"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hiya Honey!

Where do I begin? Both of these recipes became quick favorites and neither takes much prep time. One, I followed to the letter. Well, as much as I ever do. You see, unless you're baking, the science of cooking is inexact, so your grandmother's "a little of this, a little of that" is completely valid, and pretty much an accurate summation for a recipe.

Anyhow, the first recipe I followed closely, but the second went right out the window.

Each of these recipes is yummy on its own, but because they both contain a fair amount of honey, they also pair well.

This fantabulous creation is my favorite slow cooker main dish to date. While I followed the base recipe for the sauce quite closely, I chose to use boneless chicken breasts (2 1/2 lbs.) instead of pork. Yes, this would make an amazing pork roast, or ribs, or butt. But I also knew, just from the ingredients that it would make fabulous chicken breast, or wings, or thighs.

I did serve it, as suggested, with mashed potatoes, but I did not thicken the gravy. Instead, I chose to just leave the sauce as loose as it came out of the pot. (I'm not so big on gravy.) I will warn you, the measurement for the basil sounds like a ton, but it was perfect. And I think I'd rather serve this with a brown rice pilaf than potatoes. (I promise I will eventually get around to posting that recipe.)

This is definitely one of those go to entrees for any time of year. There's no standing over a stove and no turning on the oven during those hot summer months. But it's also great as part of a stick to your ribs winter meal. I matched it with the cold broccoli salad below, but it would be great with oven roasted root vegetables as well.
original recipe and photo from everybodylikessandwiches.com

Many moons (nearly twenty years) ago, on my very first trip to Florida, I was dragged on a grocery shopping excursion to WalMart. It was there that I first tried the deliciousness that is broccoli slaw. Yes, the ability of southern chefs to turn virtually any vegetable into a "slaw" astounds me, but I've learned to trust them thanks to this one. It was amazing!

I enjoyed it so much that when I moved to the southwest, one of the first things I did during my first excursion to WalMart was stop at the deli counter and purchase two pounds of the stuff. Then I began scanning recipes on Pinterest to try and find a broccoli slaw that could duplicate it. Alas, I failed to find an exact copy, but thanks to this recipe, I was able to adapt one to fit my own taste and I happen to love it.

Don't get me wrong, this one is terrific, but I prefer the one I use because it's quicker, kind of a cheat, actually. My dressing is based on this recipe, and any other ingredients I use come out of "a little of this, a little of that"-type experimentation.

Quick Broccoli Salad

Chopping an entire head of raw broccoli is a royal pain. Also, blanching your broccoli for this recipe rather than serving it raw is a good idea unless you have time to let it sit overnight so it can soften a bit. That said, I do neither. I buy the chopped, frozen broccoli and thaw it. The texture is perfect and the broccoli is already washed, blanched, and chopped for you.

I also make a ton at once because it seems no matter how much I make, it's not enough. (I actually double this recipe if I plan to take it anywhere even though it's already about doubled from the original.) I like to have this all on its own. It makes a great lunch, but it's also a terrific side dish any time of year. And it's a novel substitute for a basic garden salad.

for the dressing:
1 (6 oz) container of plain Greek yogurt (or about 3/4 cup of homemade)
1/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c honey
few dashes of Tabasco to taste

for the salad:
2 (14-16 oz) bags of chopped frozen broccoli
1/2 red onion, diced
1/4 c of roasted, unsalted, chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds
1/4 c dried cranberries or raisins (or both)
1/4 c unsalted sunflower kernels
2-4 strips of bacon, cooked until crisp, and chopped or crumbled (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients
Add salad ingredients and fold together until evenly mixed
Let sit in refrigerator for a few hours or overnight
Make sure the broccoli is fully thawed before serving

If you're not using bacon, you may want to add a pinch of salt to the dressing before you add the salad ingredients.

Happy Cooking!

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