Potatoes That Taste Better Than The Chicken

Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
Fall is around the corner, my friends. The beginnings of fallish things are happening from the wonderful cooler temperatures and crisp mornings to the not-so-wonderful appearance of Christmas decorations ALREADY. I’m not one to start up the Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving and I’m not one to drink a pumpkin spiced latte until it can actually do its job of warming me up because I’m cold from natural causes (as in, I didn’t sit in my car with my AC on full blast to get the same effect. That’s cheating AND rushing the perfect moment, which I feel, should come about authentically.) My friend Libby is rolling her eyes at me because she LOVES rushing fall and pretending it’s cold outside. In fact, she already had a pumpkin spiced latte! ūüôā I’m fine with seasonal enthusiasts. Honestly – whatever makes you happy! But as for me and my household, we won’t decorate for Christmas until Thanksgiving is over. ūüôā

Another thing that¬†makes me happy is starting to think about fall dinners. I love the braising and stewing and the simmering of heavy, warm spices on the stove. One meal that gets me to thinking about the warmth of the winter is this simple and yet divine dish: roasted chicken on top of potatoes. We made this recipe a loooong time ago by¬†Jean-Georges Vongerichten. His recipe was so delicious, we’ve done it a few dozen times since and have varied and simplified and it’s always delicious and always perfect. I never mess this recipe up and it’s always so amazingly delicious. And let’s not ignore why: the potatoes are cooked in schmaltz. You’d also be delicious if you were roasted in chicken fat.

I also love this recipe because it is one of those dishes that everyone can agree on. Add a salad or some braised greens and you’ve got yourself a complete meal!

Potatoes Cooked in Chicken Fat Chicken Potatoes

Potatoes Taste Better Than the Chicken*

1 whole chicken, about 3 lbs
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
coarsely ground salt and pepper
butter to coat the pan and chicken
1 head of garlic, sliced in half
sprigs of thyme, rosemary, whatever you have

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter a large cast iron skillet and place the cut potatoes in a single layer. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Pat your chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Rub with butter and then stick the halved garlic head into the chicken cavity and add whatever herbs you like. Place the chicken on one of its sides on top of the potatoes.

Roast for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken onto its other side and roast another 20. Then, turn the chicken breast-side up and continue roasting until juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer says at least 165F, about 15-20 minutes more. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes and carve on top of the potatoes and serve them along with the chicken. Beautiful.

*adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten

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Carrots and Celery: A Colorful Spin on Steak House Sides

Steak, Roasted Carrots and Celery Salad
Summer hasn’t felt very summery until these past¬†two weeks. The rains finally stopped and the heat finally reached into the upper 90’s and it’s starting to feel like Lubbock, again. We weren’t sure what to do with all that rain and all that…not watering our lawns, so¬†we sorta forgot how. I was so used to my garden looking like Swamp Thing that I honestly forgot to keep watering about a week after it quit raining so heavily. Then when things started to wilt, I realized that everything might be thirsty. So I’m back in the swing of watering every other day and I’m enjoying seeing things grow. However, if we had to survive off of what I have growing in my garden, we’d have all died a few weeks ago. I want to be better and grow enough to sustain us year round, but I’m not there, yet. I grew up in a family of farmers but I am not one of them.

We benefit from families of farmers in this town, however, and one of those families is Holy Cow Beef, a family that produces amazing beef products right here in Lubbock, TX. They run an honest, humane, grass-fed beef corporation and their products are extremely high-quality. We bought a New York strip from them, among other cuts, when they were at the Lubbock Downtown Farmer’s Market last weekend and happily made this weeknight meal for our family last week. Matt seared the steak in butter on the stove and finished it in the oven – a favorite and classic way we like to cook a steak. The three of us ate dinner from just one portion! ¬†I roasted orange and purple carrots along with parsnips and served that and the beef along with a blue cheese celery salad. Yes, this plate was served to our three-year-old (no short-order cooking around here) and here’s how it went:

“I only like the orange carrots.”
“I will only eat one celery.”
“More meat, please.”

So I’d highly recommend if you’re in this area, to stop by the farmer’s market on Saturdays and check out what Holy Cow Beef has to offer! We’ve been eating less meat in general, and so buying high quality products from local producers helps us value the days we do have meat a little more. Quality over quantity is a good idea, especially if you, like me, are a carnivore.

 

Blue Cheese Celery Salad
I wanted to share the recipe for the blue cheese and celery salad with you, today. It was so refreshing and different as a side for the steak. I think it would make an amazing topping for a burger, a different dish during football season, or as a side for BBQ!

Blue Cheese Celery Salad*
serves 4

¬ľ cup mayonnaise
4 cups celery, cut into ‚Öõ-inch-thick half moons (about 8 stalks)
¬ľ cup fresh orange juice
1¬Ĺ teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons chile oil
¬ľ cup celery leaves
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
¬Ĺ cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese

Spread the mayonnaise among 4 plates. In a medium mixing bowl, toss the celery with the orange juice and season generously with salt. Drizzle with the chile oil (you could also use olive oil and crushed red pepper), then toss in the celery leaves. Scatter the dressed celery on top of the mayonnaise, then top with the chives and lots of blue cheese, and serve.

*adapted from Tasting Table

 

Roasted Carrots
And instead of the classic fries or a baked potato that you typically see alongside a steak, I did a colorful trio of roasted carrots. I simply peeled and sliced three of each orange and purple carrots and parsnips and coated them in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper and then roasted them at 400 until soft when pierced with a knife. Then I browned one tablespoon of butter and tossed them right before serving.

 

Blue Cheese Celery Salad with Seared Steak

Roasted Coriander Chicken

Cinnamon Coriander Roast Chicken
This is a fabulous way to revive the same ol’ chicken recipes you’ve been using every week for your family. ¬†We came across this flavor combination years ago from Michael Symon¬†but I’ve done this so many times I’ve strayed pretty far from the original recipe for chicken wings and have adapted it to be a wonderful roasted chicken dish. ¬†Have you ever used coriander seeds in your cooking before? ¬†It’s got this tutti-fruity flavor that reminds me of Fruity Pebbles cereal (don’t be horrified, it’s actually really good). ¬†And combine that flavor with cinnamon and the smokiness of cumin and something kind of magical happens.

If you have a problem spending money on a spice you hardly use, let me be the first to direct you to the Ghandi Bazaar on 34th Street here in Lubbock. ¬†If you don’t live in Lubbock, find a local Indian food market or some kind of ethnic market because they sell spices CHEAP. ¬†Why? Because they USE THEM A LOT. ¬†It’s a staple to most other cultures like flour and sugar is to an American. ¬†We bought a 16 oz bag of coriander seeds at Ghandi Bazaar for $2! ¬†That sure beats a tiny jar for $4.50 at the grocery store. ¬†I don’t think I’ll ever use it up…unless I keep making this chicken…which I need to do this week.
Cinnamon Coriander Chicken

Roasted Coriander Chicken

1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces (or pre-cut, but make sure it’s bone-in and skin on)
1/4 cup crushed coriander seeds
1 TBS cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
1 TBS kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a large, ziplock bag, add the chicken pieces and the spices and rub everything around until the chicken is completely coated.  Pour in the olive oil and mush the bag around again, making sure (to the best of your ability) that all the chicken is coated relatively even.

In a 9×13″ glass pan, or on a cooking rack over a rimmed baking sheet sprayed with oil, add the chicken, evenly spaced apart. ¬†Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 165 in the thickest piece. I can’t cook chicken without a meat thermometer, so I can’t tell you an exact time. ¬†I just start taking the temp after 30 minutes and leave it in there if it’s not done.¬†

*so good I made it twice on this blog ūüėČ with slightly different ratios this time. ¬†See? ¬†I change it all the time. ¬†But it’s always good!

Buffalo Burgers with Rosemary Roasted Root Vegetables

Buffalo Burgers
Get your grill heated up this weekend – it’s supposed to be beautiful! ¬†I actually don’t know that for sure, but I’m trying to stay positive. ¬†I made these burgers for us this week after seeing a recipe for lamb burgers. ¬†I couldn’t find ground lamb here and didn’t really want to pay to have some lamb loin ground up so I figured I’d go with something just as lean (the appeal of a lamb burger) and go with buffalo! ¬†We have a very small section in our local grocery store and they have a few pounds of ground buffalo always available. ¬†I know it’s really, really lean, so it can dry out really easily. ¬†The trick is cooking it low and slow, so I’d suggest if you’re grilling, to keep it off the direct flame and give it some extra time. ¬†I love chopped onion in my burgers, so I added some to these and also a little bit of grated Swiss cheese and a couple tablespoons of water – a trick I learned in making the best meatballs ever, that gives the meat that extra tender-juiciness without adding a bunch of fat. ¬†We topped these burgers with sliced avocado, baby bell peppers, pickles and extra cheese – they were really wonderful and still juicy!

I served the burgers with some roasted carrots and potatoes. ¬†I love roasting vegetables with rosemary and just a touch of olive oil, and had I had more root vegetables, I’d have added them right in! ¬†I’ve done this before with beets, turnips and parsnips and I’ve loved them all!

roasted root vegetables

Buffalo Burgers with Roasted Root Vegetables

1 lb ground buffalo
1/2 cup diced white onion
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
2 TBS water

In a large bowl, mix the buffalo and all the other ingredients until well incorporated and form into loose patties.  Salt and pepper both sides and cook on the stovetop over medium heat, or on the grill off direct heat for about 5 minutes per side, or until desired doneness is achieved.  I cooked mine until they were about 135F inside and that gave us a tiny bit of pink in the middle.  I served our burgers on toasted buns with mayo, sliced avocado, sliced baby bell peppers, sliced baby kosher pickles and extra Swiss cheese.  Top however you like!

For the root veggies:

A mix of carrots, potatoes, beets, turnips, etc (about 2-3 each)
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS chopped fresh rosemary
salt and pepper

Heat your oven to 400F.  On a foil-lined baking sheet, toss the chopped vegetables with the olive oil and rosemary and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for about 30 minutes, or until the veggies start to get a little crispy along the edges.

Buffalo Burgers with Avocado and Swiss

Summer Grilling: Romesco Sauce!

summer meal - romesco sauce
Ah, summer. ¬†It’s upon us! ¬†And even though I’m hoping no grilling will get done this weekend due to rain (please, oh please) we have fired up the grill several times already and hope to continue as the months continue to provide us with warm nights and light well into the 9 o’clock hour. ¬†We had a truly noteworthy grilling session last weekend where the star of the show was that tasty little dollop of red pepper puree on the side of the asparagus called Romesco.

romesco sauce
Romesco is a blend of roasted red bell peppers, hazelnuts, almonds, garlic and roasted tomatoes. ¬†I can’t explain how magical it all is when blended up together, but it is incredible as a topping for a grilled flank steak, a dip for asparagus, or even a spread for the grilled bread I’m hoping you’ll still try! We topped baked potatoes with our leftover romesco sauce this week and I just KNOW it would be fabulous on top of a simple omelet. ¬†I love a sauce that can be so versatile because it won’t just sit in your fridge, unused. ¬†There are literally endless options for this tasty sauce and I hope you will make this for your next summer meal!

grilled asparagus with romesco sauce

Romesco Sauce*
makes about 3 cups

4 Roma tomatoes, quartered
4 red bell peppers
6-8 cloves of garlic, still in their skins
3/4 cup olive oil, plus oil for roasting vegetables and toasting nuts
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup almonds
1 cup day-old bread, cubed and toasted with olive oil
red wine vinegar
2 tsp Piment d’Esplette (or dried chili flakes)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 300F.  Season the tomatoes and peppers with 2 tablespoons of  olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. Bake the cloves of garlic along with the tomatoes and the peppers, until the garlic is soft, (remove them when they are to let the tomatoes and peppers finish) the tomatoes have begun to caramelize and the peppers are tender and beginning to blister, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven, cover the peppers with foil and set aside for 10 minutes, then peel the skin and remove the seeds and veins from the peppers.

In a small skillet set over medium heat, toast the almonds and hazelnuts with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and salt.  

Remove the garlic cloves from their skins. In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, peppers, garlic, toasted nuts and bread.¬†Add the Piment d’Esplette or chili flakes. ¬†Slowly drizzle in the remaining ¬ĺ cup of olive oil until the mixture forms a smooth paste. Season with red wine vinegar, salt and pepper until it’s to your liking. ¬†We added about 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar and added about 2 tsp of kosher salt and some pepper. ¬†Puree until very smooth, but the sauce will remain slightly chunky. ¬†

Serve with grilled vegetables, meats, baked potatoes, bread, etc, etc, etc!

*we combined two recipes from Tasting Table to make our own version.

 

 

 

 

Dinner Tonight: Tomato Cobbler with Blue Cheese Biscuits and some Blogger Love

Blue Cheese Biscuits with Roasted Tomatoes
I’m loving other foodies’ blogs this week. ¬†After signing off of eating out for Lent, this week I decided to make nothing but food from amazing recipes I saw on Pinterest or other blogs I follow. ¬†Today’s main recipe comes from Joy the Baker’s amazing blog. ¬†I saw her recipe for tomato cobbler and blue cheese biscuits on Pinterest and I wanted it THAT VERY SECOND. ¬†The recipe takes almost two hours, start to finish, so I had to save it for a night where we weren’t running around. ¬†That night was tonight and I absolutely loved this dish. ¬†Sweet and tangy roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, sweet basil and peppery, blue cheese biscuits…honestly, I can’t think of a more perfect combination of flavors.

Olive ate an entire biscuit, and a couple tomatoes and declared it, “good.” ūüôā ¬†I wasn’t sure if she would, so instead of making this dish the entire meal, I served it alongside some baked, herbed tilapia, inspired by my personal friend and fellow food-blogger, Becky from Apronclad.com. ¬†I typically pan fry fish but when Becky posted about baking it, I thought, “hey, I’m already baking the main course, why not pop some fish in the oven, too?” ¬†It turned out light and simple and I love how the protein in this case, was the side dish ūüôā

Baked Tilapia with Herbs
I just thought this was a beautiful dish before it was baked! Here’s the simple method I used. ¬†Thanks, Becky for the inspiration!

Baked Tilapia with Herbs
serves 2 and a toddler

3 small fillets of white fish – cod, tilapia, mahi mahi, etc.
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
snipped fresh herbs – I used thyme and chives, about a teaspoon each
1 tablespoon of butter, cut into small cubes

In a shallow baking dish, spread the olive oil around and place the fish on the oil. Season fillets  with kosher salt and pepper and sprinkle the snipped herbs all on top and around the fish.  Dot the top of each fillet with a couple pieces of butter and bake at 375F for 15-18 minutes, until fish flakes apart easily.  Serve with a squeeze of lemon if desired.

 

Olive inhaled her fish, as it is a bit of a comfort-food item for her by this point. ¬†I make fish every week. ¬†Familiarity breeds comfort. ¬†Serve your kids something covered in herbs enough and they’ll eventually not balk at it. You think your kids wouldn’t eat this meal? ¬†I disagree! I think eventually they would.¬† I have watched over the past couple weeks as Olive has really come into a “grown-up” phase of her life where she MUST assert her own authority over things at ALL TIMES. ¬†It’s fine, it’s normal, but I can see where this point in a toddler’s development would create a negative environment around food, trying new foods or even just mealtimes in general. ¬†Here’s what we do: ¬†Every meal, whatever we’re having, I put a tiny portion of each component on her plate. ¬†I tell her what each thing is and then I back away. ¬†Don’t even pay attention. ¬†Make small-talk! The only time I intervene is when she hasn’t tried a particular component and I encourage her to. ¬†Not shockingly, this is the only time during dinner she protests. ¬†She doesn’t want to be told what to eat. ¬†Do you? ¬†I really should back off in this area even more. ¬†So we just say she has to taste it. ¬†Or simply smell it! ¬†After a smell or a tiny lick, she will 99% of the time decide to eat it. ¬†We emphasize that she doesn’t have to like it, but we DO want her to just taste. ¬†If she doesn’t like the taste, that’s fine, and she can spit it back out if she wants. ¬†It’s working!

We have had upsets. ¬†We’ve had back tracking. ¬†We’ve had days where the girl will literally only eat a cracker and declare herself “all done” and get up from the table and leave and not even come back for fruit. ¬†We have had days where she cries because I tell her she can’t have dessert first. ¬†Most of the time her fighting is on days where she really doesn’t have much of an appetite. ¬†So I let it slide. ¬†I think the most important thing you can do to get your kids to eat what you serve is to STOP ACTING LIKE YOU CARE. ¬†And more importantly, if they don’t eat it, don’t serve them something else. ¬†Don’t go to the kitchen and short-order them a side of PB&J. ¬†I always make sure there is something on the table I know Olive likes and then the rest is up to her. ¬†It’s tough to watch your kid not eat much at a meal. ¬†But trust me – they make up for it at the next one!

I’ll do a simple repost on the tomato cobbler recipe. ¬†I know several friends who would fawn over this recipe and I hope they will make it this weekend! ¬†Summer Richards, I’m talking to you ūüôā
Tomato Cobbler with Blue Cheese Biscuits

Tomato Cobbler with Blue Cheese Biscuits*
serves 6

For the Biscuits:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
3 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cold and cut into cubes
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
3/4 cup cold buttermilk

For the Filling:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 large onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 pounds cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup coarsely chopped basil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and coarsely ground black pepper

To make the Biscuits:

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  Add cold butter and shortening.  With your fingers, quickly break up the fat into the dry ingredients.  Rub the fats into the dry ingredients until well incorporated.  Some butter pieces will be the size of small peas, other will be the size of oat flakes.  Toss in blue cheese crumbles.  Stir to incorporate.

Create a small well in the center of the flour mixture.  Add buttermilk all at once.  With a fork, quickly bring together the wet and dry ingredients.  The dough will be rather shaggy.  Dump dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Knead dough about 10 times, bringing it together into a disk.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the filling is assembled.

To make the tomato Filling:

Add olive oil and butter to a medium saute pan over medium heat.  Add sliced onions and season with salt and pepper.  Cook and brown onions, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 18 to 20 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for one minute more.   Remove pan from heat, add balsamic vinegar and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together clean cherry tomatoes (no need to cut them), chopped basil, flour, and red pepper flakes.  Add caramelized onions and toss together until everything is lightly and evenly coated in flour.  Season with salt and pepper.

Place rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Pour the tomato and onion filling into a square 8×8-inch baking dish.  Place in the oven and bake tomatoes filling for 25 minutes.

Remove the biscuit dough from the fridge.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll out biscuit dough into a 3/4 or 1-inch thickness.  Use a 1 1/2 to 2-inch round biscuit cutter to cut out biscuits.  Dip the cutter in flour should it get sticky.  Remove the partially cooked filling from the oven and carefully place 6 biscuits atop the tomato filling in the pan.  Brush biscuit tops with buttermilk and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Reshape and reroll excess biscuit dough to make extra biscuits at another time.  (The shaped biscuit dough freezes very well.)

Return warm filling and biscuit dough to oven and bake for 17-20 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown and cooked through, and the tomato mixture is bubbling.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before serving.  Tomato Cobbler is best served warm.

*posted directly from Joy the Baker’s blog

Healthy Weeknight Dinner – White Beans with Crispy Kale

White Beans with Kale, Onion and Bacon
Yet another beautifully simple dish inspired by Tyler Florence’s book, Start Fresh (I very loosely followed the recipe). ¬†I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes cooking, but especially those who are cooking for babies or toddlers and desiring to show them a variety of foods at an early age. ¬†I was talking to a friend just last night who said that because of the picky way she ate when she was little, she has such a hard time trying new foods as an adult. ¬†Consequently, she is sure she hates cauliflower but is going to try it for the first time this week. ¬†Hooray! ¬†There are many ways to enjoy new vegetables and one of the best ways is by roasting them. So simple, so fresh and brings out a whole host of flavors you won’t get by steaming or boiling.

This recipe calls for kale, onion and bacon to roast together in the oven. ¬†The kale gets super crispy and the bacon adds enough fat to take the dish to comfort-food level. ¬†If I were feeding this to a baby, I’d simply take a bit of each component and blend it up with a little water or stock! ¬†It’s totally easy to let the babies eat what you eat – just cook good food for YOU and blend it or mash it up for THEM! ¬†This is the essence of Start Fresh and if you want an all-inclusive book for babies through toddler years and older, this is the book for you!

White Beans and Kale with Bacon

White Beans with Kale, Shallot and Bacon*
serves 4 to 6

1 large bunch of kale leaves, ribs removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 small shallots, cut into strips
3 slices thick cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

On a baking sheet, arrange the kale, bacon, shallot and pine nuts and bake at 350F until the bacon is crisp, about 25 minutes.  Stir a few times as it bakes to ensure nothing burns and the bacon cooks evenly.  In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and crush the clove of garlic and add to the oil and when it begins to sizzle and turn brown, add the beans and stir to combine, add the stock and reduce the heat to low and let the beans simmer.  Salt and pepper the beans to taste and discard the garlic clove.  Serve the beans with the kale mixture on top and enjoy!

*inspired by a recipe from Start Fresh. ¬†He made a risotto and I used beans ūüôā ¬†Work with what you have!

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
I‘ve seen this recipe around the Pinterest/Facebook/Blog world for a while, now and the first time I tried it, it was one of those moments when I bitterly complained that what I made didn’t look at ALL like the picture. ¬†Ever feel that way? ¬†I think the second time around, without a recipe, I just followed my nose and used the spices I like and let them roast much longer and I had SUCCESS! ¬†They turned out super crunchy, wonderfully spiced and a great little starter for our meal, which Olive claimed as the favorite part of her meal and kept saying, “Mes, hickpeas?” ¬†over and over and over. ¬†I really think she ate about a half cup. ¬†I wouldn’t recommend that to other moms, but that’s what happened and since they were part of the meal, I let it slide. ¬†But yeah, they eat like a snack and I would recommend this to anyone for a healthier option for a party snack, during a movie, etc. ¬†And you can have fun with whatever spice blend you want! ¬†Happy Monday and I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp each of:
salt, pepper, onion powder, paprika
a sprinkle of garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 375. Spread out the drained, rinsed chickpeas on paper towels and dry those suckers out WELL.  Place the chickpeas on a rimmed baking sheet and add the olive oil.  Mess them around with your hands till every last wee pea is coated in oil.  Sprinkle the spice blend over the peas and roll them all around till they are all coated.  Place the chickpeas in the oven for 25-35 minutes until they are golden and when the pan is shaken, they sound hard and roll around easy.

Let them cool for a bit before transferring them to a bowl, just because you don’t want to enthusiastically grab a handful of glowing-hot peas.

Serve at the beginning of the meal or for a snack and enjoy!

Sweet Soy Glazed Chicken

Honey Soy Glazed Chicken Legs

Happy Wednesday. ¬†I got to spend today baking in the kitchen with one of my favorite people in the world, Becky McGrew. ¬†We baked something truly decadent and crazy rich, but that will be a post for another day. ūüôā ¬†Today is more practical. ¬†At the beginning of the week, I have such gusto for cooking my meals. ¬†I go to the store on Sunday nights and buy my grocery list for meals to get me through at least Wednesday night (I don’t like to buy more than that, lest things go bad in the fridge, waiting to be cooked.) ¬†Thursday morning is usually winding down and trying to find a use for my many leftovers. ¬†It’s good to have a few recipes you can always rely on to be great and interesting in the middle of the week. ¬†Recipes that aren’t hard, aren’t boring and make you feel glad you didn’t just give up and go out to dinner.

This is a perfect mid-week meal because it gets you over the hump in the week and gives you amazing leftovers.  Such a rich, sweet and savory glaze on this chicken pairs perfect with a few light sides like stir-fried snap peas or roasted brussels sprouts with fish sauce vinaigrette.

Honey Soy Glazed Chicken*

12 chicken legs (or other parts, but I’d definitely use chicken on the bone)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons neutral oil (not olive)
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup honey
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 400¬ļF. Wash and dry and lightly salt and pepper the chicken and place in a 9X13-inch pan.

Combine remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Toss chicken in the sauce and then arrange, skin-side down in the baking pan. Place in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove pan, turn chicken over, and return to the oven for another 30 minutes. Remove pan and turn chicken over once more. Turn the oven down to 375¬ļF and bake for an additional 15 minutes. ¬†My chicken didn’t get as glazed as the original recipe appears, so I took matters into my own hands and placed the chicken on a serving platter and tented it with foil to keep warm and then put the sauce on the stove in a medium saucepan and let it reduce by half until really syrupy. ¬†BEST DECISION EVER. ¬†I then took a ladle of the syrup and added it to rice as an accompaniment. ¬†BEST DECISION EVER. ¬†I think you could add the reduced soy glaze to just about anything and it would be…the best decision ever. ¬†Totally delictable, dresses up any sad chicken, any sad side dish. ¬†Would be great tossed with roasted broccoli for a stir-fry. ¬†Geez, the possibilities are endless. ¬†Enjoy!

*recipe adapted from Alaxandra Cooks

Beautiful Beets and Second Chances

beets008

This is a perfect Monday post because no one really reads my Monday posts so I can be as nerdy as I want. ¬†Here it comes…

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I took a lot of pictures of beets the other today. ¬†They’re beautiful. ¬†Why aren’t they more popular in this country? ¬†A PINK food? ¬†Come on! Kids should be all over these. ¬†They stain worse than food coloring. ¬†They roast up sweet and savory. ¬†I think a lot of people in this country have been scarred by canned or pickled beets. ¬†That’s the taste they have in their minds. ¬†I can understand why that wouldn’t be the most appealing taste memory. ¬†But think about this – what if someone decided a long time ago that the best way to eat a potato would be to brine it? ¬†Everyone would say, “Eww, potatoes.” ¬†THINK ABOUT THAT! ¬†So, my determination is to try previously unappealing foods in different ways than they are known for. ¬†Roasting is almost always the best way to cook a root vegetable. ¬†It works with just about anything from asparagus to parsnips to turnips. ¬†It’s good to give foods with a bad reputation a ¬†second chance. You never know if you’re one recipe away from your new favorite food.

This post is really just for showing the pics I took of beets.  And if you are curious, peel them, chop them into cubes, coat them in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast them for 30 minutes at 400F until tender.  No brainer.

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Ready for roasting

My family looking at me as if I’d gone crazy while I took pictures of beets for 30 minutes.
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