Friday, April 19, 2013

April 19, 2013

My first is your weather? Perhaps I can live vicariously through you if your weather is better than mine; I bet it is!  We've had so much rain, it has been unbelievable, but the worst part of the precipitation has been when it has turned to snow!  Come is April 19th!!!  Now I suppose I shouldn't complain about the weather.  They say out here if you just wait about 15 minutes, it will change, but lately it has been rainy day after rainy day, with snow mixed in.  I guess it will be true this year - April showers will bring May flowers!

This week I have two keeper recipes for you.  Apricot chicken, and zoodles!!!  First, the zoodles.  Zoodles have been all over Pinterest and gluten-free blogs, and I stumbled across them 3 times last week so I decided it was fate; I had to try them.  This isn't really a recipe, but more of a cooking idea.  You need to julienne the zucchini to get this to work.  One of the sites that I saw zoodles on talked about the special peeler they used to make the zoodles.  I love to cook, and have been testing the "paleo" waters, so I did buy a handy little gadget, and it has been great.  Zoodles are so fun and easy that I made them two days in a row!  Once for dinner as an option for under stir fry instead of rice, and the next day for lunch to go with some leftover tomato sauce I had on hand.  I think what really makes these awesome is that they are actually "twirl-able!"  How fun to twirl up some veggies like pasta?  My kids and husband enjoyed them, and we actually ran out of the zoodles the night we had stir fry and had rice leftover at the end of dinner.  Clearly not everyone will want to try these, but I heartily endorse them!  And bonus...who doesn't love to say zoodles?

As for the apricot chicken, I got this recipe from one of my sisters.  I think she got if from a friend who brought her dinner upon the birth of her first son!  I've had the recipe for ages, and finally made it for dinner one night while Ryan was out of town.  The kids loved it!  "Blog-worthy" they told me.  (I love to hear that when I cook!)  It is so easy with just 4 ingredients and then it cooks in the oven for less than an hour.  Make some rice (or perhaps zoodles) and you've got a great main course.  I think this tastes a little like orange chicken, or sweet and sour chicken.  I don't like fresh or dried apricots, so I was skeptical the first time I tried it, but it really is delicious!  If you try it, let me know!

Not sure what we have on tap for next week - I am going to try to cook mainly with what is in the freezer and pantry so we'll see if any new dishes make it to the dinner table.  I do have my eye on home-made graham crackers, and if you know our little Boo-Boo, he loves graham crackers!  It would be awesome if I could make them for him from scratch!  I'll let you know if that works out!

Happy cooking!

New Recipes
Apricot Chicken

Apricot Chicken

* 1 lb chicken, cut up
* small bottle Italian salad dressing
* small jar apricot fruit preserves
* 1 envelope onion soup mix

1. Mix the preserves, dressing and soup mix in a bowl.  Add the chicken and mix to combine.
2. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.
3. Serve over rice, if desired.

I toyed with changing the name but I was given some good advice - simple and straightforward.  My concern is that if you see are turned off by the sound of apricot preserves in your dinner you might not give this a chance!  But I suggest you do give this easy dinner a kids loved it!

Zoodles (more of an idea than a recipe)

* zucchini
* salt

There are many different suggestions as to how to make these, but here is what I did:  julienne the zucchini and sprinkle it with salt in a colander (to draw out some of the moisture).  I left the zucchini with the salt while I brought some water up to boil.  Then blanch the zucchini for one minute.  Drain (but don't rinse or you'll cool off the zucchini).  Serve however you'd like!

I've tried these with tomato sauce and with chicken stir fry...both have been fabulous!  I will definitely be making these often.  I mean come on - how fun is it to twirl your veggies around your fork?!?!

There are many posts out there on how to prepare your zoodles, but here are three good ones I came across!
Primalist Zoodles
Zenbelly Zoodles 
Nom Nom Paleo