Happy New Year! I hope all of you had a great holiday season. This is my first post of 2012 and I’m really glad to be back on track. I didn’t do very much cooking while I was away on holiday at my parents’ houses save for a pot of meat sauce I made for my dad. I will be making that tomorrow for a family dinner at my boyfriend’s mother’s house so that will be making an appearance on the blog. It’s very strange but usually during the holidays is the time when I pig out the most. Although this year, I didn’t actually eat that much. I’m not trying to be a downer or anything or ask for sympathy, but I had a really crappy Christmas and New Year. I’ll spare you the hairy details but this year just did not go over very well. Family drama, lack of planning, stress and lots of running around. All I can say is, the Christmas right after your parents divorce is a really bad one. I’ve found that out the hard way. Not much money to eat out and not much emotional wherewithal to cook. It was a very bleak two weeks. However, I had an additional week and a half after New Years before I have to go back to school and as of right now I have a little under one week. 6 days. Absolutely dreading going back. So many upcoming responsibilities. I’m hoping and praying that the impending doom that is the Spring of 2012 doesn’t put a damper on my blog production. I will definitely try my best to keep on top of things.
I’ve made it my New Years Resolution to take care of my blog. I’m pretty darn terrible at keeping up with stuff like this. I blame it on television and Pinterest. But if I’m going to be honest I think the thing that turns me away from blogging the most is the fact that I’ve created this tag for myself as a “health nut”. I think we need to evaluate what “health nut” really means in my case. I want everyone to realize that I am not some skinny minnie that goes to the gym for 3 hours everyday, wears tennis outfits as regular clothes, practices yoga and is on some kind of fad diet involving raw foods. No. I’m not like that at all. In fact…well you can see my picture right there in the right hand side of the screen, I’m not skinny at all. In fact, I’m kind of chubby, as my boyfriend would say. I get 45 minutes in the gym done daily IF I’m lucky. I wear regular people clothes. I’m not flexible enough to do yoga. And I definitely prefer my foods cooked, thank you very much. I’m really human. And I like to eat bad sometimes. I know that kind of defeats the purpose of everything that I am trying to do here, but I feel that if you don’t let yourself fall into a hole sometimes then your expectations of yourself are entirely too high. I like to eat. In fact I like it so much that I’ve made a blog about it. But I’ve got health complications. And so I have to cook properly (most of the time) to keep my health at a somewhat manageable level. I get nervous sometimes. When I cook for a few day and nothing I make is “blog-worthy” in my mind because it’s not “healthy enough” for these pages. I realize this is very counter-productive for me. And so let’s just change the way we view me as a health nut. Let’s decide right now that I am not a health nut, but rather a person whose health drives them nuts. There we go?
Now that I’m back in my cozy little apartment by the train tracks, I’ve started to cook again. This week my grandmother drove in from New Orleans to visit me. This was a treat because I have lived in my apartment complex for two years now and she has yet to see it. While she was here she tended my house and cooked most of my meals which was absolutely wonderful for me. My grandmother took care of me for the majority of my childhood and it was like bringing back old nice memories having her there to make me peanut butter toast when I wake up. So to say thank you for all the nice things she did for me this week, I cooked her a meal. Because that’s really all that I know how to offer. As I do most of my recipes, I found this one on the internet. Specifically Food Network’s website. Usually I am none too impressed with Food Network’s recipes. I find the recipes to be full of expensive, hard to find ingredients and they always require some kind of kitchen gadget that I just can’t afford or haven’t put on my wishlist yet. But I’m a huge fan of Melissa d’Arabian. (I’ve always wondered about her last name since she is definitely not Arabian). She’s the little blonde woman with the perfect gum to teeth ratio smile that won “The Next Food Network Star” about two years ago. I cheered for her the whole competition and she won. Now she has a show on the network called “10 Dollar Dinners” where she prepares, for the most part, really simple and cheap meals. Which is a perfect match for me since I don’t have a lot of money or time to work with. I’ve heard of Duck l’Orange before. Some fancy French dish that I haven’t had the chance to try yet. When I saw the title of the recipe I immediately thought it sounded difficult and French. Two cooking styles that I am not good with yet. But this recipe could not be simpler. It follows my basic doctrine of protein plus a bulked up serving of veggie. I added a little starch this time because I wanted to be bad. Everything in moderation, kids. I served this chicken with green peas and mashed potatoes. Two sides that my grandmother cooked for me a lot as a kid.
Here is the recipe for Melissa’s Chicken l’Orange:
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 skin-on bone-in chicken breast halves
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
- 4 tablespoons honey
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Liberally salt and pepper the chicken breast halves. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat and sear the chicken, skin side only, until brown and beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the orange glaze: In a small saucepan, heat the orange juice concentrate, honey, and salt and pepper, to taste, over medium heat, and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Turn the chicken over and brush each piece with the glaze. Turn the chicken skin side up and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until the internal temperature reaches 160 to 170 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, brushing on more glaze halfway through, about 15 minutes in total. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes on a cutting board. Remove the chicken breast from the bone and slice the meat on the bias. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and serve.
Now these are my edits:
I am not good AT ALL with carving meat. I know that’s something that I probably should learn, but I guess it’ll have to wait until after the masters degree. So instead of using chicken with bones in it, I went for the boneless skinless breasts. I know that’s totally a cop out but this is supposed to be easy. On top of that, I have a really strange phobia of my meat being undercooked. So I cut my chicken horizontally in half so that it ensures they will be cooked. I also prefer the texture and the portion of the meat when you cut it like this. If you decide to cut your meat this way, please only sear the meat on one side for 3 minutes instead of 5. Because the thinner the chicken the quicker it will cook. Of course you are welcome to do whatever you would like.
I found the sauce to be absolutely wonderful and it really could be used on all sorts of meats. I’m a big fan of citrus so this was perfect for me. My grandmother really enjoyed it as well! And that’s a plus! I hope everyone makes this one and gives me their feedback on how it was! Just comment below!
Here’s to a new year (hopefully) full of blog posts!
Eat, Pray, Love,
The Hungry Hungry Health Nut (The One Whose Health Drives Her Nuts)