Why did the chicken cross the road? To get in my belly!

I go through phases when it comes to my meat consumption. Some weeks I eat it often and with gusto; Some months I hardly touch it; Some nights I crave a nice bleeding steak; Some afternoons I desire the simplicity of squeezing fresh lemon juice over chicken and garnishing it with some pepper. Instead of feeling like I need to eat X-amount of meat meals a week (or limit myself) I simply listen to what my body needs. This past week my body needed something nourishing– and a tad bit sweet, I admit.  I knew exactly what to make: lemon and brown sugar chicken.  As someone who has fiddled around (usually unsuccessfully) with brown sugar and garlic chicken—can you say sticky, icky pans?—I enjoy the pre-determined amounts this recipe has to offer. And since it’s baked in the oven I don’t have to open all my windows and brandish a dish towel at a wall of smoke creeping its way toward the smoke alarm. I found that when I first started cooking, I thoroughly enjoyed the allure of sautéing items on the stove and dancing around the kitchen with flourish and ease, bouncing back and forth between four pots and pan. Perhaps this summer I will be drawn back to my multitasking roots. But it is the end of the semester and motivation and energy is running on fumes. Learn to love the timer on the oven. A bonus, oven baked chicken is always juicy and cooked to perfection.

 

30 Minute Lemon Brown Sugar Chicken- Recipe found on the blog: Eat, Live, Run

serves 4

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

juice of two large lemons

1 T lemon zest

1 cup flour

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp sea salt

1.5 T canola oil

2 T brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Using a meat mallet (or ice cream scoop), pound the chicken breasts thin. Set aside.

Combine the flour, paprika and sea salt in a cake or pie pan. Drop each chicken breast in the mixture and toss to coat completely.

Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Drop each chicken breast in the oil and brown on both sides (should take only about four minutes). Remove chicken breasts and keep warm on a plate.

Pour the lemon juice in the pan and stir to deglaze. Put chicken breasts in a casserole dish and pour juice on top. Sprinkle with brown sugar and lemon zest.

In they go!

Bake for thirty minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165.”

Don’t get freaked out by this recipe in case you are missing a few items. Feel free to use olive oil or coconut oil in place of canola. If you don’t have any paprika lying around then use chili powder (I had to the other night, and couldn’t tell the difference from the other times I’d made the recipe.) If you don’t have some of these spices, and aren’t entirely jazzed about having to buy a big jar of it, find the cheap spice section in your store. There is a Latin brand called Badia Spices and you can generally find it in the international section. This is a great option if you don’t live by a store with a bulk section. They sell packets of spices for under a dollar. These are great in a pinch if you want to try a recipe but don’t think you’ll need an entire jar of a particular ingredient. Of course, these aren’t the highest quality (source), but they aren’t terrible either. I bought some paprika for 88 cents and was able to use it for three different recipes.

If there is anything you absolutely need for this recipe it is a zester. I don’t know how I lived without one. You’re able to easily take the peel off without getting all the bitter pith, which will happen if you try to use a vegetable peeler. A cheap lemon juicer will also save you time. No longer will you have to pick out those pesky seeds! Oh yeah, use more lemon than you think! Once it hits the pan you need to deglaze Mario Super-Speedy Andretti style or the juice will evaporate. #beentheredonethat

Gluten free: If you cannot eat flour, have no fear. Just use an all purpose gluten free flour. Sadly, these mixes are kind of pricey. If the recipe calls for 2 cups of flour use a little less than 1 cup. Honestly, you don’t need to use it all. Waste not, want not.  I suppose this trick can be applied to regular flour users as well!

Test drive this recipe! Maybe it’ll be something you add to your dinner rotation.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

I came, I saw, I conquered this semester.

I must apologize profusely for my absence the past few days. I should have given you all a heads up that this past week was going to be a busy one with getting 3 assignments in on top of my usual workload. But that is done for the most part, and I have managed to maintain my sanity! Some great food developments occurred this past week. Despite the entire hullabaloo* I was able to maintain my usual eating schedule and even managed to have some fun in the kitchen with 2 new meals. At the beginning of the week I made a recipe from the well-known chef Jamie Oliver. I had a 4 pound chicken and let it roast in a pot of milk , lemon zest, and herbs for about 2 hours. I’m well aware that the costs of organic are typically higher than conventional, but I was shocked to see that the average roaster chicken was $4 compared to the $12 organic! As someone who stopped eating meat for awhile due to ethical reasons (the next post will be about why I started eating meat again) it was really hard to buy the cheaper one. I could only imagine the type of slaughter house the chicken came from, but since it was the first time trying the recipe I didn’t want to spend a lot of money if I didn’t like it or if I messed up.

 

It’s very true that as Americans we are not used to seeing dead animals in their true form. We buy fish already filleted and chicken & beef in slices. Thanksgiving is probably the one time of year we deal with a whole carcass. Handling the bird was icky and awkward, not to mention I was totally grossed out having to retrieve the giblet bag from its insides. The recipe, which could feed four, easily yielded enough leftovers for several lunches. I definitely messed something up in the recipe, though. Everyone raved about it, but I found it to be so-so. I used a four pound chicken instead of the suggested three pounds, and even though I added more cooking time I think that is what made it not so flavorful. I will say it was quite moist (and that’s the first and last time you’ll ever see that word on my blog) which is far more desirable than overly dry. Here’s the recipe. This is a great meal to make at the beginning of the week because you don’t have to do anything except minimally prep it and wait for the roasting to finish, which leaves plenty of time to do homework or other activities. As someone who’s usually in the kitchen juggling a pot and two pans, it was a relief to kick back.

I redeemed myself the next night by making a fabulous dish I pulled off the fantastic healthy living blog by Brittany Mullins called Eating Bird Food. I strongly suggest you check it out, especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan. The meal was Hot Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus over a bed of rice. Chris doesn’t like asparagus, as it makes his pee smell (quick fact: do you know that the reason some people smell asparagus in their urine and some people don’t all comes down to genetics?—lucky me!), so I used green beans instead.

“Ingredients

  • 1  T  olive oil
  • 2 1/2  cups  (1-inch) sliced asparagus (about 1 pound)
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2  t  salt
  • 1 – 2  t  crushed red pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 14-20 Shrimp
  • 1  cup vegetable broth
  • 2 T of lemon juice
  • 1 cup prepared Brown Rice

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add asparagus, garlic, salt, and peppers; cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add shrimp, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in broth and juice; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; serve with brown rice or other grain.”

Incredibly Simple. Incredibly Delicious

I’m not a huge fan of spicy foods, so I didn’t use any crushed pepper, instead adding an extra clove of garlic; we love the stuff! To be honest I didn’t have high hopes for this meal. I thought it would be decent, but a little bland. Thankfully I was incredibly wrong. The dish was so flavorful and filling. The sauce left over was absolutely delicious. This is definitely a recipe to add to my cook book and whip out on a regular basic. Thanks Brittany!

As we approach exams remember to get proper sleep and maintain your diet. It can be really easy to avoid eating healthy and have wings and pizza delivered to your apartment or dorm room. Take the time, usually less than an hour, to prepare something good and filling for you to eat. If you live in a dorm save the money you might use on booze and buy a few healthy meals at a local store. City Market if Burlington, VT was wonderful grilled salmon, veggie, and rice meals ready to microwave. You’ll feel much better afterward and your mind will be sharper.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn