Using this recipe, with the following modifications:
- For last 30 minutes of roasting, added cubed potatoes and green beans to the cooking liquid
Using this recipe, with the following modifications:
This was a meal that was born out of my perusing my Pinterest to-cook list and choosing two seemingly unrelated dishes, but once I cooked them on the same night, realized they form a perfect symbiosis, and that these two dishes must always be made at the same time, from hereon out. Here’s why:
I started by dredging the chicken breasts in a simple mixture of flour, salt, and herbs on a big plate. (I went with bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts instead of thighs because we’ve been doing a lot of the drums-and-thighs lately and Jesse’s not so into picking meat off of bones), and browning them in coconut oil in the skillet. Once both sides had been nicely browned, I transferred the breasts to a separate skillet, leaving the drippings in the original skillet, off the heat.
In the meantime, I prepped the domino potatoes, which — beautifully complicated as they look — really only require about two steps. First, I made some clarified butter by melting a stick of butter in a small saucepan, and cooking it down until it had turned a nice rich brown and the milk solids had separated, at which point I strained it into a little dish for brushing on the potatoes later. Then, our mandoline finally got to make its debut appearance!
I have always been wary of the mandoline; it inevitably feels like so much more effort to set up, take apart, and clean than it is ever worth, and when faced with this task, I always find myself willing to settle for uneven matchstick carrots. But, for the record, this mandoline is super easy to both set up and clean, and really made this dish what it was. In no other universe could I have done this by hand in only five minutes:
All you have to do is slice off the round ends of 4 Russet potatoes so that they’re rectangular, then slice them into these perfectly thin little “dominoes” which you then fan out on a baking sheet, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and then baste with the clarified butter and sprinkle with salt — in this case, Magic Unicorn salt — before popping them in to bake for 40 minutes.
Here’s what Tucker thinks about Magic Unicorn salt:
Okay, so those guys are baking in the oven, and if you’re more efficient than I was on this evening you’ll pop that waiting skillet of browned chicken in there at the same time so it will finish cooking (if you used thighs you may not need to do this? It definitely took the large chicken breasts at least another 30 minutes to cook all the way through, which I hadn’t considered until the potatoes were just about done).
While the oven is taking care of both of those, I reheated the skillet that had the leftover chicken fat from earlier, and sauteed half an onion, a few cloves of minced garlic, and a few giant handfuls of chopped mushrooms with some salt. On a whim, I also threw in the leftover flour/salt/spice mixture that I had used for the chicken, coating the veggies so that once I added the liquid, this gravy would be nice and thick.
Once everything started to sizzle I poured in some white wine to deglaze the pan, let that simmer for a bit, and then added a few splashes of this, which had played a starring role in some scalloped potatoes I made last week.
According to my slapdash label — milk, dijon, spice, and salt — this seemed like a perfectly complementary savory liquid to add to the mushroom gravy while the chicken continued to cook. And trust me, it was. (This is why our fridge is half-full with random jars and tubs of marinades and sauces; if it’s already been used to infuse one fantastic meal, chances are it can only be better the second time around. I can only guess that the starch from the scalloped potatoes had something to do with the wonderful finished texture of this sauce…)
Be patient, use a meat thermometer, and if you’re lucky, you’ll have just enough time left to throw together a quick salad, so that everything comes out of the oven and off of the stove looking like this.
Sorry guys, my bad. I totally meant to post about this last week, and the week got away from me. Between prepping for our big housewarming party last weekend, and wanting to clear my work schedule for a longtime friend who was coming to town, it never happened. BUT, this meal was still delicious way back a week ago, and it will still be delicious when you try it out yourself.
Although probably 70% of the recipes on this blog are inspired by Deb’s Smitten Kitchen, this is the very first recipe I’ve tried out of her actual hard copy cookbook, which just came out, and which I got a signed copy of last Monday when Andrea and I stood in line for 2 hours after her talk at Powell’s.
It was about that time of the month for a roasted chicken anyway, and even though this made such fabulous leftovers that it prevented me from doing my usual rip-the-meat-of-the-bones-and-make-stock routine, we’re surviving on Better Than Bullion, and I’m sure we’ll have plenty of turkey bones left over after this weekend (yep, that’s right! We’re hosting Early Faux Thanksgiving at the new house this year!), so I’m not sweating it.
It all starts with browning a variety of chicken pieces in a pan. Well no, actually, it starts with me biking home from New Seasons with my hand rummaging behind me in my pannier, eating half a bag of “holiday grapes” (read: gigantic) before I even pulled in the driveway. Then it continues with Jesse trying to show me how to butcher a raw chicken, using the best chef’s knife we have, which is so dull that it wouldn’t even cut through the skin. For real. Thank god for friends who listen, and who buy you the most awesome chef’s knife ever for a housewarming present. The next time I make this meal, things will go differently.
Anyway, then you brown the chicken pieces in a pan. I added some coconut oil first to get it going, but once they start cooking, there is more than enough chicken juices to keep things lubricated.
That looks gross. This looks better.
So while you’re doing this, preheat the oven to 450. I was working with a whole bird’s worth of chicken here, so it took me a few batches, but once it was all browned, I put them all back in the skillet, and dumped in 1 cup each of pitted kalamata olives and harvest grapes, and a whole sliced shallot. I put the entire skillet in the oven and roasted for about 40 minutes.
Then comes the fun part. I transferred all the goodies from inside the skillet to a serving platter with a slotted spoon, and then got to deglaze the pan. I love deglazing the pan. Basically, this is just adding half a cup of wine, some fresh rosemary, and a little bit of chicken broth to the cooking juices that remained, heating it up and letting it reduce and thicken, and then spooning it over the chicken and everything as a tasty sauce. Oh, and on the side I made a pan of cornbread, and some sauteed brussels srpouts. I’ve been eating it as leftovers ever since.
New Seasons 11/7
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $234.35
Grocery Outlet 11/7
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $226.39
Fred Meyer 11/10
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $194.43
Portland Fruit Company 11/12
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $183.12
Grocery Outlet 11/13
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $164.42
First crock pot meal of the fall! I spotted this recipe in a crock pot roundup awhile back and decided this week was the perfect time to give it a try. Winningly simple, as a crock pot recipe needs to be to make it into my book, this was as easy as chopping up some veggies, throwing boneless skinless chicken thighs into the ceramic bowl, adding some spices, and leaving it to do its work.
What else goes in here? Just half a cup of white wine, 4 cloves of pressed garlic, and a teaspoon of salt.
Our slow cooker is reeeeeally slow, so this actually cooked on our kitchen counter for a good seven hours on Wednesday while we were both at work, and was done just in time for me to come home to find Jesse putting the finishing touches on his Halloween costume (he was a shadow) and to pull off these final steps:
* Adding 1 can of artichoke hearts to the stew and giving it a stir
* Removing most of the chicken and veggies from the broth and thickening this broth up with a mixture of these ingredients, whisked together separately:
* Letting this sauce thicken up for a few minutes in the bowl of the crock pot, and then pouring it over the chicken and veggies as a rich lemony dressing.
I opted out of the Halloween festivities for a much-needed night at home in my pajamas, passing out candy to trick-or-treaters for the first time in my new house (and the first time in 5 years that I haven’t lived in a hidden basement apartment!), and catching up on a host of near-finished knitting projects that have been clamoring for attention.
All right, we’re getting down to the wire here. I’m clearly already over-budget for the month, and so trying to keep the shopping as skimpy as possible for these last few days of August. Spending last weekend in the woods certainly helped — after a super cheap trip to Grocery Outlet ($37, two people, five meals!), we spent a lazy Saturday along the Salmon River eating pepper-egg-provolone-pesto wraps, fresh plums and carrots, TastyBites Indian meals, spicy chicken sausages, and jalapeno-watermelon cocktails. Not too shabby.
So cooking this week, I’m really trying to just use what I’ve already got on hand. Which never really takes too much effort, given what an apocalyptic-ready stockpile I have in my pantry, but it’s the fresh veggies that always provide a challenge.
Fortunately for me, I had some serious peppers on hand — still a ton of jalapenos from my last Fubonn run.
And also some leftover bell peppers from camping (one of the few fresh vegetables I’ll pack, even when backpacking. So sturdy, hearty, and refreshing, with very little waste to pack out!).
So these got sauteed with a small yellow onion while I browned some chicken I had in the freezer…
And once those were all softened, I added some homemade chicken stock to make things a little richer.
In contemplating what grain would go along with this the best, I was itching for something in between rice and pasta. Which, scanning my pantry shelves, inevitably led me to…
Israeli couscous. I really think this is just plain old pasta in a novel shape, but it does the trick. And, while you can totally cook it separately, in a dish like this, I figure why not just throw it directly into the skillet and turn it into a one-pot meal??
So once some liquid had melted off of my chicken stock brick, I added 1 cup of Israeli couscous, and enough V8 juice to submerge all the ingredients, to turn this into a nice tomato sauce.
I covered this all to let the couscous absorb most of the broth, after adding some salt, pepper, and green herbs (in the family of Italian seasoning).
20 minutes later, this dish was ready for the final ingredient — the remainder of my bag of fresh spinach.
I did also make a pit-stop at Fred Meyer the other night, after a 4.5-hour Ikea marathon (I think Jesse and I may have set a historic precedent for being the first couple to emerge form 4+ hours at Ikea together, not fighting or crying), to get some crucial ingredients to get me through the rest of my week: some fresh salad veggies and a roasted chicken.
Between this for lunches and dinners, a visit from my dad taking us out to the Sunshine Tavern for dinner last night, and some yogurt, cottage cheese, and fruit that I still had in my fridge for breakfasts, I can make it to Saturday, no problem. And then the month resets and I can get back on track with my budget! Jesse officially moves in in October: last month of single livin’!
Fred Meyer 8/28
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: -$57.21 — Yikes! This leaves me with only about $100 to spend in September…
Last night felt like a huge welcome home — the first meal I’ve cooked in ten days! Yes, between impromptu backyard barbecues, Jesse treating us to gigantic calzones on a Friday night when I had to stay home and catch up on work for the third evening in a row, and then a quick emergency trip up to B.C. to wire myself the remainder of my Canadian money that I’ve been saving since college, so that all my accounts are consolidated for my upcoming down payment on a house(!), I haven’t actually bought vegetables and done a full load of dishes and cranked out a good solid meal in over a week. Even with my crazy insane-o-pants schedule, that doesn’t happen too often.
Earlier this week Jesse and I had been musing about what appliances and accoutrements we each have in our respective kitchens, realizing with satisfaction that when our kitchens eventually merge, there will be little to no redundancy, and between the two of us, we will suddenly own every appliance created (including a crock pot, pressure cooker, AND deep fryer). Well, except for a KitchenAid, but I still maintain that that one’s unnecessary.
Now, I just recently acquired a super awesome heavy duty cast iron skillet, which I’ve been using to cook pretty much everything I consume, but during the mental tour of my kitchen, when I got to my well-seasoned wok, which sits in one of my big underneath cupboards, I realized that I’ve perhaps never cooked Jesse a wok meal before, and it gave me a serious hankering to do just that.
This is pretty much a re-run of my go-to Pad Kee Mao routine, but this time with chicken and some toasted peanuts for some extra protein, and to bulk it up. I wanted leftovers, and Jesse is a serious eater.
First, I got these rice noodles soaking in some hot water, while we discussed whether or not a home warranty is necessary (I’m thinking no, when your boyfriend is a super smart contractor, right? I’m all about taking the money that could be going to an insurance company and putting it into my own “emergency/repairs” fund).
I sauteed those up in some garlic and dark soy and sugar, and set them aside, then in the empty wok, browned some chicken and raw peanuts, with salt and chili flakes.
I sliced up some carrots and celery (on the diagonal, of course. That’s what differentiates an Asian stir fry from an American saute!), and got these cooking with half a sliced onion and some minced ginger. Then I whisked up a simple sauce of soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger powder, chili paste, fish sauce, and sesame oil, and added it to the veggies slowly, so that the liquid absorbed but didn’t overpower the stir fry.
Towards the end, I added a few handfuls of adorable little shitake mushrooms, and half a bunch of this awesome looking bok choy.
I spooned a little more sauce over the top, then added back in the chicken, peanuts and rice noodles, and mixed them all together until perfectly combined.
Served it up and garnished with fresh lime, sriracha, and extra sauce to taste.
And then, we drove up to Tonalli’s on Alberta and got ice cream cones.
New Seasons 6/14
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $29.08
This week warranted a big quick-and-easy meal for dinner, because not only did I need a few days’ worth of hearty lunches and dinners to bring with me to work (Knit Night on Thursday, and an after-work meeting on Wednesday), but I was simultaneously prepping two lasagnas to freeze for a few days and bring with us down to Bend this weekend, where we’re renting out a house with about 15 of our friends, and going to see Yonder Mountain String Band.
Between these, Jesse’s famous curry for dinner on Friday night, his French-toast-croque-monsieurs in the morning, and Kate’s truffle salted caramel dark chocolate brownies (truffle as in truffle truffles, not chocolate truffles), and whatever the rest of the crew arrives with, we’re gonna be set.
So for actual dinner on Tuesday, after assembling these beauties of white creamy garlicky goodness, and before curling up in bed to watch The Wonder Years on Netflix, I whipped up a go-to that I’ve been making since high school, back when I thought all meals had titles. What makes this dish Moroccan I’m not entirely sure, except that I usually use those wrinkly black Moroccan olives instead of the ones I used here today, but that’s what my mom always called it, so that’s what it was.
In the past when I’ve made this I’ve bought whole chicken breasts and cubed them, but since it was my day off and I had a few hours of homey stuff to do like laundry and dishes and packing for this weekend, I bought a whole chicken and roasted it, saving portions to be frozen for later in the month, and shredding a good deal of it for tonight.
I started by sauteeing this in some olive oil, with a few cloves of minced garlic, before adding some fresh ground cumin, berbere (which I always use instead of paprika, but the latter would be fine to sub in here), a whole cinnamon stick, and half a bag of frozen pearl onions. This is one of the only times I ever buy frozen vegetables, but these little pearl onions are totally perfect for this dish. I took 2 cups’ worth of my homemade chicken stock out of the freezer, and let them simmer in with all of this until they were completely melted.
I sliced up some big meaty green and black olives, added those in, and let this all stew together for about 45 minutes. At that point, I tossed in a handful of slivered almonds, and sliced up a lemon and laid the slices on top of all this with the lid on, releasing just enough juice to make the dish a little tangy.
In the meantime, I made a big pot of fragrant rice: 1.5 cups basmati rice to 3 cups of water, all simmered together with: 1.5 tsp salt, 1 carrot cut up into slivers, a handful of raisins, and this super yummy Tandoori seasoning (saffron is the key component in here — you could also just add a pinch of that and be good to go).
Paired the stew and the rice with a delicious green salad, topped with olive oil and my new favorite fig balsamic vinegar. A delicious dinner, and lunches for the rest of the week!
Trader Joe’s 4/12
REMAINING FOR MONTH: $59.41
New Seasons 4/18
REMAINING FOR MONTH: $4.23
How did the rest of my Project: Food Budget-ers do?
I was contemplating what to make for dinner tonight while I was biking home from work — something quick, basic, and green. After last night’s Supper Club, I needed something a little more cleansing to offset the comfort food.
I knew the only veggie I had left in my fridge was a monster head of kale, so this meal came together pretty effortlessly.
Remember all those lasagne noodles I made the other night? Well, they’re still around and need to be used, so I flash boiled them in a frying pan (this is going to be a one-pan meal, btw) so soften them up again — I was lazy and just left them in my fridge in the colander so they were a little clumpy and dried out by this point. Three minutes in shallow boiling water softened them right back up.
No longer in lasagne mode, I was picturing more of a warm pasta salad, so I rolled the long lasagne noodles up into little squares and sliced them into strips.
I drained these and dumped them into a big salad bowl and tossed them with my favorite olive oil to keep them nice and slippery, then added salt and cracked pepper.
On to the kale. In case you didn’t know, kale is my favorite vegetable. Usually I can’t go more than five or six days without an intense craving for perfectly wilted kale, and I’ve been known to devour an entire bunch of it in one sitting. I mean, it cooks down small, but still. I make it pretty much the same way every time, with spices being the only variable, depending on the context:
Into the bowl it goes.
And then finally, my go-to protein. I always have roasted chicken in my freezer, that I can quickly brown in this same sautee pan, with just a little salt and nutritional yeast to make the outside taste crunchy and glazed.
That got diced up and thrown in with the rest, and then I added just a single tablespoon of this:
I love having a few key Trader Joe’s tapenades in the fridge, for an occasion such as this.