At some point over the holidays you know it’s time to rein it in. Eating a sleeve of Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joes (insiders tip: they are even better frozen!) with a chaser of prosecco and calling it dinner can’t go on for too many days in a row. I find it’s best to do it before January 1st. Everyone knows that New Years resolutions don’t last.
I’m not talking about a kale and quinoa salad or an almond milk-frozen banana- spinach smoothie level reining it in. That’s hard core and way too severe for late December. I’m just suggesting that you prepare a meal that contains some protein, complex carbs and perhaps something green, and that requires you to actually sit down and use a knife and fork to eat it.
This recipe was inspired by NYT Cooking editor, Sam Sifton. Every Wednesday he writes about cooking without a recipe. On October 12 2016, he suggested roasting chicken thighs with sweet potato fries and jalapeños. I have made it several times, tweaking the procedure and quantities so you don’t have to cook without a recipe!
This sheet-pan chicken dinner is the perfect way to ease you back into a healthy routine. Start with cutting some sweet potatoes into a julienne shoestring fries shape. A glug of olive oil and a judicious sprinkle of Kosher salt and coarse black pepper to coat the fries is all that is required for seasoning.Season some boneless skinless chicken things with more salt and pepper and a light dusting of smoked paprika (mild or hot, your choice). Roast for about 40 minutes in a hot (425°F) oven. Squeeze some fresh time juice over the chicken, scatter with thinly sliced jalapeño peppers (pickled jalalpenos are really good too!) and some cilantro and call it dinner. One frozen dark chocolate covered peppermint joe joe is a sensible dessert. It’s too soon to go cold turkey. Save that for January 1st!
Yes, I admit it’s rather bold of me to suggest that you turn on the oven during this hellish heatwave, but stick with me here, and hopefully I’ll succeed in convincing you to do just that. It goes without saying that if you’re going to roast a chicken in the middle of July, it better be exceptional. This one comes from the master of Mid-East cuisine, Yotam Ottolenghi. Need I say more? This recipe was featured in the August 2014 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.
Start with a heap of thinly sliced red onions. You could roast a whole roast chicken or chicken pieces, but I like to spatchcock the chicken for a more impressive presentation. Basically this just means removing the backbone to flatten the chicken for quicker cooking. You could ask the butcher to do it, or simply use kitchen shears and do it yourself. I have included detailed instructions in the recipe.
Prepare a marinade of garlic, sumac, allspice, cinnamon, salt, pepper and olive oil and mix withsliced onions and lemons . Give the chicken at least a two hours to soak up all the flavour.After marinating, generously coat the chicken with za’atar, transfer to a roasting pan and arrange some of the onions and lemons on top of the chicken so that they will get gloriously brown. While the chicken is roasting, prepare the green tahini sauce. Have you noticed that tahini seems to be popping up everywhere lately? It’s the new darling of the culinary world, and for good reason. It is really quite versatile. Molly made a tahini sheet cake with cream cheese frosting. Ottolenghi made tahini and halvah brownies. If you need more inspiration, check out these amazing desserts.
Parsley for verdant freshness and vibrant colour, lemon for it’s pucker, and garlic for it’s punch, all make good playmates for tahini.Epicurious.com suggested adding some toasted pita to this recipe. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it, along with the onions and lemons to a baking sheet. Toss some toasted pita bread in all those delicious pan juices. Place the chicken, lemons and onions back on top of the pita in the roasting pan and broil it until the skin gets crispy brown. Heap it onto a serving platter, top with toasted pine nuts and serve the sauce on the side.
Somehow, when you put dinner on a skewer it just seems more festive. Local peach and nectarine season is right around the corner, so bookmark this recipe and celebrate the season.
The combination of peanut butter and coconut milk could skew a bit sweet and heavy, but lime juice and jalapeño provide the perfect balance. Cilantro adds a fresh-grassy herbal note, but cilantro haters could certainly substitute Italian parsley. The marinade also includes Greek yogurt. If you keep kosher or just want a dairy-free marinade, I have discovered a great yogurt alternative – So Delicious Dairy-Free Unsweetened Coconut Yogurt. It provides the tanginess of yogurt without the dairy. Surprisingly, it does not taste overwhelmingly of coconut. I used boneless skinless chicken thighs, as they are almost impossible to overcook. Don’t forget to soak the wooden skewers so they don’t burn. For a casual dinner, wrap some warm pita around the skewer, pull the wooden stick out and to make a wrap. Serve extra sauce, lime, chopped peanuts and cilantro on the side.
Cauliflower is the darling of the vegetable world this year. It is her chameleon-like qualities that make her such a popular girl. Sliced into slabs and roasted as “steak“, shaved thinly and served raw as slaw, boiled and mashed and served in “stuffed potatoes“, roasted whole so it resembles a “brain”, cauliflower crust pizza, and now, masquerading as fried rice.
Is this taking carb avoidance too far? I love fried rice, and had my doubts that cauliflower could step up to the plate and replace the rice in this classic dish. But Google “Cauliflower Fried Rice” and no fewer than 566,000 results pop up. I needed to see what all the fuss was about. Making the cauliflower “rice” couldn’t be simpler. Pulse cauliflower florets in the food processor, about 10 times and you’re done. You could also grate the cauliflower on the large holes of a box grater. I used this recipe from chatelaine.com and adapted it slightly. Get all your ingredients chopped and measured before you start cooking, because this comes together quickly once you start the actual cooking.It genuinely looks like fried rice and it tastes delicious. I was worried that the flavour of the cauliflower would be overpowering, but with all the other ingredients, it wasn’t. Soy sauce and hoisin work together to add authenticity. While you know you’re not eating rice, it is still hits the spot. You can have a big bowl and feel satisfyingly full and healthy. I will be making this again very soon!
For more delicious cauliflower recipes, check out this cauliflower post on wellbeingsecrets.com.
When spring finally arrives, most people don’t normally turn to braising as a cooking method. But you guys don’t read this blog because I’m like most people. I promise I will hustle out to the BBQ very soon, but this braised spring chicken recipe really deserves your attention now. Mindy Fox created this recipe for epicurious.com. I adapted it slightly.
I decided on using boneless skinless thighs for this to hasten the cooking time. Feel free to use bone-in thighs or breasts if that’s how you roll. Just promise me you won’t select boneless breasts. They are not meant for braising. I treated the thighs to a generous seasoning of ground fennel seeds, paprika, salt and pepper.After an initial browning, the thighs are simmered gently in white wine and chicken stock. The proper technique is to have the chicken pieces only halfway submerged in the braising liquid. Don’t drown them.
Leeks are thinly sliced and slowly sautéed until meltingly tender. Fat spears of asparagus and green peas pretty much shout “SPRING”. I used frozen peas because fresh are still a few weeks away for us here in Ottawa. Mini yellow, red and purple potatoes seemed like a good idea so I invited them to this spring fête as well!The braising liquid gets reduced and treated to a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Scatter chopped dill and lemon zest over everything and celebrate spring.
Click here to print recipe for Spring Chicken.