chicken

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Meal planning is definitely one of those things that comes and goes in our house. There are some weeks where I have everything from breakfast to snacks to dinner all mapped out, broken down on a shopping list, and ready to go. I love those weeks; if you know me, you know that a hungry Meghan is not a good thing.

Then there are the weeks I sort of lose inspiration or don’t have time and everything is up in the air. You know, the weeks where you are scrounging around the fridge for ingredients for some semblance of a meal.

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Sometimes, though, the things you have laying around make for one tasty dinner, like crispy, cheesy chicken tenders with a side of roasted broccoli.

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This is a super easy recipe. I grabbed one sleeve of whole wheat crackers and pulsed them into crumbs, adding in garlic powder and black pepper to season.

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I shredded about a cup of Cabot extra sharp cheddar.

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Sprinkled both on the chicken, in layers. . .

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And popped the chicken in a 400 degree oven until cooked through.

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For a meal with just three ingredients and minimal prep time, this chicken was amazing. It was nicely cheesy and crispy and made for a perfect dinner.

I love when that happens.

Are you good at meal planning, or do you end up scrambling for dinner ideas?

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Tags: cheese, chicken, dinner, Food, meals, recipe

Sunday Dinner

One thing I miss when hot summer days roll in is the leisurely ritual of Sunday dinner. On summer Sundays, you’re more likely to find us on the boat until well after sunset than at the dinner table, and we’re likely eating some sort of finger food, not a home cooked meal. While most people use Labor Day as the marker for end of summer, we tend to use our boating season, which ends at the end of October. Unfortunately, the weather sometimes refuses to acknowledge that, and yesterday brought gusty winds that would have made for a not-so-fun boat day. Instead, I did Autumn things, errands, cooking, and baking, and we had our first Sunday dinner in a long time.

The menu:

roasted chicken with a boiled cider glaze

crispy kale

roasted sweet potatoes, acorn squash, butternut squash

apple cider cake (post to come later this week)

roast chicken

The main component of dinner was a whole chicken, roasted simply with butter, pepper, and salt. While the chicken roasted, I boiled down apple cider into a delicious, syrupy consistency to use as a sauce for the chicken and vegetables. A cider glaze was definitely a good idea.

cider reduction

I cooked the chicken, sweet potatoes, and squash for a little over an hour, starting at 415 and lowering the temperature to 385, keeping an eye on everything to make sure the vegetables didn’t burn and the chicken cooked thoroughly. The smell of the butter basting the chicken was amazing.

Just before the chicken was done, I made my crispy kale, one of my favorite ways of eating kale. I just added dry kale to a little bit of oil in a pan and cooked on high until the edges were crispy and browned.

crispy kale

kale and squash

Once the chicken and veggies were cooked, everything came together quickly. I plated chicken on top of the kale with the other vegetables as a side, and I topped it all with the reduced apple cider.

chicken with fall vegetables

With cool breezes coming through the window and the sun setting early, this dinner really hit the spot. I’m still not happy about the change of seasons, but a comforting meal and the love that goes into making it definitely makes it a little tastier.

Are you embracing fall flavors yet?

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Tags: acorn squash, apple cider, chicken, dinner, Food, kale, Sunday dinner, sweet potato

A few weeks ago I received an email from a representative of Ocean Spray to see if I was interested in receiving a Craisin vs. raisin taste testing kit. Always a fan of taste tests, I said yes, and shortly after I received a box pitting classic raisins against our tart, Massachusetts native, the Craisin.

After doing the taste test, I decided that while I like both, Craisins are more versatile to me. Raisins belong strictly in oatmeal or a cookie made of the breakfast treat while Craisins are great in cookies but also fare well in salads and savory dishes.

The kit came with some recipes, and after finding one for chicken salad, I decided to put my own spicy twist on it.

craisins

First I marinated a few chicken breasts in sriracha and grilled them on the indoor grill pan. It was kind of like how I imagine being pepper sprayed might feel. Holy spicy smoke! Once that died down, however, I had chicken with nice grill marks and a sriracha crust.

sriracha

While the chicken was cooling, I chopped a bunch of celery and a white onion.

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I combined those with a little over a cup of craising.

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And then added the chicken chunks. To finish the dish, I mixed in 1/2 cup of Fage Greek yogurt (0%).

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This simple summer salad really offered an array of flavors and textures, from the tart and sweet Craisins to the spicy chicken and crunchy cool celery. We made wraps with it using my new favorite whole wheat tortillas from Target. It’s definitely going to be a summer staple as it’s easy to transport. The yogurt can also be mixed in at the last minute or brought along separately for a picnic.

Thanks to the people at Craisins for including me in the taste test.

Happy Friday, everyone! This weekend we have the Blessing of the Fleet, and I desperately need to catch up on cleaning and laundry after being away last weekend. I may also try to kick off my NYC Marathon training. Eek!

What are you up to?

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Tags: chicken, chicken salad, chicken salad recipe, Craisins, easy dinner, Food, sriracha

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