Saturday, September 6, 2014

Roast Chicken and the best sweet potatoes

Remember what mom would do whenever she made a great meal? You remember right? I have vivid memories of her beating the table (kinda hard) and shouting out "Slap your mama!!" Well, I had a "slap your mama" meal last night myself. I found some sweet potatoes at our corner market. That may not seem like a big deal to you, but Serbia doesn't "do" sweet potatoes. I see them only occasionally so when I do I snatch them up. There's a recipe I've wanted to try forever now from an Ina Garten cookbook I got a couple years ago so when I got home I pulled it out to make sure I had all the ingredients. I've been trying to eat a lot healthier lately so maybe that's why the 12 tablespoons of butter and cup of cream and plenty of sugar caught me so offgaurd. Usually sweet potatoes are the healthier choice right? Lucky for me I found plenty of bloggers online doing the same thing but doing much less damage to my waistline. This one turned out better than I could have expected.
The only thing I did differently was that I used maple syrup as my sweetener instead of sugar. The orange really sets it off.
I made this chicken to go alongside it and it was also better than I hoped.
I like to roast a chicken every other week or so- simple, easy, just salt and pepper. It always turns out tasty but this one had so much flavor! Especially the dripping in the bottom of the skillet. I always spatchcock my chickens though. It's easy to do and cuts the baking time down to 45 minutes at 450.
Other than that, I just steamed some broccoli and it made for a really delicious and pretty meal. I *almost* felt like I was cheating Thanksgiving a little bit.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Black Bean Ragout

We've been trying to eat less meat around here, particularly since Andrew's last horrible, awful, terrible kidney stone that lasted 7 days, so I've been looking for things to make that are still high protein. Beans fit the bill and I recently posted about a kidney bean curry we love. Indian food has been a go to lately because it's so cheap and healthy to make once you have the spices. Recently I tried out a bean recipe from my Smitten Kitchen cookbook (I'm obessed, I realize that) and it turned out surprisingly well. Word to the wise- you need to use the smoked paprika. I discovered it about a year ago and it has such a great flavor.
I don't mess with the cumin crema or garlc toast but I'm sure that would be really tasty. I just made the beans in the slow cooker. The first night I served it over these corn cakes with fresh salsa and sour cream on top.
The next night I served them with some fried homemade potatoes and fresh tomato slices. Another time I cooked them down and made burritos and quesadillas with them. It's a really versatile recipe and it stretches a long way. Really healthy and pretty cheap to make. I think it would also make a great side for any mexican dish but really, it shines all on its own as the main dish.

Fridge dill pickles

Remember what the refridgerator looked like growing up? Of course there was always a rotation of leftovers coming in and out and fruit and veggies, but there were some things that I just always remember seeing.  A mug of bacon grease in the fridge door, cool whip (at least 3 different tubs of it at eaten down to various levels), and an uncovered dish of something dad was pickling (usually cucumbers). When I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen a few days ago, it made me think of them and I had to make them. Here in Belgrade, we get all of our produce in season- unless you go to the big supermarket where you can get a melon yearround but you wouldn't want to bother eating it. So, it's a little sad in the winter looking at all the cabbage and onions but right now all of the berries and peaches and nectarines, roadside makeshift melon stands, and these cute little pickling pickles warm my black little heart. I bet you have them at your grocery store too right or a farmer's market surely. We made the BBQ chicken sandwhiches from pioneer woman and served up these dill pickles with them. Go ahead, make a jar and keep it in your fridge for old times sake.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Red Kidney Bean Curry

This is a fast 20 minute weeknight dinner that everyone at my house loved. I suppose it's like the Indian version of red beans and rice. Vegetarian, healthy, and really good, especially for the amount of time involved.