Tag Archives: Garlic

Roasted Lemon Herb Chicken

9 Jun

I don’t think there’s anything better than the smell of roasting chicken, which is saying a lot since I’m generally a baked goods girl.  The only smell that can top it in my book is  Roasted Lemon and Herb Chicken

You already know I’m not a fan of leftovers, but I can snack on a rotisserie or roasted chicken for days.  Things were busy again at work this past week, so that was exactly what I had in mind.  Here’s my quick and easy recipe for roasted, mouth-watering chicken that will feed you for days.

Roasted Lemon Herb Chicken

  • 4 1/2 lb roasting chicken
  • 1 1/2 medium yellow onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 heads of garlic, cut in half
  • 2 lemons, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 lb carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 tsp pepper, plus sprinkle
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, plus sprinkle
  • 2 tbs butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Peel and chop onion into small wedges.  I ended up having three sections for each half onion I chopped.  Next cut two unpeeled heads of garlic in half, the cut lemons into quarters.  Reserve two quarters of the lemon for inside the chicken.  Afterwards, peel and chop carrots into medium chunks, about 2 inches thick.  Transfer all of these ingredients into a roasting pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Remove all giblets from inside the chicken cavity.  Place your bird on top of the chopped ingredients.  Sprinkle the top of the bird and inside the cavity with 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.  Stuff remaining two lemon quarters, rosemary, and thyme inside chicken cavity.  Melt 2 tbs of butter in the microwave and spread evenly all over the chicken, making sure to get the legs and wings.

Cook in the oven at 425 degrees for 55-60 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 165 behind the chicken leg.  The juices should also run clear from the holes.  Let your chicken rest for 20 minutes before serving with roasted onions (yum) and carrots.  Behold my gorgeous bird!

Oh and I bet mashed potatoes would be the perfect accompaniment.  Stay tuned for a perfect take two recipe with my leftovers!

Namesake Brunch Burger

6 May

Every now and then I attempt something in the kitchen that just doesn’t turn out according to plan.  Usually, it’s the result of serious improvisation combined with my incessant need to multitask (even though I should be paying attention).  Textbook Megan…

Take today for example!  I had a great idea for a tasty-but-healthy brunch burger.   It included a well-seasoned beef patty, and was topped with a fresh yellow heirloom tomato, slices of fresh avocado, and a runny over-easy egg.  Everything was going well until I tried to document my efforts with a photo.  As I grabbed my camera, the whole burger fell over leaning tower style, causing the yoke to run everywhere.  At that moment I cursed, and figured it was an act of karma for trying to create a burger without cheese.  I mean who wants a burger without cheese?  Needless to say today’s post will not feature images.

But, you know what happened?!  In true Imperfectly Delicious fashion, I ate the burger anyway, and it was completely awesome.  It was fresh, filling and full of flavor.  Who said that things had to look perfect or follow a recipe exactly to taste perfect?  Certainly not me.  I say go with it and try out this recipe!

Imperfectly Delicious Brunch Burgers (serves two)

  • 2 4 oz grass-fed beef patties
  • 2 burger buns
  • 2 tbs of shallots, chopped
  • 1 tbs of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 ripe yellow heirloom tomato
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 2 eggs

First chop up your shallots and garlic.  Combine 2 ingredients and separate into 2 even piles.  Add 1 pile of garlic and shallot mixture to your first patty, then repeat with the second patty.  Mix gently until incorporated, and season each patty with 1/2 of salt and 1/2 pepper mixture.  Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat.  When warm transfer your burger pattys to pan and cook 3 to 4 mins on each side.  This would also be delicious if you throw these burgers on the grill.

While burgers are cooking, cut half of a yellow heirloom tomato into 2 slices.  Also, cut an avocado in half, and slice half into thick slices.  Take your burgers off the heat and let them rest on the bun for a few minutes.  The bun will soak up the yummy juice while the pattys rest. Top each burger with a slice of tomato and a few slices of avocado. 

Spray another medium pan with butter and turn on medium heat.  Crack 2 eggs into pan and let cook for about a minute.  Use a spatula to separate egg whites and flip eggs.  Cook for 30 more seconds then take off the heat.  Top each burger with an egg and pray everything stays upright.  This burger is clearly messy, but the perfect summer brunch item. 

Fresh Shrimp Tacos

30 Nov

Still feeling overloaded and bloated after all of the Thanksgiving indulgences?  Me too!  What if I said the three magic words?  Quick, fresh and simpleOh, and what if I threw in healthy,  for good measure.  Now we’re talking right?!

Shrimp Tacos (serves 2)

  • 1 lbs of fresh shrimp, peeled, de-veined and tails removed
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tbs garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • juice and zest of 2 limes
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 cup salsa (optional)
  • 1/2 a cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 hard taco shells

Set out two plates with two taco shells each.  Divide your cheddar cheese and greens evenly into the four shells.  Then chop up your tomatoes, jalapeno, and cilantro.  Set aside. 

In a large bowl combine olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, and the juice and zest of your limes and lemons.  Mix and then add shrimp, gently mix shrimp and sauce together.  Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. 

Heat a pan over medium heat and pour in half of the bowl of shrimp.  Spread out shrimp in the pan so they cook evenly.  These little guys cook up very quickly, and will be finished when their tails curl in and they take on a light orangy-pink color (see the image above).  I find these usually take 1 and 1/2 minutes per side.  Once your first batch is cooked, transfer them to the first two taco shells.  Pour the sauce they cooked in over the top of the shrimp, and then use the same pan to cook second half of shrimp.  Once completed, transfer second batch of the shrimp to the last two taco shells. 

Top shrimp tacos with  tomatoes, jalapeno and cilantro.  If desired, add salsa to the top of each taco.  Now that’s, whats for dinner! 

My tacos were delish!  I did have one misstep in the kitchen though.  I decided to assemble everything in tortillas (see image above) since I tend to prefer soft tacos.  Bad idea!  My tacos fell apart right away and were soggy yet delicious.  I recommend using the hard shells for these tacos.  Otherwise these are a hit!

Chickpeas 2 Ways: Italian & Indian

28 Nov

After rolling myself out of my parents’ house, I got hungry (again).  I was craving veggies in a major way after days of carb-loading (sour cream & cream cheese mashed potatoes anyone), and needed to make something straight out of the pantry since I was without groceries.  I looked in my bare cabinets, and pulled out a can of chickpeas.  Eureka!

I love creating multiple recipes with different flavor profiles from the same base ingredients.  It’s a way for me to make left-overs exciting and new!  Last time I shared my meatball recipes.  Now I bring you Chickpeas 2 ways.

Indian Chickpea Curry (serves 1)

  • 1/2 of a 15.5 oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tbs garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • sprinkle of ginger
  • salt & pepper to taste

Heat 1 tbs olive oil over medium heat.  Add 1/2 a can of chickpeas and diced onions, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Saute for 5 mins. 

Add tomato paste and 1/2 cup of chicken broth to pan.  Add garam masala, curry powder and cumin to pan.  Stir, and continue to cook over medium heat until sauce thickens, about 7-10 mins.  Add additional 1/2 cup of chicken stock and sprinkle ground ginger over top.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir.  Cook for about 5 more mins and take off the heat.  Your chickpeas should be soft, and will be perfect served over a bowl of brown rice!

Italian Chickpea, Spinach and Tomato Stoup (serves 2)

  • 1/2 of a 15.5 oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tbs garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 oz fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup orzo (small grain pasta that looks like rice)
  • 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tbs pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Heat 1 tbs olive oil over medium heat.  Add 1/2 can of chickpeas and diced onions , then season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 5-7 mins.  Add tomato paste, 1/2 cup of water, spinach and canned tomatoes to the pot.  Continue to cook over medium heat until chickpeas are tender and spinach has wilted.  About 7 mins.  Add cup of chicken stock and orzo, then bring to a boil. 

Continue to cook at a boil until orzo is cooked, approximately 7 minutes, stir periodically or orzo will stick to the bottom of the pot.  Add salt and pepper and stir. 

I love this stoup (Rachael Ray’s term for a cross between stew and soup), because it’s hearty and healthy after days of indulgence!  Plus I found a way to make 3 meals out of ingredients in my apartment.  You can re-create this meal for a few bucks at the store.  Yay for cheap/free food!

My 10 Essential Ingredients

30 Oct

Whether you are an accomplished chef or a novice cook, everyone has a list of their must-have staples for the kitchen.   These are my 10 essential items that I cannot live without in my kitchen.

1. Fresh HerbsThese can add woodsy flavors in the background, or serve as a light, bright touch on the top of a dish.  I use a lot of rosemary, sage and thyme in the kitchen, so I generally purchase the poultry blend as it’s a cost-effective way to get all three.

2.  OnionsI love them sautéed in pasta sauce, caramelized on a pizza (or on anything), and fried on top of burgers.  I buy a these in bulk and store then in a dark, dry place.  Make sure you wash them carefully as they grow in the ground!

3.  Chicken, Veg or Beef StockThese stocks provide a depth of background flavor to any dish and all you need is a few cups.  Making your own stock is a long process, why not take a short cut?

4.  Red or White WineWine is perfect for de-glazing pans aka getting the browned yummy bits off the bottom of the pan.  It’s essential in risottos and excellent in sauces.  Plus a bonus sip or glass for the chef!

5.  ButterPaula Dean is no fool, and there’s a reason why she’s the butter queen.  Butter is an essential fat and I need it for both my savory and sweet creations.

6.  Garlic. Garlic is used in almost all cuisines from Italian to French and even Asian meals.  Plus who can resist that smell?  It brings everyone into the kitchen.

7.  Soy Sauce.  Soy sauce is great for marinades, stir fry, and I even use it in my satay sauce.

8.  Olive Oil.  Most if not all of my recipes start with a base of butter or olive oil.  It’s relatively healthy and can be used to cook meats, to finish salads, or in salad dressings.

9.  Lemons.  Again, I use these in a variety of savory and sweet dishes.  I love the citrus flavor with fish or chicken, and I frequently use the zest in my baked goods.

10.  Balsamic Vinegar or Balsamic Salad DressingPerfect with my favorite tomato and burrata salad or drizzled over roasted veggies.

What are your essential ingredients?

Sweet Potato Ricotta and Arugula Ravioli

23 Jan

There are days where I wake up ready for a challenge in the kitchen.  I want to experiment with something new and discover uncharted territory.  This is one of those days.  Brace yourself, because we are making homemade ravioli!  Oh, and not just any ravioli, veg-friendly Sweet Potato Ricotta and Arugula Ravioli.

Sweet Potato Ricotta and Arugula Ravioli (serves 1-2)

The filling:

  • Half a bin of arugula
  • 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1 tbs of olive oil
  • 1 tbs of garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 3 tbs ricotta cheese

The dough (recipe and process from Eat Live Run):

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs

First things first, let’s get the sweet potato going.  That way we can cut down the time spent on this recipe, and get closer to the eating part.  After washing and drying your sweet potato, poke several rows of holes in the top with a fork.  Put the sweet potato directly on the oven rack and bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 1 hour.  While that’s cooking you can multi-task, and start on the ravioli dough. 

I always thought making my own pasta would be an impossible feat, and that the process would be overwhelmingly complicated.  I’m happy to say, this is not the case.  All you need is 3 ingredients to make a basic dough:  flour, eggs, and salt. 

On a clean countertop, pour 1/2 cup of flour.  Add a sprinkle of salt over the flour and mix in with your hands.  Cup the flour with your hands and make a circle.  Then push out from the middle to make a well. 

Crack 2 eggs in the center of your well and slowly start pulling the flour into the egg with your fingers a little at a time.  The egg mixture will be very sticky at first.  You will end up with dough after just a few minutes of mixing the ingredients.  My dough was still a little sticky and I just added a sprinkle more flour to get it to the right consistency.  You should then form a dough ball and cover your masterpiece with a wet paper towel for 45 minutes. 

 

The dough process took me about fifteen minutes.  This means that your baked sweet potato and ravioli dough should both be ready in about 45 more minutes.  You have two options for the next 45 minutes.  Option 1:  clean up your counter, your hands, and get started on the rest of the filling.  Option 2:  watch an episode of Top Chef on your dvr to feel inspired, and do the cleanup afterwards.  I went with option 1, because I have a small apartment kitchen and needed the clean space for later.  Told you I love to multitask! 

 

 

Now for the other half of the filling.  In a medium-sized pan, heat 1 tbs of olive oil on medium heat.  Then add  1 tbs of chopped garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add your arugula, 1/4 tsp of nutmeg, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1/2 tsp of pepper to the garlic.  Stir this all together to wilt your greens.  You will notice they cook up rather quickly and reduce in size. 

Take your wilted arugula off the heat and put on a back burner.  You’ll come back to it in a minute.  Scoop out the inside of your baked sweet potato and transfer it to a large cereal bowl or small mixing bowl.  Mix the sweet potato with a sprinkle of nutmeg, the other 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper, and 1 tbs of butter. 

Now add the garlic arugula mixture to the sweet potato, and also 3 tbs of ricotta cheese.  Mix well and taste to make sure your filling doesn’t need additional seasoning.  Set filling aside and let’s get back to our ravioli dough. 

Sprinkle a little flour on your counter and on a rolling pin.  You don’t want your dough to stick!  You can also use a wine bottle if you don’t have a rolling pin available.  Roll out your dough, starting in the center and working your way out.  This will take a few minutes (and some patience), as you want your dough to be very thin.  Now use a pizza cutter or a knife to cut rows into the dough.  The rows should be about the same length and width.  They will be the top and bottom of your ravioli.  Think about the size of your ravioli, and spoon a tsp of filling out across the dough. I had 4 blobs of filling for each strip of dough.  You want to leave plenty of room between the filling.

Take the top piece of dough and put it over the dough with filling.  Gently press down and pinch the dough around the filling to make a little pouch.  You want to make sure it’s sealed properly so the filling doesn’t leak out later.  I used a fork and pressed around the edges to get a good seal and pretty rustic design. 

Repeat this process until you have finished assembling your ravioli.  I used my scraps of dough to make one extra piece of ravioli. 

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and put in a few pieces of ravioli to cook.  Make sure not to overcrowd the pot.  The ravioli should take about 6-7 minutes to cook, and will look pale in color.  Take one out and test with your fork to make sure it’s cooked and the pasta dough is light.  I used a drizzle of olive oil, black pepper and red pepper flakes to finish my ravioli.  You could also use marinara sauce.

Here are a few short cuts for this recipe:

1.  I baked my sweet potato, but you could also microwave it for 6 minutes on high if you are pressed for time.  Remember to poke holes in the sweet potato with a fork (or it will explode), and expect a little whistling. 

2.  You can make the filling the night before and keep it in the fridge covered with cling wrap. 

3.  Please please please make sure to roll out a thin dough.  I was impatient (surprised?), and left mine a little too thick.  This meant each piece had to cook for longer and my ravioli were a bit dense. 

My experiment was so delicious!  I learned from my dough mistakes, and can’t wait to try it again.  Oh, and don’t feel bad about eating any leftover filling straight from the bowl.  It was just as good this way, and I might offer it up as a side for my veg sister at Thanksgiving next year!