Friday, March 9, 2012

Lemon Chicken

Things have been pretty rough around my house for the last few months due to a family member being very ill. Thankfully I tend to keep my freezer fully stocked with meals that are easy to fix so we had easy to prepare meals even when I really didn't feel like cooking. Now I do need to restock however. So with an eye toward that I am going through my freezer recipes and I found my recipe for Lemon Chicken which happens to be one of my all time favorite chicken recipes. I was lucky to find an excellent price on chicken parts the other day so I made and froze several bags of this as well as served it to my son for dinner that same day.

The coolest thing about this recipe (other than the the fantastic flavor) is that it is even better after it has frozen and thawed again. The flavor of the lemon gets carried all the way through the meat by the action of freezing and thawing and it is incredible.

This recipe is really easy to scale to the number of servings you need simply by the number of pieces of chicken you put in each bag. I will explain the amounts as we go. The following amounts are what you will need per bag for about 2 to 3 servings. If you want to make bags with more servings (4-6) double the amounts, if you are bagging up single servings use half the given amount per bag.

Lemon Chicken

Chicken parts of your choice (to serve 2 -3 people)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Grated or crushed garlic about a large clove (to taste)
1/3 cup lemon juice

Figure out how many bags of chicken you will be making and line the freezer bags up on the counter. Add the chicken parts to the individual bags. Now add the rest of the ingredients given to each bag. I work mine like an assembly line, adding the chicken to all the bags then the thyme goes in all the bags, then the salt on down the list.

When all the ingredients are added seal each bag getting out as much of the air as you possibly can. Then kind of massage the bags to thoroughly mix the ingredients and make sure the chicken is coated well. Label and freeze the bags.

When you want to serve the chicken thaw in the fridge overnight. Place the contents of the bag into a glass baking dish (2-3 serving fit nicely in an 8x8) arranging the chicken pieces skin side down. Bake at 450 degrees (Fahrenheit) for 20 minutes, turn chicken over and cook an additional 15 to 20 minutes until done.

This goes really well with a nice serving of brown rice (which will cook in your rice cooker in just about the same amount of time as the chicken cooks)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Banana Split Sauce

I know we've all done it at least once, and this week it happened to me. I saw the pretty box of strawberries in the grocery store, and just grabbed one. Well, I didn't really take the time to look at them, or I would have noticed that most of the berries were way under-ripe. I was distracted with other things, and mindlessly picked them up with out thinking.

When I got home I opened them and found to my dismay that all but a few of the strawberries were just blah. My son and I ate the few ripe ones we found, and I took some of the moderately ripe ones and mixed them with sugar to top some ice cream, creating a serviceable dessert. Now what to do with the rest of the 3 pound box? (Oh, did I mention it was the huge box?) My thought had originally been to make a batch of jam since we are out, but these berries just weren't up to the task.

I scanned the items in my cabinets and started to formulate a plan. Maybe if I cooked them with some sugar and added some other ingredients that play well with strawberries I could create a sauce. And I was so right. You are going to love this sauce but be warned; it is not low calorie in any way. It is so rich! It went really well on both ice cream for dessert and on waffles for breakfast (although I felt the need to take a nap after breakfast, so maybe this should be saved for a weekend) I'm sure you will enjoy this as much as we do, and it will become a regular on your table.

Banana Split Sauce

4 cups of cut up strawberries
2 cups sugar (or amount your berries need)
8 oz can pineapple tidbits
juice of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons water
¼ chopped nuts (I had walnuts)
1 cup chocolate chips
banana (at serving time)

Combine the berries, sugar, juice from the pineapple (reserve pineapple to add in a little while), lemon juice and salt. Allow this to simmer until the berries are soft and sugar is dissolved. Mash the berries (a potato masher works well for this) and taste. Add more sugar if needed.

Combine the cornstarch and water and stir into strawberry mixture, bring to a simmer and stir constantly until thickened. Add the reserved pineapple and the nuts/

Allow to cool for a bit then add the chocolate chips.

To serve spoon the warm sauce over sliced bananas on your favorite base. This goes incredibly well over both ice cream and waffles. I am sure that both pancakes and pound cake would be awesome as well.