A Bun in the Oven

We have found a wonderful recipe for baking a bun in the oven!!!
I cannot wait to share it with you very soon! :)

 

 

 

 

Peach – Whiskey BBQ Chicken

Have you heard of The Pioneer Woman yet? Oh my gosh, I’ve followed her blog for a couple of years now. I love her authentic American-country recipes, gorgeous photography (both of food & land) and her unique sense of humor. She’s a real 21st century American rancher’s wife! Be sure to check out her website here!

Peach – Whiskey BBQ Chicken

This recipe is from Ree and is definitely the way to a man’s heart :)

Ingredients

  • 2 whole Chicken Thighs, Bone-in, Skin-on
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1 whole Red Onion, Diced
  • 1 cup Whiskey
  • 1/4 cup Barbecue Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. Peach Preserves
  • 3 Tbsp. Water
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Peeled
  • 2 whole Green Onions, Sliced Thin

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Heat oil and butter in a cast iron pan over medium-high heat.

Place chicken thighs in the pan, skin side down. Brown both sides, then remove to a plate.

Pour off half the grease, then return pan to stove. Add onions to pan and stir, cooking for 2 minutes. Pour whiskey into the pan, being very careful if you’re using an open flame. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan, allowing whiskey to reduce for a minute or two.

Pour in barbecue sauce, peach preserves, water, and Worcestershire sauce. Throw in garlic cloves. Stir until combined, then return chicken to the pan, skin side up.

Transfer to a casserole dish and place in the oven. Cook for 1 1/2 hours, then remove from oven.

Serve chicken over a big pile of mashed potatoes and sprinkle sliced green onions over the top. ( I just mixed them right into the mashed potatoes).

Enjoy the yummy goodness!

Winter’s Delights: Spaghetti all’Amatriciana

One of our favorite go-to meals is Spaghetti Bolognese.

It’s a perfect dish to make when the work day’s are busy and we are too exhausted for culinary creativity. Plus, with all that Elk burger in our freezer, it’s hard not to use it in dishes other than burgers & fries.

This winter, I ventured out of the box in search of a pasta dish that’s more authentic. I wanted to learn a traditional Italian pasta dish that’s nothing like what I’ve made before. So it’s no wonder that I ended up perusing Mario Batali’s website and his recipes – he has made quite a name for himself in the Italian food world.

Plus, he’s also one of the hosts of my fav daytime show – The Chew! Some women DVR soap operas… I do food shows :)

The following is an authentic, hearty, luscious, flavor-packed spin on the “American” version of Spaghetti. If you add in some hot sauce or extra red pepper flakes, it can really pack a bunch and warm you up on these cool, rainy & windy winter days!

(You might want to store some in the fridge right away so you can re-live the experience for lunch the next day)

** Note to the home chef: I highly recommend warming up some garlic bread so you can sop up the sauce at the end :)

Spaghetti all’Amatriciana

(adapted from Mario Batali’s “Bucatini all’Amatriciana”)

Makes 4 servings

  • ¼ cup EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
  • 4 slices of thick, good bacon
  • 1 red onion, cut lengthwise in half and then into ¼-inch-thick half-moons
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups basic tomato sauce (see Mario’s recipe below)
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Freshly grated pecorino romano

Directions

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, and add 2 tablespoons salt.

Meanwhile, in a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan, combine the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes; set over low heat and cook until the onion is softened and the bacon has rendered much of its fat, about 12 minutes.

Drain all but ¼ cup of the fat out of the pan. Add the tomato sauce, turn up the heat, and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and allow to bubble for 6 to 7 minutes.

While the sauce simmers, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water for about a minute less than the package directions, until still very firm; drain.

Add the pasta to the simmering sauce and toss for about 1 minute to coat. Divide the pasta among four heated bowls and serve immediately, topped with freshly grated pecorino.

Basic Tomato Sauce

Makes 4 Cups

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 spanish onion, cut into ¼ inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ medium carrot, finely shredded
  • Two 28 ounce cans whole tomatoes
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

In a 3 quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook until the carrot is quite soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, with their juice, and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer until as thick as hot cereal, about 30 minutes. Season with salt. If you have extra sauce, it can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for 6 months.

Book: Molto Italiano (Ecco 2005)http://www.mariobatali.com/recipes_bucatini.cfm

Spring has Sprung in Oregon!

February 14th – it’s Valentine’s Day – and the day where winter’s veil is beginning to lift,  showing glowing daffodils, vibrant crocuses, and blooming blossoms on cherry trees.

Sometimes I forget how lucky we are to live in the Great Northwest! It’s the secret that only Oregonians know of (well, I guess I can’t keep a secret) – that the season’s are absolutely more spectacular here than anywhere else in the country. I mean, did you see the picture of our trip to the coast in the earlier post???

Here’s a lovely treat that will give you a Hug & kiss to celebrate Valentine’s Day, as well as a burst of fresh flavors & color to celebrate the emergence of Spring – Enjoy!

Fresh Fruit Tart

I made this for a potluck recently, and it seemed to be a crowd fav!

(I can’t find the recipe at the moment, so I’m posting this anyway & will update with it tomorrow. Oops!)

Ramblings from the girl who scraped the brownie batter from the bowl for dinner.

Hmm….

So I’ve had a hard time focusing on what to tell you about first. You see, I’ve been a busy bee  in the kitchen and, with my new job one month in, I have now assumed a new routine. That means my afternoons with me sipping tea while I search for recipes, create them into meals, capture photos along the way, and diligently post the results no longer exist. A point of realization that really makes my bottom lip pucker out & quiver… which Mr. SexyManInCarhartts tells me to be careful of, so I don’t trip over it. Ha! He’s funny, right?! … Yup. That’s why I’m with him.

Anyways….. back to the food….. and the posts. Or lack thereof.

Today was filled with many random ramblings, of which I have zero desire to make sense of. So here’s a list of the musings that flew in & out of my head today:

  1. Oh my God, I really need pack my lunch the night before. I hate not having my lunch sack full because that means DANGER is on the horizon! Dangerous calories and unhealthy food! Oh noooo!
  2. Crap…. that woman’s bagel smells soooo goooooood….
  3. I really need to upload the 50-ish photos of those meals I made.
  4. Is there someway to program a computer to do scheduled work for you? Like “grab the photos of the spaghetti, write a cute blurb, include the adapted recipe, and post. Don’t forget to spell check!”
  5. Eww, I totally think I have coffee breath. Could they tell? (This is always my least favorite part of the day.)
  6. Alright, lunch time. Good thing I work close to home! Hehehehe…… :) “Hey you! Leftovers from the super bowl dinner! Here. I. Come!!!!!”
  7. (Are you totally weirded out by me talking to packaged food in the fridge??  I am.)
  8. Mr. SexyManInCarhartts mentioned that I’ve spent too much money lately. My defense? “It’s all on food!” His response? “Yeah, and now look at us working out 3x/week.” And from me? “Yeah but, I cook healthy foods.” Mr SexyManInCarhartts pauses, “Healthy food that is so good I have to eat the entire pan of it. That’s how amazing of a cook you are, Ms. LoveOfMyLife – I can’t stop eating your divine meals!”
  9. Did you believe #8? I totally made it up – a problem I wish we had. Unfortunately, in this relationship, my meals are never referred to as “divine” and I’ve never heard “Ms. LoveOfMyLife”. So, yes. I made it up. Some of it. :)
  10. And to round out my day so far, I rushed home from work so I could make a batch of brownies, with Reese’s peanut butter chips, and decided to lick the bowl for my dinner. There. That sums it all up, if you ask me!

I hope to have some food on here soon…

I guess that just means you’ll have to keep stopping by to see when it happens! :)

(Here’s a picture of our Saturday afternoon)

Winter’s Delights: Wheat Berry Salad

Bringing lunch to work can sometimes be the only way you’re guaranteed to eat healthy for the entire day. That’s because when  forced to put something together for lunch, it tends to be quick, simple, and good for you.

Salads are a big hit.

So is soup.

And veggie wraps, carrots & dip, yogurt, smoothies, almonds…

We always eat better when we choose what goes into our lunch tote, right?!  But the key is that it doesn’t have to be boring.. the same old thing every day.

In honor of my new series, Winter’s Delights, and of my new job, I thought I’d share this make-ahead salad that fills you up till dinner. And by “filling you up” I mean with slow-digesting proteins – not pounds! If you eat this every day with your other staple lunch snacks, I bet you will feel a little “lighter” come the weekend. Just in time for the fruit snacks & popcorn for date night at the movies!

Wheat berries are a true whole grain and are used to make flour by grinding them down. They are filled with nutrients and cook as easily as rice. When cooked they have a chewy texture and have an “earthy & nutty” flavor. Because they are a kernel, virtually none of the nutrients are stripped away when eaten whole. A cup of cooked wheat berries has about 300 calories and is packed with fiber, protein and iron. If you enjoy sprouts on salads and sandwiches, you can add water and grow your own wheat sprouts! These tasty sprouts are loaded with vitamin E, a cell-protecting antioxidant, and magnesium, which is good for healthy bones and muscles.

What makes them a healthy alternative to a piled-high sandwich for lunch is all that protein and fiber – they tend to be slow-digesting and therefore keep you fuller longer, preventing you from gorging on that side of fries… or that muffin sitting in the break room. And that fiber? Well it will keep you regular, which is always a plus!

This recipe is actually my version of a grocery store’s deli salad that I tasted not that long ago. They kindly printed out the ingredients and I went home and concocted my own version, which tastes just like the real thing! I hope you try this – It is affordable and a great way to eat your way into that bikini in summer!

Wheat Berry Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hard red winter-wheat berries
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • zest of one lemon
  • zest of one orange
  • juice of one orange
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup of crumbled Ricotta Salata Cheese
  • 1 cup packed spinach leaves
  • salt & pepper

Directions

Rinse and drain wheat berries into a bowl and then put in a meduim-large saucepan. Add chicken stock, making sure the wheat berries are covered by a few inches. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer over medium-low heat until berries are tender, about 45min-one hour. You may need to add more stock (or water) during this time to make sure they don’t dry out.

Meanwhile, to make the citrus dressing, place the chopped  shallots in a small bowl.  Add in the zest of one orange and one lemon.Then slice the orange in half and squeeze the fresh juice into the bowl with the zest and shallots. Do the same with the lemon, but only add 1 Tbsp. of the lemon juice. Cover the bowl and place in fridge for the flavors to congeal while the wheat berries cook.

From a pre-packaged bag, measure 1/2 of sliced almonds and place in a serving bowl. Then cut the ricotta salata cheese into chunks and crumble into even smaller pieces, placing them in the serving bowl as well.

Once the wheat berries reaching a chewy texture, turn off the stove and drain them into the serving bowl with the cheese and almonds. Add in the citrus dressing and spinach leaves. Mix it all together until combined and serve immediately, or refrigerate until the next day. I personally love it chilled!

Winter’s Delights

I really enjoyed coming up with recipes to share for the “Fall Foods Recipes” series and decided to start a second series of seasonal recipes, entitled “Winter’s Delights”.  The benefit of doing a series is that it gets me here posting at least once a week, as well as forcing me to look for local & fresh ingredients during the winter. And I hope some of you enjoy it as well!

I learn, you learn; we all become educated winter eaters!

The first recipe I’m excited to share is one from today’s   OregonianBeet Fritters! I LOVE beets, yet most people steer away from them because of some childhood nightmare. And I’ll be honest, I’m pretty sure I didn’t eat them until I was 22 years old, so that might be why I can stand them now.

I’ll never forget the first time I ate them…. the next morning I was left a bit surprised, and if you eat beets, then you know what I’m talking about!! haha… too funny.  :)

Given the expected “side effects”, I can eat them knowing my body is nourished with plenty of vitamins.  Approximately 2 cooked beets have:

44 calories

3% DV of  sodium

3% DV of Total Carbs

2 grams of Fiber

8 grams of Sugar

1% DV of Vitamin A

2% DV of Calcium

6% DV of Vitamin C

4% DV of Iron

Beets are  fairly easy to grow in mild winter climates (which is most of the country this year), so you can find them at your local winter Farmer’s Market or at your local grocer. I would recommend trying to buy those growing locally if you can, since they are so easy to grow – what’s the point of paying for a veggie that is across the country??

Here’s the first of a series of Winter’s Delights recipes:

Beet Fritters

(makes 8)

Ingredients

  • About 6 small beets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup soft, white bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • A few grates of fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream
  • Grated zest from 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

Roast the beets at 375 degrees for about 1 hour, until soft; cool and peel, then shred in a food processor or box grater. There’s no way not to make a bloody mess in this process, but it cleans up easily.

Slice the half onion into shreds comparable to the shredded beets.

In a medium bowl, mix beets, onion, bread crumbs, egg, ginger, cream, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil and fry fritters in 1/4-cup portions for about three minutes for each side.

*** Update: Jan. 18, 2012 ***

So last night I learned that it may not be a good idea to post recipes before I actually try them out first. This is the second time I’ve done it, and the second time that I later made the recipe and it came out horribly! I’m so sorry if you already made this recipe, but most likely, you didn’t, because I know there aren’t many beet fans out there!

Last night I made these Beet Fritters… and they came out… and were not all that exciting. For the amount of time, work, and the cranberry-colored mess my  turned into, they aren’t worth the fuss!

An alternate version could be :  roast the beets, dice them up, and mix in some lemon zest/ juice, goat cheese crumbles, and fresh basil. This way you don’t need to lose part of your finger nail grating a hot beet (yes, that happened last night too) or worry about staining your cute apron. Luckily, beet juice does wipe off easily from the counter & a bamboo cutting board – I was soooo happy about this because I don’t know about you, but I tend to make big messes in the kitchen!