pan seared ginger chicken with tangy roasted grape tomatoes

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nothing like a home cooked meal

We are back from two weeks of travels (and eating out) and absolutely craving good old home cooked meals.  And I missed my kitchen and cooking for my family!  Don’t get me wrong – I had so much fun trying different foods and dining out.  Not having to worry about lunch and dinner prep or grocery shopping…pretty different from my typical week of juggling work, home life and scrambling to get good food into everyone’s bellies.  As much as I feel overwhelmed and crazy at times (I cannot count the number of times I have said to my kids “mommy is not an octopus”) – I love my time in the kitchen and cooking is MY time, my therapy, and it feels good for my soul (okay maybe not when the girls are screaming and running around me and it’s chaotic, but these are the joys of having children right?).

Anyway, this dish was a hit for dinner last week and provided ample leftovers for 3 lunches (that’s a win, always). When I roast chicken my husband always comments on how juicy and tender it is – but this time he was really surprised at how moist the meat was, especially the white meat. I think it is because I pan seared it first (sealing the juices in) then finished it off in the oven over a bed of grape tomatoes, which popped in the heat and released their juices.

I have to say the kids were not fans of the tomatoes (in fact, piepie was bribed to finish at least 3 tomatoes… “I don’t like it mom! it pops slimey” and boss just outright opened her mouth “blah” and it fell to the floor) – however they loved the sauce over top of their rice and they ate up all their kale and chicken. Good enough:)

what you need:

  • 1 whole chicken (organic or local best!)
  • 2.5 cups grape tomatoes, washed
  • 3-4 thick slices of fresh ginger
  • 2 green onions, cleaned and cut into 2″ long pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly smashed
  • cooking oil (I used grape seed oil)
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder

what to do:

  1. Butcher your chicken into pieces (breast, thigh, drumsticks, wings) – keep the middle back bone for chicken stock for another time (you can freeze it).
  2. Season the chicken lightly with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  3. In a baking dish, add grape tomatoes and garlic. Toss with 1 tbsp oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. img_9399
  4. Preheat oven to 375 F. (350 F for convection ovens)
  5. In a frying pan on medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp cooking oil. Add the ginger slices and green onions. Saute for about 1-2 minutes, until you can smell the aromas of the ginger and green onion.img_9398
  6. If the pan seems dry add 1 tbsp cooking oil. Add chicken pieces to the pan, skin side down, you will have to do this in two batches (don’t overcrowd the pan or the chicken will steam instead of sear).  Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. img_9400
  7. Transfer chicken to baking dish and place the pieces right on top of your tomatoes.
  8. Pan sear the rest of the chicken just like step 5 (add more cooking oil too!). Once all the chicken is pan seared, place it evenly over top of the tomatoes and transfer the ginger and green onions over top as well.img_9405
  9. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes – 35 minutes (convection oven is faster) – the tomatoes will pop and shrivel a bit, and there will be lots of juices at the bottom of the pan (great over greens or rice). Check one piece of dark meat to be sure it’s cooked (cut right near the bone and make sure the juices run clear).
  10. Remove from oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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    perfect over hearty greens (e.g. kale) & rice

maple mustard roasted chicken

roasted chicken

roasted whole chicken for dinner, with handy leftovers for lunch the next day! (sorry this photo isn’t the best… it was taken quickly with my phone, hungry family was awaiting!)

Whenever you hear “roasted chicken” you probably are thinking it’s an all day event, sort of a Sunday afternoon prep and Sunday sit down family dinner kind of ordeal. Either that or you think of a store bought rotisserie BBQ chicken.  This recipe does not involve either of the above! It’s really easy and hassle free – perfect for one of those days when you need a pretty quick dinner with minimal time spent at the stove. Cutting up the chicken into portions makes it cook much faster than roasting a whole chicken (which, we all know is delicious but it’s impossible to do that on a busy week night!), so you still get the crispy skin, roasted juicy chicken flavour but without having to man the oven for hours. The key is to do a little bit of prep the day before (it needs to be marinated to have good flavour!), then when you are ready to make your roasted chicken dinner, you just have to pop it into the oven.  It will go with just about any side dish you feel like – sautéed veggies, salad, rice, in a sandwich or wrap, etc…

Of note: I also roasted the left over spine of the chicken (after you remove all the pieces this is what you’re left with!) – this gives the bones great flavour and will be perfect for homemade chicken stock for another day’s meal.

what you need:

  • 1 whole chicken (I used a 5 lb organic chicken)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch of salt & pepper (freshly ground)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed and roughly chopped

what to do:

  1. The day before you want this meal, butcher your chicken into pieces (breasts, thighs, drums, wings). Place chicken pieces, including the bony spine that is left over, in a large tupperware or bowl, and add the rest of the ingredients. Work ingredients into the chicken my massaging it then store in the fridge overnight, tightly sealed.
  2. The day of the meal – preheat oven to 425 F, convection. Take the chicken out of the fridge while oven preheats (don’t put the chicken directly from the cold fridge into the oven – this shocks the meat and makes it tougher).
  3. Place chicken pieces on a roasting pan, allowing about 1/2″ of space between each piece. You may want to place the dark meat on one pan and the white meat on another, as their cooking times can vary a little bit.
  4. Roast chicken pieces for about 15 minutes at 425 F. The skin will become slightly golden. Turn the oven down to 350 F and roast for another 15-30 minutes – checking every so often after the 15 min mark. You can use a meat thermometer if you want to make sure it is done. Usually, the white meat cooks faster than the dark meat. It will also depend on how thick your pieces are, and how big your chicken is. I usually remove the wings first at the 20 min mark because they are small and done by then.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 min before cutting (if you cut it right when it’s removed from the oven, you will lose all it’s juicy goodness!). Serve immediately and enjoy!
dinner

tonight enjoyed with kale, rice, and balsamic garlic roasted grape tomatoes!

roasted chicken for all

IMG_3356Today is Sunday – which usually means I have more time for the kitchen!  I find it so helpful to take advantage of this extra time and make something that can stretch into the next day or two.  This Sunday I decided on a whole roasted chicken with onions and sweet potatoes, and steamed kale for some green.  My plan was make this early in the day, which allowed time for homemade chicken stock and some baby food (see how below). My toddler (aka sweetie pie pie) and my 7 month old (aka the boss) absolutely love sweet potatoes and roasted chicken.  And they don’t mind kale either.  I am lucky – they are both very good eaters.  There was a rough period of time when pie pie was about 18 months…she would not eat anything except cheese, cereal, bread and milk.  Occasionally maybe a chick pea or hard boiled egg.  That was really frustrating for me, especially when we travelled to San Francisco (so much good food!!!) and I had to get her these items at the grocery store (while we ate delicious things like gelato or korean fusion at HRD coffee shop).  Fortunately, she grew out of this funk in a few months and has been a good little eater ever since; she is not afraid of green things or spices.  If she had her way though I know she would still choose carbs and cheese first:)

prep: 15 min   cook: 1 hr 30 min   yield: 4-6

what you need:

  • whole chicken (mine was 1.7 kg)
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 3 small cooking onions
  • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 cup water

what to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Thoroughly wash sweet potatoes.  Peel if desired, but I like to keep my skins on, especially if I’ve purchased organic ones.  Chop potatoes and onions into large chunks, about 2″ x 2″.
  3. Place cubed vegetables into large baking dish and drizzle olive oil all over, about 1-2 tsp.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. Smash garlic and roughly chop.
  5. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towel.  Rest breast side up on a cutting board, and butterfly by cutting along the breast bone.  This will help speed up roasting of the chicken.  You can roast the chicken whole but it will take longer (use a thermometer, internal temperature should be 165 F).
  6. Drizzle chicken with olive oil (about 1 tbsp), and lightly season with salt and pepper.  Find little pockets under the skin to insert the garlic cloves – be sure to push the cloves under the skin as far as you can to really flavour the meat underneath.IMG_3355
  7. Pour 1 cup of water into baking dish and put into the hot oven.  Set your timer for 15 minutes.  After the first 15 minutes, lower temperature to 370 F, and roast for another 1 hour or so.  The skin should be golden brown, internal temperature at 165 F, sweet potatoes fork tender, onions very soft and translucent.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes.  Cutting it too soon will make your chicken dry – the juices within the meat will just run out onto your cutting board.  It’s too hot to handle anyways!
  9. While your chicken is resting, wash kale, remove tough stems, and roughly chop.  Steam for 6 minutes – you know it’s ready when it turns vibrant bright green.IMG_3363
  10. Remove all veggies, draining away excess liquid/fat.  Cut chicken as desired, but save your bones!

homemade chicken stock:

  1. Remove bones from roasted chicken.  For even more flavour and nutrition (claims my mom), take an extra step and smash the drumstick bones to expose the marrow.  You can use the back of a heavy knife, or a mallet.
  2. Bring 7 cups of water to a boil.  Add liquid from roasted chicken baking dish, and bones.  Once it boils again, bring it down to a simmer (low heat) for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Once it’s not piping hot, strain (to remove those bones and potential shards!), and skim off the top layer of fat using a large spoon.  The easiest way is to transfer your stock to a mason jar or some other container, store it in the fridge…the fat will solidify at the top and you can just simply scoop it out and discard.  Now you have homemade chicken stock!

baby’s roasted chicken, sweet potato & kale dinner

DSC_0533  1. Put roasted sweet potatoes, onions, and steamed kale into  a blender (I use my ninja), and add about 1/4 cup homemade chicken stock (or water).  Blend until desired consistency.  You can also add chicken to the mixture.  I give my little Joce tiny pieces of dark meat, as she is able to gum at this texture.  Baby led weaning is popular and recommended now but it really is about how comfortable you are and how your baby does with textures.  I still like giving her some purees, especially with today’s sweet potato with the skin on, and the onions.  Both would be difficult for her with no teeth to chew well and swallow safely.  I like to keep my baby food in these small mason jars – I find one jar for the boss is the perfect portion.  If you are freezing it make sure to leave some space as it will expand!  I made that mistake once and my jars cracked and the lids warped!

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Two happy munchkins.  On the right: a quick meal made by soba noodles (a quick cooking japanese buckwheat noodle) topped with chopped steamed kale, some shredded roasted chicken, and chicken broth.