We have a plethora of fresh dill from our CSA box (not to mention more that neighbors have given to us). I have previously frozen oregano and thyme with wonderful results, and I am so excited to have a freezer bag of dill to use when the cold months arrive.
Dill is one of my favorite herbs (maybe my absolute favorite herb) and can be used in so many dishes. I am a big fan of using dill on my roasted salmon and chicken dishes year round. Check out this salmon recipe and this roasted chicken recipe for some great ideas.
Wondering how to easily freeze your leftover dill? Simply rinse the bunch well, shake it out, and place on a cookie sheet. Flash freeze it, then transfer to a gallon ziplock baggie or other freezer safe container. When you want to use it later this year, simply snip off a piece and throw it in your dish. Easy!
School starts tomorrow! The beginning of a new school year always feels a little like January 1st to me. It’s a time for me to set new goals, decide how I want the year to go, change old habits that don’t serve me, and think of new ways to approach the daily grind. It’s very exciting.
I started to get really excited about this just yesterday, when I was cooking a whole chicken in the crock pot for chicken noodle soup while simultaneously making my family’s favorite Pasta Caprese for dinner. This summer was a perfect storm of a very busy activities calendar for my 12 year old, a giant volunteer project for me that required hundreds of hours of work, and some weird virus I fought from May through August that left me feeling totally depleted. Cooking for me is a joy when I feel like doing it. Otherwise it just feels like another obligation. So, cooking (truly cooking, not just assembling quesadillas and sandwiches) was one of the first things I ditched when I felt overwhelmed. I have to be honest, it was fantastic for a while. But, now I am feeling better and so I got the itch to cook again yesterday, and it felt good to be back.
As I do every year at this time, I’ve been considering what is important to me this year, and what I can ditch. Cooking is definitely at the top of my “important” list. Getting back to the gym is up there as well. I put my nutrition school on hold because I found I couldn’t balance my volunteer gig and my lethargy with studying. I can’t wait to get back to that. And I have decided this year I am committed to doing small projects around the house that will keep it in better order. Closet clean outs, painting touch ups, and decluttering on the regular are all on the list. Bonus: getting to listen to my favorite podcasts while doing projects will hopefully motivate me! (Pod Save America, Song Exploder, West Wing Weekly, S-Town, and Radio Lab are all on my fave list).
What to ditch? Procrastinating. Saying “yes” to requests when I really want to say “no” (hello PTA). Guilt trips.
Have I missed anything? What’s on your list this fall? Please leave a comment below so I can steal your ideas!
Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and were able to spend time with people you love and doing things that you enjoy. I got to go to a northwoods cabin with my family, where we sat by the fire reading, went ice skating, ate yummy food and just enjoyed being together. I slept in, went to bed early, and didn’t focus on chores or being productive. It was fantastic.
I focused more on holiday baking the last several weeks than I did on cooking anything unique. When I’m busy and hectic, usually the first thing to go is my creativity in cooking. I’ll revert back to things that don’t take much thought of effort.
Last night, after feeling sufficiently rested, I got back to cooking recipes from Gwyneth’s cookbook. I had dogeared a BBQ chicken recipe that looked good, so that’s where I started. The result was pretty great — the marinade was easy enough.
I prepared the marinade in the morning and after smothering the chicken in it, stuck it in the fridge for about 6 hours.
That evening, instead of grilling the chicken in 20 degree weather, I opted to bake it and then put it under the broiler at the end for several minutes to get the skin browned and crispy. The family liked it, although we all agreed it could use a bit more salt. Next time I will sprinkle flaky sea salt on top before baking (or finishing salt at the end).
I served the chicken with sautéed mushrooms and roasted Brussels sprouts.
We all love Brussels sprouts in this house
Kiddo hates mushrooms, but husband and I love them
I feel comfortable recommending adding this dish to your rotation! It’s easy, flavorful, and a bit different than the usual baked chicken.
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
Large pinch of coarse sea salt
1 t freshly ground pepper
2 t hot pimentón (I used regular smoked paprika)
One 3-4 lb chicken, cut up (don’t remove skin, it’s the best part!)
Mix everything except the chicken in a bowl. Pour the paste all over the chicken pieces and massage it in, making sure to get it under the skin as well. Let the chicken sit in the marinade for an hour or two, or up to overnight. Bake at 375 for about 25-30 minutes until juices run clear. Or, if it’s warm where you are, grill over low heat for 20 minutes on one side or until it’s firm to the touch and browned.
Oh me oh my. Gwyneth has gone and done it again. This time with a braised chicken recipe from her cookbook that I made for dinner last night. It was supposed to be for the family, but I forgot that my husband had his holiday work party and rather than wait until Sunday when we would all be together at dinner time again, I decided to make it for just me and my girl. I’m so glad I did.
I keep hoping that Gwyneth will feature a recipe that I can report back and tell you was terrible. Not because I want to cook bad food, but because little by little she is turning me from a frenemy to a friend. At least where food is concerned. I’m uncomfortable with that. She’s a bazillionaire with a tenuous grasp on reality. She thinks we all have hot pimentón spice from Spain and are down with the usage of the term “conscious uncoupling”. I dunno, she just seems a bit untethered. BUT. BUT. Up until now, her recipes are the bomb.
Last night’s Braised Chicken With Green Olives + Lemon didn’t disappoint. I was a bit worried about the olives. I love love love any kind of olive. The rest of my family not so much. For this recipe I just kept them whole, but if you have a whole gaggle of olive lovers, I would dice them up. I followed the recipe almost exactly because it didn’t have any insanely unique ingredients or directions. Without further ado, I present Braised Chicken With Green Olives + Lemon:
1/2 chicken, cut up, room temperature (I used about 2 lbs, SKIN ON OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half (next time I will, like, triple this)
10 large green olives, pitted
Leaves from one sprig of thyme (I just threw the whole sprig in there intact)
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper the chicken
Heat the olive oil in a large enameled cast iron pot (like a Dutch oven)
Cook the chicken until deeply browned, about 4-5 minutes. Turn chicken over and do the same thing. They should look like this:
Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until they soften, about another 4 minutes.
Add a splash of the chicken broth and scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add remaining chicken stock and scatter the garlic cloves, olives and thyme over the chicken.
Pour the lemon juice over everything and bring to a boil. Then turn the heat down as low as it will go and cover the pot, cooking for about an hour until the chicken is very tender. (If you have less time, be assured that I only cooked the chicken for about 35-40 minutes and it was well cooked and juicy and delicious).
Serve over rice, potatoes, or alongside a piece of bread. I also served with roasted root vegetables.
This is the plated version which I hesitate to even show you because I put so little effort into it. To be honest I was so excited to eat.
As always, please let me know what you think by leaving a comment. I always appreciate a share as well!
I continued to test the recipes from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook It’s All Good this week, landing on the Chicken & White Bean Chili recipe because it seemed simple, approachable, and really tasty. I make a lot of soups and chilis once the weather starts to cool down. I usually double the recipe and put some in the freezer (lay flat in a freezer baggie) for a night when I’m too busy or lazy to cook.
Whenever I make a soup or chili recipe, I tend to double the vegetables called for. It’s such an easy way to get more vitamins, antioxidants and fiber into yours and your family’s tummies.
The alterations I made to this recipe were:
Add a can of kidney beans to the can of white beans called for.
Use chicken thighs instead of breasts (I find them less dry and more flavorful).
Use a teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon (the vegetable flavor). The recipe calls for the normal chili spices plus salt and pepper. I found when I tasted the chili it was a bit bland. Better Than Bouillon is a favorite of mine. I usually by the organic version and love that I don’t have to keep cans of chicken stock around in my pantry. It stays good forever and, unlike a half-used container of chicken stock, won’t make you feel guilty every time you see it in the fridge.
Add some of the chicken juice from cooking into the pot with the simmering beans and vegetables. It adds nutrients from the chicken, some depth to the mouth feel (I really hate that term, can we come up with something else collectively? Comment below with any suggestions!) and adds some yummy chicken flavor.
1.5 lbs of whatever chicken parts you want (I used thighs, and doubled the amount so I would have leftover roasted chicken to use later in the week)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt (I prefer sea salt but any will do)
2 small yellow onions, diced (about 2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem discarded, diced (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced (add more if you love garlic)
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika (the recipe calls for smoked paprika, but either variety is fine)
1 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
1 14 oz can cannellini or navy beans, rinsed and drained (I added a second can of kidney beans)
Whatever toppings sound good to you (sour cream, cheese, cilantro, diced onion, etc)
Rub chicken with about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes at 425 degrees, until just cooked through.
When meat is cooked and cooled a bit, shred the meet with two forks
Measure the spices and combine in a small bowl to add during the next step.
Meanwhile, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a stock pot on medium and sauté the onions, bell pepper, garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika and a large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies are softened, about 10 minutes.
Add tomatoes and another pinch of salt and turn up the heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for about 30 minutes. Break up tomatoes with a spoon.
Add beans and chicken to the pot (use bouillon now if you wish). Add about 1/3 cup water or more depending on how thick you want your soup.
Simmer another 15 or 20 minutes before tasting to determine the spices or salt and pepper you want to add.
Serve with toppings
My husband said the chili was “good, but not like oh my God I absolutely love this chili!”. He thought it needed a bit more chili powder and cumin to make it a true chili flavor and tasted more like a stew than a chili. My 10 year old daughter told me she likes my ground beef chili more. That being said, I really thought it was a solid recipe that I would go back to again if I wanted a variation from my ground beef chili that I usually make.