Zingy Honey-brushed Chicken

 

honey chicken

Look who’s back!  Hi.

OK.  Moving on.  So this recipe is actually called Spicy Honey Brushed Chicken, but you can make it just zingy if you live with little people who don’t like spicy foods.

The trick to making this recipe work is to remove the skin from the chicken before baking so that all the yumminess doesn’t get wasted on the part that you (probably) don’t eat.  If you have skin-on chicken, try using a paper towel to better grab and pull that dang skin off.  It helps a lot.

Zingy-to-Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken

Ingredients: 2 tsp. garlic powder, 2-3 tsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. ground cumin, 1 tsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. ground red pepper, 8 or so chicken thighs, 6 tbsp. raw honey, 2-4 tsp. cider vinegar

Directions: Mix up all that yummy stuff, pour it over your skinless chicken and pop it in the oven at 350 for about an hour or until done.  Wah-lah!

Tips: So, obviously if you like it spicy, go heavier-handed with the chili and red pepper.  I used a whole cut-up chicken tonight thus needing a bit more of pretty much everything so I just sorta gave a few extra shakes here and there.  My kitchen smells like heaven (ask Teri who just stopped in if you don’t believe me.)   There’s just something about the way the honey and vinegar do their voodoo that is exotic and simple at the same time.  I’m not sure why that works out, but what’s life without a little mystery?

Paired with my roasted potatoes and cole slaw tonight.   Also nice with rice.  Yum!

Additional helpful, yet unsolicited, tips: If possible, splurge for the raw honey rather than the pasteurized type.  Waaayyy healthier.  And then get outa’ here with your cider vinegar benefits!

Happy Thanksgiving

carrot slaw Recipe and then a few thoughts for ya’ today.

OK.  So first a recipe (and yes, I’ve posted it before.  Get off my back!  This is a reminder for you, K?)  Rather than the dish of warm, cooked carrots that I have personally never been a fan of :(, consider this gorgeous, carrot slaw as an alternative!  Not only will it be gobble-gobbled up in a jiffy, it can be prepared one or two days in advance.  In fact, it tastes better when prepared in advance.  So, like, you might want to prepare it in advance.  I’m just sayin’.

Michelle’s Carrot Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound grated carrots, or 1-1/3 pounds carrots, peeled and grated (if you wash them well, don’t have to peel)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest and 2 tablespoons lemon juice, from one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice, from one orange (or a splash of orange juice)
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • a little bundle of green onion, white and green parts, diced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • dash of salt
  • dash of pepper

Directions:

Bake walnuts at 350 for about 5-7 minutes.  Set aside.  Throw remaining ingredients into a bowl and toss it up a bit.  This salad will keep well in the fridge for a few days, but don’t add the walnuts until you’re ready to eat.

And now for those thoughts I mentioned.  I L-O-V-E Thanksgiving.  Since food, family and friends are my favorite things in the whole universe, this coming Thursday is tailor made for moi. No shopping for gifts, decorations can be minimal or maximal, depending on your mood, and then you just gather with a bunch of people you love (or have to tolerate for a few hours, whatever) and eat delicious food.  OK.  Yes.  And drink wine.  Ahhh….

My recipe for Thanksgiving sanity is as follows: Welcome to everyone who wants to join us + it’s potluck so what are you gonna bring? + eat around 2:00 so there’s time to really enjoy the meal, take a walk or relax before dessert later in the day + do something un-American and really savor the day.  Take some time to talk, at least for a moment, to everyone at the gathering.  Don’t worry about stuff at work that still needs to get done and for heaven’s sake don’t worry about Black Friday.  Shut the world out, if you can, for that one afternoon and make like Jim Morrison, man… reeee-laxxx…

A note on my pot-luck notion.  I take pot-lucks very seriously.  There will be 35 people at my house (Please don’t rain!  Please!  Please!  Please!) this year for Thanksgiving and there ain’t no way I’m making all the food.  And why should I?  My grandma always said, “If you want to make someone feel like family, they have to contribute something.”  I’m making the turkey and this carrot slaw.  My guests are bringing dressing, potatoes, multiple vegetables, sweet potatoes, wine, pies, everything we need, really, for this to work.  I don’t just assign ornamental after-thoughts like dinner rolls to my guests (now the guy who’s bringing dinner rolls is scratching his head… It’s OK.  He’s bringing other things too.)  On Thursday ALL my guests are family and I’m counting on them to not blow it.  I’m not worried.  They always rise to the occasion.  That’s what loving families do.

Final words: save your turkey carcass!  My family’s post-Thanksgiving tradition is turkey tortilla soup… which I will not be thinking about yet on Thursday.

Energy (who doesn’t need more ‘a that?) Bites

energy bites
     So Teri brought these over to a big ‘ol play-date I hosted one day.  She found the recipe from a super-cutie blog called Smashed Peas and Carrots . (and before I continue, please excuse the lack of spaces between paragraphs on this post–something is not working for Michelle this morning… but I really wanted to share this with you!)
     I like this blog.   Ms. Maggie, the writer, is a mother to four kids under the age of five (yes, you read that correctly.)  She not only manages to keep them alive, apparently, but she keeps up this really smart blog and writes comments about her recipes like, “This is so frickin’ awesome you can’t eat just one!”
     Who can’t respect and admire that?
     Teri put these little honeys out and the kids (OK, yes, and the mamas) gobbled them right up.  I will say this: When I make them the balls are not, uh, perfectly spherical and the sizes are what you might call “varied.”  For this reason I have included the visual of Teri’s Energy Balls.  Mine do taste just as yum though… (Seriously!  So if you ever see, them please don’t make fun.)
     One more comment before I reveal the recipe: These are a no-bake (extra points from Michelle!) situation but they are reminiscent–in a really good way–of cookie dough.  OK.  Here you go.
Energy Bites!
Ingredients:
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
Directions: Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated.  Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy!  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week (or 20 minutes if you’re at my house…)
Tip: Raisins work well in place of chocolate chips too.  Kinda tart and obviously a tad healthier–but I’m not discounting the value of a good chocolate chip!

Savory Crock Pot Ribs

crockpot ribs

Well you had to know this was coming.  I mean come on.  What kind of winter menu doesn’t include at least a few crock pot recipes?  Certainly not a menu from a born and bred Midwesterner!

I actually have two crock pots, thankyouverymuch.  One is a 4 quart (pictured here) and the other is about twice the size.  Sometimes I use them both at the same time and I don’t even have to defend myself because that is perfectly OK.

Crock pots/slow cookers have a reputation as being rather unsophisticated.  To this notion I say “pish-posh!”  Actually these gadgets are the hippest cooking tool in town as they allow on-the-go meal planners to prep in advance, walk away for many hours and then come back to a delicious meal and a kitchen that smells like heaven.  Cutting edge, baby.  That’s me.

One of my fave blogs is Crockpot 365 (featured along the sidebar to your right.)  Stephanie Odea has come a long way (I remember when her blog was ad. free) and business endeavors.  She totally cracks me up and tell me this: How can you not appreciate someone with an “unusual obsession with her crockpot but is OK with that?”

I like Stephanie’s recipes because she uses normal ingredients and always gives her family’s (and often friends’) honest verdicts of whatever she “crocked.”  Stephanie is also a believer in substituting or simply leaving out ingredients that she doesn’t have on hand (Amen sista!)

I do step away from some of the “not quite food” items that Crockpot 365 recipes list at times (condensed soups, soda, sometimes sauces) but as Stephanie would approve, I simply substitute or delete completely and happily get on with my life.

Today I am sharing one of my pork ribs recipes (not from Crockpot 365.)  I really should have called this recipe “This One Time” because I don’t really use a single recipe when I make ribs in the crock pot.  We like ours flavored with something sweet (honey, brown sugar) something tangy (balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, orange juice) and something salty (soy sauce, salt)  Feel free to put on your “Stephanie” and substitute away.  You can also check out Crockpot 365 for more delicious crocky fun.

AND… I’ll be Michelle-izing one Stephanie’s posts for my Feb. 26  Hometown Pasadena Mangiamo Post.  It’ll be tangy.  It’ll be easy.  It’ll be yum-ola.

But for now, I give you…

“This Time” Slow Cooker Ribs

Ingredients: 2 lbs. baby back pork short ribs, 3 garlic cloves, 1/4 chopped onion, 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce, 1/3 cup honey, few dashes pepper, sliced oranges on top.

Directions: mix liquids (including honey) and drizzle over meat.  Add rest of ingredients placing the oranges last on top.  The liquid didn’t cover all the meat, so part way through I flipped the ribs over.  Not necessary; just tried it.  Cook in a 4 quart crock pot on low for 4-6 hours or until done.  Serve with rice which is perfect for the extra broth.  Yum!

Note: I don’t always use oranges, but my mom’s tree is still producing prolifically so I pretty much don’t make anything around her without them these days…