Citrus Chicken

You ever get halfway through a recipe and realize you are missing an ingredient? Or cross your fingers and hope an ingredient swap will actually work??   Happens to me ALL the time.  I improvise, and move on with my life.

We were supposed to be making Orange flavored chicken wings.  Didn’t have wings, had thighs. Couldn’t finish them in the oven as the recipe instructed because something else was in the oven, so cooked them fully on the stove. Didn’t have enough orange zest to make a 2nd batch of sauce, so used dried lemon peel. We botched neatly every ingredient, every step, and every instruction.  And it was one of the best dinner’s we’d had in a while.

I give you Citrus Chicken, which I’ll bet turned out better than the original recipe for whatever it was we thought we were making:

3-4 tsp oil

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs

salt and pepper

½ tsp cinnamon

2 tsp ground coriander

4 shallots, minced

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 cup orange juice

grated zest of one orange, or 1 tsp dried lemon peel, or any combination of the two

1 cup chicken broth, or water, or white wine, or any combination of those

optional – chopped fresh herbs to garnish, such as fresh parsley, cilantro, or mint

heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a large non-stick pan and brown the chicken thighs, in two batches. As they are browning, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle cinnamon and coriander over top.

While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce. In a saucepan, saute the shallots in 1 tbsp oil. After two minutes, add the garlic, and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the orange juice and the citrus zest. If there is any available chicken fat in the pan you are cooking the thighs in, add that to the sauce. Add the broth/water/wine (I usually use mostly broth and a big splash of wine), and bring the sauce to a boil. Boil over medium or medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, or until cooked down to a sauce-like consistency. Stir often, when you stir and the bottom of the pot doesn’t cover over with sauce immediately, it is getting close to being done.

Serve the chicken thighs smothered with the sauce.

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Low Carb Crunchy Flax Crackers

Thanks to blood sugar issues, I gotta watch my carbs.  But I love crunchy food!!!

Good thing I found flax crackers. The first few times I made these, I made them with regular flaxmeal, and I gotta say, the smell was not . . . appetizing.  Then I found Golden Flaxmeal from Bob’s Red Mill and now I’m making these every two weeks or so.  When I have a craving for something crunchy (which is like, nearly every day!), this is my go to snack.  I’ve even taken them on business trips in a tupperware in my suitcase. Watch TV in the hotel room and have a crunchy snack!

not worried about carbs? that’s cool. these are gluten free, vegan, and paleo-friendly. It’s just flax, water, and spices.  What could be easier??  nothin’, that’s what.  Nearly every recipe you find online will be 2 parts flaxmeal to one part water. But beyond that, that’s where you can get creative!

flax crackers are done

Flax Crackers

you’ll need: Mixing bowl, fork, unrimmed cookie sheet, parchment paper

1 cup Flaxmeal (I like Bob’s Red Mill Golden Flaxmeal)

1/2 cup water

salt & pepper to taste

couple of shakes oregano

pinch dried crushed rosemary

flax crackers ingredients

 

Preheat oven to 400.  Line an unrimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. The parchment paper is non-negotiable. Keep reading, you’ll see why.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix well with a fork. The mixture will be very, very wet.  Let it sit uncovered for about 10 minutes, so that it dries out a tiny bit and so the flaxmeal can absorb more of the water.

flax mixed

Most of the recipes I’ve seen online call for you to roll out the “dough” on a greased countertop, with a greased rolling pin. Seriously? Roll this stuff out? Are you kidding??? This isn’t dough, it’s batter!  Trust me when I say this stuff is WAY too sticky to roll, and it is not worth the hassle. Use a fork to put a blob on your parchment paper lined cookie sheet, and use the fork to smush and smear it down into a very thin layer. The thinner you can get it, the better.   See how wet this is? Can you imagine putting this right on your cookie sheet?  yep,  parchment paper is your friend!

Continue reading “Low Carb Crunchy Flax Crackers”

decadent Waldorf-esque Salad

I love cooking.  I love taking a stack of delicious ingredients, and making even more delicious food.  I also love mixing fruit with meat.  Pork loin stuffed with figs, apricots, and pistachios?  Chicken roasted with dried cranberries and apple?  thinly sliced granny smith apple on my roasted turkey sandwich? Yes, yes, and yes please can I have some more.

Cooking is so enjoyable because my pantry and fridge are always stocked with the basics including brown sugar, honey, butter, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, dried fruit, apples, tons of olive oil, and more butter. A quick trip to the store for fresh meat, dairy, and fruit means a delicious dinner is on the way. I know enough that I can put together a pretty impressive meal with whatever is in the house.

Last night we did “Fakesgiving”, which was a perfect excuse to trial some recipes for Thanksgiving. I roasted a whole chicken, and rubbed under and over the skin was a compound butter made with herbs, salt, chopped dried apricots, and dried cranberries. the secret to browned skin? SO MUCH BUTTER.

My fridge was full of delicious leftovers this morning, including a chicken carcass that went right into the stock pot with carrots, celery, onions, parsley and peppercorns, and a mountain of carved chicken.   But chicken all by itself is kinda boring.

Let’s see,  ingredients that I have on hand….  leftover cooked chicken, granny smith apple, celery, dried cranberries, and is that some grapes in the fruit bowl, and greek yogurt in the fridge?  Time for the best Waldorf Salad I’ve ever had!  The original Waldorf Salad is very boring, if you ask me. And as much as I love Mayonnaise, I don’t want to be eating that much of it.

chicken-salad-ingredients

The Best Waldorf Salad

(all measurements are approximate because I didn’t measure anything)

1 cup chopped cooked chicken

half a granny smith apple, chopped

1 stick celery, chopped

1 cup grapes, cut in half

2 tbsp craisins

a big dollop of greek yogurt. I don’t know, a half cup? it was about half of one of the single serve Fage containers.

salt and pepper to taste.

Chopped walnuts are traditional, and had I remembered I would have put in chopped pecans because I like those better.

Combine all ingredients, and indulge. You will feel decadent eating this, I promise!

yummy-chicken-salad

Note to self: Learn the tricks of photographing food so it looks appetizing.   because this looks like a blob of white with darker blobs.