Lemon Basil Chicken

Lemon Basil Chicken

My favorite way of fixing a whole chicken in order to reuse leftovers in salads and other dishes is to roast it in a slow cooker.  One good thing my mother taught me in the kitchen was to stuff turkeys with oranges and apples to keep it moist rather than stuff it with stuffing.  I took this lesson and applied it to chicken and varied the items I used to stuff.  Lemons.  Limes. Onions.  Garlic.  Fresh herbs.  Dried herbs.  It’s nearly limitless what you can stuff into a chicken.  There really is no right or wrong way to do it either.

Truss the chicken?  Pffft.  Trussing is for overachievers.  I learned how to truss a long time ago.  I probably could if I really wanted to, but why bother?  There is usually a loose flap of skin on poultry that you can tuck the end of the legs into.  Just stuff the chicken, tuck the legs and place in the slow cooker.  It doesn’t get simpler than that.

I make my chicken go a long way.  Along with this dinner of chicken, artichokes, and mashed potatoes, I used leftover meat to make Chicken Stew and Chicken Salad.  I used the juices to make mashed potatoes in place of butter for a different dinner.  And I used the bones along with veggie scraps I was saving in the freezer to make the broth for the chicken stew.  One chicken, four dishes, eight meals.   Yes, my dinner leftovers are always lunch for the following day.  It’s the easiest way for me to make sure I have a good healthy lunch.  Besides, sometimes leftovers are even better than the first time around.

Lemon Basil Chicken

1 whole chicken

1/2 onion, halved

1 lemon, quartered

large sprig basil (you want lots of leaves on the sprig)

salt and pepper to taste

If you grease your slow cooker take care of that first.  Stuff the main cavity of the chicken with 3 of the lemon quarters, the basil sprig and one of onion quarters.  Stuff the rear cavity with the remaining lemon and onion.  Season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper and rub the seasoning into the skin well.  Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.  Remove to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before carving it.

Lemony Slaw

Lemony Slaw

I was thinking about slaw for a while before Gigi posted some she made one her new series Now Gigi Serves Dinner! Once I saw that I knew it was time to stop thinking about it and just make it.

There was a time when I wouldn’t even think about making it.  Heck, I wouldn’t even eat it.  Then again, the only slaw I ever had was from that chicken giant.  I lived behind another fried chicken joint franchise for a time after college.  It was one of the few things that I ever ordered spicy.  The chicken, I mean.  One day, I decided to try their slaw.  I.  Loved.  It.  Go figure.

I’ve been a lover of slaw since then.  Still not fond of that one chicken giant, but I’m sure it’s full of preservatives anyway.  I think the only slaw I’ve had that I didn’t like was from the cafeteria at one of my jobs.  The dietary staff put together this gourmet lunch for us at the beginning of the school year and one of the guys made a slaw.  I hit it with gusto, but something just didn’t taste right.  It was bleu cheese dressing.  Ack.  I set that aside.

Monday was my grocery day and I came home all excited about making slaw that night for dinner.  I go in to the kitchen later and my food processor decides it’s going on strike.  It would not run with the slicer or shredder attachment.  Not even a little groan.  I even looked it up online and couldn’t figure out how to get it to work for me.  I put it aside and pulled out the mandoline.  My fancy little gadget gives me nothing but trouble.  I say fancy because it will do more than just slice.  It will dice and julienne 3 different sizes each.

I get started and things are going well.  Or so I thought.  Somehow huge chunks of food are getting through, the julienned pieces aren’t coming apart.  It was a mess.  I was frustrated and saying a few choice 4 letter words.  This wasn’t 5 minutes I wasted.  It was nearly an hour and all I had was badly cut cabbage and radishes to show for my trouble.  Or the show of my trouble.  I threw down the towel and left the kitchen.  Just looking at my knife made me fear hurting myself trying to hand cut everything with the level of emotion I had going on.  This was disaster #3 in a week’s time.  My nerves were shot.

I texted Chaz and asked him to pick something up for dinner.  He brought me Chipotle.  He’s the man.

Tuesday morning I spent hours in the kitchen prepping my breakfasts for the week (I’m hoping to get it up and ready for this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-free event), dinner for that night (including the slaw), and veggies for soup on Wednesday (I want to be able to just throw everything in the slow cooker before I left for work).   The whole time I was just praying that my concept for the slaw turn out like I was thinking of it in my head.

I tossed all the veggies and let them sit in the fridge until I was ready to eat.  I was in love again.  This is a tart slaw, but not overly tart.  I did not sweeten it with anything and instead relied on the jicama to bring just a hint of sweetness to it.

Lemony Slaw, serves 4

1/4 head red cabbage, sliced thin

2 carrots, julienned

6 radishes, julienned

2 stalks celery, julienned

2 slices of jicama, julienned

1 avocado, diced

1/2 lemon, juiced

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon celery seed

dash of salt

sliced almonds, optional

Toss the produce together in a large bowl.  If you are making this ahead of time, wait to add the avocado until you are getting ready to serve.  Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, celery seed, and salt.  The dressing will emulsify as you whisk it.  Pour dressing over the slaw and toss well.  Garnish with sliced almonds on the plate if desired.

Adopt-A-Gluten-Free-Blogger: Tasty Eats At Home

 

Gluten-free Lemon Earl Grey Cookies

 

By the time I saw this month’s round of Adopt-a-gluten-free-blogger I had a difficult time choosing.  Almost everyone was taken!  Then Alta posted her Lemon Earl Grey Cookies.  I love lemon cookies.  I’m also a fan of using tea leaves in dishes.  If I remember correctly from one of Ming Tsai’s shows several years ago, using tea leaves helps aid in the digestion of your meal.  Or something like that.  Whatever it was, I just remember that it’s good for you.  Who can argue with added antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in a dish?  I also decided that I needed to bake something.  I rarely bake anymore and I kinda miss it.

I first went to Alta’s blog, Tasty Eats At Home, after reading another blogger’s adoption post last year.   Since then, Alta is my go-to blog when I want something different and vegetarian.  She tempted me last Fall with many different truffle recipes, like her Chocolate Cherry Nut Truffles.  I haven’t given in to that temptation yet.  I just might when I have more time to spend in the kitchen.

When you check out Alta’s pictures of her cookies, you’ll notice a big difference.  I used coconut crystals instead of regular sugar.  Coconut crystals are not refined and are a dark brown, much like brown sugar and raw sugar.  I also didn’t think to flatten them a little before putting them in the oven.  Hey, I’m still getting the hang of the gluten-free baking thing.  Cooking I have down pat.  Baking, is another story.  I also flubbed and added too much baking powder, but I couldn’t tell in the end when I tasted the cookies.  Even though they didn’t bake flat, they did bake through and through.  The center was a bit soft and chewy.   Just the way I love my cookies.  I plan on making a cup of Earl Grey later (decaf, of course) and enjoying some more cookies.

 

Masala-Spiced Adzuki Beans with Brown Rice

 

I wanted to share this dish of Alta’s that I made a few months ago.  It’s her Masala-Spiced Adzuki Beans with Brown Rice.  Three things drew me to this recipe.  1) Chaz was going through a 21-day vegan starter while we were still commuting to see each other.  2) Anything with garam masala intrigues me.  3) I love adzuki beans.  Typically, I’ve always had adzuki beans in Japanese treats that I can no longer have, or with ice cream and/or shave ice.  If you haven’t tried adzuki beans with ice cream or shave ice, you should.

Something happened the weekend I planned to make this when Chaz was home and I wound up making it just for myself.  It makes for great comfort food.  In fact, I need to make this again.  I had plenty of leftovers that got turned into easy breakfasts.  Just add a runny egg!

 

Leftover Masala-Spiced Adzuki Beans with Pears and a Runny Egg

 

Alta is also into the Daring Cooks Challenge and reading her posts has helped me to step outside my comfort zone of doing what is easy for me in the kitchen.  Her post on Vegan Cassoulet inspired me to make an attempt using the recipe she posted.  I have never had Cassoulet so this was a big step in making something I knew nothing about.

Not only did I enjoy the Vegan Cassoulet, I fell in love with the bread crumbs I made for it using the recipe.  Chaz even enjoyed the bread crumbs.  I made quite a bit extra and wound up using them for my last meatloaf.

Thank you, Alta, for helping me expand my limits in the kitchen!