Yesterday was meet the teacher (again, still in shock my little mini foodie is big enough to be in SCHOOL - egads!)...so I wanted something quick and tasty for dinner.
Hubs and I (and lil Z) all love chicken drumsticks. They are super tasty, always nice and moist, and I love the fact that you can almost always get a wicked sale on them. When I'm feeling less lazy, I skin them, but because of the later start to dinner tonight, I didn't bother. Besides, I (not-so-secretly) love crispy skin.
Lil Z loves them too, because they are easy to pick up and eat right off the bone.
Another reason I love serving them is that I think it's important for kids to know where their food comes from. I think that kids should know that chicken comes from an actual chicken; drumsticks help illustrate that because I can show Z a picture of a chicken and tell her about what part we're eating. If all you ever serve is boneless, skinless cuts, it's hard for kids to picture what you're actually eating. Whole chicken is even better for this. I digress.
One cookbook I can always rely on for quick and relatively healthy recipes is Eat, Shrink and Be Merry. So I opted for a quick honey-mustard chicken drumstick recipe and a brown rice pilaf. Rice is a bit of a picky dish for me; whenever I try to make it on the stovetop, I end up with a hot gluey mess and a burnt pot.
I like to start my pilaf on the stove, and finish it in the rice cooker. Works beautifully every time!
honey-mustard chicken drumsticks
stolen and lightly modified from Eat Shrink & Be Merry
12 skinless chicken drumsticks (can also use with-skin)
1/4 c honey
2 T cider vinegar
2 T dijon mustard
1 t garlic
1 t herbes de provence
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange drumsticks in a single layer, keeping the bone toward the centre, and the meaty parts on the outside (it will cook better this way).
2. Whisk together honey, vinegar, dijon, garlic, herbes de provence and pepper. Pour evenly over chicken pieces. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven and baste chicken with sauce. Baste every 10 minutes until chicken has cooked for about 45-50 minutes (use a thermometer to be sure --> 75C). I like to use a standard turkey baster rather than a brush as I find you can build up the glaze a bit better that way.
3. Serve, spooning remaining sauce over chicken.
So, once you've got the chicken in the oven, you can start the rice.
brown rice pilaf with cranberries and nuts
stolen and lightly modified from Eat Shrink & Be Merry
1 T olive oil
2 cups chopped mushrooms
1 cup minced onion
1 clove minced garlic
1 cup brown rice
2 cups broth
1/4 c each dried cranberries and chopped nuts (I used pecans and almonds)
2 T fresh parsley
1. Heat olive oil in a medium, non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onions and garlic. Cook and stir until vegetables begin to soften (3 mins or so).
2. Stir in rice, cook about 1 more minute, until rice is translucent. (at this point, you can add broth and cook in a pot, but I use a rice cooker). Take mushroom/rice mixture and put in a rice cooker. Add broth. Let the rice maker do its magic (it will take about 40 minutes).
3. Once the rice is cooked, stir in cranberries, nuts and parsley.
Friday, September 28, 2012
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
I'm totally stoked about this.
You guys all know that I don't have advertising on my blog (partially laziness, and partially that I don't really want your visits to the site interrupted with endless ads that may or may not be interesting and/or relevant). And I don't normally do giveaways, because most of the possibilities tend to be for odd new products that I personally would never use. I don't really want to use my blog to sell other people's stuff.
BUT, there are a few products that I totally love, and when I'm lucky enough to hear from one of them, I need to pass on that love.
I've never made any secret about my love for my KitchenAid mixer. A stand mixer obviously isn't a necessity, but there are SO MANY recipes that are made infinitely easier through its use --> meringues, whipped cream, breads, swiss meringue buttercream, even mashed potatoes. I love mine; I posted my first ode to it just over five years ago and it's been serving me well ever since.
So when the folks at KitchenAid (or specifically at their PR firm) asked me if I wanted to give away a stand mixer to my readers....ummmmm...OBVIOUSLY I do.
So here's the deal, first, I've got to restrict this to Canadian residents (or people who know people with a Canadian address). I know I've got a lot of US readers, so I'll keep an eye out for something for you guys.
Now, what you have to do (and you'll see it below in the Rafflecopter widget), is first go to http://www.kitchenaidcolourology.ca/ - there, they have a quiz, so you can determine "your KitchenAid Colour Personality" (their words, not mine). After you do the quiz, you need to comment and let me know your "true colour." I got boysenberry, which is GORGEOUS (I really just want to be able to have all 26 colours because they are soooooo pretty). My stand mixer is Empire Red, which is also pretty. ;)
As a bonus entry, if you already like Definitely Not Martha on Facebook, or if you are willing to like DNM on FB, then you can have two chances.
Giveaway runs until 12:01 AM on October 9th./// This giveaway is now over. Thanks to all who entered!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck and I'm super excited to be able to do this! For the winner, Rafflecopter will have your email address, so I will email you once the winner is selected to get further information. And in theory, you will get to pick the colour as well!
*** Giveaway ended! Thanks so all who entered! ***
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
The tiniest person in my house turned six months old today. It's crazy to think how quickly time flies. While I write this, she is happily bouncing up and down in her Jolly Jumper, watching me type and giggling away. Have you seen those things? I want one.
But I digress.
Last night, I was going out for Indian food with a few friends, and so I wanted something quick and easy to make for hubs and Little Z. I also wanted it to make copious amounts of leftovers, so we'd all have something for lunch today too.
I was flipping through books/websites, and then I decided that I'd create a sort of BBQ chicken pasta dish. Kind of along the idea of a bbq chicken pizza, except in pasta form. I'd say it was pretty successful, and hit all the right notes (as in, easy, fast, made a lot), but the one thing that was missing was smokiness, and I think that's because I didn't use the most appropriate kind of bbq sauce. I just used a chicken&rib sauce thta had a lot of sweetness, but none of the smokey/hickory flavour that was needed. So if you make this, be sure to use a smokey bbq sauce, and you won't regret it.
bbq black bean & chicken pasta bowl
1 T olive oil
1 lb chicken breast, diced
(montreal steak spice)
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn (or fresh or canned)
1 T chili powder
1 can spaghetti sauce (use a fairly plain sauce)
3/4 c bbq sauce (I suggest a smokey one --> look for hickory or mesquite)
1 box of pasta (I used penne; I think wagon wheels would be so cute for this dish though)
1. Heat large pasta pot full of water.
2. While water is heating, in a large, deep skillet, sauté chicken in olive oil over medium heat, until cooked through, sprinkle with a bit of montreal steak spice, if you have it). Remove chicken from skillet.
3. To skillet (don't bother to clean it), add a touch more olive oil, then add onion, red pepper, green pepper and garlic. Saute until veggies are softened (about 5-6 mins). Add black beans and corn. Saute a couple more minutes, until corn is heated through. Stir in chili powder.
4. By this point, your pasta water is probably boiling. Add about 1 T salt (optional), and then cook pasta according to directions. Penne takes 11 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, add spaghetti sauce and bbq sauce to veggie mixture. Stir. Return chicken to skillet, stir and turn heat down to low and let simmer while pasta cooks (otherwise you will have exploding tomato sauce all over your stove).
6. Drain pasta, but do not rinse. Return pasta to pasta pot. Dump skillet contents in. Combine.
7. Serve, topped with cheddar and cilantro.
Easy-peasy and pretty delicious. But like I said, go for a smokey bbq sauce!
Monday, September 24, 2012
When I was coming up with a title for this post, I vascillated between spain in a bowl and adventures in charcuterie. I opted for the former, primarily because the adventures in charcuterie were not entirely my own, AND I was so excited by this dish (and also the charcuterie) that I wanted to make sure more people read the post. I figured a lot of people would be put off by the idea of making their own ham.
So I'll preface the recipe by saying that you could make this with ANY ham or pork. Good quality is better, but with all the delicious seasoning, even with run of the mill ham, I think it would still be pretty awesome (though probably salty; definitely go easy on the salt).
The road that led us to our ham (and BACON!)-making adventures did not come altogether honestly. Frankly, last year, we ordered 1/4 pig from a local farmer. And the pork has been delicious, but we were left with a number of cuts (side pork, ham hocks, ham steaks, ham roasts) where we weren't really sure what to do. They were uncured/brined and unsmoked, so we decided that they needed some sort of processing to get them to a point where we would want to eat them. Hubs is braver than I in this respect, so he just bit the bullet and brined them for a few days (fairly simple brine - salt, sugar, bay leaves, spices, etc.). And a kind foodie co-worker of his smoked them for us.
The result? Meat that makes your house smell like a firepit. It's epic.
So aside from a decent stockpile of bacon, I also had this large slab of 'ham steak' (bone-in) and a couple of ham hocks. I wasn't really sure what to do with it, but I came across this recipe on epicurious, and I thought it sounded like a great place to start.
And it was. I will say that the dish was probably improved by the sheer deliciousness of my ham, but the flavours are so rich and wonderful. This is a three-part dish, definitely something you'd want to make on a weekend. I'd definitely serve this to guests, though I'd have to make sure they were non-picky meat-eaters. The ham was braised in a smokey, rich tomato broth with a touch of sherry, served over chickpeas sauteed with saffron, garlic and minced prosciutto, and topped with an almond-orange-parsley gremolata. I loved it.
spanish ham braise with saffron chickpeas and gremolata
stolen and modified from epicurious.com
1 large good-quality ham steak (2-3 inches thick); you could also use chunks of ham, chunks of pork, etc.)
1 ham hock (optional)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
5 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1 t dried)
1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes in juice, tomatoes coarsely chopped
2 cups low-salt chicken broth (if using salty ham, consider either water or unsalted broth)
1 cup medium-dry Sherry
3 dried ancho chiles,* halved, stemmed, seeded (I just used about 1 t of ancho chile powder; you could use a bit of cayenne or skip this)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon Spanish sweet paprika (pimenton dulce --> I used smoked sweet paprika) or Hungarian sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 15 1/2-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1 large garlic clove, minced
Large pinch of saffron threads
2 thin prosciutto slices, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Sprinkle ham/pork shanks and ham hock, if using, with salt and pepper (TIP: if using commercial ham, no salt; it's salty enough!).
2. Heat oil in heavy wide pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sauté ham and hock until brown, about 5-6 minutes per batch; transfer to platter/plate.
3. Add carrots, onion, garlic, and thyme to pot. Sauté until onion softens, about 5 minutes.
4. Add coarsely chopped tomatoes with juice, broth, Sherry, chiles, tomato paste, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and coriander. Bring to boil, scraping up browned bits from pan bottom.
5. Return ham and hock, if using, to pot. Return to boil. Cover pot and place in oven. Braise until ham is tender, about 3-4 hours (note: if using commercial ham, yours will be tender from the get-go; so you can just cook for about 1-2 hours). Tilt pot; carefully spoon off all fat.
6. Simmer pork uncovered over medium heat until sauce thickens to desired consistency, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper (it probably won't need more)
For chickpeas & gremolata:
1. While pork/ham is reducing on the stove-top, make garbanzo beans and gremolata: Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add chickpeas, garlic, and saffron and prosciutto. Sauté until heated through, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle beans with salt and pepper (I found the canned beans and prosciutto had enough salt on their own).
2. Mix parsley, almonds, and orange peel in small bowl for gremolata; I'm lazy, I did mine all in the food processor.
Place chickpeas in bottom of shallow bowl. Top with chunk of ham/pork, spoon sauce over top and sprinkle with gremolata.
I just love the contrast in richness in this dish - rich, meaty pork, luscious saffron chickpeas, and then the bright crunch of the gremolata. It smells like Spain and I think it's a pretty fabulous tribute to Spanish cooking.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
When I was growing up, my mom used to make a dozen blueberry muffins fresh, from scratch, almost every morning. Those muffins were LEGENDARY. My brothers used to devour them as quickly as she could bake them.
I was actually indifferent to blueberry muffins (a fact I didn't tell her until much later), but my friends used to pretty much fall all over themselves to see who could claim the fresh-baked muffin in my lunch.
A nice homemade muffin is such a comforting treat....if it's fresh, it has that delicious crunchy top, the sweet taste, that feeling of satiety....yum.
Somehow though, in the unnamed number of years since I had my mom making my lunch (we'll just say it's a lot more than 10), the muffin has morphed. It's gone from a few bites, to a cake-like monstrosity sugar bomb. So muffins have a bad rap now (unlike the nutrition halo enjoyed by granola bars).
I maintain that muffins can totally be part of a tasty snack or breakfast, we just need to do a few things with them. We need to make them smaller. We need to cut the sugar. And we need them to be whole grain. Because I also love chocolate chip muffins, I'm going to use the Tim Hortons Chocolate Chip mufffin as a comparison.
Weight - TH has a 115g muffin. My muffins weigh between 50g and 68g.
Calories - TH is 410 calories. A muffin should not be 400 calories. These muffins are about 181 calories.
Sugar - TH is 37 g. That is almost 10 teaspoons. Mine have 8g. That's about 2 teaspoons. They still taste sweet.
Fibre - TH has 2g. Mine have 4g, despite being half the size.
Sodium - TH has 430 mg. Mine have 94 mg.
Bottom line, these muffins are denser, pack more fibre, way less sugar and sodium. They are about equal in terms of fat, but mine get the fat from avocado and canola oil.
I got this recipe from the October 2012 issue of Clean Eating, and just tweaked it a wee bit. It's not my recipe but it's so yummy, and I couldn't find it online anywhere to share it with you. So I'm posting it. And the picture is from my phone, so it is sub-par. I'm feeling lazy, and didn't feel like dragging out my DSLR.
spelt avocado-banana chocolate chip muffins
stolen and lightly modified from October 2012 Clean Eating
1 3/4 c spelt flour (or whole wheat flour)
1/4 c brown sugar (or evaporated cane juice; I was out!)
1 t baking powder
1/2 t sea salt
2 T canola or olive oil
1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1 ripe banana
1 t vanilla
1/2 c dark chocolate chips (I use minis for better distribution of chocolate OMNOMNOM)
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Line a muffin tin with papers, or mist with cooking spray. I let Lil Z pick the papers.
3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
4. In a medium bowl, place the avocado and banana. Mash with a potato masher/pastry blender/fork. Lil Z helped with this too. Add eggs, oil and vanilla. Combine with a whisk.
5. Add liquids to flour mixture, and stir lightly until mostly combined. Add chocolate chips and fold in. Don't overwork your batter or your muffins will be hockey pucks.
6. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full (I use a 1/3 c. measure and don't quite fill it).
7. Bake for 21-25 minutes, until tops are browned. Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then remove and let cool on a rack. Voila.
According to clean eating, here is the nutritional lowdown: per muffin, 181 calories, 7g fat, 27g carbs, 4g fibre, 8g sugar, 4g protein, 94mg sodium.
These are DELICIOUS. Hubs, who normally eschews my chocolate chip muffins in favour of my mother's blueberry ones (apparently chocolate chip muffins are juvenile?) just loves them. Lil Z hasn't tried them yet, but I am willing to bet that she is going to just love them. And I love that I've given her something that's packed full of healthy fats, satiating fibre, and just enough chocolate to make it all yummy.
Had to post this because you NEED to make these muffins. Dense and delightful.
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
yes, I know it's been a while since I posted.
I have been cooking (so I totally encourage anyone who wants to know what I'm cooking from day-to-day to like my FB Page - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Definitely-Not-Martha/155084067933484 :)
Since I'm linking to so many recipes from FB, it seemed like overkill to be reposting my versions of them here.
That said, since I created my own 'recipe' (I use the term loosely) tonight, I felt I had to share. I've been craving pesto for a few days, and last night, I had defrosted a pack of extra-lean ground beef.....so I figured, why not make mini-meatballs, and serve with veggies, pasta and pesto.
As a bonus, I visited the farmers' market on the weekend, so I had a surfeit of luscious (and a bit overripe) heirloom tomatoes, some pattypan squash and a whole whack of basil. EVEN BETTER.
This is a recipe that lends itself well to substitutions. You could buy the meatballs. You could make your own pesto. Really, any mix of veggies that you have would work well. It's more the idea of the recipe - pasta + pesto + meatballs + veg. My version is pretty kick ass though. Just sayin'
shells with pesto and mini-meatballs
1 lb extra-lean ground beef
1/2 c finely chopped onion
3 T minced parsley
1/2 c breadcrumbs (I used panko)
1 T worcestershire sauce
1. Combine all ingredients.
2. Preheat oven to 400F.
3. Form into about 50 mini-meatballs and arrange on cookie sheet (I cover mine with foil because I"m lazy and hate handwashing).
4. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the broiler on, and broil for about 2 minutes to brown the tops. (Note: use a digital thermometer to ensure your meatballs have reached at least 71C. Test 3-4 of the biggest one. Because nobody wants e.coli!)
2 T olive oil
1.5 cups diced onion
3-4 cups sauté veggies (I used zucchini and pattypan squash; but peppers or mushrooms would be great)
2-3 cups chopped tomatoes (or about a pint of halved grape tomatoes....or more)
1 tub bocconcini, chopped into bite-size pieces (optional)
large handful of basil, roughly chopped
1 jar of pesto (I used Classico, which is about 1 cup or so)
1 lb dry pasta (I used large shells....penne, farfalle, etc. would totally work)
1. While meatballs are baking, put large pot of water on for pasta.
2. Chop your onion and sauté veggies.
3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and cook onion and veggies for about 10 minutes or so (until they reach your desired softness).
4. Cook pasta according to package directions (and meanwhile, chop your tomatoes, basil and bocconcini).
5. Drain pasta (don't rinse). Return to large pot (turn burner off). Combine pasta, pesto, meatballs and sautéed veggies. Gently stir in tomatoes, bocconcini and basil.
Because it's freaking AWESOME. I had two servings. Hubs had two servings. Lil Z also had two servings, and there are still 5 containers of leftovers left. This easily would serve 8 hungry people. I just loved the heartiness of the pasta and the meatballs, with the freshness of the heirloom tomatoes and basil. And the chewy melty bites of bocconcini were just the perfect little treat. If you didn't have bocconcini, you could just grate some of your favourite aged cheese overtop (grana padano, parmigiano, etc.).