Sunday, May 17, 2015

Honey Balsamic Drumsticks

One way I feed my hobby obsession for cookbooks is through my Kindle.

When you have a bookshelf overflowing with cookbooks it's time to get creative. Using my kindle to buy the books I desire (umm...deserve) digitally allows me to feed my passion and keep the "stuff" in the house down to a minimum.  

So the other day I heard about a new cookbook put out by one of my favorite blogs (Our Best Bites). They have several books and this one is centered around low calorie cooking.  We all need that right? I quickly purchased "400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites" on my Kindle and started perusing the recipes to see which I wanted to make first.  I found that I bookmarked a LOT of recipes, but chose their "Honey Balsamic Drumsticks" as the meal to make today.  

It's a very economical recipe using drumsticks as your chicken pieces, and I found the dish to be simple to put together.  Don't go for drumsticks?   Make this dish with any chicken piece you wish adjusting the baking time as needed. The chicken is covered with a nice rub (which I doubled) and then a sweet, tangy, sticky glaze that really makes this dish. Don't skimp on this part, the sauce is so delishhhh!  Both MGG and I loved this dish and know your family and kids will love it too.

A simple easy meal for a relaxed weeknight or weekend dinner served with my Lemony Arugula Pasta Salad (recipe coming soon) is dinnertime at it's best.  

If  you not like me (a book hoarder) and love an actual book, you can find the book here.  Enjoy!

NOTE:  Here's a link to Amazon's Kindle Store and Fire Tablet store.  We have both items and I can't imagine ever being without them.  This isn't sponsored, I just love mine to death and want to share a great product!

Honey Balsamic Drumsticks

adapted from "400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites" Cookbook by Sarah Wells and Kate Jones, 2015

serves 5-6 (2 drumsticks per serving)

2–2½ pounds chicken drumsticks (10–12 drumsticks) 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 
1 teaspoon paprika 
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder 
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper 
4 teaspoons olive oil,  divided

2 tablespoons honey 
2 tablespoons balsamic 
2 tablespoons ketchup 
4 cloves garlic, minced  
2 tablespoons water 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat dry the chicken and set aside. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, and red pepper. Drizzle chicken with 2 teaspoons olive oil and rub in to coat all the pieces. Sprinkle the spice mixture over chicken and massage in. 

Heat large cast iron braising pan (or heavy oven-proof skillet with an oven-proof lid) to medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil and brush to cover bottom of entire pan. If more is needed, add a light spray of nonstick cooking spray. Brown chicken 2 minutes per side. (Cook in batches if necessary.) 

While chicken is searing, whisk sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Add the sauce to the pan after the chicken has seared. Toss the chicken to coat. Cover and transfer to oven. 

Bake for 20 minutes, rotate chicken pieces, and baste with sauce. Bake an additional 20 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and place drumsticks on a foil lined baking sheet.  Turn your oven on broil.  

Bring sauce that remains in the pan to a boil on stove top and simmer, uncovered, for 5-6  minutes until thick and glossy.   Meanwhile return chicken to the oven and broil 3-4 minutes until lightly charred.  Place chicken on a platter and drizzle with sauce.  Serve with extra sauce if desired.  

Friday, May 8, 2015

Cilantro-Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa

It's May...and it's raining today...and it's snowing in the mountains.

This may not be unusual for most places in the country but this is Southern California.  The land of sunshine, and this is just plain weird!

Regardless of the weather I'm still grilling today.  Inside, that is.  I have two favorite grilling pans that I use ALL the time! You can find them here and here.  They are staples for me and make indoor grilling a cinch. One is non-stick and lightweight.  It is easy to use and leaves good grill marks.  The other is cast-iron with superior heat distribution.  Both are excellent pans.  You should definitely get one if you don't have one already.

This light and healthy dish is gonna knock your socks off! The flavors of lime and cilantro are perfect together and when you throw in some California avocados the dish just takes off.  Light and healthy is the theme here.  I served this with some saffron rice and some tropical ice tea.  A perfect way to have dinner in the rain.

So be prepared to wow yourself and your family with this dish.  Guaranteed...there won't be any leftovers.

Cilantro-Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa

adapted from

serves 4

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless chicken breast cutlets
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Roma tomatoes chopped
2 Tbls finely chopped red onion
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 avocado, peeled and cubed

Combine cilantro, lime juice, and olive oil in a small bowl. Place chicken in a ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken, turning to coat.  Let stand for 5 minutes. Remove from the marinade, discarding remaining liquid.  Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Add chicken to pan and cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until done.

To prepare salsa, combine tomato, onion, lime juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add avocado, stirring gently to combine. Serve salsa over chicken.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry Sauce

Mother's Day will be here soon but can you think of a better way to celebrate than by making her a fabulous dessert?

You may want to make her a breakfast, or a celebratory dinner, but dessert just captures the heart.  This dessert is to DIE for!

When I read this recipe in Ina Garten's cookbook, "Barefoot in Paris" and saw that it was a french version of cheesecake well....let's just say she had me at cheesecake.  I love me some cheesecake! (Plus I love all of Ina's recipes...)

Boy, were we in for a treat on this one.  This is the creamiest, delicate, light and fluffy dessert you will ever want.  It's cheesecake kicked up 100x over!  No, really, this dessert is   d a n g e r o u s.  It is very hard to control yourself from eating it, I mean ALL OF IT!  Oh, and the raspberry sauce? Holy moly...this is a must!

Now, I will say, while this is easy to make, it does require some equipment you may not have readily available.  I'm sure you can substitute the mold for another form and be just fine, but this heart shaped Coeur a la Creme mold is so adorable I had to have it.  You can purchase it here.  You will also need some cheesecloth, for the straining, so make sure to have that on hand as well.  Other than that this is easy to put together.  This does need to sit overnight and strain through the cheesecloth, so I made it the night before.  You may want to plan to make this ahead of time.

This truly is a fabulous recipe, thanks to Ina for her ingenious cookbooks and foolproof dishes!  You can buy her cookbook here, which I highly recommend. 

You may also find the recipe here.

Happy Mother's Day!

Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry Sauce

(Serves 6 to 8 )

Adapted from :  Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris Cookbook

12 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
2 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp of vanilla paste
Raspberry Sauce
2 half-pints fresh raspberries

Raspberry Sauce:
1 half-pint fresh raspberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (12 ounces) seedless raspberry jam

Place the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for two minutes. Scrape down the beater and bowl with a rubber spatula and change the beater for the whisk attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the heavy cream, vanilla, lemon zest, and vanilla paste and beat on high speed until the mixture is very thick, like whipped cream.

Line a 7-inch sieve with cheesecloth or paper towels so the ends drape over the sides and suspend it over a bowl, making sure that there is space between the bottom of the sieve and the bottom of the bowl for the liquid to drain. Pour the cream mixture into the cheesecloth, fold the ends over the top, and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, discard the liquid, unmold the cream onto a plate, and drizzle Raspberry Sauce around the base. Serve with raspberries and extra sauce.

For the Raspberry Sauce: Place one package of raspberries, the granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries and the jam, into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth. Chill.


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