Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Skillet Lemon Garlic Chicken

I love lemon,  I love garlic.  This dish is a match made in a heaven for me.  You can add more lemon if you like it really lemony,  which I do.  This recipe came about because I was dog sitting my parents rat of a dog.  And,  if you dog sit you get to eat all the food.  This was based off mostly things in the house,  with the addition of some lemons I bought.  That's why I like it,  most of the ingredients you should have in your house.  I stole all their frozen chicken,  and everything else minus the lemon.  Which after I went and bought lemons,  I saw they have 3 in the fridge.  Ugh.  Out of spite,  at the end of my dog sitting tour,  I took my lemon home with me.   

I highly encourage you to use the zest,  and use citrus zest whenever possible.  The house of flavor and the depth it adds is phenomenal.  

Skillet Lemon Garlic Chicken
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook:  About 30 minutes
Serves: 3-4


Four chicken breast
1/4 cup flour
Two lemons
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons parsley, divided
1 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup room temperature whole milk s
Salt and pepper for seasoning

1. Preheat the oven to 375°.

2.  Heat a  large oven safe skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat.

3.  Allow the oil to heat from 5 to 7 minutes until searing hot. While the oil is heating pounds are four chicken breasts even thickness.

4.  On a plate add the flour and just want to tire lemon into the flour,  mix well with a fork.

5.  Season the chicken breast on both side liberally with salt-and-pepper.

6.  Begin dipping the chicken into your flour mixture and shake off excess flour. One by one until the chicken breasts are covered in flour.  Add chicken breasts one by one into the hot skillet as you complete flouring them.  

7.  Allow chicken to brown on both sides  for  5  total minutes. Do not worry about cooking the chicken breast completely through, as you will finish it in the oven.

8.  Dice garlic and set aside while chicken is cooking.

9.  Remove chicken to a plate and allow to rest on a plate covered with tinfoil.

10.  Reduce heat to medium low and add the garlic, scrape up any bits left on the bottom of the pan.

11. Once garlic is fragrant about 1 to 2 minutes,  add red pepper flakes, the juice of the lemon you already zested,  1 teaspoon of parsley, and one and a half cups of chicken broth.

12.  Return heat to high and allow to cook and reduced by about half, that should take about 7 to 10 minutes.

13.  Once reduced remove the pan from the heat and whisk in 1/2 cup room temperature whole milk. Do not allow the milk and chicken broth to come back to a boil.

14.  Add one tablespoon of butter to the middle of the pan.

15.  Add chicken breast and any collected drippings on the plate back into the skillet.

16.  Place in oven for 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

17.  Remove from oven and garnish with the zest of a lemon and remaining parsley.

18.  Serve with fresh lemon wedges over rice or pasta :)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Spicy Chicken and Caramelized Fennel over Basmati Rice

I love Blue Apron.  I've only had about one meal that missed the mark.  So,  if you never tried it,  I encourage it.  I get a 3 meal delivery about once a month, just to spice things up.... IN THE KITCHEN.  Dirty mind.  Each meal makes 2 meals each,  so if I don't share with Zach I end up with dinner and then a lunch for each meal.  Or two dinners,  depending on how likely it is I will have time to heat up lunch at work the next day.  These are not prepared meals,  so it does require some work on your part.  Everything is premeasured,  and allows you to actually cook.  This would be awesome for a novice cook.  

Last week on Blue Apron I had a lovely meal, similar to this one.  I made some changes to kick it up a notch,  like adding wine to make the sauce more of a Bordeaux then a vinegar based sauce.   The sauce I created is rich,  but yet still tangy due to the Sherry Vinegar.   Its' easy enough to make it as a prepped meal,  and delicious enough that you won't get tired of it.  The chicken is light and moist (gross word,  but I couldn't find a comparable word to suite this)  and the Fennel (or Anise) has a crunchy texture.  If you go to the grocery store and you see something similar to fennel,  but it says Anise-- same thing.  It all plays beautifully off the sticky rice.  

I'm a rice freak.  Mostly because it's healthier than pasta and allows me to get my carb macros during the week.   I stick to two main rices:  Basmati,  and Brown.   For this however,  I like the stickiness of the Basmati rice.  But,  my spidey senses tell me this would be awesome over a noodle as well.  Give that a try,  and let me know.    My recommendation is definitely for the Basmati.  

Spicy Chicken and Caramelized Fennel over Basmati Rice

Prep Time:  15 minutes
Cook Time:  40 minutes (possibly less, possibly more depending on the rice you use)
Serves:  3-4

Rice of choice,  or pasta of choice
1- 1 1/2 pounds of chicken breast
2 large Fennel Bulbs
2 White Onions
3 Cloves of Garlic
1/4 cup of Flour  
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp of Olive Oil
1/2 cup Dry Red Wine
3 tbsp Sherry Vinegar
2 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Parsley Flakes, divided
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper for liberal seasoning

1.  Cook the rice according to the package directions.  Once done,  set aside covered to keep warm.

2.   While the rice is cooking,  heat a cast iron skillet (this works the best I've found for browning meat,  if you do not have one a nonstick pan would work fine) with 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium to high heat.

3.  While the cast iron is heating up (should take almost 5 minutes to be searing),   clean and prepare the chicken.  Discard any fat or tendons running throughout the chicken,  and cut into 3 inch cubs.
4.  Season WELL with salt and black pepper.

5.  In a zip lock bag,  add 1/4 cup of flour.  Throw the chicken in the bag and shake well coating each piece of chicken.

6.  With tongs,  remove the chicken chunks from the bag and shake off excess flour.  Place into heated skillet.  Discard excess flour.
7.  Allow chicken to brown on each side,  about 10 minutes for it to cook entirely. 
8.  While this is happening,  remove the top of the fennel and cut the bulb.  Remove any really thick pieces of bulb that are too fibrous to soften in the pan.  
9.  Cut the onion into rings and set aside with fennel.

10.  Once chicken is done,  remove to a plate and cover with tinfoil.  Allow additional oil or burnt bits to remain in the pan!!

11.  Reduce heat to medium low and add 1 tbsp of olive oil to pan,  and add onions and fennel.  Season with salt, pepper,  and tsp of red pepper flakes. 
12.  Allow to cook until caramelized,  stiring constantly for about 15- 20 minutes.  Add water to keep it from sticking if need be.

13.  While this is cooking,  finely dice the garlic and set aside.

14.  When the onions and fennel are just about done,  add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Make sure it doesn't burn,  so keep moving it around.  You will smell with the garlic is softened but not burnt.

15.   Once everything is cooked,  add the chicken back into your cast iron skillet.

16.  Add the following:  butter, water, wine,  sherry vinegar,  parsley.
17.  Allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes on high until the sauce is thickened and shiny.  The flour from the chicken will help to thicken it,  so that is an important step!  You could omit it and the wine to make this recipe Paleo,  but I don't recommend it.  I feel like you'd be changing the whole flavor profile if you did that.

18. Serve over starch of choice!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Korean Beef and Rice

Hands down,  this is legit my new go to.  I was so sad when all of the prepped meals were gone this week.  It literally, almost maybe kinda brought me to tears.  Zachy loved it too.  And,  I am so glad he did.  But,  secretly in a deep dark place in my heart I wished I had kept it all for myself.  

This is so easy.  like 10 EASY PEASY steps and it's perfection.  Absolute perfection.  One morning I even ate it for breakfast.  That's how damn good it is.    Although it's traditionally Korean,  it kind of reminds me of a Chinese food meal.  Like,  if you were craving greasy fattening deep fried food from your local China eatery,  this just might hit the spot.  If you were craving Wonton Soup,  just go get it from your local China eatery.  There is no replacement on earth for that.  MARK MY WORDS.

You could add a slew of veggies to make this like a stir-fry,  but honestly I sometimes prefer my food plain during the week...and easy.  I ate mine with a tomato, onion,  cucumber salad so my veggies were accomplished anyways.  This was done in 50 minutes total with the rice.  If you had precooked rice and microwaved it this recipe might take a total of 10 minutes.

This recipe is neither clean nor paleo, but you could make it so.  The sugar is minimal compared to how much this recipe actually makes--but delete it if you must.  It adds a nice sweetness and stickiness to the meat, and honestly who don't love sweet meat?  I am not a big fan of omitting all of one food from your diet entirely.  I think sugar,  in moderation,  has it's place. For me the place is if I don't occasionally eat it I will gorge on it in the form of gummy candy.  Then I will vomit due to my insulin level being through the roof,  then I will do it again.  Minimal amounts of sugar in my cooking (like in my gravy) keeps me from getting crazy.

Korean Beef and Rice
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes (unless you use minute rice, then 10 minutes)
Serves: 7-8

Your choice of rice,  enough to serve 1/2 each per serving of beef
2lb of 80/20 Ground Beef
3 large garlic cloves, diced tiny
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil-- plus more for serving
1 tsp red pepper flakes 
1 tsp ground ginger
2 large bunches of green onion (this is a must!!)


1.  Cook rice according to package directions,  I prefer Basmati.  But any rice will do.

2.  Wait for rice to almost be done,  like take a nap or something.

3.  In a large nonstick saucepan cook the 2 lbs of beef over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until no longer pink.

5.  Drain off fat from meat and place back on the stove top over medium heat.

6.  To the meat add in:  garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, ground ginger, and sesame oil.

7.  Stir until well incorporated and sugar has melted.

8.  Allow to cook for 5 minutes until all ingredients have incorporated.    It will become a beautiful dark brown when it's all incorporated,  and even will be a little sticky.

9.  Serve with a good heap of green onion on top (I hold mine over each and cut with scissors to let it fall over top). Serve over 1/2 or 1 cup of  chosen rice (Zach got 1 cup,  I got 1/2).

10.  Final and most important step is to drizzle Sesame Oil over each meal for an added ZINNNNNGGGGGGG.

Roasted Eggplant and Onions

I am a huge fan of roasted veggies.  It's time consuming,  but I love roasting veggies on Sunday to have snacks throughout the week.  They are great cold,  and hot over rice.  I am a rice freak.  Basmati,  brown, white,  straight up RICE FREAK.   I ate this as a quick post workout snack with basmati rice,  but you could also just eat it throughout the week as a snack.  

Roasted Eggplant and Onions
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time:   1 hour, 20 minutes (approximately)
Serves: 6


Three large eggplants
Eight onions a mix of Red onion and white onion
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon
One large garlic bulb
Salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes

You will need: Five greased baking sheets

1.  Cut the eggplant into rings.
2.  Spread out on three baking sheets.
3.  Sprinkle salt all over each eggplant ring. 

4.  Preheat the oven to 400°
5.  Cut all of the onions into rings and spread out on the remaining baking sheets
6.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper cover with 1 tablespoon of olive oil
7.  Take the garlic bulb and remove any excess paper
8.  Place on top of a small square of tinfoil
9.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon of olive oil

10. Close before oil into a ball around the garlic bulb
11. Place the tinfoil ball on one of the onion sheets

12. Place both pans of onions in the oven
13.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until translucent
14.  Remove the onion pans and set aside
15.  Dab all of the eggplant rings with a paper towel to remove excess water and excess salt
16.  Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil on each pan covering the eggplant
17.  Place in the oven for one hour turning over each plant ring after 30 minutes
18.  Remove from oven and mix with onions and a bowl,  mix in desired amount of red pepper flakes for spiciness (or don't
19.  Remove the garlic and squeeze out the garlic
20.  Smash the garlic and add into the onion and eggplant making sure its well incorporated.

Serve as a side or as a meal over rice