Friday, March 30, 2012

Rice Bowls

I traveled to Gainesville yesterday to watch my son play baseball.  I wanted to leave dinner for my husband and my daughter before I left for the game so I tried a new recipe for chicken and rice bowls.  I wasn't really sure how this was going to go over but I decided it was worth a try.

I found this recipe in the April issue of Cooking Light.   I had leftover chicken and broccoli so I modified the recipe and made it even easier. 

Chicken and Broccoli Rice Bowl
3 cups small broccoli florets, steamed
1 cup brown rice (cooked)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped, cooked chicken
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions
4 ounces light Velvetta cheese, cubed

Heat oil in skillet, add chicken and warm through.

Add cheese and onions.

Stir in rice and broccoli.  Heat through. 

I served the chicken rice bowls in these awesome little mugs that my sister in law got me for Christmas.  They even have lids.


The verdict: They loved it!  I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised that they liked it as much as they did.  It was really quick to put together and they just warmed them in the microwave.  This is a great healthy meal to keep in the frig for my hungry teenagers.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Take a closer look


Anyone else like those really close up photographs that make you guess the subject?  Here's a hint: it's a vegetable.

It's an artichoke!

I bought a couple of artichokes this week and much to my surprise, my children did not know what they were!  (I felt like I had failed them as a chef.)  Once I gathered composure and quizzed the kids on every other vegetable that I could find in the kitchen, I quartered my artichokes and go ot work on my chicken dinner. 

I'm a big fan of brined chicken so when I found this recipe for a dry brined chicken from Williams Sonoma - I just had to try it.  The recipe calls for a special dry brine that you can purchase from Williams Sonoma but I decided to come up with my own instead. 

Dry Brined Chicken and Meyer Lemon-Roasted Vegetables
4 Tablespoons kosher salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 chicken
2 Meyer lemons, cut into 1/4" rings
4 artichokes, outer leaves, removed and quartered
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1" wedges
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons white wine

Combine first 5 ingredients and rub over chicken. 

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8-24 hours. 
Stir together 3/4 of the lemon slices, artichokes, potatoes, garlic, salt, pepper and oil. 

Put vegetables into the bottom of a roasting pan. 

Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place remaining lemon slices inside chicken cavity.  Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and cook 30 minutes at 425. 

Rotate roasting pan 180 degrees and roast another 30 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a platter and tent with foil for at least 10 minutes. 

I served this chicken with steamed broccoli and our yummy Meyer lemon vegetables.  

The skin was crispy and the meat was juicy and delicious.  This is my new favorite roasted chicken recipe.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sweet Chicks

One year we adopted a couple of baby chicks just before Easter.  This is a picture of my daughter with of the fluffy little chicks.  I love this picture.  I can't believe this little girl is 13! 

The chicks only lived with us for a short time.  We took them to an Easter carnival at the church and then they went to live on a local farm which was a much more suitable environment for them. 

I  made a batch of Easter chicks this week to send to school.  These chicks didn't last very long in our house either - but these were eaten - not sent to the farm.

I started by making a batch of brownies. 

I baked them in a special Wilton mold.

Once the brownies cooled, I turned them out on a wire rack to cool and inserted a lolipop stick into each one.

 I melted some yellow chocolate.

Let the dipping begin.


Let the chocolate harden.

Add eyes with piped icing.

 Add beaks and feet with orange icing.

I sent these cute little brownie chicks to school this week.

I did save a couple and put them in the freezer.  Shhh - You never know when one of these little chicks might just appear again.

Who wouldn't love to find one of these sweet little chicks tucked into their basket on Easter morning?


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Burgers, Cars and Rocks

It's probably no surprise to anyone that my newly licensed 16 year old son put a car at the top of his birthday list.  Not just any car, he picked out a red Ferrari as his vehicle of choice.  (I think he might be a little confused about who his parents are.)  It shouldn't surprise you to find out that we did NOT buy him a red Ferrari for his birthday - but we did eat one.  Car cakes are definitely not my area of expertise and since my fondant skills are completely self taught, you will have to use your imagination to see this as a red Ferrari.


My family really knows how to draw out a birthday celebration for as long as we possibly can.  A full 10 days after his birthday, we are still celebrating my 16 year old son's birthday with burgers and cake. 

Yesterday was a perfect afternoon to fire up the Big Green Egg and cook some hamburgers for lunch. 

If that doesn't make your mouth water for a juicy hamburger - something's wrong.  I made a double batch of burgers and I put half of them in the freezer to save for another day.

Italian Meatball Burgers
8 ounces sweet turkey sausage          
1 pound ground sirloin
1 teaspoon oregano                     
1 teaspoon basil                   
½ teaspoon salt                 
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.  I am so lucky to have an amazing sous chef who loves to mix meat with her hands.   

Divide beef into 6 equal portions and shape each into a patty.

I put my extra burgers on a waxed paper lined baking sheet.  I freeze them flat on the sheet and once they are frozen, I transfer them to ziploc bags. 



These burgers were quite tasty.  My husband said that they had a little "kick" to them - must have been the sausage. 

After our protein packed lunch, we headed to Atlanta Rocks to do some rock climbing.  

 We all had a lot of fun on the rocks.