First, happy birthday to my sweet blogger friend Lauren, my inspiration! I love you!
Also, my sweet husband has created a new domain for my blog. You can now reach The Tiny Librarian @ http://www.thetinylibrarian.com/ now! Yeah...it is a real official fancy pants website. :)
This is my first recipe blog post... and I plan on providing healthy recipes on Thursday! I am really excited about the first week of Tiny's Tasty Thursdays. I will need a button for this event, Lauren. :) I am usually the head chef (plan the meals, combine them successfully, most of the time) in our household and Sooper JB is my wonderful sous chef and griller. His job may be even more important since he does all the chopping for each course, handles most of the sides (starches and veggies), and opens the cans/jars. :) My favorite thing he contributes to the kitchen is the clearing of the table and loading of the dishwasher, which I hate. We make a good kitchen pair for sure.
This week, I will feature a delicious salad and whole chicken main course that I made for Sooper JB and I. Sooper loves spicy food, so I always have a heavy hand in the kitchen with the cayenne pepper, paprika, Tony Chachere's seasoning, etc.
I find and read a variety of chicken recipes and blend them together. FIRST, I REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF SALT! I sometimes change white flour to wheat flour, remove heavy starches, add veggies etc. Being a native New Orleanian, I always add interesting and unique seasonings. This dinner is easy and delicious...husband approved. The chicken is so tender that it falls of the the bone after hours in the crock pot. One thing you must know in advance about this dish is that it is best to place the chicken and the spices together in a large plastic Ziploc bag overnight to meld the flavors. Trust me...it really makes a difference! Just make the spice combination, clean the chicken, and place it all in a large plastic Ziploc bag the night before you plan to make the dinner.
Let's just call this dish...Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
2 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper (heaping tsp, if you live with a hot pepper like Sooper JB)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 whole onion, rough chopped
3 cloves of fresh garlic, rough chopped
1/2 bag of baby carrots
1 3-5 pound whole chicken (giblets removed)
1 can of low-sodium chicken broth
Combine all the spices together. Remove the giblets and cut off a good amount of the chicken skin. Clean the chicken thoroughly and put the chicken and spice combination in a large plastic Ziploc bag. Refrigerate the bag of the chicken spice mixture OVERNIGHT. Place chopped onions and garlic at the bottom of the crock pot. Add the spice covered chicken and pour the chicken broth around the chicken. Cook on low for about 6-7 hours. I usually add the carrots 2-3 hours before the chicken will be ready instead of adding at the beginning (I would rather not have pureed or super soft carrots), but they can be added at any point and still taste delicious. After the chicken is cooked (use a meat thermometer if needed), it is ready to eat. I like to put the crock pot on warm at this point and remove the chicken carcass and small bones and let the chicken marinate in the juices while you cook the sides (salad, quinoa, etc).
I cook quinoa for a healthy side choice, but Sooper does not appreciate the quinoa nor want to develop an acquired taste for ALL THINGS HEALTHY. Therefore, we make him regular ol' long grain rice! :) Quinoa is a great alternate to heavy starches and is light, but the texture is very unique. Give it a try...you may like the way it doesn't weigh you down like traditional starches after you eat. Let me know what you think of it! The image shows MY PLATE with quinoa, the chicken, and carrots. I may be weird, but I like my food separated like so!
Tiny's Tasty Salad (or Gourmet Rabbit Food as Sooper JB calls it)
This is a salad even the pickiest salad eaters love. Sooper does not love salads but he does love my salads, because there are delicious distractions in it that hide the taste of the greens and kale. :) I love salads and try to eat at least one a day...You need your greens. My mom also taught me the importance of and difference homemade salad dressing makes as compared to store bought, so I always make my own dressing (which helps control the sodium and sugar content). Thanks for that OYSTER PEARL OF WISDOM mom!
Organic Girl Super Greens mix (my new obsession): inc. swiss chard, tat soi, arugula, and spinach
1/2 cup of kale leaves, removed from the stems and leaves washed (optional)
10 baby bella mushrooms
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, diced (save the other 1/2 for the next night, stored in the refrigerator)
Pecan pieces (or walnut pieces) (to taste)
Crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese (to taste)
Dressing: All added together to taste
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil):
white or red wine vinegar
1/2-1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2-1 tsp honey (optional: I like to add a little sweetness sometimes)
First, sauteed kale in a tsp of EVOO first just to reduce the roughness of the kale. Heat up the oil for about a minute. Add the kale and saute for about 1-2 minutes and it will be perfect. Put the greens, kale, cucumber, mushrooms, pecans, and cheese in a large bowl. Pour the dressing on top and mix. You may have extra dressing you can store in the refrigerator.
Tiny's Oyster Pearl of Wisdom (OPW) of the day: Even if you aren't a fan of greens, try to incorporate them into your diet each day some kind of way. It may be a spinach wrap to replace the bread for your sandwich, lettuce on your hamburger, or broccoli and cheese soup for lunch. Give the salad a try and the more delicious add-ins you put in the salad, the less likely you are to taste the greens. Plus, all the veggie and nut add-ins in Tiny's salad are good for you!
Hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think...can't wait to hear from you. Happy Tiny's Tasty Thursday!
The Tiny Librarian