Posts tagged ‘chicken/poultry’
Alrightey, ya turkeys– I’m excited to finally start heading down Thanksgiving road! At this point I’m going to need to run down Thanksgiving road in order to share all the recipes we tried at our Fake Thanksgiving dinner before the real thing, but for now let’s just focus on first things first. The turkey!
I may have admitted before that as a child and young adult I always had a somewhat tense relationship with meat. I never abandoned meat entirely because of it (some things I just like too much), but encounters with gristly/bony/skin-covered/gelatinous/vein-containing meats occasionally left me teetering dangerously close to vegetarianism. My adolescent rule was always “don’t eat meat that looks like it came from an animal,” meaning that burgers, boneless skinless chicken breasts, and boneless pork chops were a-ok, but chicken or steak with bones or skin, dark meat of any kind, and ribs were all out (embarrassing admission no. 2: I’ve still never eaten ribs).
I realize that most people would argue that the list of kinds of meat I wouldn’t eat includes all of the best meats, and throughout my meat recovery program I’ve slowly started to agree. What’s more, my old policy is actually rather embarrassing now that I am trying for a more enlightened relationship with the meat I eat and the animals that produce it. But it’s hard to overcome years of self-brainwashing, so up until, well, now, drumsticks were one part of the chicken that I would avoid like the plague. While I’ve been assured that I’m wrong, they just look like they’re going to be stringy little slimeballs, and the idea of gnawing said meat off a bird’s leg bone is just not that appetizing to me. But, in the name of getting over my silly adolescent fears, and in the name of kitchen firsts, I decided it was high time to get over my aversion and make some drumsticks (read: Stephen made me).
I’d better start by admitting that I am kind of squeamish when it comes to chicken. I like eating it, but I’m kind of a baby when it comes to handling the raw stuff. Partly my mom has always instilled in me a fear of chicken germs, so I always visualize salmonella coating every surface of the kitchen, and partly it’s taken me some time to fully recover from my adolescent meat-eating policy of not eating anything that looks like it actually came from an animal. As much as I try not to let them, slimy, bony, covered-with-skin chicken breasts sometimes make me cringe. But recently I’ve been making some significant progress towards being less of a chicken-phobe and this is the simplest and best way I’ve learned to use a chicken breast to its fullest!
We eat a lot of salads around here, but every time we make one for dinner I have to fight the part of me that thinks its kind of a cop-out of a meal. I mean, I totally love salads, but I kind of feel like it doesn’t count as cooking unless there is some kind of twist or extra component that beefs it up to entree level, like shiitakes and bacon, chicken and asparagus, or a really great homemade dressing. Plus, if we don’t toss is some tasty bonus ingredients, we always end up needing an after dinner snack an hour after dinner.
We’ve had a whole lot of lettuce and greens laying around for the past week, but with the hubbub of the last couple of weeks of school I really haven’t felt like cooking at all. Like, not even a bare-bones, lettuce and bottled dressing salad to go with our take-out pizza. But finally, with greens amundo getting wasted in the fridge, I decided I really had to make a salad, so we went all out and make an add-ins heavy classic, the cobb salad, with a couple of delicious twists.
Well, I think it’s fair to say my first documented week of menu planning was a disaster. We stuck to our plan 3 days out of seven (4 days if you count moving skipped parts of Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday’s meals to Sunday), and one of those days was just sticking to the plan of eating out. I was pleased that we made use of our backup plan to cover one of those days, but all in all it went pretty badly. On the bright side, the nights we ate the Sonoran enchiladas and the baked chicken with mustard-herb crusts (read on for the recipe) were good enough to ease the sting of failure.
Luckily, I think I learned a bit about making things go a bit smoother. I think my main pitfall was that I originally built the menu plan by choosing recipes I was excited about, but I did not make the time on Sunday or set aside the money to go buy all the necessary ingredients. This ended up biting me in the butt the very next day– I would have gone through with the plan to make Chicken Machaca on Monday, but I got home tired and couldn’t face the idea of going back out to the store for chicken and peppers. So, next time, I’ll make sure I have all the critical ingredients for the first day or two, and ideally at least most of the critical ingredients for the rest of the week before I start.
So, here’s my attempt at week two. Last week we had 4 “weekend” type meals, so this time we’re shooting for a much better ratio. Most of these recipes are relatively simple, utilize the proteins and fresh produce we got this weekend, and should be low maintenance enough for a busy week. We’ve already taken care of Sunday and managed to stick with the plan as written!
Sunday (everyday): Chicken Machaca with rice and Parral Pea Pods (carryover from last week)
Monday (weekend): Korean BBQ Sliders and Tuscan Fries with salad
Tuesday (everyday): Homemade Pizza with Jicama and Cucumber Salad
Wednesday (everyday): Light Sweet and Sour Pork (carryover from last week) with rice and sauteed zucchini
Thursday (everyday): Spaghetti Bolognese (lighter style with mushrooms, ground chicken and a touch italian sausage) with Roasted Cauliflower
Friday (everyday): Baked Chiles Rellenos
Saturday: Flex night, freedom to eat out or collaborate with friends
Backup plans: breakfast for dinner, bean burritos
And now, for a super easy and healthy recipe for chicken brushed with mustard, coated in herby panko and baked, read on! Also an italian recipe for sauteed mushrooms (mushrooms trifolati). Delicious!
In a previous post I mentioned that on my list of favorite soups, broccoli cheese and french onion rank right up at the top. I’m not the type to really crave soups, but when I do it’s predictably one of those two. While I love experimenting with new recipes, I pretty much figured if there was another soup as reliably cravable as those two I would’ve come across it already! But then I picked up a copy of Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics from our local library, and just looking at the pictures of her version of Italian Wedding Soup, I knew it had the potential to join those two in my soup hall-of-fame. There is something magical about the combination of delicious little meatballs with pasta, fresh baby spinach, and other tasty veg in a savory chicken broth, and now that we’ve tried it it’s definitely earned a place in my top three!
How did cinco de mayo come and go already? Usually we have a little fiesta at our place and use it as an excuse to go crazy with Rick Bayless recipes (I saw him tweeting about a bacon queso fundido the other day…), but somehow it kind of snuck up on me this year and we were without a mexi-plan for the evening! We ended up doing a quick but tasty taco potluck with friends, but I realized afterwards that I happened to have a little something in my recipe backlog that I’ve been meaning to post that would have been perfect for a cinco de mayo dinner (maybe if I had posted it a few days ago…): quesadilla pie! Luckily, it is awesome enough to enjoy on seis de mayo, siete de mayo, and just about any other day of the year.