Category Archives: Dinner

Pineapple Barbecue Chicken

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So I saw this recipe on fellow blogger JenE’s Easy Recipes that sounded really yummy and perfect for the summer. I know that we’re at the end of summer, but I needed one last taste before I was ready for Fall. However, the original  recipe relies on store bought barbecue sauce, which usually has a long list of artificial preservatives and high fructose corn syrup. This set me on the mission to make a great tasting homemade barbecue sauce. I started with the tangy barbecue sauce and worked my way to a sweeter honey barbecue sauce which I think compliments the pineapple and chicken beautifully. My recipe isn’t quite as quick and easy as the original, but if you have your sauce already made, it is a pretty quick recipe.

Pineapple Barbecue Chicken

pineapplechk

Ingredients

2 cups diced chicken (if you roast chickens and freeze the meat in 2 cup portions this part requires no prep)

2 Tbsp fat (butter, olive oil or bacon grease)

1 large onion, chopped

1 cup carrot shavings or diced carrot

1 cup chunked pineapple (you can either leave it in large chunks or chop it into smaller pieces)

1/4 cup pineapple juice

1 cup homemade barbecue sauce (I recommend honey bbq sauce)

4 cups brown rice or quinoa

Directions

  • Place 2 Tbsp of fat (butter, olive oil or bacon grease) in a skillet on medium high heat.
  • Once fat is warm, add onions and saute 6-7 minutes, until becoming transparent.
  • Add carrot and saute with onion until carrot is tender.
  • Turn heat to medium low and add  cooked chicken, pineapple, pineapple juice and barbecue sauce
  • Mix all the ingredients on low heat with a wooden spoon until combined and warm
  • Serve over brown rice or quinoaIMG_1439

Simple Baked Salmon

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I love to cook salmon because it is so easy, nutritious and most of all delicious! For this recipe, I have used both fresh and frozen salmon and both have turned out great. Also, if you have frozen chicken broth cubes and frozen lemon juice cubes it makes this recipe even faster.

Baked Salmon

2 lbs salmon (4 fillets)

2 Tbsp butter, softened

1/2 cup homemade chicken broth (5-6 frozen chicken broth cubes)

2 Tbsp lemon juice (1 frozen lemon juice cube)

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/2 tsp dried tarragon

  • Preheat oven to 425° F
  • Place salmon fillets in a 13 x 9 baking dish and brush with butter.
  • Combine remaining ingredients and pour over salmon. If using frozen chicken broth and lemon cubes, melt them ahead of time by placing them in the refrigerator about an hour or more ahead of time.
  • Bake salmon uncovered for 20-25 min.

bakedsalmon

 

Roasted Chicken and Bone Broth

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To me, roasted chicken (or just about roasted anything for that matter) is a special occasion meal. Roasted chicken conjures up images from my childhood of holiday meals with my family and what seemed like endless leftovers. My mom would always roast a chicken for Christmas Eve and a turkey for Thanksgiving and that’s about all the roasting she did except for an occasional pot roast.

thanksgiving

But roasting is an incredibly easy way to get a lot of great tasting food for minimal expensive. Oddly enough, buying a whole chicken to roast is usually much cheaper than buying the separate pieces of a chicken, such as chicken breasts, legs, etc.

I bought a large roasting pan at Target and usually roast two 3-4 pound chickens ($ 6.00 max for both chickens) at a time which gives me one chicken to eat for dinner and use for sandwiches, wraps, etc. and the other chicken to shred and store in the freezer in 2 cup portions for easy use in casseroles and soups. I also always roast veggies with my chickens (onions, celery, potatoes and carrots) and whatever is left over can also get frozen for use later in a stew or casserole.

    Roasting Chicken

  • To roast a chicken, start by washing the carcass well. I always buy my chickens from a local meat market to ensure freshness and so that I don’t have to deal with internal organs. If your chicken does have organs inside, remove them for use later in your chicken broth.
  • Once your bird is washed, place it breast side down and season it liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, poultry seasoning and any herbs that you like (marjoram, tarragon and rosemary are all great for roasted chicken).
  • Layer your vegetables in the roasting pan and then place the chicken(s) on top of the veggies. If you don’t want the veggies to mix with the chicken drippings, many roasting pans comes with a grill that raises the bird so that you can separate the drippings from the veggies and meat. I always save the drippings in a glass jar to incorporate into my chicken broth for flavor.

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Now that you have some great tasting chicken, you can make some yummy chicken broth too that can be used in a plethora of recipes in lieu of buying a can of broth at the store or using a bullion cube for broth (both of which contain loads of sodium, preservatives and MSGs).

My mom always taught me not to eat the chicken skin because it was so high in fat, but it was always the part that tasted the best since it was seasoned. Well, now you can enjoy all of the seasonings  of the skin without feeling guilty! Once you have de-boned your chicken(s), you can use the leftover bones and skin to make chicken broth.

Bone Broth

There are a lots of ways to make chicken broth, but this is the method that I have found to be the least intrusive in mchickenbroth1y life, maximize the amount of broth made and be the most flavorful.

  • Place the bones (even leftover bones from dinner, they will get sanitized in the process) and skin of one chicken into a large pot or dutch oven.
  • Fill the pot with water until the bones are completely covered (usually this means filling the pot a little more than halfway full).
  • Add a “glug” of vinegar, white or apple cider works well, and allow the mixture to sit out for 30 min. to an hour. The vinegar starts to break down the bones and will not affect the taste of the broth at all.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and then cut it back to simmer. You can let it simmer anywhere between 4-24 hours. You can add any vegetables (barring cruciferous veggies) and seasonings, such as salt or poultry seasoning, to the mixture anytime after it has boiled, but they should not simmer for more than four hours or they will give your broth a bitter taste. If you want to add parsley, it’s best to add it within the last 5-10 minutes of simmering since it can make the broth taste bitter if it simmers for very long.
  • When the broth is done simmering, place a large bowl in the sink and place a colander on top for straining the bones from the broth. Then pour the broth into glass jars and allow to cool. I recommend measuring broth out in 2 cup measurements since that is usually what is called for in recipes. You can also freeze broth in an ice cube tray for smaller portions of broth you can use in recipes or when someone is sick.

Recommendations and Tips

The longer  your broth simmers the more flavorful it will be but it will be more condensed, so you will have less of it. I usually put it on just before I go to bed at night and let it simmer for 8 hours while I sleep. An 8 hour simmer produces a pretty flavorful broth and I can usually fill two 2 cup containers halfway with the broth produced. For this first broth I don’t add any additional seasonings since the skin contains seasonings and because I’m letting it simmer for more than 4 hours.

After I have strained my broth, I put the bones and skin back in the same pot and start the process all over again. You can use the same bones to make broth up to three times but with each successive time, the broth will be weaker. I add water, vinegar, let it set 30 min. and then bring it to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, I add my veggies (1/2 a large onion, 2 carrots and 2 celery stalks) and seasonings (salt and poultry seasoning). Since you won’t be consuming the veggies, you don’t have to peel carrots or even take the skins off the onions, so don’t stress too much about prepping them.

I let the broth simmer for 4 hours and then strain it and add it to the broth I had already made with the same bones. Below is the broth I made from just one 4 lb. chicken. I usually roast two chickens at a time, so I do the same thing to the second chicken’s bones and skin and I have plenty of chicken broth stored in the freezer for soups, casseroles, sick days, etc.

chickenbroth2

The center jars are 2 cup measurements. The outer jars are ones left over (one is a peanut butter jar and the other a salsa jar). The broth also filled the entire ice cube tray.

Tender Salsa Beef

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One of the down sides to eating whole foods is that they can be more pricey and take more time to prepare. I wanted to start with something that was very easy, yummy, and not that expensive to make. This is a Taste of Home slow cooker recipe that I’ve adapted to be more whole foods friendly. Here’s a link to the original recipe if you’d like to see it for a comparison.

Tender Salsa Beef

salsa beef

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs diced stew beef
2 Tbsp molasses
2 cups organic salsa (we use Muir Glen Garlic Cilantro salsa)
1 Tbsp brown sugar (sucanat, coconut sugar or date sugar)
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 minced garlic clove
2-3 dashes of sea salt
2 Tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
4 cups hot cooked brown rice

Directions

• Place stew beef in a plastic bag with 2 Tbsp molasses, shaking well to make sure all the meat is covered and refrigerate overnight.
• In a 3 quart slow cooker, combine marinated beef, salsa, sugar, balsamic vinegar, garlic and salt
• Cover and cook on low for 7 hours
• Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a skillet on medium high heat. Add onion and sauté 8 min.
• Add bell pepper strips to onions and cook 2-3 min. (until bell peppers are tender)
• Add onions and peppers to slow cooker mixture (mixing well before re-covering).
• Cook mixture an additional hour (8 hours total)
• Serve beef mixture over rice