Beets Don’t Kale My Vibe

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Sometimes we end up with kind of random ingredients at the end of the week. This is what happens when I go grocery shopping on an empty stomach and I go a little produce happy without a solid plan in place.  Today was that day. Bone-in chicken breasts, beets, and an ungodly amount of kale. I knew what to do with the chicken, but wasn’t sure what we would eat with that chicken. A kale salad seemed too obvious…I wasn’t feeling it for tonight.

I did a quick search through my recipe apps to see what I had favorited, or saved. Which is where I found a recipe (Epicurious) with perhaps the most fun name ever…Beets Don’t Kale My Vibe Salad! Unfortunately, it was a salad…but the flavors looked amazing, so I adapted it to make dinner tonight. Oh. My. Word. Delicious!

Chicken

2 Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

3 cloves garlic, halved

3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

Salt/Pepper to taste

2 Tbsp Butter

Preheat oven to 325*

I soaked my chicken for 4 hours in a cold water bath with 2 Tbsp of sugar and 4 Tbsp of salt in the refrigerator. You can skip this step if you are pressed for time or forgot to do it.

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the vegetable oil in a cast-iron (or heavy) pan over medium-high heat. Place chicken in the cast iron pan skin side down. Arrange halved garlic around the chicken. Set a timer for 4 min. I recommend a splatter guard, it gets messy! When the timer goes off, stack the garlic on top of the chicken breasts and top each with 1Tbsp of butter. Put in preheated oven for 30min. Increase oven temperature to 425* and roast 10 more minutes.

While the chicken gets delicious…

Beets Don’t Kale My Vibe

3 rainbow beets, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 small red onion, diced

3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp agave nectar

Salt and pepper to taste

4-6 cups chopped kale

3 cups of cooked wild rice

Preheat oven broiler

Combine beets, onion, vinegar, and agave nectar in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Dump the bowl of beets onto the baking sheet and make sure beets are in single layer. Broil beets for 6-7 minutes or until browned. Put a piece of foil over the baking sheet and continue broiling another 7-8 minutes or until tender.

Cook wild rice according to package directions. In the last 10 minutes, add kale to the rice and finish cooking. When the beets are finished under the broiler, add them to the kale/rice mixture.

Plate and top with chicken.

High-five yourself for making something delicious out of what is left in the refrigerator!

 

Tuna Poke Bowls with Brown Rice and Kale

IMG_6664.PNGWe’ve subscribed to Blue Apron, which I’ve grown to love. The convenience of it is nice, but truthfully, what I like best about it is that it causes me to try ingredients and flavor combinations that I wouldn’t normally try out. While I love testing out new recipes, I tend to stick to the ingredients and flavor combos that I know are winners. I’ve seriously NEVER used so much vinegar in my cooking (That-Boy-I-Love swears he hates vinegar, the recipes that he has enjoyed  from Blue Apron would say otherwise).

When I came across this recipe in my Cooking Light magazine, I knew we needed to try it out. We are big fans of this happiness! You guys, this was super delicious! I generally do Ahi Tuna as a salad topping, but the brown rice and kale combo was spot on.

If you, like me, don’t live in a place where Yellow Fin Tuna is guaranteed fresh and sushi grade, you may want to sear it just a little. This is probably all in my mind, but I think that in Colorado, the searing is a safer choice to make sure it is delicious (food source peeps, please tell me all the reasons I’m mistaking!).

Recipe is here, if you want to try the seared version, substitute the raw Tuna for a pan with Sesame Oil over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper your Tuna to taste and then sear both sides. We like the raw so I truly just sear it. The only other adjustment, I didn’t have brown short grain rice, but I did have brown rice couscous. So, I made that. I’m assuming that the results are equally tasty with either!

Delicious!

Recipe on Cooking Light here.

 

 

Trout with Beurre Blanc Sauce over Pasta

Trout with Beurre Blanc Sauce

Weeknight dinners should, in my opinion, come with the following qualities:

  1. Be quick- 20 minutes is good, but ready in under 15 is better.
  2. Be delicious, obviously or why bother?
  3. Make you feel fancy, like you actually spent more than 15 minutes preparing and are now pampering yourself at the end of a long day with an awesome meal.
  4. Include wine as an ingredient… because then you have a bottle of wine open that needs to be enjoyed!

Our meal tonight came about with these qualities in mind along with a refusal to stop at the grocery store for additional ingredients. I filled out government forms for school today and was in no kind of mind frame to be around people or grocery stores.

Trout with Beurre Blanc Sauce

Trout with Beurre Blanc Sauce over Pasta

Ingredients

2 trout fillets

salt

pepper

herbes de provence (instant fancy)

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup white wine (Pinot Grigio)

1 shallot, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

cooked pasta (we had spaghetti on hand)

1 cup frozen peas

Trout with Beurre Blanc Sauce

Directions

Cook pasta according to package directions.

For the Beurre Blanc: put the wine, shallot, peas and garlic in a saucepan and reduce over medium high heat for 10 minutes until there is almost no wine left.

Remove from heat and quickly whisk in butter. Return to very low heat, do not allow to boil.

Meanwhile, season trout fillets with salt, pepper, and herbs de Provence. Place on baking sheet, and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Place pasta on plate topped with trout and Beurre Blanc sauce.

Notes: Make sure that trout is fully de-boned. Mine was, That-Boy-I-Love’s was not. I enjoyed mine more!

I had peas handy, but I think I would prefer fresh green beans or asparagus the next time around!

Weeknight happiness!

Ahi Strawberry Mango Salad Happiness

Ahi Strawberry Mango Salad Happiness

This week was the first week back to school, That-Boy-I-Love was also out of town ALL week long. This, my friends, is the perfect storm of truly terrible cuisine come dinner time. Frozen pizza, sandwiches, cereal, and left-over creamed spinach/caprese salad (that was okay).

Tonight was the redemption of a week of awful meals (if you can even call them that).

Ahi Strawberry Mango Salad Happiness

 Ahi Strawberry Mango Salad Happiness Ahi Strawberry Mango Salad Happiness

Ahi Strawberry Mango Salad…also known as fresh end-of-summer happiness!

The loose recipe (because I didn’t use any measurements, just what looked about right):

  • 5 large strawberries, diced
  • 1 small mango, diced
  • 1/4 c. onion (I used white because it is what I had, but red onion would have been better), diced
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 3 mini red/yellow baby bell peppers, diced
  • 2 large basil leaves, diced
  • 3/4 lbs of sushi grade Ahi Yellowfin Tuna steak
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • White (or black) pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Swirl of Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Myer Lemon Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Citrus Balsamic Vinegar

How to make your mouth happy:

Swirl some extra virgin olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Heat the olive oil until it thins and a swirl of the pan coats the bottom of the pan. Salt and pepper tuna to taste. Add Ahi Tuna to the heated pan and sear each side, or cook to desired doneness (we like ours seared on the outside, raw on the inside). Remove from pan and chop into large pieces.

In a medium bowl, mix together strawberry, mango, baby bell peppers, onion, and basil. Add 2 Tbsp Myer Lemon Olive Oil and Citrus Balsamic Vinegar to the mixture and stir until coated.

Split baby spinach between serving dishes. Top each with half of the fruit/dressing mixture. Top with avocado and Ahi Tuna.

Ahi Strawberry Mango Salad Happiness

Enjoy this moment of happy freshness.

Sunday Night Roast Chicken Happiness

We are a week away from Thanksgiving in the US. This week is a marathon of food, good deals, and “bring-on-the-Christmas.” We have the week off. The WHOLE week. If there is anything more glorious than that, I’m not sure what it is.

Happiness is a project- Sunday roast chicken

Then there is this dinner. It is without a doubt a pre-game for Thanksgiving. That-boy-I-love declared it his favorite meal of fall/winter. I have to say, it is a darn good one.

Even though this dinner takes a bit of time to cook, it is pretty stinking low on the prep work and the result is dynamite. If you use a disposable roast pan like we do, the clean up is easy-peasy, too. You know you’ve done well when @jtenkely comments about the amazingness of said dinner while there is a Broncos game on TV (and they are kicking tail in the first). Starting with a stick of butter doesn’t hurt!

Sunday Chicken Dinner Happiness:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (if you haven’t tried Kerrygold butter, it is a must! You think that butter brand isn’t important until you have had this butter. There is no going back.)
  • 1 TBSP Rosemary
  • 1 TBSP Thyme
  • 1 TBSP Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Fennel
  • 1 whole chicken (giblets and neck removed…because I hate that part)
  • 6 small gold potatoes cut in half
  • 1/2 large yellow onion roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh green beans
  • 5 radishes cut in half
  • 4 cloves garlic

Preheat oven to 400* Combine softened butter with rosemary, thyme, parsley, fennel, salt and pepper. (It looks like a mess when you combine all of these, @jtenkely calls it goop…it is wonderful). Loosen skin from chicken starting at the neck and working until all skin is loosened. A spoon can help with this step. Separate 3TBSP of the herb butter and spread it evenly under the skin of the chicken. Take two additional TBSP of the herb butter and massage it into the surface of the chicken (over the skin).

Place chicken in roasting pan. Spread the potatoes, onion, carrots, green beans, radishes, and garlic around the chicken. Place in oven for 30 min.

Use a baster to spread juices (let’s be honest, it’s butter) over chicken and veggies. Brush on some of the remaining herb butter mix over the chicken and veggies. Bake 30 more minutes.

Repeat the basting and brushing of herb-butter mixture and bake 30 minutes.

The last basting and brushing (really layer on all of the remaining butter and herb mix). Bake 30 more minutes.

Your house should be smelling INCREDIBLE right about now. Use a thermometer in the meatiest part of the thigh to ensure that the chicken is cooked through. It should be at least 165* (ours was 189* and perfect).  I tend to go a tad over on internal temp readings with chicken because I would rather go a little over than a little under.

Pair with a good white wine and you can’t go wrong!

We like this particular meal with LaCrema Chardonnay. We don’t always love Chardonnay, but LaCrema KNOWS how to do it right.

Happiness is a project- shiba inu

You know that you have a win when @jtenkely comments on Instagram and the dogs look longingly up at you throughout the meal.

The green beans are outstanding…how can they not be marinating in butter goodness for 2 hours?!

There are only two of us, so of course we have left overs. I love that this happens, we get two more meals out of this deal. Homemade chicken pot pies (that will now be super simple to make!) and chicken and rice soup are in our future. Winning.

This is Sunday night roast chicken happiness.

Taste Bud Happiness: Fennel/Dill Salmon Rub, Mashed Potatoes, Parmesan Crusted Zucchini

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This meal makes me supremely happy.  Actually, I’m not sure that a meal is worth eating if you can’t say that about it (that is our philosophy in this house and we’re sticking to it!).

How can you go wrong with: Fennel/dill salmon, mashed potatoes, Parmesan crusted zucchini.  I mean… the perfect meal for 2!

This is my go to salmon rub.  I love it so much that I make a triple batch and have it on hand at all times for a quick 5 star meal.

What it consists of (this is just one batch but should do several salmon):

  • 1.5 Tbsp Fennel seeds
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp paprika
  • 3 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp coarse kosher salt (Real salt is great as well!)
  • 3 tsp dried dill weed (sometimes I add extra because I love dill)
  • Olive Oil
  • One 3/4- 1 lb side of salmon with skin (wild is best)

Here is how this goes- mix all dried ingredients for the rub.  This will keep well in a plastic baggie or container for any extra.

Turn on oven to broil.  We use a “custom broil” setting at 500*F

Put salmon on a cookie sheet lined with foil (this makes for super easy clean up).  Drizzle salmon with olive oil (alternately you can spray with olive oil PAM).  Sprinkle the dry rub on the salmon so that there is a thin layer of rub on the salmon.

Put salmon under broiler for 7 minutes on middle rack of oven.  Check after 7 minutes, if an 1″ of thickness or less it will take about 3-4 minutes more under the broiler.  You can flip the salmon over if you would like.  If you have a thicker piece of salmon (2″-3″ of thickness) it will take an additional 4-5 minutes under the broiler.

Serve without skin, this should peel back easily from the salmon using a spatula.

 

Stinking awesome mashed potatoes:

***Fair warning: I am an eyeball cook, measurements are approximations.  I cook based on look and consistency.

  • 1 large Yukon Gold Potato
  • 2/3 cup half and half (or milk…I use whatever needs to be used in my refrigerator)
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • 2 Tbsp butter (optional, this is what brings the awesome!)
  • 1 Tbsp dried chives (fresh can be used if you have them, I rarely do.)

Peel skin from potato.  Cut potato into 1″ pieces.  Put into a pot and cover with water.  When water reaches a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes or until tender.

Drain potatoes and add half and half, salt/pepper, Parmesan and butter.  Mash with potato masher/potato ricer/mixer (really whatever you have on hand).  Dish potatoes and sprinkle with dried chives.   This is happiness right there in your mouth.  Might be my favorite food ever.

 

Parmesan crusted Zucchini

I cheat with this one.  Sure you can cut up your Zucchini, roll in egg and then Panko and fry in oil.  That is WAY too much effort most nights.  This is my cheater version:

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup panko crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp shredded parmesan
  • Salt/pepper to taste

Cut up zucchini.  Depending on my mood, I go for a julienne style or just cut into 1/4″ discs.  Tonight was a sloppy julienne.  Heat olive oil and butter in skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute zucchini until browned (about 3-5 minutes).

Tonight I was SUPER lazy and did not want to dirty another pan…so I just scoot those zucchini over and made them share their pan with the panko.  Using the extra oil in the pan, add panko (remember, this is on the separate side from the zucchini that is pretty well browned).  Brown the bread crumbs over medium heat.  Salt and pepper the zucchini to taste.  When you serve, put zucchini on plate first, sprinkle with toasted panko crumbs and sprinkle Parmesan on top.

This will give you ideal crunchy goodness without all the upfront work.  I find that even when I do this the “right way” my crumbs end up falling off to some extent anyway.

What you can’t see in this picture: the steamed artichoke and the Fleur Pinot Noir Rose (SO fantastic!)

Any time we find an artichoke that is decently priced, we are in.  They are SO easy to make and are seriously delicious. Look for artichoke that have leaves that are tight together.  There shouldn’t be much space between them. I steam my artichoke in the microwave.  It is impossible to mess up and always turns out perfect!  Here is how:

  • Chop off the extra stem so that you just have the bulb of the artichoke (not convinced that is what is called, I may have just made that up!)
  • Put artichoke stem down into a microwave safe bowl and fill bowl 1/4 of the way with water.
  • Top with plastic wrap
  • Microwave on high for 7 minutes.
  • Melt some butter for dipping and enjoy!  Just pull the leaves out, dip in butter and scrape off the white part with your teeth.  Bliss.

If you happen to live in Colorado, your salmon should definitely come from Tony’s Market.  They NEVER disappoint.  Also it is fun to shop there!

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FLEUR Pinot Noir Rose from California was a great pairing for this meal.  We are also big fans of AIX Rose.  Both are like sunshine and summer time in a bottle.

This is taste bud happiness.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Happiness (the only acceptable chocolate chip cookie recipe)

This is the only acceptable chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I grew up with these cookies…which instantly makes them the best (at least in this house).  These are the chocolate chip cookies that my mom made.  The ones that ended up in our lunch box with our PBJ, chips, and apple.  The best part: they have oatmeal in them.  This instantly qualifies them as breakfast food too.  Obviously, that makes them the best!

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Jancy’s Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 3/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 cups rolled oats oatmeal
  • 1 large bag semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350*
  • Beat together butter and sugars in large mixing bowl.
  • Add eggs and vanilla and mix.
  • In separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda.
  • Add oatmeal to the flour mixture.
  • Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture.  Mix until incorporated.
  • Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Roll 2″ balls and place 2″ apart on baking sheet.
  • Bake 7-9 minutes or until just beginning to brown on bottom.

These are pretty dynamite as a snack, dessert or, like my dad does it, for breakfast.

That, my friends, is Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie happiness.

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This is all kinds of happy.