Thursday, January 15, 2015

Roast Chicken Breast with Herbes de Provence

When it comes to chicken, I'm always buying boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They're healthy, tasty, and quick-cooking. But sometimes they get a little bit...boring.

So when bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts went on sale at the grocery store, I was all over that. I schmeared those babies with butter and some aromatic herbes de Provence, then roasted them in a hot oven. When I served the roast chicken to the husband for dinner in all its buttery, skin-on glory, his response sealed the deal, "This is my kind of chicken."

Well, then. I think this could be your kind of chicken, too.


Roast Chicken Breast with Herbes de Provence
Serves: 2-4

2 tablespoons softened butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place 1 tablespoon butter into a small bowl and stir in herbes de Provence. Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the chicken. Rub herb butter under the skin of each chicken breast. Rub plain butter on top of the chicken skin. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. If you have smaller chicken breasts, this will take about 35 minutes. For larger chicken breasts (mine, for example were 1 pound each—huge!), it will take about 50 minutes. Tent chicken with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Apricot Glazed Carrots

I had a jar of apricot preserves languishing in my fridge after making Apricot Mustard Glazed Ham, Although as you know, I'm a huge fan of PB&J sandwiches, I'm strictly a strawberry jam kind of gal. So I had to come up with a plan to use up my leftover condiment more creatively.

Enter Apricot Glazed Carrots.

Sweet and subtly spiced, these babies are just the ticket to round out any meal. You can stir them together on the stovetop in about 10 minutes, so it's a speedy side dish, too.


Apricot Glazed Carrots
Serves: 4

1 tablespoon butter
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
Salt and pepper

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic and curry and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth, apricot preserves, and carrots and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove lid and continue to cook until carrots are tender and sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sauteed Peas with Mushrooms

The other day I made a pretty decent dinner. But these peas? Yeah. They totally stole the show.

In about 10 minutes, you can have a steaming bowl of Sauteed Peas with Mushrooms on your dinner table. Sure it's a tiny bit more effort than my usual pea routine, which involves throwing a bag into the microwave, but, oh, is it worth it.


Sauteed Peas with Mushrooms
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen

2 teaspoons olive oil
6 ounces sliced button mushrooms
1 small glove garlic, peeled and minced
3 cups frozen peas (No need to thaw!)
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in peas, chicken broth, and Herbes de Provence. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until peas are heated through and the sauce has thickened, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Apricot Mustard Glazed Ham

I don't know about you, but I'm still recovering from Thanksgiving. I ate so much stuffing. And so much cranberry sauce. And SO MUCH pecan pie. Good gracious, the pie.

But since I'm in the holiday mode, I'll keep on with the holiday food. Sound good?

Today we're making ham. Every time I smell ham roasting in the oven, I'm immediately transported to Christmas Eve at my parents' house in Buffalo. Ham, cheesy potatoes, five or six feet of snow. Those were good times. 

I've made ham on several occasions, and Apricot Mustard Glazed Ham is both the simplest and tastiest in my humble opinion. Sweet, salty, and just a tiny bit tangy thanks to a dollop of grainy mustard, it's the perfect centerpiece for your holiday table. 


Apricot Mustard Glazed Ham

1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
5 pound semi-boneless ham

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, mustard, preserves, garlic powder, and onion powder. Set aside. Line a baking dish large enough to fit the ham with foil. Place ham cut-side down in the prepared baking dish. Pour glaze over the ham. Bake until ham is heated through, about 1 hour and 15 minutes, basting with pan juices several times. Thinly slice and serve. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mexican Lasagna

I wasn't in the mood to cook, but I had some ground turkey in the fridge that was about to get funky. I also wasn't in the mood to go to the store, so it was time to get creative with my pantry.

I pulled some flour tortillas and corn out of the freezer, a can of enchilada sauce off the pantry shelf. Let's make this as easy as possible. I thought to myself. No need to chop onion and garlic; I just used spices from the cupboard to add pizzazz to the turkey browning on the stove. Then I started layering. Zippy sauce + flour tortillas + spicy filling + creamy cheese. Repeat. Bake. Stuff face. Mmmm.

What's that they say about necessity being the mother of invention? Well, it's also the mother of dinner. Delicious dinner.



Mexican Lasagna
Serves: 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey or ground beef
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 tablespoon taco seasoning*
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper
1 (14 ounce) can red enchilada sauce
5-6 flour tortillas, halved to fit in the baking dish
1 2/3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream, for serving
Salsa, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 8 minutes. If there is lots of liquid or fat in the pan, drain it off. Stir in corn, taco seasoning, and onion powder. Allow the spices to toast for 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour about 1/3 cup enchilada sauce into a 9" baking dish and spread it around so it covers the bottom. Arrange tortillas in the baking dish to cover the sauce. Top tortillas with half of the turkey mixture and 1/2 cup cheese. Cover cheese with another layer of tortillas. Pour another 1/2 cup enchilada sauce over the tortillas and layer on remaining turkey mixture and another 1/2 cup cheese. Top with a final layer of tortillas, remaining enchilada sauce (about 1/2 cup), and remaining 2/3 cup cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes. Allow Mexican Lasagna to rest for 10 minutes before serving with sour cream and salsa.


*I used Penzey's Fajita Seasoning. If you don't have taco seasoning, I think a mixture of chili powder and cumin would do the job quite nicely.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Curry Spiced Pecans

Halloween is over, and Christmas has officially taken over Target. That's my signal to get ready for holiday fun.

Before the busyness overwhelms us, let's whip up a batch of Curry Spiced Pecans, and we'll be ready for whatever life brings. Appetizer for girls' night? Done. Crunchy snack for the football game? Done. Make-ahead hors d'oeuvre for Thanksgiving. Done. Thoughtful hostess gift? Oh, now you've outdone yourself.


Curry Spiced Pecans
Adapted from these Spiced Nuts

1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound pecans (about 4 cups)
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg white, water, and salt until frothy. Add pecans and stir until coated. Drain pecans in a colander for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine sugar, curry powder, paprika, and cumin. Toss spices with the drained pecans and evenly divide them between prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the pecans are dry and crisp. A couple times throughout baking, stir the pecans and rotate the baking sheets so they cook evenly. Allow pecans to cool completely on the baking sheets, about 30 minutes. Break up the nuts and serve. Pecans can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks.

P.S. Here's an idea for you. I didn't use cayenne in today's recipe, but I bet these pecans would be delicious with 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne added with the other spices. Let me know if you give it a try!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Honey Curry Chicken

How do you feel about sidewalk chalk?

My boy is into it. Big time. Sometimes he colors himself, but most of the time he places requests so I can test out my artistic prowess. Or, as the case may be, my lack thereof. "Mama," he says, forcing chalk into my hand and guiding it to the sidewalk. "Draw NASCAR."

Yep. He's a car guy.

Now, along with many NASCARs in hues of pink, yellow, and blue, our back patio is littered with renditions of Indycars, fences, and air conditioners. Because I am realistic about my capabilities, I say in all honesty...they look terrible. I can't draw worth a lick.

I mention this because I took pictures of today's recipe on my back patio. That was the only place I could find decent lighting at dinner time. So I plunked my casserole dish on top of the chicken scratch and snapped away.

Honey Curry Chicken is simple and delicious. A marinade of pantry staples doubles as a rich sauce. Bonus points because it looks fancy when you top it with vibrant green cilantro.

And I think you'll agree...it's a good thing I can cook better than I draw.


Honey Curry Chicken
Adapted from Baked Bree
Serves: 4

1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup grainy mustard (or substitute Dijon)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon curry powder
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

In a gallon-sized Ziploc baggie, combine honey, mustard, soy sauce, and curry powder. Mush the bag together until everything is combined. Add chicken breasts and mush the bag around again until they're evenly coated. Refrigerate the chicken overnight.

When you're ready to cook dinner, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9" x 13" baking dish with cooking spray. Dump the marinated chicken and the sauce into the prepared dish and cover with foil. Bake covered for 20 minutes. Uncover and use tongs to flip the chicken over. Continue to bake until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve chicken with additional sauce poured over top.


P.S. In case you're looking for a complete meal idea, I served Honey Curry Chicken with Coconut Rice, Sauteed Broccoli, and Pineapple.