Delicious and Simple: Honey Citrus Grilled Chicken over Amazing Black Beans and Rice

Hello, y’all!

Wow.  It’s been a looong time since the last post, and I’m starting things back up with a recipe!  We had this one for dinner a few nights ago and, to be perfectly honest, I was a bit unsure as to how the family would react.  My hubby is NOT a fan of beans of any kind.  In fact, I usually puree them when I am making a Mexican dish or chili.  Saves me an earful, if you know what I mean.  😉

But…he loved it!  Yay!  So here it is:

Grilled Chicken with Citrus Honey Marinade over Cuban-style Beans and Rice:

For the marinade (place in a large Ziploc bag with 5 chicken breasts):
3 small, ripe oranges, quartered (I used Cuties / Halos)
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
1-2 tsp cracked pepper (your preference)
** Seal bag securely and press oranges well, massaging into chicken.
** Store in refrigerator 1-2 days prior to grilling.

For Rice and Beans:
Brown 2 cups of rice in skillet with 2T olive oil and 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
Once rice is a golden color, add seasonings
1 heaping tsp oregano
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cumin
Stir in seasonings until thoroughly distributed
Add 2T red wine vinegar
Add 2T favorite pasta sauce (our’s is Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce, 24-Ounce (Pack of 4))
Add 1 Bay leaf
Add 2 cups water
Finally, stir in one 10-ounce bag of black beans

Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes, until rice is tender and fluffy.

Serve with grilled chicken breasts.
Garnish with cilantro, fresh lime juice, sour cream, etc.


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sweet and savory salad dressing

another one of my favorite salads! easy. crowd-pleasing. inexpensive. delicious. what more could you ask for?! this salad dressing goes perfectly with feta cheese (our favorite) or a little sharp cheddar. it’s a simple base for whatever fixings you desire! i also added about 4 chopped scallions before serving. it was perfectly paired tonight with a simple, roasted lemon-garlic chicken. (recipe below)



roasted lemon-garlic chicken:

1 roasting chicken (cost = $6.00)
1 stick of butter (i prefer trader joe’s)
6 cloves of garlic (3 minced, 3 whole)
1 sweet onion (peeled & quartered)
2 carrots (peeled & chopped)
1 lemon (quartered & seeded)
1 32 oz carton of chicken stock (i also prefer tj’s organic)

*remove bag of ‘ickies’ from the center of the chicken (you know, like the neck…)

*rinse your chicken with cold water and pat dry (i like to have a large plate with paper towels ready and nearby. if you bathe small children, this will be a piece of cake…ha!)

*add 3 minced cloves of garlic, salt, and pepper to your softened butter and combine well.

*place half of both the onion and lemon inside the well of the chicken along with the three whole garlic cloves and about half of your butter mixture.

*rub the exterior of the bird down with the rest of the butter. give that chickie a spa day!

*pour the 32 oz carton of stock into your pan and add the remaining lemon, onion and carrots.

*place in the oven, pre-heated to 325 degrees, and roast for about 3-4 hrs. halfway through, spoon broth over the entire bird and return to the oven.  check internal temp. using meat thermometer {here’s how}.

i will be reserving the broth for both butternut squash soup {recipe here} and italian wedding soup. i will be using whatever chicken we don’t eat this evening in a chicken pot pie later on in the week as well. one night of roasting goes a long way!

here’s a peek at what happened after mama recorded her video:

*note: the children were never left unattended during their mini-adventure on the kitchen island. 🙂

ava and isla decided to play ‘cooking show’ and my delicious dressing was doused with an extra 1/2 c. of olive oil.  i don’t recommend it…  we ate it anyway and remarked throughout the meal how well the girls can make a salad.  they beamed, of course.  😉

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another perfect pair…

ava & isla…

me & him…

and chicken & penne with asparagus in a light butter parmesan wine sauce…

another perfect pair!

before i get to cleaning the house again tonight – thought i’d share dinner with you. mister took the girls christmas shopping for mama, so i have the house to myself for a bit. i wish i could just shut the lights off & go to sleep, but the mess refuses to disappear. so, while cinderella plays for the 600th time in the background, i shall share this little recipe with you.

first things first…

thaw two large chicken breasts (this easily fed our family of four)

put out a large skillet & fill your big ol’ stock pot with water

grab two shallow dishes for coating your chicken
in the first, mix an egg & a little milk
in the second, create a breadcrumb mixture
(for all you newbies to this blog, i will again apologize, that i’m a taster, an experimenter & rarely a measurer – so with that, good luck!) 🙂

in that mixture, i combined about:
1/4 c. plain breadcrumbs
several cranks of cracked pepper
1 tsp of garlic powder
2 tbsp grated parm cheese
1 tsp italian seasoning

using kitchen shears, cut your chicken into tender-sized pieces
(i do this for portion control & even cooking)

bring your skillet up to medium/low heat & your stock pot up to a rolling boil

add about 2-3 tbsp of olive oil & butter to your skillet

once your water is boiling, toss in about 2-3 c. penne & 1 tbsp salt, stir
cook for about 8 mins

coat your chicken pieces with the egg mixture, & then dredge in the breadcrumb mixture. place them in the skillet to brown evenly on each side. i’d say this takes less than 15 mins
(once they are browned i turn the heat down as low as it can go & place a lid on it, so any little bit that may not be done yet has the chance to cook fully without drying the chicken out)

after 8 mins, add 1 inch sized pieces of uncooked/frozen asparagus to your pasta – no need to drain, just toss it right in to cook with the the pasta. keep it boiling.
be sure not to use the tough ends of the asparagus.
the “frilly” ends are tender & delicious though – toss that part in for sure!
let that boil for another 6 mins or so…

drain the pasta/asparagus.

in the stock pot – heat a stick & a half of butter with two cloves of garlic
(i smash them, but leave them in tact, so i can fish them out once the butter is seasoned.
i don’t like leaving chunks of garlic in my butter/oil).

add about 1/2 c. white cooking wine to your butter.
(make sure the temp is moderate enough to cook the alcohol off, but not burn your butter.)

toss the pasta & asparagus back into the stock pot, coating evenly with your sauce.

last & happiest step…sprinkle generously with fresh parmesan cheese.
voila! done.

enjoy this yummy dish!

snow, lemons, & pignoli … yum!

i know…i know…i’ve been m.i.a. for quite some time, but i’m still “taking care of my nest.” working through things in life sometimes takes time away from other, less important things. unfortunately, blogging has fallen onto the “less important” list lately.

but…i’m always writing to you in my head as i go about my day. i wish i had a scribe, or, as i’ve mentioned before, a little machine that recorded all of my thoughts – well, just the post-worthy ones anyway. 😉

last night’s meal inspired me, so i’m going to share two of my favorite things with you. i don’t have pictures; forgive me. next time i make these dishes though, i’ll take some.

last night’s dish consisted of “snow.” SNOW?! yes, snow. ava’s “snow” that is…

sprinkle cheese!!! 🙂 she loves it so much that i’m fairly certain that there was more romano cheese on her plate than chicken, lettuce, or croutons.

guessed it yet?

yep. caesar salad. chicken caesar salad.

ava gets her’s sans dressing, & her plate smelled like a stinky foot thanks to all of that cheese, but she was happy.

she adores cheese. her diet was dairy-free from birth to just less than a year ago, so apparently, she’s more than making up for lost time. my husband won’t agree, but i’m certain that her sudden & expansive dairy intake is to blame for the middle-of-the-night waking & complaining we’ve got going on around here…but what do i know? i’m just a crazy mom…

anyway – back to the salad!

don’t mess with perfection. see this link here. it will take you to the caesar salad instructions on p-dub’s site. yes, it is perfection. confession: i often don’t have the worsteshire sauce, so i just omit it, & it is still perfection. oh yeah, we had romano cheese instead of parmesan too. um, also store-bought croutons…ok, so yes, yes, i did mess with perfection, & it was still perfect! moving on…

here is what i like to do for the chicken, & it is delicious. i set a few breasts out in the morning to thaw. about an hour prior to the mister’s arrival – i preheat the oven to 400 degrees. after placing the trimmed & portioned breasts in a greased baking dish, (i like to cut them with my kitchen shears into more even pieces for baking purposes), season each piece generously with salt & pepper. since this salad dressing consists of the juice from one lemon, i zest that entire lemon over the chicken breast & finish each off with a lemon slice from a second, juicy lemon. i douse the whole thing with a little white cooking wine & a light coat of cooking spray. place that in the oven uncovered for about 45 mins or so & voila! it’s so good! juicy, tender, flavorful…perfect. clear juices & browned lemon slices are a good indicator that the chicken is done…

the other meal i am thinking about today…one of my favorites…penne with pignoli, sage, & butter sauce. a link to the recipe can be found here, but i must confess, i never follow one in this case, b/c i like to taste it, adapt it, eyeball it, etc…but, it’s a great recipe. this is like my favorite pasta side dish. ever.

i do like to tear the sage leaves up into teeny weeny little pieces, unlike mr. batali, & leave them right in the dish. i like the flavor, texture, & color that sage offers. i have found that tearing the leaves up, as opposed to cutting them, does more for the flavor. i do not recommend the ground sage from a spice jar. it will not, absolutely will not, give you the same result in this recipe & you will think it is gross. trust me. go with the good stuff. some of the ingredients in this dish can be pricey, but there are so few that it still won’t hit your wallet too hard. add chicken to this one (same baking technique would be yummy), & you’ve got a meal. you could even have the caesar salad as your side in that case!

look at that! i’ve just written a “perfect pair” post & didn’t even mean to! 🙂

well, back to my nest. enjoy your day & your dinners!

perfect pairings…

i’m going to start my “perfect pairings” posts which will disclose what i’m making for dinner (or have made recently) that have proved to be great compliments to one another.

i frequent several sites daily for inspiration & recipes, so you’ll often notice i pull a main dish from one place & a side from another, & so on…

some sites almost always come to mind when i’m thinking of a specific aspect of each evening’s meal, so you’ll probably notice trends.

anyway, tonight, we are having…

bacon wrapped cheddar stuffed cheeseburgers

&

our best bites’ maggiano’s house salad

(i’ll be substituting the prociutto with bacon, since it will be used in the cheeseburgers)

enjoy this perfect pairing some warm night! this weather is ideal for this combo!

i’ll post pictures later tonight if i get a chance.

ok – images have arrived!

i followed the dressing recipe nearly to the letter, but i didn’t have gorgonzola cheese or dijon on hand, so colby jack & honey mustard were the subs…i made the dressing almost entirely in the skillet, b/c it was still hot from cooking the bacon. i added the subsequent ingredients after removing the pan from heat. the warmth helped the flavors merge well, plus i was feeling too lazy to break out the blender or food processor. the warm pan & my whisk worked just as well.

for the patties, i divided an even pound of lean beef into quarters. then, each of those, i divided, making eight little mounds – two for each patty. i used this flat-bottom measuring cup for uniformity. press the first half into the bottom, creating a well for the cheese…

pile on the cheese…yummmmm…

top it with the second half of the quarter, & press the sides down. i used a fork to pull the beef away from the sides slightly, as well as a way to crimp the edges together at the same time.

“dump” the patty out onto your hand, form it a little & make sure the sides are completely sealed.
side note: i once read somewhere that you should press your centers in more than the sides of the patties, b/c they puff up in the middle – which has proven true.
i have done this trick ever since & look at how beautifully consistent they are cooked!

wrap with two slices of bacon & grill
(watch your heat, b/c you don’t want charred bacon & undercooked beef)

ooooh…look at that ooze outta there…so good!