Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables

By Corinne

This is a fast, easy weeknight meal that is easily adapted to what you have in your fridge. You an switch up the vegetables to any that you like- for example, snap peas and cauliflower instead of green beans and broccoli. I personally would probably opt out of adding the tbsp of brown sugar- but a slightly sweeter sauce gets better reviews from my favourite taste testers. I know this seems like a lot of balsamic, but between the sweetness added and all of the vegetables, it mellows out and and is not too vinegary.

Serves: 4

Time: about 25 minutes start to finish – though it depends on how you cut your chicken

You will need:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into slices or chunks for faster cooking
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups thinly sliced carrots (mine weren’t exactly matchstick, I quartered baby carrots)
  • 2 cups green or yellow beans cut into approximately 1″ pieces
  • 1 red pepper, halved and sliced
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Place chicken in a large skillet over medium high heat with a tbsp oil. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. While chicken is cooking, slice the red onion into half moons. Flip chicken over and add onion to pan.

While chicken and onion are cooking, slice up the rest of the vegetables. By the time you are done, the chicken should be mostly cooked through, though if it’s still pink that’s fine. Whisk together balsamic, honey, brown sugar, garlic, chili pepper and cornstarch and set aside.

If some of your vegetables are in larger pieces (my carrots for example) add them to the pan with the chicken and cover for 3 minutes before adding the more tender vegetables.

Add the rest of the vegetables and cook covered for 3 minutes.

Add the sauce, and cover for 3 minutes. If at the end of 3 minutes, you want the sauce to reduce more, uncover for an additional 1-2 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Ta da! You’re finished! If desired, sprinkle with some fresh chopped parsley. This is lovely served with rice if you’re into a carb to soak up the extra sauce.

Munro Honey & Meadery

Honey and Meadery.  Well.  Sign me up!

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20160320_122445In the tiny town of Alivinston there is a diamond in the rough.  And it’s sweet.  It is Munro Honey and Meadery20160320_122451

Inside their beautiful gift shop there are magical things.  Things that will make your mouth water and serotonin will flow out of your brain like… well, honey.

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I haven’t had the chance to sample very much mead.  We had a tasting of both dry and sweet varieties, as well as some with fruit.  I must say, I prefer the dry.  The honey lends a sweetness all its own and I found the sweeter varieties a bit too cloying for my taste.  They would make fantastic desert wines or summer sangria though. I will return to test this theory.

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While I haven’t had a lot of mead,  I have sampled a lot of honey.  Munroes blueberry blossom is something special. It’s so perfumed and floral that you just want to breath in the jar for eternity. Don’t leave without the honey comb.  It’s $4.  If you are only going to buy one thing, buy this.  It’s worth the trip.  I had it today on a fresh slice of Basic White Bread and if I only had one thing to eat everyday for the rest of my life it would be this.  And maybe something with vitamin C so I didn’t die of scurvy.  The honey comb tastes of flowers and sunshine and all things good in the world.  I am sitting here now, full from a fantastic roasted beet salad I made for dinner, but thinking I could totally fit another slice of that in.  A dessert fit for Queens.

Guinness Braised Chicken with Cheddar Biscuits

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By Corinne

My inspiration for this dish was – my dish. I have a beautiful Pampered Chef stoneware deep pie pan that I’ve been itching to use for a few months but hadn’t quite gotten around to it. I am hardly a pastry chef and admittedly, part of the reason I hadn’t gotten around to it is that I didn’t really want to make pie crust- whether for a sweet or savory application.

At Christmas I had a delightful tourtiere and it made me think that I that I should perhaps make that in my new pretty dish. But alas, a tourtiere requires both a bottom AND a top crust, so I just didn’t get around to it.

Time has marched on, and my dish has sat on top of my toaster oven, much admired, but still unused.

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The weather recently has been dreadfully cold, and I’ve been craving soup and biscuits when it occurred to me that there is no rule saying that I HAVE to make a pie crust to use the pie plate. I’m a grown-up, I can eat ice cream for breakfast if I want to, so certainly I can just forgo the crust and make a topping of biscuits! This is something that I’ve occasionally seen on Pinterest, but never eaten or attempted myself. Enter many a Pinterest search, but I couldn’t quite find what I wanted. This Half Baked Harvest post came close, but I’ve been really into the black velvets lately and wanted to use Guinness. As well, since the whole point of this venture was to use this pie dish, I needed a much smaller amount.

If you don’t have a fancy deep pie plate, certainly a dutch oven will work-  and you could do it start to finish in one dish. Any oven safe casserole dish should work as well.

Time: prep about 20 minutes, cook 2.5 hours

Serves: probably 4 if you do a little side salad. Or maybe 4 anyway, we ate a ridiculous amount as we kept going back for more, so it’s a little hard to say.

You will need:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 andouille sausage
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 small/medium carrot
  • 1 small/medium parsnip
  • 1 small red pepper, or half of a large one
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 can of Guinness
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp paprika (preferably smoked)
  • 1/4 cup of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup of chicken or veggie broth or water
  • 1/2 cup 18% cream (or half and half 10%)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • salt and pepper to taste

For biscuits:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup frozen butter
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup milk or cream
  • 2 tbsp liquid honey
  • pinch of salt

Oven 300F

Dice onion, celery, pepper, carrot and parsnip. Add diced vegetables to a pan over medium heat until veg is starting to soften and gets some colour- about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 300F. Slice the andouille sausage in half lengthwise and then slice into thin half moons. Add this to the vegetables. If you happen to be using a different kind of sausage that requires cooking, add it to the vegetable mix when you first put it on.

When vegetables have browned slightly, use a garlic press and add your two cloves of garlic. Stir around for another minute or so, then add the can of Guinness. Add the 1/2 cup of broth and the 1/4 cup of tomato paste, 2 tsp paprika and 2 tsp thyme. Give it all a stir.

Allow to come up to a simmer, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Mine probably simmered closer to 10 since I ended up talking on the phone 🙂

Place chicken breasts whole in the bottom of whatever dish you are using.

Pour the delightful brothy mixture into your dish with the chicken. Cover with foil and place in 300F oven for 1.5 hours.

At 1.5 hours, remove from oven. Using two forks, shred the chicken in the pan. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed.

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Mix 2 tsp cornstarch into the 1/2 cup of cream. Pour the cream/cornstarch mixture into the pan and give it a little stir. Cover and return to oven for another 1/2 hour. Depending on how long your oven takes to preheat, you may want to turn up the oven to 400F for this last half hour so it will be up to temp when you want to cook the biscuits.

Prep biscuits. In a medium bowl, measure 1 1/2 cup of flour, 1 tbsp baking powder and pinch of salt. Using a cheese grater, grate 1/4 cup frozen butter into flour and give a little stir. Grate about 1 cup of cheddar cheese and set aside.

In a measuring cup, measure 3/4 cup cream or milk and two tbsp honey. Whisk honey into cream. Pour liquid into flour mixture and give a few stirs with a spoon until just combined. Fold in cheese.

Remove braised chicken from oven and uncover. If you haven’t already turned up oven to 400F, do so now.

Grab a piece of dough, if you need to you can shape it a bit, but avoid overworking the dough as much as possible. Work relatively quickly here placing dough evenly around dish. Return to oven for 12 minutes or until biscuits are golden on top. ** if your dish is as perilously full as mine was, throw a cookie sheet underneath so any drips won’t end up on the bottom of your oven.

You could probably garnish this with a bit of fresh parsley and it would taste great and make an even prettier picture. But it smelled so good I just couldn’t wait and forgot 🙂

Lemon Pepper Chicken and Blackberry Salad for Two

By Corinne

I adore salads. I know that ‘adore’ seems like a word reserved for kittens and perhaps rich cheesy goodness but I really l do love salads.  I love them making them with fresh greens from my little garden all summer long, but even in the winter between bowls of soup, I still crave crunchy greens. In the summer, salad is our side for almost every meal, but in the winter I tend towards a supper salad, as greens for just a side are not only pricey, but can be hard to get in good condition

The only thing that makes me sad about a supper salad is I generally make them in whatever portion I need them for that supper, so I often don’t have leftover supper salad for lunches.

Time: about 20 minutes

Serves: 2- though easily doubled.

You will need:

  • 1 large head of romaine, washed and chopped
  • 2 mini cucumbers, or half of a regular English cucumber
  • 6 oz (180g) of fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup of finely shredded red cabbage
  • 2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts or 3-4 boneless skinless thighs (what I used in the photo)
  • lemon pepper seasoning

For the dressing:

  • juice from one lemon
  • 3-4 tbsp canola or olive oil
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 tsp liquid honey
  • 1 tsp grainy mustard
  • few grinds of fresh pepper

Whisk together all dressing ingredients and set aside. This probably makes a bit more dressing than you need for two salads, but better a bit extra than not enough!

Wash and chop lettuce, spin to dry and set aside. Finely chop red cabbage, and mini cucumbers and set aside.

Season both sides of chicken breasts or thighs with lemon pepper seasoning. I like Mom’s Pantry lemon pepper seasoning because it’s quite lemony and has no salt added, but whatever lemon pepper seasoning you like will do.

Heat about a tbsp of canola in a heavy bottomed pan (I used cast iron, but whatever pan you have will work) over medium heat and add chicken to pan. If your chicken is super thick on one end, you can give it a few pounds with a meat tenderizer to even it out a bit for easier cooking. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken. Cook for about 10-15 minutes until cooked through.

Assemble salads. Divide romaine and place on plates, scatter red cabbage and cucumbers on top. Slice chicken and and top salad with sliced chicken and a generous handful of blackberries. Whisk dressing and drizzle over salad. Eat. Enjoy.

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Easiest Honey Garlic Chicken

 

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By Corinne

I know that pre packaged sauces can be super convenient. That being said, honey garlic sauce is so easy to make and has such a short and simple list of common pantry ingredients that it makes going out to buy a jar of sauce more work than mixing it up 🙂

Time: prep 5 min, bake 1 hour

Makes: 4 chicken thighs + extra sauce

Oven: 350F

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup liquid honey
  • 1/4 cup sodium reduced soy sauce*
  • 3 cloves of garlic – pressed or minced
  • 2 tsp of sesame seeds (if desired)**
  • 1 chili pepper minced (if desired) I usually use a thai red chili pepper, though a regular chili pepper or 1/2 tsp of chili flakes also works
  • 4 bone in, skin on chicken thighs

*This recipe is gluten free as long as you ensure you use a gluten free soy sauce

**If you wish to give this a more ‘sesame’ flavour, add 1/2 tsp of toasted sesame oil to the sauce.

Preheat oven to 350F. In a measuring cup, whisk together all sauce ingredients. Place chicken in an oven safe dish with lid. Pour sauce over chicken.

Place covered, in a 350F oven for 1 hour. Remove lid and broil for 3-5 minutes to crisp up skin. Serve with rice and snap peas.

While this is certainly enough sauce to do more chicken, I like to pour the sauce over my rice and veg. The sauce is easy to make more of since the honey and soy are in an equal ratio, so if for example you want to do 6 or 8 thighs, you could add and additional 2 tbsp each of honey and soy, and an additional clove of garlic if desired.

BBQ Honey Mustard Ham

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By Corinne

This is a fast and easy supper, and a bit of a different take on a ham, which is usually served roasted whole rather than sliced and grilled on the BBQ. Instead of taking hours, this recipe takes a total of less than 20 minutes including prep and cook time. The glaze is simple and amounts are easily increased if you would like to make more. It’s fast and easy enough to prep and cook that you can manage even when babysitting 3 children under 8!

Time: about 15 to 20 minutes including prep and cook time

You will need:

  • 3-4 tbsp of dijon mustard (I love the president’s choice brand dijon as it has a bit of a bite)
  • 3-4 tbsp of liquid honey
  • 1-2 tsp of low sodium soy sauce OR balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5-2lb boneless fully cooked black forest or Virginia ham

Whisk together mustard, honey and soy into a small bowl. Slice boneless ham into slices about 1/4″ thick.

Heat BBQ to medium heat. Place ham slices on grill, keeping lid closed as much as possible. Grill for about 2-3 min and then flip. Using a silicon brush, brush glaze over each slice. Grill for another 2 min and flip again, repeating glaze on the other side. Grill for another 2 min and glaze again. Repeat one more time so each side has been glazed twice and all glaze has been used.

Honey Beef and Carrot Stir-Fry

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By:  Julie

Time: 30 min.  15 min cook, 15 min prep

Serves:4

Every time I see a recipe in a magazine that I think might be delicious, I rip it out and store it in a drawer.  When I make my meal plan for the week I pull the stack out and pick a few that feature something in season and are easy weeknight meals.  This is one such prize.

When you check out at our tiny foodland, there is a stack of free goodies at the end of the belt which usually includes a bunch of advertising, and also a magazine that has recipies inside.  I believe this came from there.  The steak turned out very tender (thank you Dresden meats for your affordable prices and beefy goodness).  The sauce was sweet and hot and delicious all at the same time.  Spiciness will depend on the amount red pepper flakes you use, but more is better.  I made this from start to finish in less than 30min, which is super important in my world of toddlers, daycare cold and flu and a ridiculous work schedule.

You Will Need:

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar (or cider if you don’t have it)
  • 6 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb boneless grilling steak (i used a nicely marbled sirloin)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil / vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 4 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/2 cup water

Prep 

If you are lucky you have one of those fancy gadgets that cut your carrots into uniformed soldiers of culinary awesomeness.  I do not.  So cut them into tiny pieces without loosing any fingers.  Mince your fresh ginger.  Don’t skimp.  The ginger/honey/carrot combo really makes this meal.  Mince your garlic cloves.  Cut up your steak into thin strips AGAINST THE GRAIN.  Against the grain is important, otherwise you will be eating stringy beef.

Cook

Combine honey, soy, vinegar, 4 tsp of cornstarch, red pepper flakes and whisk until combined.  Set aside.  Toss beef strips with remaining two tsp of corn startch.  Head 1 tbsp of the oil over high heat and stir-fry until browned.  Remove beef and set aside.

For this next part, remove your pan from the heat for a second.  Add the remaining oil, garlic and ginger and stir around in the hot pan until fragrant.  If you leave the pan on the heat for this you will likely burn your garlic.  Add carrots and stir.  Return to heat and stir-fry, continuously stirring,for 2 min.  Add 1/2 cup of water, cover and steam carrots for 3 minutes. Carrots should be soft enough to eat a this point but if they’re not, continue to steam until they are.  Add honey mixture and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes.  Add beef and any juices, stir fry until heated through and add green onions.  Serve over noodles, I used egg noodles because that’s what I had but I would prefer something thinner.  This would also be good with rice.