Pepper
- Grated Parmesan
- Olive Oil (or broth)
- acid (lemon juice)
- In a pasta pot, boil water and cook pasta. When the pasta is pre-al dente add in any fresh veggies that need to cook through.
- In a separate saute pan, heat up about 2 tbs of olive oil. Add in garlic to saute, along with the pre-cooked chicken and any defrosted frozen veggies or dried veggies. Stir around, heating up the chicken, veggies and herbs.
- Zest the lemon over the saute, then squeeze the juice over top.
- Drain the Pasta and Cooked broccolini, toss with the pan of saute.
- Grate parmesan over top, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Tonight’s chicken was lemony goodness and very easy to prepare. I’m a fan of just a few steps to great food, the oven does most of the work here, slowly roasting to perfection. My husband is a big poultry fan. When we go to restaurants, often I will order a steak and my husband some chicken or turkey. It never fails that the server will swap our plates and give my husband the steak and me the chicken. We taste off of each other’s plates though, so in the end it doesn’t matter. He won’t swap this though. I had to let him chew the bones a little before I put them in the freezer so that he could pick off every morsel of chicken left behind.
Today’s chicken we bought fresh from the market yesterday. You tell them what you want and they will bag it and even skin, bone and cut it up for you all in a few minutes. They’re really fast. I bought two whole chickens and a couple of whole breasts split along with some sausage. The chicken was free range, from a local farmer and that made me happy. It’s more expensive than the grocery store, but very tasty and local, so I pay a little more for better quality. These chickens were not frozen before I got to them. One chicken we had for dinner, the rest went into the freezer for later.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of after I roasted the chicken. My daughter was leaving for school and I cut a hunk of cooked breast off, and sent it with her to have in her salad for dinner. I have a before photo that shows how I pulled the skin away from the chicken and stuffed the lemons and rosemary in between the skin and the meat. You may need to use a knife to start the slit, but after you get it separated you should be able to slide your hand right in.
I sliced the lemons and slid them flat in between the skin and meat. The two ends of the lemons went into the cavity. I snipped bunches of rosemary from my plants that I have growing in pots in the diningroom. Then I tore the leaves up and smashed them before shoving the rosemary in around the chicken. A couple of branches went into the cavity as well. I poured a little olive oil over top of the chicken and just smoothed it all around. A sprinkle of salt and pepper as desired and bake in the oven uncovered at 375 until the thermostat reaches about 165.
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 lemon sliced
- a nice size bunch of rosemary
- olive oil
- Salt and pepper the cavity of the chicken.
- Separate the skin from the meat, sliding your hand in without tearing the skin.
- Place the lemons flat between the skin and the meat on both top and bottom of the chicken.
- Chop and smash the rosemary and stuff in around the lemons.
- Throw rosemary and lemon ends into the cavity of the chicken.
- Drizzle olive oil over top of the chicken, and smooth it around with your fingers.
- Salt and pepper the chicken.
- Place in Roasting Pan (or in my case, clay baker) and into the oven at 375.
- Bake until thermometer inserted is registering 165.
- Let it rest for about ten minutes before serving.
Staying with my mom while she recovers from her surgery, I made Chicken & Fall Vegetable soup for dinner. Soup makes you feel good when you are sluggish and don’t want something heavy, especially if your throat is a little sore too. My mom is a fan of almost all vegetables, and since the fall vegetables are in season, this is the perfect time to make this soup. It is easy to prepare but will take longer than 30 minutes because it takes a while for the carrots and butternut squash to soften. The soup was served in a bowl over warmed wild rice. The rice would absorb the stock from the soup so we precooked the rice separately and then put a couple of tablespoons in the bowl and ladle the soup over top. The leftovers were stored as single servings in the freezer for meals on busy evenings after I left to go back to my family and home.
Mom can’t eat onions or tomatoes; acidic vegetables and fruit upset her tummy. If you feel it could use a few more vegetables, feel free to go ahead and add them. Mushrooms might be nice added to this also.
- Olive Oil
- 3 stalks of celery diced
- 2 large chicken breasts
- Small Butternut Squash – scooped out and peeled
- 4 carrots peeled
- 1 quart of chicken stock or broth
- 1 can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
- 1 bunch of kale leaves stripped off stems
- ground thyme
- ground sage
In a stock pot heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Saute diced celery and whole chicken breasts. Pull the chicken out of the stock pot, and add in the quart of chicken broth and heat. Dice carrots and butternut squash and add to stock. Tear chicken into bite size pieces. When the carrots have softened but are still firm, add the chicken back in along with the chickpeas. Tear kale leaves and stir it into the stock along with ground sage, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowl over warm wild rice.Diana
I put out a request for quick dinner ideas -something that wouldn’t take that much work, but would be healthy and delicious and maybe my son could do it. Crockpot suggestions came in, but I knew my son couldn’t be trusted to stop and think that far in advance. Crockpot was out for him, but on my day to cook, it’s always a welcome suggestion. Jenn Fowler suggested Salsa Chicken – and knowing the way my family feels about salsa, I was ready to try it out.
Unfortunately, the cupboards were not fully stocked, so a few substitutions were made. The dish came out a little less mexican, and a little more health nutty, but it was delicious. Instead of black beans, garbanzos aka-chick peas were used. Then instead of rice, some wheat berries were made in the rice cooker (brown rice setting) and gave the dish a nuttier flavor. The wheat berries and salsa chicken was served on top of some butter lettuce and arugula. A little white cheddar (from a local farm market) was grated over top and then avocado slices as a finishing touch.
Jenn has a lot of different variations and serving suggestions, so take a look at her Salsa Chicken. She also has a lot of other cool crockpot meals to try out.
Here’s my variation of her salsa chicken:
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 2 jars home made salsa.
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 can garbanzo beans
- 2 cups wheat berries
- shredded white cheddar
- avocado slices
- Layer first four ingredients in crockpot and cook on low 6 - 8 hours.
- Use rice cooker to make wheat berries adding water according to the directions.
- Shred chicken and put back in with the rest of the crockpot ingredients.
- Plate up - layer lettuce, wheat berries, salsa chicken, cheese and avocado slices.
There’s still time to grill on this last summer day, though if you are my brother in law (Deb’s husband) fall or even winter snow won’t keep you from your grill. Here’s a great end your summer with Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken Dinner. This recipe uses 1800 Silver Tequila – gotta love it, go with the good stuff.
- 1/4 cup 1800 Silver Tequila
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 fresh squeezed orange
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño chilies
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 boneless chicken breast halves with skin
Mix lime juice, tequila, orange juice, cilantro, jalapeños, chili powder,
salt and pepper in bowl. Coat chicken in marinade and cover to chill overnight.
Grill chicken over medium heat until cooked through, turning occasionally, for approximately 18 minutes. Serves six.