Orange Honey Mustard Baked Chicken Breasts

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Back when my sister was still planning her wedding, the venue at which the reception was at had a fully functioning kitchen/staff that would cater a sit down dinner as apart of the fee for renting out the space, if desired. Rather than bring in an outside caterer, she decided to go with this option. Just about three months before the wedding, the venue’s chef and staff would hold what were called collective “tastings” where they would cook samples of just about everything that was on their menu for the couples who had booked rooms in advance to come and taste so that they could pick which one(s) they wanted to serve at their reception.

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Fortunately, my sister was allowed to bring guests with her to the tasting; so she ended up bringing me, my mom, my aunt and my niece with her.

Hey, it was free food. You guys KNEW I was gonna tag along for that. I thought that it was just going to be one or two pieces of meat that they plunked down on a few saucers that we had to share and nibble on.

Yeah, no. What is actually was, was a full on buffet of not only every main dish, but every side dish that the venue had on their menu. We could eat as much of it as we wanted (you know, for quality control purposes) and the chef was even on site for any questions that the brides/grooms had about the preparation of the food in general. And they had just about everything: several chicken, beef, fish AND pasta dishes. Several vegetables sides. They even put out some of the appetizers. Every person that attended got a small little card with a list of the food names, and a scale of 1-10 that the couples and their guests could rate them on for our favorite to least favorite that I assume the bride/groom could use later to pick which dishes they wanted to serve at their reception.

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I’d never been to a real wedding reception tasting before, and I was VERY impressed with not only the service of the staff, but the overall experience in general. We were STUFFED by the time we left and I’m pleased to say it was due to mostly excellent food.

For her two entree choies, my sister ended up picking a delicious flank steak dish, and a stuffed chicken one that reminded me of something you’d serve on Thanksgiving. However, the stuffed chicken wasn’t her favorite preparation of it that we sampled that day and it wasn’t mine either. We were blown away by this Dijon mustard chicken dish that even to this day, I STILL find myself thinking about and kinda salivating over. The balance of tanginess from the mustard and the sweetness of the honey was so just well executed and the chicken (a breast at that) was still so moist and flavorful.

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My mom (rightly so) advised my sister that since not everyone likes the flavor of mustard it might be better to pick a more ‘generic’ chicken dish that was still delicious, which is the reason why she went with the stuffed chicken.

Even so, ever since that wedding reception tasting back in July I have been trying my darndest to try and make a chicken dish that is even as remotely delicious as the Dijon mustard one we tried that day. I’ll be perfectly honest: this one isn’t quite it.

But! It IS still delicious, quick and ridiculously simple to pull off.

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Lemme just first talk about this sauce: after making the first batch to pour over the chicken while it’s baking, I tasted it and immediately got to work making a second one just to have for extra dipping later. It’s that good. The combination of citrus from the orange juice and zest and the dijon mustard is a truly perfect combination; not too sweet, while also not too sharp or tangy either. It also makes one kick-ass sandwich spread, AND a pretty good salad dressing.

I covered my chicken with foil while baking this and it came out SOOOOO moist. Even I can’t usually make my chicken breast bake up that moist and tender, but by Golly, this time I nailed it. I was one happy camper that night for dinner let me tell you. So I think it goes without saying that I’m placing my heavy rubber stamp of approval on this recipe for you guys to try for an easy weeknight dinner. Have at it, will ya?

Happy Fiesta Friday #113 and thank you to our co-hosts for this week,  Sonal @ simplyvegetarian777 and Laurie @ ten.times.tea.

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Orange Honey Mustard Baked Chicken Breasts

Recipe Courtesy of Chowhound

Print

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest (from about 2 oranges)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 6 oranges)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion or shallot
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), cut into 4 pieces and at room temperature

Directions

Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Season the chicken with 2 teaspoons of the salt and all of the pepper; set aside.

Place the orange zest, juice, onion or shallot, honey, and remaining teaspoon of salt in a large oven-safe frying pan, whisk to combine, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until reduced by almost half, about 3 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the Dijon and whole-grain mustards.

Add the reserved chicken, spoon some of the sauce over each breast, and bake until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken to a serving platter and tent with foil. Whisk the butter into the sauce 1 piece at a time, letting each piece melt before adding the next. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Lime-Glazed Chicken

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Hey guys!I’m back from my little blogging break I took after completing the 12 Days of Christmas series.It was a blast nd I feel super proud and accomplished that I actually pulled it off, but I did need a few days to recoup and recover from 12 straight days of posting.

Once again, thanks to all of you who followed along, liked or commented on all those posts. If you missed some or all of it, well, the posts are still there. Feel free to look back over the past few days and get caught up. I’m sure not all of us are in sugar comas yet, right? No reason why you can’t get some before the new year starts.

Speaking of which- it IS almost New Years Eve isn’t it? How is it 2015 ALREADY? If you figure it out, let me know because I swear we just started 2014.

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Anyone have any great plans for tomorrow night that I should know about? Me, you ask? Heh.

Guys, I’m the last person you want to ask about how to spend a New Years Eve. I’ve told you before, I’m a complete and total introvert. That’s the polite way of saying that I’m kinda boring. The not-so-polite way of saying it is to just straight up admit that not only am I kinda boring, I’m also kinda lame- when it comes to ‘partying’ stuff anyway.

Let the track of my New Years Eve nights speak for itself:

One year, I went to bed at ten, and slept straight through the whole thing, not getting up until eight the next morning.

Another, me and my mom spent NYEwatching one of those half hour long infomercials selling a 1970’s soul collection on CD. The New Year rung in with us singing along to Donna Summer and The Emotions. (But to our credit, we still didn’t buy the CD set)

I spent one year watching an ER marathon and binge eating saltine crackers  (don’t ask, I just got a craving for them).

And last year, all of us here spent New Years Eve in the living room having a Disney karaoke marathon. Enough said about that.

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This year? Well, it’ll probably involve me and a sofa, I’ll tell you that much.

Please tell me you guys will be doing something more interesting than all of that.

On second thought, no don’t tell me that. Just say you won’t be doing anything interesting for NYE either- I’ll feel better about my boring, uneventful self that way.

I’ve had this recipe swimming around in the blog folder of my computer for a while now- I just kept forgetting to put it up (to be honest, I’m not too crazy about how these pictures turned out in retrospect, but oh well). It’s another simple, quick and pretty healthy chicken dish that I use for my family when I buy bulk chicken breast packages from the grocery store to last us through the week.

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This chicken reminds me of a dish I’d order in a Latin American-themed restaurant alongside some paella or arborrio rice. You could even slice or dice it up and throw it in a tortilla or on top of a salad for a full meal. I’ve done both with this chicken and it turned out great both times. The ingredients are simple, but the flavors still really pop. Give it a shot when you don’t have a lot of time on your hands and still want a great meal.

Seeya ‘next year’ guys 😉

Lime Glazed Chicken


Recipe Courtesy of Great American Recipes

Print

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 5 oz. each)
  • 1/4 cup honey mustard
  • 1 tbsp. finely grated lime zest
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

 Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray an 11 x 7 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Place the chicken in the prepared baking dish. Combine the mustard, lime zest, lime juice, honey, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

3. Brush half of the glaze over the chicken. Bake, brushing with the remaining glaze occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when pierced with a knife, 25-30 minutes. Serve.

Zucchini Pizza Lasagna

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My mom is really, really REALLY crafty.

When I say that, I mean that she’s one of those people who can take the most ordinary, seemingly common objects and turn them into something really cool and awesome.This happened a lot when we were little kids. She would buy one of the cheap stuffed animals from the dollar store, then go to the fabric store to buy the clearance fabrics that she would sew into beautiful, sometimes even elaborate dresses to dress the animals in. A lot of the glass and porcelain knick knacks and show pieces in my grandma’s living room are ones that my mom bought from the dollar store and jazzed up on our her own so that they look like they came from a gift shop and cost a fortune. For a while, she even made and sold floral wreaths and jewelry boxes.

When I was around six or seven, me and my sisters were in our church’s Vacation Bible School in the summertime for kids and there was this costume contest. We didn’t have a lot of money at that time, and certainly not enough for my mom to buy three girls fancy costumes to wear. So, being the crafty, innovative person that she is, she decided to construct costumes for all of using items she already had in our house.

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Oh yeah, and I should probably mention that the items were white garbage bags, silver wrapping paper ribbon, glitter and dress-up wigs (two pink, and one blue). The result? Three little angels.

My mom sprinkled glitter over the white garbage bags, then cut holes out of them to fit our arms and legs. She then used the silver ribbon to cinch them at the waist, then curled the ends so that the bags looked like dresses. After putting on the wigs and a little bit of lipstick and blush, our costumes for the contest were complete.

I know it sounds weird and crazy now, but I can still remember feeling so pretty in that costume at the time. I thought my mom was a genius and was so proud of her for coming up with the idea. The reality is that instead of angels, the three of us looked like The Paper Bag Princess meets The Jetsons.

I can’t decide whether the greater miracle was that no one laughed or made fun of us…or that me and my sisters actually won that costume contest.

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Unfortunately, I don’t have my mom’s crafty abilities in using ordinary objects to create physical art that wins contests and makes money.Art’s not my thing- never has been, and likely never will be. I’m just a home cook. However that does mean that I can take ordinary ingredients that some people (including myself) may underestimate and make them into a dish that really exceeds even my own expectations. That’s what happened with this dish.

Small confession: I don’t like ordinary lasagna. For one, I hate ricotta cheese. Two, there’s something about the texture of the noodles, that puts me off. So for years, I’ve just avoided it all together. But then, I found myself with a whole lot of zucchini that I simply had to find something to do with that didn’t involve zucchini bread. I’ve seen variations of this dish done before, so I decided to create my own rendition, specially tailored for my ricotta/lasagna noodle-hating tastes.

I was REALLY impressed with how this came out.  The zucchini is such a great alternative to the pasta, and I actually think it’s a vast improvement on the original. It tastes like pure comfort food, and I’m planning on adding it to the dinner rotation for my family as a regular dish. I’m also bringing it to the party at this week’s Fiesta Friday #32, hosted by Angie@TheNoviceGardener . Give it a try, folks. I don’t think you’ll regret it 🙂

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Zucchini Pizza Lasagna

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 2-3 Large Zucchini
  • 1-2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 15 oz. cans of pizza sauce
  • 1 1/2lb ground beef
  • 1lb roll of pork (or turkey) sausage
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 7 oz. pouch of pepperoni
  • 8 oz. shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Using a mandolin (or a VERY sharp knife), slice zucchini length-wise into very thin slices, about 1/8 thick.

3. Lay slices on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and sprinkle liberally with salt. Bake in oven for about 10-12 minutes.

4. Using a paper towel, press all the remaining moisture from the zucchini and set aside.

5. Brown ground beef and sausage together in a pan, then drain off excess fat. In same skillet, saute onion and bell pepper in same skillet, until softened.

6. Pour pizza sauce into a bowl and stir in the ground beef, sausage, onion and bell pepper.

7. Turn up oven heat to 375°. Spray an 11 x 13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Layer the zucchini slices in the bottom and spread with pizza sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over sauce, then lay pepperoni over cheese. Repeat layers, ending with pizza sauce.

8. Cover lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle top with the parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 more minutes.

9. Remove lasagna from oven and heat broiler. Place back in oven and bake until cheese is browned, about 2-3 minutes.

10. Allow lasagna to sit for about 30 minutes before eating to allow to settle. Serve.

Maple Sausage Breakfast Sandwiches

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I don’t always get to eat it the way that I want it, but I gotta say that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. There’s so many great choices; pancakes (first and foremost in my heart), french toast, waffles, cinnamon rolls, omelettes, muffins, hashbrowns and of course, the breakfast sandwich.

I know. I’ve probably made you hungry just talking about it. That’s the point.

My earliest memory of the breakfast sandwich is when I was still in elementary school. My school used to have this annual ‘Sleepover’ on a Friday night, where we could all come and spend the evening playing games or watch movies that were still set up in different classrooms, then all come and sleep together in the gym with our sleeping bags. In the morning, they would always feeds us McDonald’s breakfast, where we had the option of either getting the hotcakes and sausage, or the McMuffin breakfast sandwich before our parents came to pick us up.

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Because pancakes hold the keys to my heart, I would always choose the hotcakes, but mostly everyone else did choose the McMuffin instead. It would be a few years later before I decided to finally try the Sausage McMuffin. The real reason for my hesitance was actually pretty dumb. I don’t like having cheese on my sandwiches. (Yes, I know. I’m weird.) and for some strange reason, I had no idea for a while that you could ask for the sandwich to not have cheese on it. It’s hard for me to explain now, but my innocent 6 year old self thought that if I went through a drive through and asked for my sandwich not to have cheese on it, I’d get yelled at or get told that they did NOT do things like that and I’d have to take it or leave it…or something like that.

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So imagine my delight when I was told by my mom one day that I COULD actually ask for them to just leave the cheese off of the Sausage and Egg McMuffin. So yeah, I did ask for one sans the cheese. And from that day, to this, I have always loved having sausage breakfast sandwiches smeared with fruit jelly or preserves. True story. Aren’t you glad that you found out that I wasn’t the sharpest crayon in the box at 6?

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If you’ve ever been to a grocery store or to the two ‘main’ burger joints in the US, you’ll find an assortment of breakfast sandwiches to choose from for the convenience of a quick breakfast. Sausage/Ham and Egg McMuffins. McGriddles. Croissanwiches. Special K  Flatbread Sandwiches. Jimmy Dean Delights. We’ve all heard of them. We’ve all probably had at least one before-and why not? They’re easy. They’re inexpensive. And they don’t taste that bad.

So what’s the point of making the individual ingredients at home when you can technically buy them at stores or restaurants?

Just because, really.

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You guys probably remember that I recently made Whole Wheat English Muffins from scratch. They were a huge hit all on their own, but I thought that I would try to elevate them a little bit and make them into an entire breakfast dish in and of itself, which resulted in these breakfast sandwiches. Like the English Muffins themselves, these sandwiches are quite healthy. With turkey sausage, egg whites and whole wheat bread, you really couldn’t ask for a more well-balanced breakfast. It also makes me feel a little bit better about the huge dollops of jam that I smear on both sides of the sandwich. Cause you know: it’s all about maintaining a balance right? 😉 I’ll be taking these to this week’s Fiesta Friday, hosted by  Mr Fitz@Cooking with Mr Fitz and Justine@Eclectic odds n sods. Sorry guys- I brought another “healthy” dish. Next week I’ll be back with something sweet. Wear your yoga pants- it’s gonna be “one of those” 😉

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Maple Sausage Breakfast Sandwiches

Recipe Adapted from Kelsey Nixon

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 8 Whole Wheat English Muffins, sliced in half
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 tbsp  not melted
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 Egg whites
  • Salt and pepper

Maple Sausage:

  • 2 lbs of ground turkey sausage
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons granulated onion
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

Directions

  1. Brush the inside of each roll with the melted butter and toast in the oven until slightly crispy & golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. Mix together all the ingredients for the sausage in a bowl, & shape into 8 patties. Make sure you form the sausage patties in the same size & shape of the bread you are using, so that way every bite you take of the sandwich has every component it.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Brown the sausage patties for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Once they are browned & cooked through, remove patties to a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. In the sausage drippings, add the remaining tablespoon of butter and crack 4  egg whites into the skillet. Sprinkle the whites with salt and pepper and cook them to your desired doneness.
  5. To assemble a sandwich, place a sausage patty on the bottom half of the toasted roll and top with the egg whites. Have it plain or dressed with the condiments you prefer. I eat mine with fruit preserves, or with Frank’s Red Hot.

 

 

 

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Whole Wheat English Muffins

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I’m grateful to live in a world full of convenience when it comes to food. It’s not like it was for people in generations before me who had to do mostly everything by themselves when it came to putting a  meal on the table. I can admit that I take that for granted. These days, if you want something, you can usually go into the grocery store and buy it, or go to a restaurant or fast food joint to eat it. Such are the conveniences of living in a first world country.

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Breakfast foods are one of those things that I think most people would rather be able to buy in a store or restaurant rather than put in the effort to make themselves. Who can blame them, really? If you have to wake up and be at work by say 8 or 9 in the morning, you may be in the mood for pancakes or french toast but you’re probably not going to feel like waking up super early to make them and still be on time to your job-especially if you have kids to get ready for school on top of that. Sometimes I wake up in the morning craving a honey butter croissant- I’ve never woken up craving one and actually attempted to bake it before I had to be where I needed to be in the morning. Nor am I likely to ever try.

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I usually just resort to the ease of store bought or restaurant made method when I want something for breakfast. If I want bagels, I’ll buy a bagel. If I want pancakes, I’ll go to a restaurant to eat some. If I want a breakfast sandwich, I’ve always just went out to the store to buy the ingredients to put it together, or just picked one up through a drive-thru.

Until now, that is. This time was different.

Sometimes, I’ll be flipping through one of my numerous cookbooks and suddenly come across a recipe that at first glance, I may think: why on Earth would I make that for myself, when I know very well that I can go out and buy it at the store? What a waste of time.

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Then I’ll give it another glance and think, “Well…why not?”

That was what basically happened with these English Muffins. I bought this huge, beautiful cookbook called “Bake” that features regional recipes from around the world and was looking through it  to choose a recipe to make and I stumbled across this one. I’d never seen how they were made before  and when I saw that it looked relatively easy, I began thinking about giving it a go for myself. To make them a little healthier, I substituted whole wheat flour in the recipe and I think it gives the bread a nuttier, heartier flavor. Was it a necessary recipe to make? No, but it was a lot of fun.  It also made me decide to go a step further and throw together the ingredients for a full on breakfast sandwich- recipe is soon to follow.

I hope you guys don’t mind me bringing whole wheat English Muffins to this week’s Fiesta Friday- I wouldn’t mind if they just get pushed to the back of the table while you guys smash on some ‘less healthier’ options. I swear they taste great toasted and smeared with butter and jam though!

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Whole Wheat English Muffins

Recipe Courtesy of ‘Bake’ by Edward Gee

 CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4  tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1-2 tbsp water
  • Fine cornmeal or polenta, for dusting
  • Vegetable oil for drying

 Directions

1. Mix together the flour, yeast, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.

2. Add buttermilk and water and mix to combine. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth dough forms. If it is too wet, add a little flour. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise for about 2 hours.

3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to thickness of 1/2 inch. Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut out 8-10 circles, rerolling the trimmings, if necessary. Do not overwork the dough. Sprinkle the circles with fine cornmeal and let rest for 1 hour.

4. Put some oil into a flat griddle pan or heavy skillet and het over medium heat. Add the muffins to the pan, in batches, and cook on one side for about 4-5 minutes, until golden brown. Turn and cook on the other side for 4-5 minutes, until golden brown. Place the cooked muffins on some paper towels and cool before serving.

 

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Southron Spinach and Plum Salad

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Game of Thrones Series Week 3

Happy Mother’s Day everyone! I hope you all get to spend some time with the mothers or mother figures in your lives and make them feel appreciated. They deserve it.

It’s time for another GoT recipe you guys! I hope you’ve been keeping up with the series, if not I’ll post the recipes that I’ve done so far at the end of this post so you can play catch up. Before we get to the food, I’ll say a few words about my favorite parts of last Sunday’s episode:

  • I know that they’re a crazy family, but I just love the scenes between the Lannisters, especially when Tywin is involved. He’s undoubtedly a bad person, but he’s got a strong dose of pragmatism and resolve to survive at all costs that definitely makes him one of the show’s strongest and charismatic characters. So the Lannister’s are out of dough, huh? Never thought that day would come. As I watched the scene between Tywin and Cersei, I thought it was a great conversation between a rich father facing bankruptcy and his privileged, spoiled daughter who’s always been given everything she wants. I loved Tywin explaining the “facts of life” to Cersei and making her aware that she has to ‘take one for the team’ so to speak in order for them to survive as a family.
  • I’m really curious whether or not Daenerys is really going to get the epic battle for the Iron Throne that she’s dreaming of when it seems like every episode just puts up another roadblock/reason for why it’s not her time to invade Westeros and “take what is hers by blood and fire” (God, she used to get on my nerves when was forever saying that in season 2). I know that because she has the dragons, we’re going to get some kind of fancy special effects-laden scene, but I’m not altogether convinced that GoT is going to end with her as the supreme ruler of everything and everyone.

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  • Then of course, there’s Sansa- poor, poor Sansa. Now, not only is she dealing with Little Finger ( who is not only responsible for Joffrey’s death, but pretty much…everything that has to do with the major fallout ofKing Jon Arryn’s Hand- which is also the entire reason that the plotline of GoT got started in the first place) she’s also stuck with her crazy aunt who still harbors  jealousy for her mother and all the things Catelyn had that she never could. And, she has to get married AGAIN to her younger cousin. Sheesh. Sansa just can’t catch a break to save her life. I have a feeling that Sansa is going to end up doing something very drastic and heroic to save herself when this is all said and done- she’s been through too much without having the opportunity to defend or protect herself from all these people who keep wanting to harm her. I hope to God that one of those drastic things is shooting an arrow through Littlefinger’s head.
  • I really liked the short, but powerful scene between Cersei and Oberon. I don’t feel pity for her generally, but I felt for her situation as woman trapped in a ‘man’s world’ while still struggling to maintain her dignity and self esteem- even if it means causing pain and abuse to those weaker than she. I’m still thinking about that line: “Everywhere in the world they hurt little girls.” It gives me chills because of just how true it really is
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  • Finally an episode with Bran scenes that I can get into! Their escape from Craster’s Keep was pure suspense and satisfaction-especially Bran using his powers through Hodor to get them out of there. Now I finally see the merit behind all those creepy times that his eyes roll back in his head and he sees those weird visions. (Random fact: rolling eyeballs give me pure goosebumps. I just don’t like looking at it.)
  • Too bad Bran and Jon didn’t get to see each other again. I feel like a Stark family reunion (what’s left of them anyway) would be full of so much feels and emotion after all they’ve been though. At least Jon got to see the direwolf again. And at least that horrible Karl jerk got his- from both Jon and one of the women he’d been victimizing. It was a solid call to burn that hell hole to ground. Burn it and bury it forever.

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Guys! I’ve made a discovery- turns out, there’s a Game of Thrones Cookbook. A real one. Actually more than one- there’s an official one: A Feast of Ice and Fire, then there’s an unofficial one : The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook. I was at an outlet store in my hometown a few weeks ago, and I came across the unofficial cookbook on a shelf priced for only $3.99 (that was marked down from an original price of $19.95). Now, you really can’t beat that, can you? So of course, I bought the cookbook (…along with a few others that were also too discounted to not buy. I collect cookbooks like some people collect stamps; there’s never too many. Don’t judge me.)

Question: what IS the actual difference between Official and Unofficial in this context anyway? I read the caption on the cover of the book that reads: “This book is unofficial and unauthorized/ It is not authorized, approved, licensed or endorsed by George R.R. Martin, his publishers, or HBO.”

So…does that mean that the other is authorized, approved, licensed or endorsed by George R.R. Martin, his publishers, or HBO? How does that even work? I don’t understand.

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Anyway, official or unofficial, this cookbook is pretty awesome, guys. The recipes are the perfect blend between medieval and still modern enough for the average cook to be able to easily recreate them. I’ve already made a few that I’m super pumped to review and share with you, the first of which being this delightful salad. I’ve never had a salad with plums in it before, but now that I have, I’m pretty much sold on making it a regular occurrence for when I eat salad from here on out. It adds such a special sweetness that is evenly balanced with the acidity of the lemon and orange flavors in the tangy dressing. Throw in some diced chicken or other type of protein, and you’ve got one winner of a meal here.

One of the things I love best about the cookbook is the little introductions that they author gives at the beginning of every recipe that serve to link them to their relevance to the book series. I thought that I could include it in my posting of the recipe here as well.

Thanks for tuning into this week’s  GoT post- stay tuned for next week’s recipe. I’ll give you a hint into two words: Baratheon. Pork.   😉

Game of Thrones Series

Week 1: Pigeon {Chicken} Pies

Week 2: Winterfell Brown Bread

Week 3: Southron Spinach & Plum Salad

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Southron Spinach & Plum Salad

Recipe Courtesy of The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook by Alan Kistler

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

“After a fine day or tourney, Sansa joins the royal court at the riverside for a feast. It’s a magical evening where simply joys and the beauty of the night seem all the more enhanced. This salad of spinach and plums is both healthy yet provides a sweetness to complement the flavor of the night for the young Sansa, who has no idea how far away such lovely times will seem in the months to come.” (A Game of Thrones, Chapter 29 -Sansa)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, torn
  • 4 plums, pitted and sliced into wedges
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 4 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 4 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped basil

Directions

1. Arrange the spinach and plum wedges on 4 plates.

2. Whisk vinegar, oil, juices, zests, salt, pepper, and basil in a bowl.

3. Drizzle approximately 1/3 of dressing over spinach and plums on plates. Remaining dressing may be refrigerated.

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Sesame Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Asian Sweet Potatoes1Tagged

I’ve mentioned to you guys before that when I find a new habit or trend, or something  in general that I like, I will wear it out TO DEATH until I’m either sick of it, or until I find a new something to wear out to death.

Me and my twin sister Jas are really alike in that (among other things: our DNA  also happens to be exactly the same.) Take movies for instance; when we were growing up, we went through a phase where when we found a movie we liked, we watched it every chance we got. I find a new favorite song and it gets put on constant repeat on my iPod . I find a new interesting tv show and will faithfully watch it ever week, or if its old, I will have entire marathons of it on Netflix until I get through it all.

Asian Sweet Potatoes4 Tagged

So far as good goes, I’m on a root vegetable kick right now.  For a long time, I’ve just always wanted to eat a side of root vegetables with my dinner. Mostly it’s been a mix between rutabagas and sweet potatoes. I can decide which I like more honestly. Although it may not seem like it, rutabagas too have a unmistakable sweetness to them that’s so clearly highlighted when they’re roasted. If you guys don’t believe me, then you should try this recipe for Herb Roasted Rutabaga that I posted a few weeks ago- if you’re not typically a fan of them, I promise you: I’m going to make you a ‘believer’ with 2 rutabagas, and a handful of dried herbs. Because I’m a miracle worker….okay not really, but I am a pretty good cook 😉

Asian Sweet Potatoes3 Tagged

 I’m experimenting with different recipes to mix things up so that I don’t get too bored. After all, variety’s the spice of life. Right now, this is my new sweet potato recipe that I’m really fond of.  Trust me, it tastes every bit as good as it looks.

I never would have thought initially to apply Asian style flavors to sweet potatoes. But let me tell you guys, it REALLY works. The saltiness of the soy sauce is perfect with the sweetness of the honey as well as the natural sweetness of the potatoes. The sesame seeds give it a subtle earthy and almost nutty aftertaste. I served them with a chicken stir-fry that I made my family for dinner ( the recipe and pics are very soon to follow).

Asian Sweet Potatoes2 Tagged

Random/Embarrassing Fact: About a year ago, I was on another carrot/sweet potato kick and I ate so many of them that I LITERALLY started turning orange. Seriously. I’m not joking. I went into my doctor for a general check up and she literally gasped and asked what happened to me. I didn’t notice until I stood under a fluorescent light in her office and held out my hands: my palms were the color of a carrot. My skin is naturally kind of yellow, so…suffice to say it just wasn’t a good look. I had no idea that consuming too much Vitamin A (which is dominant  in carrots and sweet potatoes) can do that. Now I do. So as delicious as these sweet potatoes are, I do try to be a little more careful to not make them take up the most space on my plate.

I try. I may not always succeed. Try this recipe and you’ll definitely understand why.

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Sesame Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Recipe Courtesy of Cookstr.com

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  •  5 orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (yams), peeled
  •  2 tbsp olive oil
  •  Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  •  2 tbsp sesame seeds
  •  1 tbsp honey
  •  1 tbsp soy sauce

 Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

2. Cut the potatoes into large chunks and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper.

3. Roast the potatoes for 30 minutes, turning halfway through, until almost tender.

4. Mix together the sesame seeds, honey, and soy sauce. Pour  over the sweet potatoes, and toss.

5. Roast 20 minutes more, or until well glazed and tender.

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