Tag Archives: chicken

Daylight Savings and Dinner

I am loving the time change! Although I wasn’t too psyched this morning (why can’t they do it on a Friday night so we have time to get used to it?), it was so nice driving home from the gym at 6:30 with the sun still shining bright! As soon as I got home I decided to take a little walk down into my neighborhood to return a book to the library and a movie to our local video store (both The Prize Winner of Defiance, OH from my book club). I unfortunately have to drive to work which I plan on posting about soon, but I try to drive as little as possible when I’m in “The City.” On my walk today, I walked by a cute little corner store run by a Middle Eastern family and I decided to pop in to see if I could buy a container of their hummus. I was totally craving it earlier today, but instead of going to a chain store, I thought it would be nice to support a family-owned business. Especially in this economy, and with so many stores in my neighborhood (and probably yours, too!) going out of business, it’s great to be able to support them. I know I am extraordinarily lucky to live in such a walkable city with so many amazing local businesses, but I encourage you to try to do the same! If you can shop at a smaller mart, even if it’s a little more expensive, do so! Even if it’s just an item or two. Don’t feel like cooking? Try an inexpensive restaurant nearby – or bring your own tupperware for takeout!

I know you all know what a container of hummus looks like, but I wanted to point out that it came in plastic. I should have asked if I could bring my own container. Next time I will either try that or see if they can refill this one if I bring it back in clean. I’m not sure if they are “allowed” to do that, but maybe they will.


Anyway, after my walk, it was dinner time! I made this yummy Salmon with Orange Pan Sauce the other night, though I adjusted down the sauce for 1 piece of salmon, and added a bunch of minced shallots, because I can’t get enough of them! I loved the sauce, so I decided I’d try it on chicken tonight. I’m not really too into measuring recipes these days, but this is approximately what I used to make sauce for one chicken breast:
1/4 cup white wine (leftover from book club)
2 garlic cloves (from my CSA)
2 pieces of shallot (from my CSA. It was super juicy when I put it in my garlic press, which made me laugh. Shallot juice?)
1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
Glug of honey (local)
Shake of red pepper flakes
Couple squeezes of juice from an orange (from my CSA), and about 1/3 or so of the fruit of the orange, diced

I cooked the (organic) chicken my favorite way – heated up olive oil in a pan, salted and peppered the breast and seared it about 2 minutes on each side, then threw it in a 450 degree oven for about 18 minutes. Meanwhile, I boiled/simmered the sauce until it reduced. That’s it! I served it with a small amount of leftover sweet potato, mashed up with part of one of my CSA giant red potatoes. I expected to add butter or salt but it didn’t need it at all. Plus, some steamed broc. Yum! The sauce was equally delicious on the chicken as it was on the salmon. Pictured here: tap water in a wine glass. Yeah, I’m fancy.


Other random thoughts:

*Loving Tina’s 31-Days of Yoga Challenge! I’ve done it every day so far – either hour-long classes at the gym, Comcast On Demand programs, or free 20-minute YogaDownload podcasts

*The weather has been really nice here lately, and I went on a great 7-mile-run on Saturday, I think subconsciously inspired by Sarah, who knocked out an awesome 9.4 miles that day! I haven’t been running much outside (or, like at all) since my last half-marathon (I did one last August and one last October). I’ve been sticking to my usual gym classes and treadmill, but I figured this saves energy (no need to plug anything in) and got me outside! Win-win.

*I need to do a post about the homemade hot fudge and whipped cream and local ice cream we had last night. Amazing! There is NO need to ever buy whipped cream from a spray can or tub if you have a mixer. Nothing beats fresh whipped cream. I’m even saving what’s left to put in my coffee or chocolate almond milk this week.

*I way overuse parenthesis (but hey, I like them).



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What I’m Cooking Today: Royal Purple

My CSA is off this week, and I just ran out of vegetables! After a fun boot camp class at the gym, I was totally craving Brussels sprouts (I’m weird, I know), but Whole Foods only had ones imported from Mexico. Boo! So I had to improvise. I picked up some California-grown organic purple cauliflower and broccoli to roast, and made a Fulton Valley chicken breast with pan gravy, from a Rachael Ray (hey, she’s not so bad IN PRINT) magazine recipe.


Roasted Cauliflower & Broccoli
Preheat oven to 400-425
Cut cauliflower and broc into even sized pieces, mix with small amount of olive oil (I used 1 tsp) and sea salt. Roast!

That’s it! I roasted them for about 30 minutes – just enough to the point where they were fork-tender with browned edges.

Chicken Breast with Pan Gravy (original recipe here)

You need:
Chicken breast
Shallots, minced
Wine (white or red, doesn’t matter)
Stock or broth (I used a veg bouillon cube – way less packaging! – mixed with boiling water)
Salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 400
Salt and pepper both sides of one chicken breast (the one I used was just under 6 oz)
Heat up one tsp olive oil over medium heat in a pan (I used stainless steel). When pan is hot, add chicken and sear one side for about 2 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when it easily releases from the pan and doesn’t stick. Flip and sear the other side for another minute or two. Throw the whole pan in the oven for approx 15-18 minutes, depending on the the thickness of the breast.

Remove pan from oven and set on the stovetop over medium heat. Don’t forget the pan handle is hot!! I use a silicone handle sleeve, but before I got that, I burned myself many times. D’oh! Set the chicken aside on a plate to rest. Meanwhile, add the minced shallots (amount to your liking – I used a bunch!) to the pan and saute for a minute or two. Add wine (I used 2 oz of cab) and cook until slightly reduced, then add broth (I used about 1/3 cup), bring to a boil and let reduce. Add the chicken back to the pan to warm up a little. Serve with the sauce spooned over the chicken – and over the veggies, too, if you’d like!

This was a very purple meal, between the cauliflower and the wine reduction! Mmm, Anthocyanins. Nutritious, pretty low-calorie, and easy to make!

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The Great Meat Debate

I was a vegetarian for a long time, starting when I was 13. My friend, Jen, said that she thought if she couldn’t kill an animal herself, she shouldn’t eat it, and I was easily influenced. My Dad also went vegetarian around the same time for health reasons, so it was an easy decision, and my little sister (now a pescetarian and my go-to sustainable resource) followed suit. Finally, when I was a junior in college, I started craving chicken. I don’t know if I needed the protein, or what it was, but I made the decision to end my vegetarian days. I’d be making plans to go out to dinner with friends, and when asked where I wanted to go, I’d say, “Somewhere that has chicken.” My friends were like, “Janet… everywhere has chicken.” Heh.

But until recently, I never thought that much about where my meat comes from. I eat red meat rarely (heh, no pun intended), though I like it. Mainly I buy chicken and turkey, but I had no idea about the horrendous conditions many of these animals were raised in. Honestly, it took the media attention around California’s recent Prop 2 to really enlighten me and make me think about where my meat is coming from. I’d been buying organic, “free range” chicken for awhile, but usually from Whole Foods, who sells Rosie Chicken, and I’d heard from friends who read The Omnivore’s Dilemma that the chickens are not actually living such a lovely life. What’s a meat-eating girl to do? I’ve been trying to research humanely-raised meat lately, and it can be really frustrating. I came across this great site, The Ethicurian, which is a good resource for finding sustainable, ethical food. Still, it’s not easy. I’ve been shopping at Bi-Rite for the last few weeks, as they carry meat from Marin Sun Farms, which produces pasture-raised livestock. And I’ve been buying chicken breasts there that come from Fulton Valley Farms after reading this post about their chicken farm. For turkey, I’ve been buying Diestel or Applegate Farms – Applegate has a few products that are Certified Humane, though they seem to only be their pork products – and I’ve been buying Niman Ranch Bacon (which Bi-Rite sells by the slice – sweet!). I also ordered a special heritage turkey for Thanksgiving – though it has to come all the way from Kansas. The great local/organic/humane debate rages on. I’ve been trying hard to research all these companies and farms, but there isn’t always perfect information out there. My sister says a good thing to do is to ask if you can visit a farm, but I haven’t gone this far at this point. I’m still not totally sure how I feel about the whole situation. Just because they aren’t certified, doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t humane, but there are also a lot of places that claim to be humane and ethical, but really aren’t. I don’t really know enough yet. I’m not willing to give up meat at this point, because my body craves it, but I’m doing my best to make smart, ethical decisions. I’ll continue to research and post about this topic and I’d love to hear from others who also care about this issue! Any great resources out there that I don’t know about?


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