So I think we can all agree that Tyler is going to be one sad boy when school goes back to being super busy and he isn’t getting awesome delicious home-cooked meals all the time. I mean its not like I totally slack off (even if it appears so from the blogging frequency) but I certainly rely on good ol’ simple standard WAY more. But that is besides the point right now. For now he is in happy husband heaven and good food abounds. And hopefully the food and blogging will stay, at least for a bit.
Anyways, I decided to test out some dishes the other night. I always hesitate undertaking big new things when I am serving to a crowd. I tend to learn a lot the first time and try two is almost always better. Plus I tend to forget silly things like seasonings when distracted so the more comfortable I am with what I am making, the better. So with Tyler’s parents coming in July and thinking ahead to a possible Thanksgiving dinner at our place come October (yep, our Thanksgiving is different in Grenada) I thought I should try out some big crowd dishes. So roast chicken and potatoes it was!
I have never roasted a chicken. I mean the principles behind it seem easy – and I have helped with dozens or dinners but never really done. And I can now see why dinner is never on time, it seems the bird just decided how long it is going to take without informing you or the logical recipe you are following.
But anyways, I found this roast chicken recipe in my Bon Appetit magazine and decided it was perfect to try. I used two small Cornish hens mostly due to the actual small chickens looking horrible that day and we are only two people, how much can I make? I must say the recipe is superb. Loved the flavors! My little chickies decided to take their sweet time cooking. And I since decided that to get that crispy and brown skin they had in their photographs I should probably up the cooking temp earlier on. My internal temperature was where it needed to be before the skin ever started to brown. I waited a while longer, but I was getting hungry and fearing I would overcook the meat. Also maybe more honey, but I think it was mainly a temperature thing.
Chickens before the oven - already looking tasty.
The second dish that got attempted that night was these fully-loaded gorgonzola roasted potatoes. These were seriously so delicious. I was pretty sure the recipe was going to bomb-diggity the minute I read it – I mean potatoes and cheese and bacon is ALWAYS delicious. But it was so worth every minute of waiting for them to roast. I am contemplating making them again for lunch today just because they are so tasty.
No reposting of the recipes for me today – none of my own work really went into these. But, honestly I was able to use so many local ingredients that minus the waiting time, these were actually quite simple. The local rosemary packs were super cheap and created amazing flavor in the chicken (and made my house smell amazing! Plus local potatoes are easy to come by along with all the fresh herbs to go on top.
These are well worth the try – I know I will be making them again!
I have been looking out for some good casserole type meals that are quick and easy. I always like being able to throw some ingredients into a dish, pop them in the oven, and do some reading while it bakes. No one has to know the oven does all the work right?
So I found the inspiration for this meal over on Big Oven, one of my favorite cooking apps on my iPad. A simple, savory chicken and rice dish. And despite the heavy helping of broccoli inside, Tyler still liked it too.
What You Need:
2 chicken breasts, thin
3/4 cup rice (I used brown)
1 can condensed cream of broccoli soup, low fat (any other kind is fine)
1/2 package frozen broccoli
3/4 cup of water or so
fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup or so of shredded cheddar cheese
To make, mix the rice, water, and the can of soup in your baking dish. Then stir in the broccoli and add a little black pepper. I seasoned the chicken breasts on both sides with some pepper, garlic, cayenne, and thyme and then snuggled them into the dish.
Cover the entire dish with aluminum foil and place into a 375 degree oven (I now have a oven thermometer, so I can actually semi-monitor my oven temp and try and keep it steady). After about 30-40 minutes, it should be done. Cook until the liquid is absorbed and the chicken is cooked all the way through. Once the dish is done, top with the shredded cheddar cheese and allow to melt. For an added touch, add some breadcrumbs (or crushed cornflakes) on top and give it a quick pass under the broiler to develop a slightly crispy top layer.
With a nice, fresh salad or some extra fresh steamed veggies you have a delicious dinner. Enjoy!
I know I have mentioned I am sure dozens of time about the local produce markets, but really – I just love them. We went this past Saturday and I was looking for some green onions. As I am now a pro stand shopper, I scoped out a lady on the street who had the best pickings and went to her. I bought two bunches and as she handed them to me I could just smell all the fresh herbs tied up with my onions. I feel as though I have mentioned this practice before, but I really think it is awesome that they do this. It is like fresh herbs for free. When we got home I was taking things apart to store, and noticed that in addition to the typical thyme, there was so much fresh basil and some celery and some other savory leaves that I don’t even know what they were. You can read what I did with the celery and such here. So with my new acquisition of so much fresh basil, I was inspired to try my hand at making one our favorite Italian dishes, Chicken Parmesan, here in Grenada.
What You Need:
2 chicken breasts
1/2 jar pasta sauce
salt and pepper
You start off with a simple breading of your chicken. I add some pepper into my flour mixture and then add the dried thyme, oregano, and garlic powder to my bread crumbs. Then pat chicken breasts dry, dip in flour and shake off all extra, dip in egg, then coat in breadcrumb mixture. Then saute the chicken breasts in a pan with a little olive oil until golden brown. Then, take a baking dish and cover the bottom with a layer of pasta sauce. Then add lots of fresh basil leaves. Then place your chicken breasts in, top with some more pasta sauce and more fresh basil leaves (and a little sprinkling of thyme if you wish) then top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Place the whole thing in the oven (around 400 degrees) for about 15 or 20 minutes until warm and bubbly. And that is all it takes. I usually serve it on top of some angle hair pasta (or spaghetti or linguine – whatever you like) and of course some garlic bread which is a favorite of Tyler’s when I make it with fresh chopped garlic pieces.
It was quite a delicious meal. We have decided that for the next time we get some basil, we might make this dish again and check out the wine shop and see if we can find something suitable there.