Killer Peruvian Chicken with Cilantro Sauce

Killer Peruvian Chicken with Cilantro SauceChicken. It is the workhorse of cooking. It is versatile, relatively cheap, and can be found in every cuisine around the world. The problem is that eating chicken day-in and day-out can be boring. That’s why when you find a chicken recipe that blows your socks off you gotta share.

I get a lot of cooking emails in my inbox. I look at most of them—but not all. Honestly, it depends on what’s in the subject line. If I’m curious, I open it. However, if there is one email I always open, it is anything I receive from NY Times Cooking. Nine times out of ten I will find something that I want to try.

About a week ago this gem was one of the What to Cook This Week recipes. It was touted as the only chicken recipe you will ever want to make—so of course, I was curious.

I made the marinade on Tuesday night. Wednesday morning before work I put whole chicken legs in a ziplock bag and put it in the fridge. When I came home, I took it out to warm up a bit, threw it in the oven and proceeded to blow my family’s taste buds.

Every single one of them said it was the best chicken I have ever made.

Since then, I have been telling everyone I know and now I am passing it along to y’all. Trust me you will thank me. One word of advice, you have to make the sauce. The chicken is good on its own but with the sauce, it’s out of this world.

I served this with some black beans and rice and some fried plantains but it would be just as good alongside a salad.

Killer Peruvian Chicken with Cilantro Sauce
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Sheet Pan Chicken with Sourdough and Bacon

Sheet Pan Chicken with Sourdough and BaconDistracted Dining
I sat down to write about fun Halloween stuff…but I am finding it hard to be witty when the North Bay is on fire. I keep losing my focus. This is rather ridiculous because, other than the poor air quality, I have not been directly affected by the fires. But, my mind just can’t let it go.

Events like this are a reminder to keep things in perspective. Soccer practice has been canceled because of the smoke? Big whoop. I still have my home to hang out in and 1500 other families don’t. It’s heartbreaking and I can’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu.

I was away at school when the Oakland Hills fire happened almost 26 years ago. (Did I really just put that in print?) I had to watch the destruction unfold on the television in the basement of my dorm, much like I have been doing since these fires flared up. (Well, without the dorm room.)

The Napa and Sonoma County fires have the same “what the heck is going on?” feel. That same blindsided shock—the darn high winds and the utter devastation left behind. It makes the idea of writing about what’s for dinner tonight seem trivial and unimportant.

We all have got to eat, though. So, with that in mind, I’m going for the holy trinity of comfort food: carbs, bacon, and butter. All of these things are thrown together on a sheet pan, topped with seasoned chicken and roasted in the oven. Serve it with a side vegetable (like roasted cauliflower), and you’ve got a complete meal.

So easy. And definitely tasty.

This Sheet Pan Chicken with Sourdough and Bacon recipe is the perfect one-pan family style meal to come together and enjoy while you count your blessings.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Sourdough and Bacon
Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine
Yields 6 servings Read more…

Favorite Marinara Sauce Redux

Favorite Marinara SauceBest Laid Plans Of Mice And Mom
You know those Pinterest fail websites that show what the project should look like then they show how the project actually came out? That basically describes the last two weeks of my life.

See, I am a situational planner. What is that you may ask? I am not a big day-to-day planner. But, if something different or special happens, stand back. Before any event, large or small, my mind starts to spin with all of the possibilities. Having people over for dinner? I immediately pull out the cookbooks to start planning the menu. Going on vacation? I’m in charge of the research and planning of the itinerary. Some of you may not see this as a problem. It’s always good to have a plan, right? Here’s why it is a problem. The vision in my head tends to be more like those perfect Pinterest projects. The reality? Not so much…

Some of you may not see this as a problem. It’s always good to have a plan, right? Here’s why it is a problem. The vision in my head tends to be more like those perfect Pinterest projects. The reality? Not so much…

My husband has been on a business trip for the past two weeks. Before he left, I had pictured in my mind what those two weeks would be like for me and the kids. I had activities planned, must-see movies to watch, and wonderfully healthy meals planned. This included a pasta taste testing where the kids and I would try all of the different gluten-free pastas to see which ones we thought was best. It was a beautiful vision of a happy family, free of dirty dishes and piled up laundry, complete with singing birds and cute and fuzzy bunnies.

The reality was two weeks of algebra homework, practices, clothes on the floor in the laundry room, dishes sitting overnight in the sink, and orders from Door Dash.

That pasta taste test that I had planned to talk about this week? Yeah…that didn’t happen. I was a tired, drooling fool by the time my head hit the pillow every night. Single parents, I have nothing but the utmost respect for what you do every day.

Thankfully, the craziness is about to end as my other half returns at the end of the week and who knows? Maybe we’ll get that taste test done.

If we had been able to get to the pasta, this Favorite Marinara Sauce is what I would have used. If you have the time, I encourage you to try the different gluten-free pastas that we have on the shelves, both fresh and dried. I think you will be impressed with the variety and quality available.

Favorite Marinara Sauce
Using fresh herbs makes all the difference in this quick and easy marinara.
Serves 6 Read more…

Roasted Pork Chops with Fresh Fig Sauce

Roasted Pork Chops with Fresh Fig SauceWho gives a fig?
The other day I found myself in possession of two beautiful baskets of fresh Black Mission figs. Knowing that they wouldn’t last long in the hot weather I set about figuring out how to use them.

I knew I didn’t want to use them in a dessert—the last thing I really need to be eating is dessert. Also, that seemed too easy. I wanted something different. So I went searching for savory recipes that included figs.

There are a lot of things you can do with figs beyond just shoving them in your mouth. There’s fig and balsamic jam. Fig pizza. You can slice them up in a salad with fresh goat cheese. Or, you can wrap them in bacon and throw them on the grill. (See our recipe for Prosciutto Wrapped Figs and Blue Cheese.)

When I think of the combination of figs and savory, pork often comes to mind. Probably, because pork can handle the sweetness of the figs the same way it can with apples. So, it was no surprise that my search for something new landed on a recipe that was the inspiration for these Roasted Pork Chops with Fresh Fig Sauce. I knew I had found what was for dinner.

The original recipe calls for pork tenderloin, but I brined some thick-cut, boneless pork chops instead. I used the same pan that I used for the pork to make the fig sauce. Once the sauce was done I pulled the chops from the oven and spooned the figgy goodness on top.

Roasted Pork Chops with Fresh Fig Sauce
Adapted from Food 52
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Slow-Roasted Salmon

Slow-Roasted Salmon We eat a lot of Salmon for dinner. Sometimes I grill it and sometimes I roast it in butter. It can be poached and it can be pan seared. But, I recently came across another way to cook it, Slow-Roasted Salmon, and it blew my mind.

Cooking salmon is not hard. But, one does tend to worry about over-cooking it, especially because of the price tag. Nothing worse than ruining an expensive piece of fish (or meat for that matter) by over cooking it.

Good News! This newest method I found is foolproof.

I was thumbing through my new favorite cookbook, Salt, Fat, Acid Heat and came across this recipe for Slow-Roasted Salmon. It is a very simple, straightforward method of cooking your salmon and the result is a buttery-textured salmon that literally melts in your mouth. It’s fantastic!

Next time you have a big piece of really nice salmon, give this a try. You’ll never go back to your old method…

Slow-Roasted Salmon
Yields 4 to 6 servings Read more…