Sunday, January 29, 2012

Balsamic Chicken

We are still loving all of the recipes I try from Make it Paleo.  Most of them are so simple and fast to make, which is what I really like in a recipe for a work night.  And they have all tasted wonderful, too.  This one is no exception.  In the book, it is titled Balsamic and Rosemary Chicken.  I could not find my rosemary when I made this, so I used some of my home-dried french tarragon instead.  It was awesome.  The herbs and garlic flavor the chicken while it bakes and the balsamic that is drizzled on immediately once you remove from the oven soaks in and adds an even more wonderful flavor.  I want to try this with bone-in, skin-on chicken some time.  I used boneless, skinless as the recipe called for this time, since I do freeze some boneless, skinless breasts when I butcher my fresh chickens (though most are frozen with bone in, and skin on.  This recipe will have a regular place in our meals.  It'll be awesome this summer on salads that we make from our CSA share - which we just decided on this weekend and will be sending in our deposit for this week!  We can't wait! 

Balsamic Chicken

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon tarragon or rosemary, dried - increase to 2 teaspoons if using fresh
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Press fresh garlic and tarragon or rosemary into chicken breasts. 

Roast at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately drizzle balsamic vinegar over chicken breasts.  Let rest in pan for a few minutes before serving. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Paleo Smoked Paprika Chicken

One of my Christmas gifts this year was the cookbook Make it Paleo.  The cookbook is huge and every recipe is accompanied by a picture, which is so great.  I've been really anxious to try out some of the recipes and finally got around to trying a few this past week.  First up was smoked paprika chicken.  This was super fast and easy to prep, with virtually no cleanup from prep other than throwing the ziplock bag away.  It takes awhile to roast, but it's so worth it.  The chicken develops a wonderful smoky flavor with a crunchy skin.  It was so delicious! 

Even though the cook time is kind of lengthy, this recipe involves such little hands on time.  Prep took less than 5 minutes, then the oven does the rest of the work.  So this is definitely a keeper recipe.  I served this with side salads, roasted asparagus, and corn.

The recipe in Make it Paleo is for chicken thighs.  When I butcher my fresh chickens, I freeze the dark meat in quarters.  So I used quarters and increased the spice quantities a bit to account for more chicken.  The recipe also calls for red palm oil, which I do not have.  I used coconut oil and it worked great.  I've posted the recipe below as I made it.

Smoked Paprika Chicken Quarters

3 bone-in, skin-on pastured chicken quarters (leg and thigh)
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 

Put the spices and oil in a large ziplock bag, mix well.  Next, add the chicken and toss until the chicken is fully coated. 

Place chicken in a baking pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake at 425 for 40-45 minutes.

This post is linked to: 
Monday Mania @ The Healthy Home Economist

Monday, January 9, 2012

Easy Cheesy Queso Dip

Ok, so this recipe is not paleo-friendly at all.  But this is a super easy appetizer to throw together if some friends show up at your door to hang out for a bit unexpectedly, or you decide to head over to a get together last-minute and have nothing planned or prepped to contribute.  Bottom line, it's super fast to throw together and is always a hit.  I've been making this dip for many years, I think since high school, or shortly thereafter.  My friend Destiny made it many, many years ago for a get together at her house and I've loved it ever since. 

Easy Cheesy Queso Dip

8 oz organic cream cheese, or homemade soft cheese
1/2 - 3/4 cup homemade salsa
1 cup shredded cheddar or co-jack cheese

Leave cream cheese out of refrigerator to soften a little.  Once it has softened, mix all ingredients together.  Serve immediately, or place back in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve.  This is great with tortilla chips and fresh veggies! 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Paleo Dijon Pork Chops

I'm still getting back into the swing of things when it comes to cooking dinners.  I still have some "off" days, but thankfully my good days far outnumber the bad ones.  I've been kind of excited to finally get back to cooking.  Its been a long couple months of eating leftovers (if I would make a big crockpot of something on a weekend... cooked in the garage to avoid the smell :)), food brought over by my family, and eating out.  I think we were all looking forward to home-cooked family dinners again.  :)

I was hungry for pork chops last week, so I came up with this recipe based off of things that have been tasty in the past.  This is super simple and a very quick meal... Perfect for a work night!  Dinner was on the table within a little less than 20 minutes after starting the prep.  And it was delicious!  That's my kind of meal! 

Paleo Dijon Pork Chops

2-3 pork chops, preferably pastured pork
2-3 Tablespoons dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper

Preheat a stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add some coconut oil to melt.  Also, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Meanwhile, mix dijon, garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl.  Dip pork chops into mixture, making sure all surfaces are covered. 

Place pork chops in hot skillet.  Don't move them once you put them down in the skillet.  You want to get a nice brown color on each side.  It took mine about 2 minutes per side. 

Once both sides have been seared, transfer the skillet to your preheated oven.  Cook until done, probably about 7-9 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve.

I served these with peas, corn, and side salads.  Enjoy!

This post is linked to:
Fight Back Friday @ Food Renegade
Monday Mania @ The Healthy Home Economist
Weekend Gourmet Blog Carnival @ Hartke is Online

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year! I'm Back!

First off, Happy New Year!!  I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season with your friends and family and that you have a blessed 2012 ahead of you! 

Secondly, I know I've been MIA since the end of October.  Sorry about that!  I found out just before the time of my last post that I am pregnant and expecting baby #2.  It's been quite a rough first trimester with lots of "morning" sickness and I just couldn't bring myself to even think about blogging about food.  :)  Thankfully, I've now passed the 14-week mark... and am finally in the last week of my first trimester!!!!  I am feeling much improved, but still have some bouts with the "morning" sickness.  I hope things will continue to improve in the next week or two.  And I also hope to start getting some new blog posts up soon. 

I wanted to first just do a quick reflection on my 2011 goals... cheesemaking, fermented cod liver oil/butter oil, language learning, run a 5k, buy a grain mill, eat fewer grains, P90x, lose weight, and catch up on blog posts. 
  • I did venture into cheesemaking quite a bit earlier in the year - I still have quite a few posts in my back-log that I'd like to eventually get on the blog about it.  I got a little side-tracked with garden stuff and food preservation in the summer months and kind of got out of the habit, though.  I plan to get back into it soon, though.  
  • I started taking the gel form of the fermented CLO/BO and was doing great with it until I found out I was pregnant.  :)  I just couldn't stomach it, so I switched back to the pill form.  I'd like to get back on the gel stuff soon, as well. 
  • I didn't get very far with language learning for myself, but Kevin and I have been working with Carson quite a bit.  He knows quite a bit of spanish and some french.  We'll continue working on this for awhile. 
  • I didn't run a 5k.  No excuses for it, either.  :)
  • I didn't buy a grain mill, but I did eat way fewer grains.  I figured the grain mill would not get used much at all once we went primal/paleo mid-way through the year.  I don't plan to buy one anymore.  We've been off the primal/paleo way of life since I started having "morning sickness," but are just starting to get back into it this week, finally.  We won't be 100% for awhile, probably, but anything will be better than the way we've been eating these last two months! 
  • I did do some P90X and lost a bit of weight, but then gained it back... and then lost some again with the "morning" sickness.  I'm still down 15 pounds from the end of October, when I found out I was pregnant, and not gaining anything.  We'll see if it lasts. 
  • I did catch up on lots of blog posts, but still have a ton that I'd like to get posted eventually.  We'll see what life brings. 
For 2012, I'm not really making any strict goals.  We've had some things happen recently that have reminded us what is really important in life.  The to-do lists and projects will always be there, but our friends and family may not be.  So I guess this year, our only goal is to enjoy life!  Of course, we'll accomplish a lot along the way, but we just want to life a happy, love-filled life and not have any regrets.  :) 

For awhile now, this blog has not been a priority to me... yet my stats are the highest they've ever been.  The number of comments don't reflect the number of visits, though.  If you visit and try a recipe, please let me know - I'd love to hear about it!  Even these last two months, with no new posts at all, my stats are higher than they were for any particular month in years past.  It's kind of crazy.  Of course, I'll still be posting this year, though.  But like I said, it's not a priority.  So I apologize now if there are gaps of time between posts or if I don't respond to your comment or question right away. 

Lastly, just for fun... I wanted to post my Top 10 Posts for 2011

10. Eggs in a Basket (with Zucchini)

9.  Making Homemade Butter from Raw Cream

8.  Chicken Souvlaki

7.  Balsamic Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

6.  Strawberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

5.  Paleo/Primal Stuffed Peppers in the Crockpot

4.  Organic Gardening - Soil Testing

3.  Grain-Free Fudgy Brownies

2.  Paleo Salmon Florentine

1.  Primal Egg Casserole

This post is linked to:
Monday Mania @ Healthy Home Economist
Simple Lives Thursday @ GNOWFGLINS
Pennywise Platter Thursday @ The Nourishing Gourmet