The authors of the Whole30 say that most people give up on days 10 and 11. The novelty has wore off, food fatigue, temptation. A whole lot of reasons. Being on Day 9 it doesn’t feel like I’m ready to quit tomorrow or the next day.
How are you doing on your 2016 goals? Need some motivation? ET always does it for me. Check out this video
Making the Whole30 fun by being able to be creative has been our focus. By just focusing on making it through each day until you get to 30, I could see how you might give up. If you focus on trying new things and being creative then you look forward to each new experience and don’t even count the day you’re on.
I’ve never even eaten a chicken burger before. That didn’t stop us for cooking them up for today’s brown bag lunch.
“I wanted to figure out why I was so busy, but I couldn’t find the time to do it.” ― Todd Stocker
Busy families like ours can still eat great with a little planning. With one great ingredient and some creative thinking you can go far. By pure accident I found my new favorite chicken marinade. I was all set in my mind on how I was going to marinade chicken and at the last second my hubby cried out, “don’t put an acid in the marinade”. Crap! I was going to use citrus. What now?
Our family Wednesday night theme dinner last week was Mardi Gras. We were late. Mardi Gras this year was celebrated 8 days earlier, Fat Tuesday. But, who cares? Why can’t any day can be Mardi Gras? James R. Creecy in his book Scenes in the South, and Other Miscellaneous Pieces describes New Orleans Mardi Gras in 1835:
Shrove Tuesday is a day to be remembered by strangers in New Orleans, for that is the day for fun, frolic, and comic masquerading. All of the mischief of the city is alive and wide awake in active operation.
Fun and frolic is certainly one way to get your kids engaged in enjoying a family dinner together. Usually celebrated on fat Tuesday, to prepare for lent I feel that you can use this at home to celebrate fun and celebrate being goofy. Unintentionally, we celebrated it just in time to kick off our beach body readiness. Just about 30 days before spring break this was our last binge before bikini season. In a way, it was our own Fat Tuesday.
Our menu: -bayou shrimp -lobster bisque with crusty bread -healthier chicken and Andouille jambalaya
To set the stage for a “party” instead of dinner we had the Dirty Dozen Brass Band station on Pandora and fancy kid cocktails.
Heat the oil in a large cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1 teaspoon of the cayenne. Stirring often, brown the vegetables for about 20 minutes, or until they are caramelized and dark brown in color. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pot. Add the sausage and cook, stirring often for 10 to 15 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot to loosen any browned particles.
Season the chicken with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Add the chicken and the bay leaves to the pot. Brown the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot.
Add the rice and stir for 2 to 3 minutes to coat evenly. Add the water, stir to combine, and cover. Cook over medium heat for 45 to 60 minutes, without stirring, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
Stir in the green onions and serve.
Notes: resist the temptation to add additional seasonings. There is something magical about the bay and cayenne combination.
Usually, when I get my hair done is the only time I allow myself to indulge in tabloids. They are there. I am there. Why not? At my last appointment the January 2014 edition of Bon Appetit was sitting in the processing room and caught my eye. I found page after page of tempting recipes that I couldn’t wait to try our for my family and since it was the January version most of the recipes were healthy. This one was at the top of the list. I love that one pan goes from the stovetop, to the oven, to the table and I couldn’t wait to see how tolerable my family would be to the heat of this dish. They did not disappoint. The entertainment I hoped for was pricesless. When you try it make sure to make sides that double as extinguishers.
8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (I had 2 packs of 5 thighs so I used 1 1/2 times everything else)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs tomato paste
2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed
¼ cup harissa paste
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat oven to 425°. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.
Pour off all but 1 Tbsp. drippings from pan. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until beginning to darken, about 1 minute. Add chickpeas, harissa, and broth; bring to a simmer.
Nestle chicken, skin side up, in chickpeas; transfer skillet to oven. Roast until chicken is cooked through, 20–25 minutes. Top with parsley and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.
Our 9 year old son is a very picky eater so I spared his thighs from any garnish and served his chickpeas on the side. For the rest of us I served this dish on top of couscous with a side of roasted asparagus with lemon and olive oil (which I threw in the oven with the chicken and took out at the same time – presto, easy breezy).
Note: there are no specialty grocery stores near me so I had to improvise for the harissa. I used sriracha chili sauce. When I can get out to a market I will try this recipe again with harissa and compare the two.
“Sitting down for dinner not only helps you learn, but also teaches you how to listen – which I feel is the most important skill to have. I remember as a kid going around the table listening to everyone’s day. It was hard to have the manners not to interrupt back then.”
Craving a home cooked meal, but too pooped to slave in the kitchen I created this super easy, amazingly delicious dish. Whip up a couple of quick sides and people will think you were cooking all day.
8 chicken thighs, bone in and skin removed 1 box low sodium chicken broth (4 cups) 1 lemon, sliced 1 33 oz. jar whole artichoke hearts in water, water drained 1/4 c. chopped italian parsley 2 Tbs. olive oil salt pepper garlic powder Heat oven to 300 degrees. Season chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Warm olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Brown chicken on both sides. Put chicken in a dutch oven and add broth, lemon slices, artichoke hearts, and parsley. Cover, put it in the oven and forget about it for 90 minutes.
Thickening the sauce is optional: Make a rue in a saucepan with butter and flour. Remove chicken, artichokes, and lemons from dutch oven and pour the broth into the saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce slightly thickens. Return chicken, artichokes and lemons to the dutch oven and cover with the sauce.