Thyme + Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Note: I’ve moved this post over from an old cooking blog I started in February of 2011, but then kinda forgot about. There are good recipes there, but I really want all of my blogging to be in one place. Let’s be honest, I’m not good at keeping up with one blog, so how would I keep up with two? :)

February 3, 2011: This is an easy side dish that not only tastes delicious, it also tastes like it was way more complicated to make than it is. Translation: minimal effort nets mad props.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes (Really, you can use any potatoes you want, but Baby Yukon Golds have a really nice buttery flavor and have a good starch content for roasting.)
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme (I’m always a fan of using fresh herbs when you can, but if you’re not as much of a herb snob as me [or you just don’t have any fresh] dried will work, too.)
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic (OK… I wouldn’t compromise on fresh here if I were you.)
  • about 1/4 cup olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 450º. Wash and thoroughly dry potatoes. Quarter the potatoes. Remove thyme leaves from stick-like stems. Smash garlic cloves.
Heat oil in a 13×9 baking dish for about 3 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove baking dish from oven and add potatoes, thyme, garlic, and a bit of coarse salt.
Bake at 450º for 30-40 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure that the potatoes aren’t burning.
Yields: 8 servings
CALORIES 176; FAT 7g; PROTEIN 3g; CARB 27; SUGAR 1mg
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Beer Can Roasted Chicken

Note: I’ve moved this post over from an old cooking blog I started in February of 2011, but then kinda forgot about. There are good recipes there, but I really want all of my blogging to be in one place. Let’s be honest, I’m not good at keeping up with one blog, so how would I keep up with two? :)

February 3, 2011: I almost fell over when I saw this recipe listed in January 2011 Martha Stewart Living! I guess I never pictured Martha poppin’ the top on a can of beer. However, I’ve come to trust that most recipes in MSL – no matter how odd sounding – are worth a shot (no pun intended… ok, maybe a little bit intended).

This recipe goes super well with Thyme + Garlic Roasted Potatoes. I’ve changed it up a bit because the original recipe called for a fig jam pan sauce (Call a spade a spade, Martha. It’s gravy.). Fig jam isn’t on my list of pantry staples and because I’ve never tasted a fig I like, I wasn’t about to buy it just for this recipe. I substituted a little blackberry jam and some lemon juice (I know it sounds odd, but trust me) and it turned out really great! Enjoy!
Ingredients
  • 1 whole chicken (about 4 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • coarse salt
  • 1 can stout, such as Guinness (If you and your fellow eaters can ingest gluten, I wouldn’t change this – the Guinness not only gives a deep flavor to the chicken, but Guinness cans are tall, which helps support the chicken better in the pan – a super important quality since you’ll pull the bird in and out of the oven a few times. I haven’t made this yet with a gluten-free beer, but I’ll update when I do to let you know which beer[s] are good/better. I’ve read there are some serious flavor issues with most gluten-free beers, especially stouts.)
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme (OK… so I used 2 large bunches. Yum.)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (Gluten-free, if you please!)
  • 2 tablespoons fig jam (I would definitely recommend blackberry jam because it gives another deep flavor and just the right amount of sweetness… a splash of lemon juice helped to brighten it up a bit, too.)

Directions

Take all your oven racks out save one. Put that one rack in the lowest position and preheat the oven to 450º.

If your chicken is damp, dry it with paper towels. Rub butter on skin and season with salt.

Pour out 1/2 cup of the beer and reserve it for the pan sauce (ahem – gravy) later. Drop the thyme bunch(es) into the can. Poke a couple of extra wholes in the top of the can and place in in the middle of an oven-safe skillet. (I used my large cast iron skillet, which worked out really nicely for when I made the gravy.)

OK - I promise I didn't make this just because it looks funny, but you have to admit - it looks funny!

OK – I promise I didn’t make this just because it looks funny, but you have to admit – it looks funny!

Place the chicken over the can. With the tall Guinness can, I had no trouble getting the chicken to stand upright and stay stable. Martha recommends using the legs to act as a tripod, if you need some help balancing it.

Carefully move the skillet to the preheated oven. Roast for 20 minutes. Take the chicken out of the oven, baste it with the pan juices, and then return it to the oven. (Remember, the oven is 450º, so I wouldn’t recommend reaching in to try to baste it.)

First basting - already looking yummy!

First basting – already looking yummy!

Remove the can from the chicken (that was the trickiest step of all and required Sweet Husband’s help), discard the beer in the can, and allow the chicken to rest on a platter for 10 minutes before carving it.

While the chicken is resting, place the skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan drippings are sizzling, add the reserved beer. Add flour to the pan while whisking rapidly to avoid clumping. Whisk in blackberry jam and just a splash (not too much!) of lemon juice. Use chicken stock (or vegetable, or beef – whatever you have) to thin out the sauce according to your preference.

It only took like 45 minutes and it was so easy!

It only took like 45 minutes and it was so easy!

beer can roasted chicken 4

Any meal that looks like it took way more effort and time than it really did gets a bajillion bonus points in my book.

Yield: 8 servings

I don’t have the nutritional stats on this one yet because I haven’t made it since I started using MyFitnessPal.com. Next time I make it, you can bet I’ll be coming up with Nutritional info so I can count the calories (although… I probably don’t want to know!).

gluten freeEasy Gluten-Free Substitution

Again, you can easily make this Gluten Free by making sure that you use gluten-free all purpose flour (or corn starch, but remember to cut the measurement in half if you go this route!) and a gluten-free canned beer. Again, I’m not sure what gluten-free beer would be a good fit here, but I’m willing to do some testing and let you know! If you have any suggestions, please share in the comments. I’m not really much of a beer-drinker, so I hate to have to spend beaucoup bucks testing a bunch of different brands!

Zesty Porcupine Meatballs

Note: I’ve moved this post over from an old cooking blog I started in February of 2011, but then kinda forgot about. There are good recipes there, but I really want all of my blogging to be in one place. Let’s be honest, I’m not good at keeping up with one blog, so how would I keep up with two? :)

February 26, 2011: We don’t normally eat a lot of ground beef – but it was on sale in a family pack recently so we ended up with 5 pounds of beef! So I’ve been trying to come up with healthy-ish and delicious ground beef recipes. I remember having porcupine meatballs from time to time when I was younger so I thought I’d throw some things together around that basic principle and give it my own flair. The seafood boiling spice made it pretty zesty and, overall, it actually turned out pretty good.
These meatballs are good over rice, egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or even on their own.
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice (I recommend jasmine rice… yum!)
  • seafood boiling spice (to taste… I used about a tbsp, but I tend to like things spicy)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 16 oz. canned tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Directions
In a bowl, combine onion, rice, seafood boiling spice and 1/2 cup water. Add beef and mix well. Form meatballs (Again, as with Swedish meatballs, I used my cookie scoop so they were all the same size, but not everyone is a slave to mildly OCD-like tendencies like I am).

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown meatballs.

Combine tomato sauce, 1 cup water, brown sugar and worcestershire sauce in a large bowl.

Add tomato mixture to skillet and simmer for at least 20 minutes, but it’s better for the flavors if you simmer slowly for longer – up to an hour.

Serve over rice or egg noodles.

Yield: 6 servings

I don’t have the nutritional stats on this one yet because I haven’t made it since I started using MyFitnessPal.com. Next time I make it, you can bet I’ll be coming up with Nutritional info so I can count the calories (although… I probably don’t want to know!).

Seafood Boiling Spice

Note: I’ve moved this post over from an old cooking blog I started in February of 2011, but then kinda forgot about. There are good recipes there, but I really want all of my blogging to be in one place. Let’s be honest, I’m not good at keeping up with one blog, so how would I keep up with two? :)

February 26, 2011: This spice mixture is from The Savannah Cookbook by Damon Lee Fowler. I love to read cookbooks – I can learn so much about different cultures from well-written cookbooks. The Savannah Cookbook is a great one to learn about the very specific and unique culture of an old southern city full of charm and culture – it’s also got great recipes and beautiful pictures in it! I’d love to go on a vacation there to eat my way through the area!

I use this spice mixture to add a pop of zest to a lot of dishes –  steamed veggies, pasta, meatballs, etc. It’s so handy to have on the back of the stove in it’s cute little jar. It’s right next to my jar of kosher salt.
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp celery seeds
  • 2 tbsp whole mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp crumbled bay leaves
  • 2 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp whole allspice
  • 1 tbsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp powdered mace
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 2 tbsp salt
Directions
Put the celery seeds, mustard seeds, peppercorns, bay leaves, coriander, and allspice in a blender (or an electric spice mill, but who has one of those?). Grind them to a coarse powder. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to mix.
seafood
Store in an airtight in or jar and – why not? – give it a cute label. Use a pinch of it here and there to give a bold, well rounded flavor to lots of different dishes. Makes about 3/4 of a cup of spice mixture.

Alton Brown Meatloaf Again

Note: I’ve moved this post over from an old cooking blog I started in February of 2011, but then kinda forgot about. There are good recipes there, but I really want all of my blogging to be in one place. Let’s be honest, I’m not good at keeping up with one blog, so how would I keep up with two? :)

February 26, 2011: I love Alton Brown. He’s a nerd, sure, but he’s the first person who really got me to think about the science of cooking. One of my favorite cookbooks is Good Eats: The Early Years (he’s since come out with The Middle Years and The Later Years, but I haven’t purchased them… yet). In this book, Alton shares recipes for a lot of staple-type-dishes, but, in true A.B. style, each recipe makes a staple shine.
You should know that, normally, I hate meatloaf. It’s not that it tastes bad, I just don’t like the concept (or the name… seriously – “meatloaf?” yuck.). But, this is different. This has flavor – and a lot of it. I actually crave this recipe – we never make this out of desperation or lack of inspiration. This meatloaf is never a last resort type of meal. Also, this recipe makes a lot, but it makes great leftovers.
We usually eat this with baked baby red skinned potatoes and – you guessed it – steamed asparagus.
Ingredients
  • 6 ounces croutons (Alton calls for homemade, but I’ve never been able to bring myself to make croutons just to grind up, so i use garlic croutons from Meijer.)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 a medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 carrot, cleaned and broken into chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled but whole
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 36 ounces lean ground chuck
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
Glaze
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • dash worcestershire sauce
  • dash hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
Heat oven to 325º.
Combine croutons, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and thyme in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is like sand. Transfer to a large bowl.
Combine the onion, carrot, garlic, and red bell pepper in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped but not pureed. Dump (another reason I love A.B. – he uses words like “dump” in his recipes) into breadcrumb mixture.
Dump the meat into the large bowl. Add the salt, then the egg to the mixing bowl and combine all ingredients thoroughly. Avoid squeezing the meat through your fingers.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Plop the meatloaf mixture into the middle of the pan and shape into a loaf. Don’t use a loaf pan! Shaping it into a loaf on a baking sheet will allow more of the meatloaf to be glazed – worth the extra effort!
Bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine glaze ingredients in a small bowl.
After 10 minutes (during which most of the juices that would seek to push off your glaze are safely baked into the meatloaf), brush the glaze onto the meatloaf. Continue to bake until the center of the loaf reaches 155 degrees (about 50 minutes).
Yield: At LEAST 10 servings. I mean this makes a LOT.
I don’t have the nutritional stats on this one yet because I haven’t made it since I started using MyFitnessPal.com. Next time I make it, you can bet I’ll be coming up with Nutritional info so I can count the calories (although… I probably don’t want to know!).

gluten freeEasy Gluten-Free Substitution

You can see above that I normally just buy croutons for this recipe, however I’ve yet to see GF croutons in the store and when I do I’m sure they’ll be too expensive to consider. Next time I make this, I’ll probably make my own GF croutons with GF bread. You could just use GF Breadcrumbs or ground-up GF oats, but trust me when I say that the extra flavor in seasoned croutons is totally worth it.

Cooking Light Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Note: I’ve moved this post over from an old cooking blog I started in February of 2011, but then kinda forgot about. There are good recipes there, but I really want all of my blogging to be in one place. Let’s be honest, I’m not good at keeping up with one blog, so how would I keep up with two? :)
February 26, 2011: This is a light, quick, and simple salad that has a really fresh, bright taste. It goes quite well with Rotini with Chicken, Asparagus, and Tomatoes and it’s also great on its own!
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp minced shallots
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups washed baby spinach
Directions
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl with a whisk. Add spinach and toss.
Yield: 4, 1 1/2 cup servings
CALORIES 52; FAT 3.5g; PROTEIN 1g; CARB 5.4g; FIBER 1.8g; CHOL 0mg; IRON 1.3mg; SODIUM 132mg; CALC 29mg

Cooking Light Rotini with Chicken, Asparagus, and Tomatoes

Note: I’ve moved this post over from an old cooking blog I started in February of 2011, but then kinda forgot about. There are good recipes there, but I really want all of my blogging to be in one place. Let’s be honest, I’m not good at keeping up with one blog, so how would I keep up with two? :)
26 February 2011: After Gina introduced me to Cooking Light, I’ve been all about it. I recently purchased Fresh Food Fast: Weeknight Meals which is a great C.L. book. One of the reasons that I love C.L. recipes is not just that the food is delicious and health conscious, but every recipe comes complete with nutrition facts.
I multiplied this recipe by 1.5 because I had 12 ounces of rotini and i didn’t want 4 ounces of leftover uncooked pasta. But, it made a TON. Sweet husband and I will be eating these leftovers for quite awhile. It’s a good thing it’s delicious!
In the cookbook, they recommend serving this with a Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette – which I did… and it was great.
This was an easy and quick meal!
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces uncooked, whole wheat rotini pasta
  • Olive Oil cooking spray
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into ¼ inch strips
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of 1 inch asparagus slices
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

Directions

Cook pasta in boiling water (don’t add salt or oil) until al denté.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken. Add chicken and asparagus to pan; sauté 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute.
Remove from heat. Stir in pasta, basil, vinegar and oil to chicken mixture in pan. Top with cheese.
rotini
Yield: 4, 2-Cup Servings
CALORIES 419; FAT 9.5g; PROTEIN 33.9g; CARB 48.5g; FIBER 3.4g; CHOL 70mg; IRON 3.2mg; SODIUM 324mg; CALC 105mg

gluten freeEASY GLUTEN FREE SUBSTITUTION

Substitute your favorite Gluten-Free pasta to quickly and easily make this into a gluten-free meal!