Sexy Cast Iron Skillet Chicken

A good friend of mine gifted me a cast iron skillet for Christmas and I was skeptical on using it, because I have never really delved into that area of expertise. Well, last night I was feeling adventurous, and I had been wanting to roast this whole chicken I had in the fridge. I’ve been reading up on a lot of posts lately with chef connoisseurs alike saying cast iron is the only way.

So there I was, in my kitchen, cracking open the package on this new and intimidating piece of hardware. I followed direction to preheat the skillet in the oven at 450F. Meanwhile, generously rubbing this 5 pounder with olive oil, and all of my favorite herbs/spices. It was still raw and it looked divine! I knew this experiment would be good, but I was also prepared for disaster. Upon much research, I was informed this was not only the tastiest way to roast a chicken and get the crispiest skin, but the fastest as well! I am an advocate for that! Mine took an hour, including resting time, and I can proudly say this was the best chicken I have ever had. It was everything you want in a roasted chicken- extra crispy skin, packed with flavor, and juicy all the way through. And the pan drippings?! Oh.. they were on a whole different level of scrumptious. We may or may not have dipped our pieces of chicken in it …

Just see for yourself:

Your mouth is watering now isn’t it? I served this with a simple salad, and it was the perfect meal. Lately my salads have been consisting of mixed greens, chic peas, bean sprouts and shaved red onion. I am in love with these flavor combinations and textures, but any salad will do. It is really the refreshing aspect of a salad alongside chicken like this that really compliments, but doesn’t overpower the amounts of flavor the chicken provides.

Do yourself a favor, and instead of going out this weekend for dinner, pick up a whole chicken (something small, 3-5 lbs), and make this recipe. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, make sure it’s on your wishlist because this cooking style is GOLD.

Ingredients:
1 – 5 lb whole chicken
1/4 cup olive oil
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 lemon, halved
1 T dried minced garlic (fresh could work too)
3 T smoked paprika
2 t kosher salt
2 T cajun seasoning (I used Tony’s)
1 1/2 T garlic powder

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 450F, and let your cast iron skillet get hot in the oven.
2. Remove the insides of the chicken, rise, and pat dry.
3. Stuff your chicken with 1 half of the lemon, 2 sprigs of rosemary, and 2 sprigs of thyme.
4. If desired, tie the legs of the chicken together with butcher’s twine.
5. Tuck the wings of the chicken under the bird, so they do not burn.
6. Massage the bird well with the olive oil, including under the skin, use more if needed.
7. Generously sprinkle the paprika, cajun seasoning, salt, garlic powder, and minced garlic all over the bird’s skin. Squeeze the other half of the lemon on the top of the bird. Finish with the remaining rosemary and thyme, minced.
8. Once the bird is seasoned, place it breast side up in your cast iron skillet.
9. Bake at 450F for 1 hour, or until the thermometer reaches 160F in the thickest part of the bird (normally the thigh). Once the chicken is resting it will continue to cook to the perfect temperature.
10. Halfway through cooking time, baste your bird with the pan drippings.
11. Once the chicken is done cooking, remove from the oven and let rest for 15 mins before serving. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!! The rest time will ensure your chicken is nice and juicy)

*Note: depending on the size of your chicken, cooking time may vary.

Spicy Corn Fritters

Hi guys!

Sorry I have been MIA for so long. I’ve been so wrapped up in a party I am planning for my boyfriend’s birthday. More about that later! We have almost zero food in our house right now, and have been too busy or tired to go to the grocery store.. So I whipped up this recipe utilizing what I had on hand. It turned out bangin’!

1975114_10152869459810759_1634297702593951691_nIngredients:
12 oz bag frozen corn
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 TBSP of green onion, thinly sliced
1 4 oz can of diced green chilies
1 jalapeno, diced small
Zest of 1 lime
1 TBSP Chipotle Sauce (I used Cholula’s Chipotle Hot Sauce)
2 eggs
4 TBSP brown rice flour
4 TBSP all purpose flour
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup Olive oil

Directions:
1. Defrost the corn in a colander under hot water. Before adding the rest of your ingredients, make sure the corn is fairly dry.
2. Mix the corn, cilantro, garlic, green onion, jalapeno, lime zest, and Chipotle sauce.
3. Add eggs and flour, mix well.
4. Heat olive oil in a hot frying pan (Medium heat)
5. Add corn mixture to pan, and press gently, to form a shape.
6. Turn heat to low-med.
**DO NOT OVERCROWD PAN
7. Flip your fritter when it is golden brown.
8. Using a slotted spoon, rest fritters on a paper towel to drain excess oil.
9. Top with Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde, avocado slices, and a dollop of sour cream.

I had plenty of leftovers using this recipe, (we’re only 2 people), so we ate the for breakfast the next morning too! Added a poached egg on top. YUM!
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Dreamy Polenta

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One of my go-to meals on weekdays because its so easy and versatile.

Recipe:
Serves 2 people

1/2 cup dry polenta
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup part skim ricotta
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. In a microwave safe bowl, add polenta and water. Microwave on high 7 minutes.
2. If the polenta still has visible water on top, give it another minute or so in the microwave.
3. Immediately stir in the ricotta.
4. Add seasoning.

The reason i love this so much is because it pairs well with so many things.

Tonight I marinated some chicken beasts in chipotle, and baked them for 20 minutes. I also sauteed spinach with olive oil and garlic.

A few other ideas:
(A protein of choice + a vegetable)
– Veggie burger + roasted cherry tomatoes
– Salmon + balsamic brussel sprouts
– Poached egg + spinach or kale (or both!)

Tip- you can also replace the ricotta with another cheese. (Goat, cheddar, etc.)

Spinach Lasagna Roll-ups

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For those nights you want some comfort food. I love making these in large batches, and freezing the rest (using my new vaccuum sealer!)

Recipe:
6 whole wheat lasagna noodles
4 large handfuls of spinach
1/2 cup ricotta
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 jar of your favorite marinara (I like Arribata)
Mozzarella cheese (for the top)

Directions:
1. Cook the pasta according to the box. Then rinse under cold water.
2. Saute the spinach with the olive oil and minced garlic.
3. Once the spinach has wilted, transfer it to a bowl and mix in the ricotta, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
4. Lay your pasta flat on a paper towel, add filling.
5. Roll the pasta.
6. In a baking dish, pour a small amount of marinara sauce to just cover the bottom of the pan.
7. Add pasta roll ups, top with more marinara and some mozzarella cheese.
8. Bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes

Tip- make sure to cover the noodles with more sauce if you do not like crispy edges.

Cinnamon Blueberry Jam

Apparently I had forgotten to post this draft a long time ago! Here you go:
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Keeping myself busy with all these canning recipes I’m dying to try!

Today I went ahead as blueberries are at the end of their season, and made Taste of Home’s Cinnamon Blueberry Jam you can find here. The simple taste of this jam is so good, with a hint of spice that’ll make your taste buds tingle. I doubled this recipe and yielded 10 8-oz jars. Since I didn’t’ have any cloves, I substituted with Pumpkin Pie Spice.

In the comment section of the recipe there was confusion that I want to warn you about: Make sure you crush your blueberries THEN measure them out. 🙂

Happy Canning!

Brekkie Quesadilla

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One of our favorite breakfasts and it’s packed with protein.

1 whole wheat tortilla
Low sodium refried black beans
2 scrambled egg whites
1 T shredded mozzarella
Sliced avocado

While your eggs are cooking, heat the tortilla in a dry pan on medium heat. Spread half of the tortilla with beans and the other half with cheese. Add scrambled eggs. Once the cheese starts melting, fold in half. Let the tortilla crisp nicely, then cut and serve with sliced avocado.

Chocolate Chip Doughettes

Doughettes, protein balls, whatever you call them.. make these now.

These are great snacks throughout your day when you are craving something sweet, and will hold you over until your next meal.

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These balls are 100 calories each. But if you use pb2, you can eat about 4 for 100 calories! #loophole

Recipe:
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup oats
2 T honey
2 T dark chocolate chips

Directions:
Coarsely grind your oats in a food processor then combine all ingredients. Chill mixture in fridge for 20 minutes before shaping into balls. Shape balls 1 T each. Roll in sprinkles if desired!

Chilled Avocado Tomatillo Soup

10628079_10152293204245759_8284467136358542382_nIt’s that time of year again! When gardens start flourishing with fruits and vegetables. Over the years I’ve made more of an effort to buy my produce organic and locally. A farm in Roosevelt, NJ had grown a small batch of tomatillos as a test. Once I saw the bucket on display, I bought the whole lot!

When I got home, I got creative in the kitchen and the result was so dreamy.

Recipe:

1 lb tomatillos, hulled and washed

2 cloves garlic

1 jalapenos

1/4 cup diced shallots

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup vegetable stock

1 cup of water

1 avocado

juice of 1 lime

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Add the tomatillos, shallots, garlic and jalapenos to a pan and sauté until slightly translucent.

2. Add mixture to a blender, with stock, cilantro, lime juice and avocado. Purree to desidred consistency.

3. If it is too thick, add some water.

4. Finish off with some queso fresco.