Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Beer, Bacon & Chicken

We love beer. We love bacon. We love chicken. So why not combine them all into one dish? I saw this recipe in the Food Network Magazine. If you don't get it, you should. It's one of the magazines that actually has tons of recipes in it, instead one of those food magazines that has five recipes and 100+ pages of lifestyle stuff. If I wanted the lifestyle stuff I would buy Allure or something. Anyhow, this recipe was super easy and didn't even dirty that many dishes (which made Kevin happy).

Here is what you need:
1/4 pound slab of bacon, or thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon EVOO
1 12-ounce bottle brown ale beer (I chose Barley Island's Dirty Helen)
1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed
1/2 pound small red potatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard (I used dijon instead)
1 tablespoons packed brown sugar
Fresh thyme
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

The first thing you need to do is heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook about five minutes, or until browned.
Remove the bacon from the pot and place on a paper towel lined plate. Set aside. Leave the bacon grease in the pot. Add the EVOO to the pot and continue to heat over medium high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken through the flour, shaking the excess off. Add chicken to the hot oil.
Add the chicken to the pot and cook about six to seven minutes until browned on one side. Turn the chicken and sear another two or three minutes until the other side is seared.
Add the beer, onions, potatoes, mustard, sugar, thyme and one cup water to the pot and stir, making sure the chicken is fully submerged. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the bacon and the parsley.

Of course, Oscar was up to no good trying to get to our food as we were eating it!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Eggplant Sandwiches

I LOVE eggplant! I can't wait for summer because I'm going to try to grow it in the garden this year! I saw this recipe in Rachael Ray's magazine, and knew I had to try it. These sandwiches are super easy to make and were really good. You could add some chicken to change it up, but honestly these sandwiches don't need it. Kevin didn't even miss the meat, so that's saying something! Sorry about the quality of the photos - my camera battery was dead, so I used my phone.

Here is what you will need:

One 16 ounce loaf of frozen garlic bread
Two tablespoons EVOO
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 large eggplant (or a few small ones that equal about 1/2 pound), cubed
Small container mushrooms, coarsely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
3/4 cup white wine
Two teaspoons oregano (fresh or dried)
One 14.5 ounce can stewed tomatoes
Sliced provolone cheese

The first thing you need to do is chop the onion, eggplant and mushrooms.
Bake the garlic bread according to the directions on the package. While it's cooking, heat the EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute about five minutes. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, about seven minutes or so. Stir in the mushrooms and cook an additional five minutes, until mushrooms just begin to brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the white wine and cook, stirring up any browned bits, until the liquid has evaporated, about two minutes. Add the oregano and the tomatoes with juice. Use a spoon or spatula to coarsely chop the tomatoes. (I didn't think that one can was enough when I was cooking, so I added another 1/2 can of diced tomatoes). Simmer about five minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened.
Cut each half of the garlic bread in half, so you have four slices. Use a slotted spoon to drain the mixture and then place on top of each garlic bread slice. Top with sliced provolone cheese and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted.
This is not something we could eat with our hands, so a fork and knife is required!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Our Jamaican Vacation

We spent a week in Jamaica for our late honeymoon. We stayed at the Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay and it was so nice! It is an all inclusive resort that includes unlimited food and alcohol and all gratuities. It was so great to be able to eat and drink whatever we wanted and not have to worry about how much money we were spending. They also include a lot of activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, wind surfing, etc. We had such a great time and took so many pictures that I couldn't include them all here. So, here are some pictures from the trip:

View of the water. Our resort is located on a bay so the waves actually broke far out in the water. That make it nice because the water surrounding the resort and island was always calm.
A picture of us on the main property looking out at the private island.

Kevin getting ready to go snorkeling!
One day we were laying on the beach and Kevin looked down to grab his drink and saw this crab sitting right next to his drink! Luckily, he was able to grab the camera in time!
Kevin catching some sun!
View from the resort.
View of the private island.
We went on one excursion while we were there, to Dunn's River Falls. It was amazing! It is a very long string of waterfalls that ends up in the ocean. We started at the very bottom and climbed all the way to the top! If you ever go to Jamaica you have to do this!

This is us at the very top of the falls, after we climbed all the way up.
There are pools along the way.
In one of the pools before climbing up the next section of falls.

This picture was outside of the French restaurant that we ate at one night. It was really good!
Our first night at the resort, eating dinner at the Regency restaurant.