Sunday, March 27, 2011

Roasted Chicken & Vegetables, Cilantro-Lemon-Garlic, and Pasta

OK, so like, this is SO delicious, SO nutritious, and SO easy!

  • Chicken thighs or other pieces, one economy pack
  • Cilantro, 1 bunch, stems removed
  • Onions, 3 medium, peeled and quartered
  • Tomatoes, several vine ripened
  • Celery, 3 stalks, cut into snack size
  • Aparagus, 1 bunch, bottom ends trimmed off (optional, or whatever's on sale or you like - red peppers, garlic cloves, mushrooms,..)
  • Lemon juice, of 2 lemons
  • Garlic to taste - powdered or jarred crushed
  • Salt & pepper to taste, or Cajon seasoning blend (a few dashes)
  • Whole wheat spaghetti, enough for your family
  1. Preheat oven to 425 deg F.
  2. In the blender, put cilantro, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and oil. Pulse to blend.
  3. Arrange the chicken pieces in a large roasting pan, one of those in two parts, with the bottom that catches the drippings.  Arrange the vegetables in another large roasting pan, bottom only, or in a large casserole dish.  Peel back the skin on the chicken.
  4. Pour the cilantro blend over the chicken and vegetables.  Stir the vegetables to coat them.  Pull the skin back over the chicken pieces.  This way, the chicken is flavored with the herb blend, even if the skin is discarded, or if you just want to indulge in one crispy skin, be my guest!
  5. Bake for 50 minutes.  During the last few minutes, cook the pasta.
  6. Pile the chicken pieces on top of the vegetables, remove the top part of the pan, and pour the drippings out of the bottom into a 2 cup measuring cup, or small bowl.  Add several icecubes, and allow the drippings to cool a couple minutes, so that the fat and ice can be removed off the top.
  7. Put the de-greased drippings into a small pot, and reheat, adding more garlic to taste. 
  8. This can be served over the pasta as is, but if you have time to play with it, here's what I did.  I added a cup of evaporated milk, reduced the sauce but it wasn't thickening very fast, so I added cornstarch (first mix it with a small amount of sauce, then add to the pot), and added 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese.  Then reduced it some more, until I deemed it "ready."
To serve, I put the roasting pan on the table with the vegies and chicken, put pasta on each dinner plate, and served the sauce in that 2-cup measuring cup, so people could use as much as they liked.   It was a hit, and when I calculated the calories -- about 500 for two pieces of chicken, most of the skin removed, 3/4ths cup of pasta, lots of vegies, and a generous amount of sauce.  Wowza!

This photo is from a night I put it all in one pan -- sorry, I only took a pic of it pre-roasted -- after it was done, it just went toooooo fast!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Baked Apples -- "Bon Apple-teet!"

Photo taken after several servings were eaten.  Have to be fast around here!

Baked Apples

This is about as easy as it gets.  A very flexible recipe, the apples can be baked at whatever temperature that another item may need in your oven -- generally between 350 and 400 degrees F.  A covered casserole dish makes it easy.

  • Apples, about 4
  • Raisins, 1/4 to 1/2 cup
  • Brown sugar, 1/2 cup
  • Cinnamin, 1 teaspoon
  • Ginger, 1/4 teaspoon
  • Allspice, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Butter, 2 Tablespoons
  • Optional: walnuts or pecans, 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Core and slice the apples; do not peel them. The peel has a great taste and texture in this recipe, and they are nutritious!  To core and slice the apples in one step, a tool like this makes it easy.  I got a really cheap one that works great.
Toss the slices into your casserole dish.  Dump the raisins, sugar, and spices over the apples.  You could add walnuts or pecans, if you like.  Cut the butter into several dabs and place on top of the apples.  No need to stir because it will all blend as it bakes.

Put the lid on and bake. 

I was baking some potatoes at the time, and later some salmon, so my oven was at 400 degrees F.  The apples baked for about a half hour, then sat on the counter with the lid on for another half hour until after dinner.  If baking at 350, probably 40 minutes would do the trick.

The apples should be like butter.  And the flavor -- suprisingly intense and rich.

Bon Apple-teet!!!