Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kickin' Chicken: Chicken Thighs with Peanut Sauce

Dear Jess,

Jillian Michaels kicked my butt this weekend.

Let me explain... Jason and I went to my cousin Rebecca's house so Jason could help her husband chop and stack wood (at least I think that's what they did... I hung out inside with all the girls!) We got there around 10:30, and by 11, Rebecca and I were starting to sweat. I knew half way through that I would not be able to move for a couple days... and I was right! Thus, first thing on Tuesday I went and picked up the DVD (Jillian Michaels 'No More Trouble Zones')! Today is my first day of ascending and descending stairs with no pain. Today will also be the second time I do the DVD workout.

This recipe I did quite a while ago. It's another really quick and very simple one. You can do it with chicken thighs or breasts. I used thighs because they're so delicious and cheaper than breasts. It's not anywhere near what Jamie Oliver would do, but for a quick, no-mess, low maintenance meal... it got my attention. You can make it spicy depending on what salsa you use. You could also throw in some chili flakes if that tickles your fancy. I will most likely be making this again!

Kickin' Chicken (6 servings)
from Eat Shrink and be Merry, by Janet and Greta Podleski

3/4 cup bottled light peanut sauce
1/2 cup medium or hot salsa
1/4 cup chopped, fresh basil leaves

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a 9x12 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Arrange chicken thighs in the pan in a single layer. If you're using breasts, cut them in half to make them fit the pan if necessary.

2. Combine peanut sauce, salsa and basil in a bowl. Pour over the chicken evenly and make sure all pieces are well coated with sauce. Bake, uncovered for 40-45 minutes for thighs, and 35-40 minutes for breasts, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center and sauce is bubbly.

3. To serve, arrange chicken on a platter and pour the sauce from the pan over top.

I had diced and froze some squash earlier in the month. I steamed it and mashed it with a little greek yogurt! Very yummy!

I hope all the planning is going well! I miss you (as always) and can't wait to have a Skype date! You are a remarkable woman and I am proud to call you my friend.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Pork and Vegetable Stovetop Stew

Dear Jess,

What busy times we live in!

As you can guess, each time I go to make a meal these days, my eyes scan recipe after recipe looking for the 'preparation time' and 'cook time'. If it takes more than an hour... no way!

Jason picked up this calendar somewhere... maybe in the paper? Or at a grocery store? With the Food and Drink Magazine? The main point I would like to make about this specific calender is that it was free. Other things it has going for it are: it's pretty, well designed, has pretty food pictures, and it contains one recipe each month that is made of Ontario ingredients. I think I will try to make each month's recipe as we flip through it this year.

January ended up being: Pork and Vegetable Stovetop Stew

The recipe actually called for dried rosemary and thyme... but you know how I love my fresh herbs! When Jason and I get settled into our place, I hope to have a big fresh herb 'garden'. Whether it's a window-box or something a little more elaborate, I don't really care. So long as they are growing in my house.

What I ended up with was a very tasty, fresh and simple dish that takes 15 minutes to prep, and 30 minutes to let sit and simmer while I enjoyed a lovely glass of red wine. Easy!

Pork and Vegetable Stovetop Stew
adapted from the Ontario Food Calendar 2012, January
1 tbsp whole wheat flour
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
12 oz/375 g Pork Tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 Sweet or Spanish Onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium Sweet Potato, pealed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups low sodium chicken or veggie broth
2 large Parsnips or Carrots, pealed and cubed (1/2-inch)
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)

1. Combine flour, thyme, salt, rosemary, and pepper. Toss pork in mixture. Lightly coat a frying ban in oil over medium heat. Add pork and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove to plate.

2. In a medium sized pot, add a dollop of oil. Stir in onion, and garlic, cook until lightly softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Add sweet potato, parsnips and pork; cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until pork and vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley (or fresh Thyme).

The biscuits and salad were from my mom. They were delicious! She has mastered the 'Red Lobster Biscuit' and her berry, nut, cheese, greens and balsamic salad is to die for! What a treat!

I can't wait until our next Skype date! I have so much to tell you. I miss you and love you so much. I hope you are not too stressed with everything. Please (again) let me know if/when you need me to do anything

So Much Love,