Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken

I love roast chicken.

bearfamilystrong.com | lemon thyme roast chicken

Not only is roasting a chicken pretty much the easiest thing in the world, but one chicken usually serves our family three meals at least. The week I made this bad boy, my husband and son were out of town and one four pound bird lasted me three full days for lunch and dinner. Basically I ended up eating leftover chicken over salad vegetables for lunch, and then for dinner I would heat up some of the chicken and serve it with a different vegetable each night (steamed snap peas on Monday, pan fried okra on Tuesday, and roasted green beans on Wednesday). Admittedly, if you are a person who enjoys variety in your meals and doesn’t like leftovers, this will definitely not work for you. But for me, it not only eliminated the need to plan additionally dinners, but it also saved me a ton of time in the kitchen!

bearfamilystrong.com | lemon thyme roast chicken

The other nice thing about roast chicken is that you can experiment with flavors. (See here and here). I usually throw a chicken in the crockpot which really saves time, but the chicken tends to fall apart and you don’t get the crispy brown skin that results in roasting a chicken in the oven. Just remember that if you are going to roast our chicken in the oven, it’s going to take about 90 minutes – so plan accordingly.

My personal favorite flavor combination of late has been super simple lemon and thyme, with a salt crust made with an herbs de provence salt blend I purchased while in Paris this summer. To recreate this salt at home, simply mix some coarse salt with herbs de provence – it’s as easy as that!

bearfamilystrong.com | lemon thyme roast chicken

Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken

Ingredients:

one whole roaster chicken (organic free range if possible)

fresh thyme

butter, melted

salt

herbs de provence

2 lemons

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse and pat your bird dry. Give your bird a healthy melted butter bath, then cover liberally with the herbs de provence salt blend, making sure the chicken is evenly coated. Sprinkle a handful of chopped thyme over everything. Inside the cavity of your chicken, add two lemon halves, a handful of fresh time, and more salt if desired. Cut the second lemon into 4-6 wedges and tuck them into the roasting pan with the chicken. Bake at 400 for about 80 minutes, then remove from oven and rest an additional 10 minutes. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165F.

bearfamilystrong.com | lemon thyme roast chicken

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Roasted Poblano Pepper Dipping Sauce

A couple of things I love:

1. Non-boring food

2. Easy to cook food

3. Flying

What do 1 and 2 have in common with 3? Well, not much, except that not-so-recently I was reading United Airlines in-flight magazine on one of our many trips to Oklahoma and I came across a recipe for grilled shrimp and green tomatoes with a roasted poblano pepper sauce and it changed my life.

bearfamilystrong.com | roasted poblano dipping sauce

Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration. And admittedly, the shrimp and tomatoes were only so-so, but the roasted poblano pepper dipping sauce was pretty darn awesome…to the point where it has now become a regular occurrence in my weekly meal prep sessions. In keeping with my list theme, I love this sauce for several reasons:

1. It’s super easy to make

2. It’s delicious

3. It makes easy to cook food non-boring

In addition to the original recipe where we served the sauce with shrimp and tomatoes, we’ve also had it with grilled chicken slices, served on burgers, as a dip for sliced vegetables…just to name a few. Plus, with just a couple of tweaks you can make this sauce as mild or as spicy as you’d like. The magazine version calls for poblano peppers and thai chilies – we’ve never used the thai chilies, but making the sauce simply with poblanos gives it a pleasant heat that builds, then dissipates. When we’re feeling something a little spicier we’ve added jalapenos. For an extra little kick that won’t knock your teeth out, we’ve used a mix of beautiful green poblano peppers and bright red fresno chilies. Have fun with it!

bearfamilystrong.com | poblano sauce

I’m including the original version in the picture below, but here is my personal favorite variation:

Roasted Poblano Pepper Dipping Sauce (or Chile Aioli)

Ingredients:

2 egg yolks

1/2 bunch cilantro

2 roasted poblano peppers and 2 red fresno chile peppers, peeled and seeded

salt (I use a couple healthy shakes of pink himalayan)

1 cup mild oil (I prefer avocado)

Instructions:

Place all ingredients except oil in a blender or food processor and blend until well combined. Slowly drizzle in oil until the mixture is emulsified and a thick aioli forms.

recipe

Enjoy!

Foodie Flattery: Tuna “No-Noodle” Casserole

I grew up in a busy family of five where money was pretty tight. As such, dinners in our house were kept on a budget, usually one-pot meals, and needed to be able to feed a family of five pretty easily. This meant we had a handful of standby dinners that usually appeared on a weekly or rotating basis: spaghetti, hamburger helper, meatloaf, stuffed shells, cavatini, and my personal favorite: tuna noodle casserole.

bearfamilystrong.com | tuna casserole

I don’t know what it is about egg noodles, cream of celery soup (my mom tried using cream of mushroom once but my dad wasn’t having any of it – he sniffed that out before he even took a bite), and canned tuna; but tuna noodle casserole night was one of my favorite dinner nights in our house. I haven’t had tuna casserole since moving out of my parent’s house for college in 2000, but for some reason lately I’ve been craving it.

Unfortunately, since I stopped eating grains/gluten after meeting my husband in 2011, tuna casserole is off the menu.

Fortunately, I have a slight pinterest addiction and one day I happened upon this beautiful “Paleo Tuna Casserole” post from Jay’s Baking Me Crazy. Tuna casserole made with spaghetti squash?! How did I not think of this on my own??

Welcome to the latest addition of Foodie Flattery: Paleo Tuna Noodle Casserole from Jay’s Baking Me Crazy. Gaah. So good. So worth it. It was so good in fact, that my eight-year old not only ate his entire portion without complaint, but ALSO told me that I should make it again. MAJOR. WIN.

bearfamilystrong.com | tuna casserole

I was a little skeptical about using coconut milk – not because of the potential taste, but because I was worried it wouldn’t get thick and the casserole would end up too soupy – but as it turns out I had nothing to worry about. Using arrowroot powder as a thickener and adding eggs to the casserole before baking was the perfect way to hold everything together and as I suspected, you couldn’t taste the coconut milk at all.

Bottom line, this casserole was everything I hoped it would be and more. One bite and I was transported back to my parent’s kitchen table, fighting with my sister over the gooey melted cheese my mom used as a topping for her own tuna casserole. In this version we used crushed chips as the topping, which was equally delicious.

bearfamilystrong.com | tuna casserole

Here’s the link again for the recipe I used – I omitted the mushrooms and used a bag of frozen peas and carrots instead (based on the way my mom used to make it – my dad abhors mushrooms). Next time I think we’ll use both – and I highly recommend using these sweet and spicy jalapeno potato chips to top your casserole. Yum.

jalapeno chips

*Note: To make this a Whole30 approved dinner, simply omit the chips. Trust me, it will still be comfort food delicious.