Smoky Honey Habanero Chicken & Apple Cabbage Salad

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The evenings are getting shorter and I’m running out of photography light. I’m going to have to start getting creative. In the past I’ve researched lighting equipment and the “how-to’s” for making my own light boxes. But because I do this blog purely for fun and relaxation, I hate to get too serious about such things.

As we head into winter, you may have to endure some drab photography until I find my lighting sweet spot in this house.

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I bought three types of Spiceologist rubs from our local farmer’s market this summer. Smoky Honey Habanero, Raspberry Chipotle, and Greek Freak.

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I’ve used all but the Raspberry Chipotle, and although I think they are lacking in flavor just on their own, they’re quite good with a few simple additions.

Coat chicken pieces with olive oil, season well with sea salt and Bragg's Organic Sprinkle. Coat both sides of the chicken generously with the Smoky Honey Habanero rub. Wait for the olive oil to absorb it and repeat. Finish with another generous seasoning of sea salt.

Coat chicken pieces with olive oil, season both sides well with sea salt and Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle. Coat both sides of the chicken generously with the Smoky Honey Habanero rub. Wait for the olive oil to absorb it and repeat. Finish with another generous sprinkle of sea salt.

The sweet and tangy salad balanced out the hot and spicy flavors of the chicken very well.

Sliced red cabbage, chopped apple, diced onion, sunflower seeds, and raisins.

Sliced red cabbage, chopped apple, diced red onion, sunflower seeds, and raisins.

1/2 Cup of olive oil mayo, juice of 1 fresh lemon, 2 generous pinches of coconut sugar, several grinds of pepper.

1/2 Cup of olive oil mayo, juice of 1 fresh lemon, 2 generous pinches of coconut sugar, several grinds of pepper. Whisk until combined.

Thinly slice a half a head of red cabbage. Core and chop one small apple, and dice about 2 1/2 Tablespoons of red onion.

Thinly slice a half a head of red cabbage. Core and chop one small apple, and dice about 2 1/2 Tablespoons of red onion. Add it all to a large mixing bowl along with 2 Tablespoons of sunflower seeds, 2 Tablespoons of raisins, and toss well to coat with dressing. Spoon into a serving bowl and chill in refrigerator while chicken grills.

Heat grill to 300 degrees and grill chicken bone side down for 20 minutes.

Heat grill to 300 degrees and grill chicken bone side down for 20 minutes with lid closed.

Move chicken pieces to the middle of the grill skin side down, or wherever your grill is protected from the flame. Increase heat to 350 degrees. Grill for another 10-12 minutes or until skin is crisp.

Move chicken pieces to the middle of the grill skin side down, or wherever your grill is protected from the flame. Increase heat to 350 degrees. Grill for another 10-12 minutes or until skin is crisp. If you get too much flame up, grill with lid open and increase cooking time.

A very simple dinner with amazing flavors. We loved the balance of the hot and spicy chicken with the sweet and tangy salad.

Welcoming Spring

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I am happy to announce (probably not as happy as you), that you will no longer have to hear me whine about our horrible weather.

What was seemingly an infinite winter, has finally disappeared to wherever winter goes and spring has arrived. We spent the day enjoying every bit of the weather we could with a picnic at our favorite park and a nice walk with the dogs. It was so wonderful to soak up that sun and feel the warm breeze! And I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to hear that tomorrow is even supposed to be better than today!

Because we can finally see a light at the end of the winter tunnel, it won’t be a big deal if we get a little more rain here and there. The hope of sunny days ahead and the taste of today and tomorrow will tide us over, and in a couple of weeks I’ll be planting herbs on the deck and filling pots with flowers. Before we know it, we’ll be relaxing in lawn chairs, sipping cocktails in the backyard, and watching the sun set – one of our favorite weekend evening past times.

In honor of spring’s arrival today, I made us a lovely dinner full of spring colors. Did I also mention it was simple? Incredibly simple, fresh, and delicious. Perfect for the day after all of that Easter indulgence.

(*Serves 2) 

Pesto Bruschetta

6 Pieces of Left Over GF French Bread (This recipe makes 2 loaves. We always eat one fresh and then I freeze the second for bruschetta.)

6 Tablespoons of Vegan Pesto (When making this, I always try to make a double batch so there is plenty to freeze and use whenever I need it.)

About 12 Organic Cherry Tomatoes

About 2 ounces of Sheep’s Milk Cheese

Freshly Ground Pepper

Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Slice the bread and place on a baking sheet. Broil until toasted. Spoon about 1 Tablespoon of pesto on each piece of bread. Slice tomatoes in half and distribute evenly. Crumble sheep’s milk cheese evenly. Grind pepper on each piece and drizzle with olive oil. Place under broiler when vegetables are placed on grill. Remove when tomatoes are softened and cheese begins to bubble and brown. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  

Vegetable Kabob & Grilled Zucchini

2 Small Organic Zucchini

1 Organic Red Bell Pepper

1 Organic Yellow Bell Pepper

2 Small Organic Sweet Onions

Olive Oil

Kosher Salt

Garlic Powder

Dried Parsley

Cut peppers and onions into large chunks and place in medium bowl. Remove ends of zucchini, slice lengthwise and add to bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, garlic powder and dried parsley, toss until thoroughly coated. Add to medium-high grill about 6 minutes after the chicken has been added. Add the zucchini a few minutes after the peppers and onions have been on the grill. It cooks very quickly.

Simple Grilled Chicken

2 Organic Chicken Breasts

GF BBQ Sauce

Rice Vinegar with Herbs

Rinse and dry chicken breasts and place in a medium bowl. Drizzle with about 1/4 cup BBQ sauce and 1/4 cup rice vinegar. Stir to coat. Marinate for 20 minutes. Place on medium-high grill 6 minutes before adding the vegetables to the grill.


Grilled Chicken with “Fancy” Sauteed Greed Beans

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Even though I love to cook and bake and blog about it, talk about it, and plan it…sometimes I dread making dinner. Particularly if it has been a long day or we’ve been very busy. I think I probably have more of my grandmother’s cooking style, which is, “cook for an army and make sure there are leftovers”. Which, when you’re tired or don’t feel like making dinner, can really make the process dreadful. I do love leftovers for breakfast but sometimes I have to remind myself that simple is just fine, no one is going to starve, and as long as the men in my house get fed, they’re usually happy.  As I stood in front of my fridge looking for inspiration, I realized there wasn’t a whole lot in there that was exciting. I had taken chicken out earlier, which never excites anyone in my house for some reason, so I at least knew I had that. Fresh green beans purchased yesterday, Crimini mushrooms, and an Anaheim pepper.  Hmmm….

Serves 2, but you can easily increase it. From beginning to end this dinner takes under 30 minutes.

Grilled Chicken Breasts

2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

Olive Oil

Dried Thyme

Sea Salt & Pepper

Place chicken breasts on a plate and drizzle generously with olive oil. Season with sea salt, pepper, and thyme. Turn chicken over and rub in olive oil on plate and season again. Set aside and heat grill on medium to medium high.

“Fancy” Green Beans

About 3 Cups Fresh Green Beans, ends removed

About 10 or 12 Crimini Mushrooms, sliced

2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped

1 Anaheim Pepper, seeds & membrane removed, diced

Olive Oil

Sea Salt & Pepper

Drizzle olive oil in a large saute pan. Heat on medium to medium high heat. Add beans and saute for 5 minutes.

(At this point, start grilling the chicken. Don’t over cook it, boneless skinless chicken breasts grill quickly. I usually do mine for about 6 or 7 minutes on each side.)

Add sliced mushrooms, garlic, and the Anaheim pepper. Season with Sea Salt & Pepper. Saute until beans are aldente and mushrooms are golden.

Serve as desired. Super easy to make and super easy to clean up.

“Beer” In The Rear Chicken with Quinoa Veggie Pasta and Wine Sauce

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Grilling season is finally here, right? As I look out the window it’s raining (again) and 52 degrees. That’s a sad state affairs for the 7th of May where I live. The up side is that we have a covered deck, so we grill 12 months out of the year. But there is that certain “feel” you get on a warm spring day when you can grill, hear the birds tweeting away happily, and smell the neighbor’s fresh-cut lawns. Guess we’ll have to wait a couple of weeks before we can get the full spring effect.

If you haven’t ever grilled a whole chicken, you’re missing out. It’s incredibly easy! There are many ways to do it but tonight I decided on the “beer” in the rear style. I put beer in parenthesis because I don’t think we’ve had a beer in a can in probably 20 years (at least). Call me a snob, but I prefer good beer in an ice-cold bottle. I also prefer Coca Cola in its original form in an ice-cold bottle right out of an old-fashioned machine. Some things should just never be allowed to change. With that said, I use a soda can, dump the soda out, and fill it 3/4 of the way with spring water. You could probably also fill it with juice, beer, broth, and probably even wine. I’ve done both beer (pour soda out and fill with bottled beer) and water and I didn’t notice one bit of difference between the two. So why waste a good beer, right? I’d much rather drink it while I’m grilling.

And as luck would have it, now it’s raining and sunny all at the same time, and my son is mowing our lawn. Guess we will at least have that partial “spring grilling” feeling going on after all!

“Beer” In The Rear Chicken

1 Organic Whole Chicken

Olive Oil

Fresh Rosemary

Fresh Oregano

1 Fresh Lemon

1 Can, your choice (If it’s beer, keep the beer, if it’s soda pour it out and fill 3/4 with water)

Garlic Powder

Seasoning, your choice (I used Chicago steak seasoning)

Salt & Pepper

Clean the inside and outside of the chicken and pat dry. Place can in chicken grill roaster.

If you don’t have one of these you can just set it on your grill, but be careful and keep and eye on it, sometimes they tip over.

Stuff the cavity with the lemon, rosemary, and oregano.

Place on the grill at about 325-350 degrees and close lid.

Check every 15 minutes for flame ups. If it flames up on you too much, you can place a piece of tin foil under the bird and that will help.

Grill for about an hour or until the juices in the leg aren’t blood-red or to your desired temperature.

Quinoa Pasta with Veggies &Wine Sauce

1 Box Quinoa Garden Pagodas Pasta (8oz.)

About 1 Cup Asparagus Spears

1/2 Large Orange Bell Pepper, sliced

1/2 Small Zucchini, sliced

1/2 Small Yellow Squash, sliced

1/2 Large Onion, sliced

About 8 Crimini Mushrooms, sliced

About 1 1/2 Tbsp. Garlic, chopped

About 1 1/2 Tbsp. Oregano, chopped

Olive Oil

Sea Salt & Pepper To Taste

About 1/4 Cup Non-Dairy Butter

2 Ladles of Pasta Water

About 1 Cup White Wine (I used Chardonnay)

Boil pasta according to package directions, rinse, and set aside. Reserve 1 ladle of pasta water.

Prepare vegetables, garlic, and herbs.

Drizzle oil in a large skillet (preferably NOT a non-stick) and heat on medium to medium high. Add onions and mushrooms and saute until onions just begin to become translucent and mushrooms are slightly browned. Add asparagus spears.

Saute for 5 minutes and then add the peppers, sauteing for about 3 minutes.

Add the remaining vegetables, the herbs, and the garlic.  Add a ladle of pasta water and saute until most of it is absorbed. Add the wine and scoot the vegetable mixture to the side, add the dairy-free butter. Allow to saute for about 3 minutes, tossing the veggies.

Add the pasta, warm through.

Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. I also served a simple spinach salad with the pasta and chicken. Baby spinach, 1 tomato chopped, vinaigrette of your choice. Toss.