Maple Chicken

Maple Chicken1

Have any of you guys ever come across a recipe on television, in a magazine or cookbook and been super excited to try it out, then looked at the ingredients list and did a little sigh inside. Not because you thought that the recipe looked too difficult, but because one (or maybe even more than one) of the ingredients was just a liiiittle bit more pricey than you were willing to pay? That happens to me quite a bit, especially in some of my more ‘swanky’ cookbooks, or also in recipes from the ‘swanky’ chefs.

I did a quick Google search of some of the more common ingredients that I see in recipes that I really want to try, but haven’t as of yet because my wallet is still giving me a resounding “No, Jess!”

  • 1 Gram of Saffron: $8.95 , 2 Grams of Saffron: $13.00, 1 Ounce of Saffron: $58.00 (I get it: a little of this stuff goes a long way, but come ON!)
  • 2 Vanilla Bean Pods: $9.95 (I know that the comparison of vanilla beans to vanilla extract is like comparing cubic zirconia to diamonds. I also know that $9.95 is enough for me to buy two jars of vanilla extract that will last me more than just two uses.)
  • 8 oz. Pine Nuts: $12.63 (No. Just…just no.)

Maple Chicken2

While for the most part, I’m  willing to remain frugal on certain ingredients, there are others that I’m willing to be more flexible about- it all depends on the day and what kind of mood I’m in, honestly. If I’m caught on a good day, I’ll probably be more willing to splurge. If I’m having a bad day, then Scrooge is my middle name.

Confession alert: I’m one of those idiots that usually buys and settles for the cheap ‘syrup’ from Hungry Jack, Aunt Jemima or Log Cabin when eating her pancakes and waffles. I know, I know. Feel free to pelt me with tomatoes for that one. I deserve it. But here’s the thing: maple syrup- the REAL Grade A and B maple syrup, isn’t cheap where I come from. I’m talking a bare minimum of $10.00 dollars for a 12 oz bottle. And if you want to buy it Organic? An automatic average of $10-$15, and that’s only at the general grocery store. The Better Health store thinks they have the right to charge $20.00. It’s rough out here in these Lansing streets, you guys just don’t know.

Maple Chicken3

Maybe some of you are thinking: “Well , gosh Jess, isn’t 12 oz enough to eat with waffles/pancakes?” My answer would be, maybe if I lived by myself. But I don’t. I live with a whole house full of other people who happen to share my habit of dousing her pancakes or waffles in puddles of syrup. When there are three other people that are doing this at the table, that 12 oz bottle of maple syrup doesn’t last very long. So typically, I just don’t buy it.

However, I recently had a very good day where I was smiling and feel like a Super Foodie and I happened to come across this recipe when brainstorming what I was going to cook for dinner. Long story short, I suckered myself into buying a $12.00 bottle of maple syrup. On the way home, I consoled myself with the thought that so long as I reserve it for very important recipes (and not just for my pancake/waffle baths), it was a worthwhile investment.

After eating this dish, I strongly second that consolation. And third it. And fourth it.

Real maple syrup is worth the money, if only to make Maple Chicken. I’m Jess(ica) and I approve this message.

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Maple Chicken

Recipe Courtesy of Great American Recipes

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  •  6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 6 oz each)
  •  1 tbsp vegetable oil
  •  1 tsp paprika
  •  1 tsp salt
  •  1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  •  1/2 tsp ground cumin
  •  1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
  •  1/2 tsp. black pepper
  •  2 tbsp maple syrup
  •  1 tbsp. butter, melted

 Directions

 1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet and brush with the vegetable oil.

2. Combine the paprika, salt, cinnamon, cumin, tarragon and pepper in a medium bowl; mix well. Coat the chicken evenly with the paprika mixture and bake for 15 minutes.

3. Combine the maple syrup and butter in a small bowl. Brush half of the mixture evenly over the chicken, return to oven and bake for 5 minutes.

4. Turn the chicken over and brush with the remaining maple syrup mixture. Bake until juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a knife, about 5 minutes longer. Serve hot.

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Sweet Potato and Sausage Breakfast Bake

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Whoever came up with the idea of having breakfast for dinner is a genius.

I know that weekends typically are the time when we think about cooking big breakfasts with all our favorite foods that we don’t have the time to cook during the week when it’s all we can do just to wake up on time and get out the door to work. Fancy, home cooked weekend breakfasts/brunches are great….but in my family, they don’t really happen all that often.

See, the majority of my family really doesn’t get all that much sleep. When the weekend comes around, they’re not really thinking about what biscuits, waffles or casseroles they can get up early in the morning to cook- they’re thinking about being able to sleep in for the next day or so. In fact, the only time that usually happens is when we have family members from out of state visiting, which unfortunately isn’t too often. Generally, in a contest between laboring in the kitchen and catching some extra zzzs…the sleep usually reigns supreme. Me? I’m somewhat of a night owl and an early riser. Personally the idea of getting up early to cook a fancy breakfast is fun and exciting to me. But the idea of getting up to cook said fancy breakfast and no one even being awake (or willing to wake up) to eat it? I’ll pass.

Pic2Luckily, there’s that nifty little invention called Breakfast for Dinner.

With Breakfast for Dinner, I can feel free to make all the wonderful breakfast foods that would otherwise go to waste when made at the crack of dawn. There are certain breakfast themed foods that my family’s willing to eat at anytime of day- Breakfast Bakes are one of them. They’re versatile,  delicious and pretty easy to put together.  Not only that, but they taste good both hot and cold, so leftovers don’t even necessarily need to be reheated. I’ve had/made breakfast bake several different ways; sometimes I make it more ‘breakfast-style’ and include some stale bread in the bottom for a kind of ‘crust’, but most times I go without the bread so that it more resembles a really fluffy, deep dish omelette. It tastes pretty good with sausage gravy over the top, or (my personal favorite way of eating eggs), sprinkled with Frank’s Red Hot or Tabasco sauce. Pic3

I started to call this dish the “It’s Your World Breakfast Bake”, just because, when it comes to putting it together, it really is ‘your world’- meaning that you can put just about anything you like in it.I’m providing my recipe that has my favorite vegetables and choice of meat, but don’t necessarily think that means that you have to stick to it 100%. You prefer white potatoes to sweet potatoes? Fine, swap ’em out. Not a fan of green pepper, but a huge fan of mushrooms? Make the switch. Whatever you want, really. As long as you keep the ratio of eggs and buttermilk proportionate to the amount of meat and veggies you add, I’m sure your breakfast bake will turn out fine. Just keep in mind not to add TOO many ingredients; you want the eggs and buttermilk to submerge the solids, not be absorbed by them. Have fun guys 😉

FEED(ME) BACK: What’s your favorite ‘Breakfast for Dinner” food?

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Sweet Potato and Sausage Breakfast Bake

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Yield: About 8-10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups shredded or diced sweet potatoes
  • A little over 1 cup of cooked and crumbled breakfast sausage (both beef and turkey sausage work fine)
  • 16 eggs
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, diced

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 370°.

2. Spray a 9 x 12 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place sausage, sweet potatoes, onion and green pepper in baking dish and mix together.

3. In a large bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, garlic powder, salt and pepper, being sure to beat eggs enough so that the yolks are fully broken.

4. Pour egg and buttermilk mixture over the meat and vegetables in baking dish, evenly spreading the mixture out so that all four corners are evenly covered.

5. Bake in oven for about 60 minutes, or until set in the center.