Chicken w/ Maple Mustard Dill Sauce

A really great way to be “good” on a diet or on your healthy-eating kick is to change things up.  Make interesting food and don’t get stuck with the same old.  Experiment with spices and flavors.  You’ll be surprised at how many different things there are to try and how pleased you will be eating healthy when it’s exciting.

Something I like to do is to change up the sauces I use when I cook simple things like Chicken.  I had this recipe saved for about a year in my books and was really intrigued to try it.  Honestly- it seemed a little weird but I had everything in my fridge already so I figured why the heck not?

Pan-Roasted Chicken w/ Maple Mustard Dill Sauce

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 (6-oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
Cooking spray 
1/2 chopped or sliced red onion 
6 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
4 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon Water
1 teaspoon chopped Fresh Dill or 1/2 teaspoon dried (I used 1 tsp of Gourmet Garden)
1 teaspoon Grated Orange Rind

Preparation:

  1. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound each to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan.
  2. Reduce heat to medium.  Combine the syrup, mustard, water, dill, and orange in a small bowl and stir with a whisk until well combined.
  3. Add onion to pan; cook 1 minute. Add sauce; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Serve sauce with chicken.

Very slightly adapted from: Cooking Light 

Makin' the sauce!

Makin’ the sauce!

P1020026

The one thing I wanted to do for this recipe was make it only for two (original was 4) but keep the same amount of sauce.  Dave loooooves lots of sauce with everything, so I thought it would be best for us.  It really worked out and I think the amount of sauce was perfect!

Served this with tons of veggies:  Roasted Asparagus, Roasted Tomato, and some Garlic Sauteed Spinach :)

Served this with tons of veggies: Roasted Asparagus, Roasted Tomato, and some Garlic Sauteed Spinach 🙂

maplemustardchick

I also have to mention that I recommend using REAL maple syrup.  Not the Aunt Jemima sugary crap.  If you haven’t yet, spend an extra couple of dollars and buy yourself the real stuff- it will work better in the recipe and then you’ll have plenty leftover for some life-changing pancakes.  This is also like, the bagillionth time I’ve used my Gourmet Garden tubed herbs… I cannot stress how awesome they are.

Meanwhile, as I mentioned earlier… I totally get that the maple-dill-mustard-orange combination seems a little strange.  I thought the same thing.  Get past it.  This sauce rocks- the flavors just work.  Don’t ask any questions, just do.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Now let me go watch this show on Sci with Dave about King Crabs and how they are destroying their ecosystem!  AHH!  #HowISpendMyNights.

KingCrab

Homemade Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce

It’s Memorial Day Weekend!  Who’s ready for some fun in the sun?!  I am!

It’s a shame the weather forecast for the weekend is cold and rainy in Philly and at the shore. 😦

Regardless, I’m sure we’ll be gettin’ the grill going sometime this weekend.  Are ya with me?

This week, Dave and I tried out our very first homemade BBQ sauce.  I feel fancy but I should really know better.  It was super easy.  I promise.  I got the recipe from a really great blog called The Black Peppercorn.  He used the sauce for pulled pork which sounds so delish, but we just decided to use it as a dipping sauce and topping for some grilled chicken and veggies.  Here you go!

Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce

Makes 1.5 Cups (approx)

Ingredients:

1 cup yellow mustard
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup water
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
3 tablespoons butter

 
Directions:
  1. Whisk all the ingredients together in a saucepan until smooth. Cook on medium low heat for about 20 minutes while stirring occasionally.  
  2. Store in a jar or squeeze bottle in the fridge.

Recipe from:  The Black Peppercorn

Try it out this weekend… yummy!

photo 2 (32)

photo 3 (30)

My spoon was resting on this bowl and made a cute little heart!  :)

My spoon was resting on this bowl and made a cute little heart! 🙂

Emily’s Chicken Marinade

Something crazy happened this past weekend.  Dave and I went food shopping together.  OMG!

As you’d probably imagine, food shopping is one of my happy things to do… I love it!  Dave on the other hand loves to eat the food but hates to walk around a market with ME.  Walking up and down every aisle would probably make him have a nervous breakdown.

I have been telling him since we moved that I’ve gotten a lot better and he should come with me.  I tell him I make lists now, that I am faster, and don’t even go in the middle sometimes!!  It’s a constant back and forth that usually ends with me up and down every aisle on my own.

After spending our Sunday afternoon at the movies (we saw Olympus Has Fallen… SO MUCH FUN AND SOOOOO GOOD), it just made sense to both go.  Without Dave knowing and obviously to prove my newly found shopping skills, I set a timer.

Who doesn't love two hours of THIS with 1783972497 person body count?!?!

Who doesn’t love two hours of THIS with 1783972497 person body count?!?!

We completed our entire shop in just under 50 minutes… and I’m talking picking up to dropping off shopping cart.  Pretty impressive, right?!  I felt like I was on a gameshow.  Oye.

BAM!  Great shop.

BAM! Great shop.

Anyway, the recipe I am sharing with you today is such a great one!  It is a creation of my friend Emily or EMKA as I have called her for the past ten years.    I came to Emily for some post-work night dinner inspirations, the other day and this is the first I’ve tried.

It’s like, ridiculously easy… and amazing.

Emily’s Chicken Marinade

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Light Olive Oil

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar

Some Chopped Garlic (for you, I’ll say I used 5 cloves, smashed and sliced)

1.5 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard (I used Mild & Creamy Grey Poupon)

Fresh Rosemary (about 2-3 sprigs)

Black Pepper and Sea Salt

Directions:

Mix ingredients.  Pour over chicken and seal in either a Ziploc bag or Tupperware container.  Let marinate overnight or while you are at work.  Bake in the oven at 350.  YUM**.

(**EMKA’s finishing note on the recipe is so true)

Finished product, yum!  Served with Roasted Asparagus and Locatelli and Crushed Pepper Orzo.  Delish.

Finished product, yum! Served with Roasted Asparagus and Locatelli and Crushed Pepper Orzo. Delish.

I sliced up a package of the really thick kind of chicken, slicing the breasts in half to make them thinner, then in half to make them smaller.  The recipe made enough for the entire package.

The chicken baked for probably about 10 minutes extra (UGH!  So frustrating!  Whoops!  Probably only needed 15 minutes), which would make for a completely dried out chicken normally… but the marinade made the meat so tender and juicy that it was still just perfect.  I couldn’t believe it!

Emily suggests making a little extra sauce to keep aside and to use for dipping.

So easy... just a few ingredients.

So easy… just a few ingredients.

This is what the chicken looked like after I shook it up and let it sit overnight and while I was at work.  I couldn't believe how creamy it got.... yummm

This is what the chicken looked like after I shook it up and let it sit overnight and while I was at work. I couldn’t believe how creamy it got…. yummm

OH, and check out this amazing purchase from the Italian Market… a bag of spinach bigger than Dave’s head for $7… omg!

SPINACH!!!!!!!!!  (and fresh garlic)

SPINACH!!!!!!!!! (and fresh garlic)

Leftovers

Healthier

Sam’s Stone Crabs

Who doesn’t like a good Surf ‘n’ Turf?  Now, let me ask you this… who doesn’t love a good Surf ‘n’ Turf when someone else is buyin’?!  Last weekend, my Dad welcomed us home from LA with a feast fit for kings.  All by himself, he cooked my family stone crab claws, hash brown potatoes, and filet. To understand and appreciate how special this is, let me tell you a few things:

1.  My Dad is rarely in the kitchen.  I learned my stuff from my Mom, Ellen, who can throw anything into a pan and turn it into a fabulous weeknight dinner.  I would say for the past eight years, most of our family dinners have been made by my Momma and I.  We have a lot of fun in that kitchen!!  You can usually find my Dad waiting upstairs, watching Law & Order.

I will give him credit though; he has always made a MEAN Grilled Cheese, perfect French Toast & the best Bacon you’ll ever try.

2.  The crab holds an important place in my life.  First of all, I am a crab!  I don’t just mean I’m cranky… I mean I was born on June 23rd and my horoscope is Cancer the crab!  The descriptions of Cancer are always DEAD on… moody, emotional, sensitive, nurturing, bossy but kind, and unpredictable.  Weird.  As I was finding something to link you to, this article even mentions that people born under the sign Cancer love food.  WEIRD!

Going to “crabs” is also one of my favorite meals of the year.  Years and years ago, my family and our family friends discovered a little hole in the wall crab shack in Chesapeake City, MD, called “The Tap Room”.  The tablecloth is brown paper bag material.  You literally squirt your ketchup for your Old Bay Fries directly onto the table.  We order Onion Rings, Maryland Crab Soup, Corn on the Cob (plus Old Bay), and of course dozens of Hard-Shell Crabs.  At least once a year, we make the hour-long drive on 95S to the Tap Room to have dinner together.  Now that all of us “kids” are grown up or in college, seeing each other and feasting on the deliciously seasoned hard-shell crabs is always something I look forward to.

3.  December 16th is a very unusual kind of night for my family to be having a big fancy dinner together.  I have not yet mentioned what my Mom does for a living… It’s Good to be the Cook’s Mom is a CHOCOLATIER!  She owns the best homemade chocolate shop ever… As Sweet As Can Be.  If you’re wondering why we aren’t all 500 pounds… that is one hell of a good question!  We dip everything and anything in chocolate and it is DELICIOUS!

Anyways, my Mom’s busy season usually takes her a few weeks before Thanksgiving all the way until Christmas Day.  She does a ton of business from corporate gifts, so the holidays are her crazy time.  Her and her dedicated elves spend all day everyday in the store.  It is rare that we will see Mom at home beforemidnight, let alone for a big family dinner.

SO, now that you know all of these things, you can better understand how surprised I was when my Dad called to tell Dave and I that he was making us all dinner!  I don’t know how he did it but he convinced my Mom and sister, Mellie to come home and eat with us.  I’m so glad he did!

Dad was given a holiday gift from Omaha Steaks which included SIX Filet Mignons.  All by himself, he defrosted the steaks and made a simple marinade for them.  While they were soaking in the marinade, he started on his potatoes.  He sliced them thin like potato chips and put them in a huge frying pan with some oil, garlic, paprika, and other seasonings.  The paprika gave the potatoes and the oil a great golden color.

I've never had homemade hash brown potatoes so good before!!

Inspired by their recent visit to the Miami Joe’s Stone Crabs, Dad went out to Wegmans and bought 20 Stone Crab Claws.  Stone Crab Claws are VERY different from King Crab Claws, Hard-Shells, and well, every other type of crab I’ve ever tried!

The Stone Crabs are actually from Florida and can only be legally harvested from October 15th-May 15th.  Their short season and the fact that the body of the crab itself is never really eaten makes these babies considered a delicacy!  I actually also learned that in most cases, the heavy claws are removed and the crabs are placed back into the ocean where they can live on and grow new claws.  (a renewable resource… I like the sound of that!)

My dad figured that he should also try to recreate the famous Joe’s Stone Crabs Mustard Sauce that is served aside the claws at Joe’s Stone Crabs.  He even let me help him make this one.

Sam’s Stone Crab Sauce (adapted from Joe’s Stone Crab Mustard Sauce)

3 Tablespoons Nance’s Sharp & Creamy Mustard

1 Cup Olive Oil Mayo

2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

1 teaspoon A-1 Sauce

1 teaspoon fresh Lemon Juice

¼ Cup Heavy Cream

Salt & Pepper to taste

First, I squeezed the mustard into a medium-sized mixing bowl.  With a whisk, I mixed in the Mayo, Worcestershire Sauce, A-1, and Lemon Juice.  I added some salt and pepper and continued to whisk it all together.  I slowly mixed in the Heavy Cream, which you can continue to add and whisk if you would like the sauce to be thicker (and if you don’t mind the extra fat content!!).  The sauce will become a little bit thicker as you whisk.  I recommend just tasting the sauce a few times and adding whatever you think it needs.

Dad broiled the steaks, finished the potatoes, and chilled the crab claws over a big bowl of ice.  Dinner was ready!  We were all so excited for our gourmet dinner in our pajamas, that none of us stopped to think this situation through:  The claws are opened by smashing them with a wooden mallet.  Our kitchen table is made of glass.  Woops!!  We didn’t break anything, but the noise from smashing the mallets in our plates over the glass was enough to scare my little puppy Stella who spent the entire meal underneath the table shaking!  With Stelly shaking and pieces of shells flying, we enjoyed our fabulous dinner and our time together.  We even had a few belly-laugh moments, one of which being when my Dad dropped his bowl of Crab Sauce onto of Stelly’s back.

The Claws are served chilled, unlike the hard-shells we eat in Maryland!

This picture doesn't even do this amazing mustard sauce justice!!

It was such a treat for my Dad to work his ass off and cook us dinner, especially for my Mom who definitely needed the break!  If only we got to eat like this more often!!

Thanks, Dad!