Friday, January 25, 2013

Cozy Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chicken

With all of the chilly weather on the east coast, I thought it would be good to post a warm and cozy recipe.  I love this because all you have to do is throw everything in one pot and leave it in the oven.

My boyfriend is a huge fan of rosemary so I'm always trying to find new ways to throw it in.  Rosemary and lemon are a natural fit with a lot of cooking styles.  It's very important that you buy fresh rosemary.  If you use dried rosemary you won't get the same flavors and the chicken will taste a little muted.

This is the perfect answer to Sunday dinner with the snow falling outside.  Start that fire up and stay warm out there!

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

1 pound small baby red potatoes
4 Chicken thighs, skin on and bone in (you can use any cut of chicken)
2 Lemons, divided
3 Sprigs of fresh rosemary, divided
2 Garlic cloves
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pint baby bella mushrooms, or white button is fine

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Boil potatoes in a pot separately for about 5 minutes so they are just a little tender.

On a cutting board, put the following ingredients in a pile: 1 sprig of rosemary leaves taken off of stem, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 2 garlic cloves.  Once in the pile take your knife and chop up until they are all combined.  Just keep throwing them in a pile together and chop away!

In a bowl combine your "ingredient pile" with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.  Then squeeze in the juice of one lemon (save the halves!)  Whisk together.  Throw in all of the chicken and make sure each are coated with the marinade.

Take a dutch oven or large pot (that can go in oven) and heat up 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat.  Brown the chicken skin side down for about 5 minutes until crispy brown.  Turn the chicken over and throw in the mushrooms, and boiled potatoes.

Squeeze in the juice from the other lemon and then throw in the 4 lemon halves straight into the pot.  Then put in the 2 sprigs of rosemary.  Put in the oven for 25 minutes uncovered and you're done!  When finished, just cut into the chicken to make sure it is cooked through.  Ovens all cook  different ways, so just double check.

Enjoy this hearty Sunday style dinner!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

EASY Avocado Hummus

Are you looking for an appetizer that is easy to make and will please everyone?  This recipe is great because it is a healthier version of guacamole and has a lot of depth of flavor in it.

It is helpful for you to have a food processor to complete this recipe.  If you don't have a food processor you could try a blender as long as it has a strong blade.  Your hummus might just be a little chunkier.

Another positive of this hummus is that it will stay for about a week in your refrigerator.  Since there is a decent amount of lemon in the recipe it will keep the color green.  If you don't use lemon the avocado will turn brown and won't be edible.  I know we have all experienced that!

Servings: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook: Time: None!

2 Avocados
Handful of Arugula
1 15oz. can of northern white beans (cannellini beans)
1/3 Cup of italian flat leaf parsley (curly parsley has NO flavor)
2 Garlic cloves, smashed
Half of lemon
Olive oil, about 1/2 cup
Salt & Pepper
Red pepper flakes or hot sauce (optional)

Peel, pit and dice your avocados and add to the food processor.  Throw in the arugula and italian parsley.  Drain and rinse the white beans and add in.

For the smashed garlic take your knife and slam it down on the clove.  If you're hesitant about this put the cloves in between a kitchen towel and hit it with a hammer!  Sounds funny, but it works!

Squeeze in the lemon, and add salt and pepper to taste.  I put in about 1/2 teaspoon of each.  Add a few shakes of red pepper flakes or hot sauce if you like a little kick to it.

Turn your food processor on and while it is running stream in the olive oil.  It depends how thick you want your hummus but I used about 1/2 a cup.

Serve with low fat pita chips and you have a great appetizer or snack!

Monday, January 21, 2013

French Toast Bread Pudding

I absolutely love bread pudding!  I have a lot of friends that think they don't like it but I promise this recipe will change their opinion.  The great thing about this dish is that you can make it ahead of time and bake it when you're going to serve brunch, etc.  It also reheats very well and for the most part you should already have the ingredients in your pantry.

For the topping I did a banana glaze to replace the syrup and to add a fruit factor.  You can definitely just use syrup though to make it easier.  So let's get started and we will trick your guests into thinking you put together a gourmet treat!

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes, 12 hours
Cook Time: 45 minutes

Bread Pudding:
Unsalted butter, to grease your 8x8 glass pan
3/4 Loaf french bread, cut into 1" cubes
4 Eggs
1 Cup whole milk
1/4 Cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 Cup white sugar
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon

Banana Glaze:
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 Cup Brown sugar
2 Bananas, sliced

Grease your 8x8 glass pan on the bottom and all sides.  Cut the french bread into 1" cubes and distribute evenly in the pan.

Whisk together the eggs in a separate bowl.  Then add milk, heavy whipping cream, white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon.  Whisk all ingredients together and pour over the bread in your dish.  Cover with foil, and let sit overnight or 12 hours.

The next day preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending how hot your oven bakes.  Check it at 45 minutes and you want to top brown and crusty.

In the last 5 minutes of baking, heat butter and brown sugar on medium high heat for 2 minutes until melted.  Then add bananas and cook for another 2 minutes.

Remove the break pudding from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.  Cut into squares and spoon glazed bananas on top.  Prepare your tastebuds for a french toast explosion!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Yugo" Salad

After a 6 month hiatus of traveling for work, I finally am able to dedicate more time to this blog! Even though my time has been consumed by work, I have some great recipes from the past months that I know you will love!  I also moved into a new studio apartment in the heart of San Francisco so my kitchen has downsized even more truly making it a "Lil' Midget Kitchen!"

To start out the New Year, I thought it would be good to post a nice and light recipe that can be used for dinner and lunches for the week.  This recipe comes from a friend and her family was Yugoslavian.  So they dubbed it "Yugo" salad.  Let's start out 2013 with a bang and stay tuned for  more delicious recipes that are guaranteed to make your mouth water!

Servings: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: None!

2 Cucumbers, chopped
1 Small carton grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 Red onion, diced
1 bell pepper, chopped (color of your choice)
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Italian dressing
Crumbled feta cheese

For the cucumbers, cut in half length wise.  Make sure you take a spoon and scoop out all the seeds.  The seeds have no flavor and will make your salad soggy.  Cut each half in half and then dice horizontally.  

Cut each grape tomato in half.  You can use any type of tomato, but I like these since they are sweet and easy to cut with no mess.  Dice the red onion, and chop small pieces of any color bell pepper.  I typically like to use orange or yellow for more color.  The above picture doesn't have peppers because produce was scarce that day.

Throw all the chopped ingredients in a bowl and add salt & pepper to taste.  Toss everything with your favorite Italian dressing.  I use Good Seasonings packets and make my own.  Top the salad with crumbled feta and you're done!  This salad goes great with grilled chicken or is a good substitution for fries with burgers.  Enjoy!

Side note:  If you want leftovers for lunches that week, put aside the vegetables before dressing them with Italian.  The dressing will make it soggy so just add it in on the day of.