Maple BBQ Chicken

DF, GF

There’s just something about bbq sauce that’s magical.  It makes everything taste better.  With bbq sauce you can resuscitate some chicken that didn’t quite turn out as planned, dunk a chicken tender, top a burger, etc. There’s also many different types: mustard based, spicy, honey, smokey, and many others.  This is my favorite version of bbq chicken for a weeknight or really any night for a bbq craving.

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Maple BBQ Chicken
1 lb chicken (breasts or thighs)
1/2 c bbq sauce
1/2 c dijon mustard
1/4 c maple syrup
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs rosemary, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 for chicken breasts or 375 for chicken thighs.

Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.  In a bowl mix together the bbq sauce, dijon mustard, maple syrup, garlic powder and rosemary.  Arrange chicken in baking dish then top with bbq mixture.  Bake for 35 minutes for chicken breasts or 45 minutes for chicken thighs. Once cooked through place chicken on plate then top with extra sauce.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

DF if w/out parmesan cheese, V, GF

when i talked about how to “spice up any side salad” this was the salad that inspired that post.  it has different textures, different colors, and tastes amazing.  i can’t take credit for it, it’s all thanks to ina garten.  it even incorporates seasonal produce…it doesn’t get any better than this.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette
1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch) diced
Good olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan

preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.

while the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated parmesan. spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

tips:

  • aunt jemima has nothing on real maple syrup.  do yourself a favor and use the real stuff.  you’ll never get a good end product if you make it with subpar ingredients.
  • if you want to taste the walnuts, toast them.  if you skip that step, the flavor will be completely different…and not in a good way.
  • after you eat a salad like this…it should get your mind going.  for instance tonight i needed to make a simple side salad…so what did i do?  i use mesclun greens, slices of pear, dried cranberries, and a mixture of catalina and ranch salad dressings…mmm.

Mustard Crusted Chicken

DF

the only logical place to start is to begin where i did when i was first learning how to cook.  to be honest, i use to think making bisquick pancakes was actually cooking.  but i think it’s safe to assume you have all conquered that feat (a real tough one i know).

now i’m asking you to step into the ring with that dreaded chicken.  i know what you’re thinking, “what can i do with chicken that i haven’t already made?”…it’s on everyone’s mind all the time, and i am no exception.  however, when you think of chicken remember one thing: it’s a blank canvas.  chicken can magically take on the identity of any and all flavors.  and of my favorite flavors is mustard, so what better than my version of mustard crusted chicken.

Mustard Crusted Chicken
½ c honey mustard
½ c dijon mustard
¼ c olive oil
½ c lemon juice
1 tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 to 1.5 lbs of chicken tenders
1 cup italian style breadcrumbs
2 tbs oil

add mustards, oil, lemon juice, salt, cayenne pepper, and chicken together in a plastic storage bag.  let marinade 4 hours or over night in the refrigerator.
in a saute pan heat 2 tbs oil.  next coat the chicken in the breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper.  make sure to press crumbs into chicken to ensure a good coat on all sides.  once all tenders have been coated place chicken in a pan and cook until golden brown on the first side, 4 minutes.  then flip chicken over and let it cook for another 4 minutes, or until juices run clear.

here’s some tips to remember:

  • marinades give meats flavor as well as tenderness.  think of them as a salad dressing (and some salad dressing do make a great marinade, try mixing italian dressing, with pineapple juice and teriyaki).  it usually has oil, citrus juice(s), salt, pepper, and other added flavors to make them all your own.
  • most recipes for marinades allow the meat to marinade for 4 to 6 hours or overnight, but often i find it works well with even if just for an hour or two.  so do what you have time for.  the longer it marinades the more tender the meat will be.
  • don’t afraid to substitute (that’s what one of my grandmothers always believed).  if you don’t have dijon mustard try the other kinds you have in your refrigerator, such as basic yellow, dijon with horseradish, or even a flavored type like cranberry mustard.
  • if you want to try something different i suggest panko breadcrumbs.  they are a japanese style breadcrumb that can be found in most grocery stores next to the regular breadcrumbs.  they give you a crust that is undeniably crunchy…so give it a try.
  • and lastly, this dish was inspired by the mustard crusted chicken at Not Your Average Joes. so thanks for that.