Flavorful Blackened Chicken

I am always on the lookout for a new way to cook chicken. After seeing this idea I knew I had to try it. I changed it to make it work for my family and I got rave reviews! It really has great flavor. If you can, it is much healthier to take the skin off before eating it. Although, the skin is amazing as it has all the spices on it. But no worries, the flavor goes all the way through so if you do take the skin off, you won’t miss out!

The recipe calls to put hot bricks wrapped in foil on top of the chicken while in the pan. I don’t have that easily accessible and I was in no way going to attempt to do that. I burn myself way to quickly. So I figured i’d put a heavy pot on top instead. Hmm…what do I have that is heavy enough. Aha! My crock-pot! After putting some foil under the crock-pot I placed it on top of the chicken and it worked perfectly.

What’s amazing about this recipe is that the chicken does not dry out. Even the white meat (which my husband thinks is usually dry) got a thumbs up! It was falling off the bone delicious.

Blackened Chicken Adapted from Ceramic Canvas
One whole chicken, cut up with skin on
2 Tb olive oil
3 Tb sweet paprika
3 Tb turmeric
2 Tb cumin
2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tb apple cider vinegar, or any kind
5 Tb honey

Place everything but the chicken into a large ziplock bag. Shake to combine. Then add the chicken pieces. Mix so that all the chicken is covered with the marinade. Put the bag into the fridge and let sit for a couple of hours or overnight.

In a large fry pan add 1 Tb of olive oil. Heat till oil is hot. Then carefully take each piece of chicken and put into the pan skin side down. It should sizzle. Take your large foil lined pot/crock-pot and place on top of the chicken. Allow it to cook at medium heat for 15 minutes. When you lift the chicken it should be very dark, if it isn’t yet, keep in pan a little longer.
Transfer the chicken to a baking dish. The fry pan will have a lot of oil in it and some leftover sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, but leave the oil in the fry pan.
Bake in the oven another 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Enjoy the oo’s and ah’s at your dinner table 

Totally Homemade Lentils & Bruschetta Lunch

It’s a pretty well known dish to those who love Trader Joes. Mix lentils with TJ’s bruschetta sauce and voila! Deliciousness!

Well, where I live we don’t have a TJ’s (gasp!). So I need to improvise. This may not be as fast as mixing two premade things together but it’s still super easy to do.

Here’s what you need:
  • 1 cup brown lentils 
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3-4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (the amount here depends on how much sauce you want, but remember it will cook down and make a small amount, so I use as many as I can spare)
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried parsley 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Step 1: Boil brown lentils in pot of water like you would pasta. Check after 30 minutes to see if lentils are soft. Once they are soft drain water and set aside.

  • Step 2: In a pan heat 2 TB of olive oil. Once oil gets hot add in your garlic and let the garlic cook till it gets dark, not burned, but close to it. Then add in all the cherry tomatoes. Stir and cook uncovered on med/high heat till it starts to get soft. Add parsley, salt, and pepper. Then add a little of the chopped basil. Stir and allow to cook. Every few minutes keep adding the basil and stirring. With a potato masher or the back of your spoon push down on the cherry tomato halves. It will be somewhat smooth, but you want some texture of the tomatoes in it. Keep cooking till the sauce cooks down and tomatoes are soft.

Assemble your meal:

Mix together 1 part lentils with 1 part sauce, or however much you prefer.
I serve this over 1/4-1/2 cup of cooked quinoa.
Top with some chopped fresh basil.
Optional but very good- crumble some feta cheese on top.

I serve this with a big salad on the side. And as you see a large glass of water with a straw. I use a straw a lot since its more fun to drink that way and I tend to get down more water when using it.

I like to eat my grains and protein separate from my salad. That way I feel like I am eating more.
More on that in an upcoming post!

Are there any store produced products that you wish you could make at home? (And healthy of course)