Roasted sheet pan dinner

It is finally feeling a little like spring around here. The sun is shining, the wind isn’t too bad and the bugs are not around yet so I spent 4 hours outside raking and still have another 4ish or at least someone else has another 4 or so I mean I don’t want to have all the fun!
IMG_4025.JPGI mentioned the other day I wanted to make a sheet pan meal. Well it was worth the wait. It was easy to prep, mostly hands off cooking and the flavor was on point. I will confess I was a little hesitant to add everything including the chicken into one bowl but everything was going to be cooked on the same sheet and at 425’ for 35-45 minutes it will be fine!
IMG_4018I will be making this again; and am looking forward to playing around with different flavors; I think there is endless possibilities to try. It actually might become a staple this summer especially when there is so many other things to do with the longer days.
IMG_4019I do want to mention that you might need to pay attention to what veggies you are cooking. Carrots take longer than potatoes, beets take longer than carrots you get the picture. If you want to stagger than you can, I did not and beets and carrots were cooked but still had a little firmness to them. You can also slice the carrots smaller than the potatoes so the cook around the same time.
IMG_4020.JPGIngredients
6 chicken thighs
2-3 potatoes – or use 6-7 small baby reds
4-5 carrots
3 beets – optional
1 large onion sliced
2-3 garlic cloves sliced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
¼ cup olive oil
2 lemons juiced
Salt and black pepper

Directions
Peel and slice the veggies and place in a large bowl. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides; add them to the bowl. Add the oil, lemon, rosemary and season with salt and pepper.

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I added the beets after I put everything else on the sheet – didn’t want everything purple

Spread everything out on the sheet pan. For easy clean up (it still made a mess but it was less) cover your sheet with non stick foil. Spread everything out the best you can and bake for 35-45 minutes.
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Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs

This week my kitchen was pretty quiet; which is my way of saying that I didn’t make anything exciting that I felt I HAD to share with you. That doesn’t mean we didn’t eat it’s more how I would say “no brainer” meals were had this week. What I mean by that is whatever was simple, quick and not a lot of ingredients. Any shortcut you know works here!

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I am sitting here trying to think why I didn’t make something fun and exciting. I don’t think we were super busy, though we did spend a wonderful night out on the town. I mentioned in last weeks blog about gathering 9 of my foodie friends and family to a food bank fundraising event featuring Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli. What an awesome night! She is a true rock star. She was funny, engaging, personable, approachable and everything I had hoped she would be and more.
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Three of us paid a little extra, it was for charity, it’s all good. For a meet and greet with Alex. I met her, shook her hand and took pictures with her, we are on first name basis now, well at least I think so and it’s my blog so that’s what I am going with.
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While in the VIP room; yeah that’s what they called it. I was kind of geeking out. There was a TV chef from my younger days that I recognized Mary Ann Esposito she has a show on Public Television called Ciao Italia which I just looked up is the longest-running television cooking program in America. I watched this all the time when I was younger; mostly because it was one of the 5 channels we had. But I loved her and her show so it was an honor to meet her. Plus she thought my daughter was my sister so I love her even more.
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We had a great time laughing and talking with local Chef Luca Paris who is Chef/Owner of Luca’s Mediterranean a few towns over. I’ve eaten at his place numerous times but this is the first time we chatted more than just the cordial meet and greet; here’s your table and how is everything. He was one of the competitors; this was an chef challenge event; he didn’t win – but we were routing for him all night.
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If you are looking for something simple, hands off and delicious this is going to help you out a lot. I know it’s not really a recipe but we had such a great night I wanted to share it with you but this is a food blog so I wanted to leave you with something.
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Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs – couldn’t be simpler!

Bone in skin on Chicken thighs – however many fit in a single layer in your size crockpot
Kosher salt
Black Pepper

Salt and Pepper both sides of your chicken thighs and lay them in a single layer in your slow cooker, nothing else just put the cover on them and leave on low for the day. about 6-8 hours. They come out perfectly cooked with the skin still crispy. it’s that simple and they taste great. Add a couple of your quick sides and dinner is served.

I’m sure you could add another spice to the mix; maybe Cajun, Garlic, Italian seasoning whatever you like.

Sweet and Spicy Apple Butter Chipotle Chicken Thighs

Yes I still have some apple butter in my fridge! A few weeks ago I made something sweet; apple butter bars; that I hope some of you might have tried making as they were moist, flavorful and delicious!

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When I was looking up recipes to use up the apple butter I hadn’t even considered going the savory route till I found a recipe for chicken thighs and it also asked for 10 cloves of garlic; nothing can go wrong with 10 cloves of garlic. I used to be strictly a boneless skinless chicken breast; now my go to chicken is bone in skin on chicken thighs. They are so versatile, very forgiving and pretty inexpensive. They can stand up to cooking for longer times than chicken breasts, which can dry out if you are distracted or just plain over cook.them. If you are worried about the extra fat being that the skin is still on, you can cook the chicken; get all the flavor from the skin and remove it before you eat it.

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With a little planning you could make this a weeknight dinner. Don’t stop reading here just yet. The only reasons I say a little planning is; you’ll want to marinate the chicken for at least 3 hours. So you could make the marinade and place the chicken in it overnight you won’t be disappointed.

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Sweet and Spicy Apple Butter Chipotle Chicken Thighs

8 chicken thighs
3-5 Chipotles adobo sauce, chopped (use your discretion with the heat tolerance)
1 medium yellow onion, rough chopped
10 Garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup worcestershire sauce
¾ cup apple butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Mince the garlic, chop the chipotles, and rough chop the onion.
Combine the garlic, chipotles, onion, worcestershire and apple butter in a ziploc bag.
Put the chicken in the bag and squish it around so the chicken is completely covered.
Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, OK overnight

Preheat oven to 425’
Line a 9×13 dish with foil, spray it with nonstick spray.
Place the thighs skin side up and cover them with the marinade
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the internal temp is 165’ F
Allow chicken to rest for 5-6 minutes for best results

 

Recipe adapted from http://asouthernfairytale.com/2010/

 

Maple-roasted chicken and acorn squash

I found another one-pan dinner that I think you need to try; super easy and very tasty and did I mention only one dish? Over the last couple of weeks, I have attended a couple of events where I have run into some blasts from the past if you will. I am finding it very humbling when they come up to me and the first words are “I love your blog, or “I am enjoying reading and seeing all your food” “I want to come to a class or can I just come to dinner” “I made this weeks and it was awesome; thank you” I am enjoying writing and sharing my love of food and new recipes that I don’t even think of who is actually reading my words so I am just very grateful when someone I know mentions they read and enjoy I truly thank you!

 

One such compliment was from my sister-in-law who came to visit a couple of weeks ago. I love when she comes up; she is smart, funny and loves food AND wine. Some of my favorite attributes in company; well she is family she’s not company.

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I love that she would much rather cook in than go out to dinner; she watches me, takes home recipes and notes and  I know she goes home and makes what she takes with her because I have gotten a few texts with minor questions. I love it!

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This is one dish that I threw together kind of last minute as I wasn’t sure if we were staying in or going out. My girlfriend KP can attest to this indecisiveness. She was here one night when the wine was flowing and we still needed to eat, going out was not going to be an option, I mentioned the wine right? So we threw together a delicious meal and a phrase we still kind of use today “my sous chef sucks” long story short, the veggies were not cut into uniformed pieces.

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I need to admit that acorn squash was never on my radar; I bet it has to do with it being green. I know the inside is not but the outside is DARK green. I know I am evolving as an adult and green is no longer an issue but I never really knew what to do with it. I have already bought it twice in a month so I could make this dish. From making it a couple of times, I want to mention to leave the squash I larger pieces, when I made it chopped up it got too mushy.

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Maple-roasted chicken and acorn squash

1 medium Acorn squash
4 Carrots, chopped
1 medium Onion
6 Chicken thighs bone in skin on
½ cup Maple syrup
1+ tsp Kosher salt
½+ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
sprig of fresh Rosemary stem removed and chopped

Preheat oven to 450’F

Cut squash lengthwise in half; remove seeds, cut each half crosswise into ½ inch slices; throwaway ends.

Place squash, carrots and onions sprinkle with some of the rosemary, salt and pepper in greased 13×9 baking pan. Season both sides of the chicken with remaining rosemary, salt and pepper place skin side down over the vegetables. Roast for 10 minutes.

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Turn chicken over; drizzle with maple syrup; roast another 25-30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 170’-175’ and the vegetables are tender.  If you find that the vegetables could use a little more time, remove the chicken to a plate cover loosely with foil and return the pan to the oven while the chicken rests.

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Adapted from taste of home magazine

15 Minute Doughnut Holes

If you are anything like me and I can only assume you might be slightly since you are reading this? I see a recipe that sounds delicious so I either end up printing it or ripping it out of whatever I am looking at. However I do tend to steer clear of ones that look difficult; you know the ones that have the never ending list of ingredients and pages of steps.  I just don’t have the time or the energy to even attempt them.

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I am however not afraid to pick up an ingredient or two that is generally not on my shopping list. I purchased a jicama to try to make deviled eggs that I had at Coastal Flats in VA. I bought a Chinese cabbage to make dumplings. Just this week I bought some buttermilk to make a Texas Sheet cake (recipe 3/31/2014) The good news is I was able to make what I wanted; the bad news is what to do with the leftover ingredient? I hate to waste anything so I will either come up with or look for something I can make with it before it goes bad. I‘m pretty sure I passed the waste not thinking onto my husband; or maybe he came like that? He saw one lonely ripe banana on the counter this morning and made banana pancakes for us for breakfast.

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I am currently soaking some chicken thighs in some of the buttermilk, and I have a little left, OK I made sure I had enough left over to make some doughnut holes. I found a 15 minute doughnut-hole recipe online quite a while ago. They are easy and pretty damn good. I cut up the rest of the jicama added  some diced carrots and broccoli for a vegetable medley for dinner one night and the Chinese cabbage stays really well in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks in the veggie drawer. Cut off what you need at a time, it adds great crunch to a salad.

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15 Minute Doughnut Holes – it makes a couple dozen

1¼ cup AP flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

Whisk the above in a medium bowl

¼ cup milk

¼ cup buttermilk

¼ cup sugar

3 tbs melted butter

Whisk the above in a small bowl

Add wet to dry mixture just till combined

½ tbs – shape into a ball (try not to handle too much)

Place in the hot oil; fry to golden brown, turning over once – about 3-4 minutes

Vegetable oil for frying at 350’

Cinnamon and sugar for shaking

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken

6 Bone in skin on chicken thighs

Buttermilk to marinate

½ cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper

Soak chicken in buttermilk for several hours or overnight. Heat oil to 350’ dredge chicken in flour fry for 15-20 minutes turning once