Nom Nom Paleo

Braised Chicken With Artichokes and Pearl Onions, v.2

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There are two ways I roll when making dinner: I lazily choose an entrée that is in my regular rotation (e.g. Damn Fine Chicken) or I pick a new dish to try. That means there are lots of dishes I only make once, even though many of them would make my greatest hits list if I’d just repeat and tweak.

So in an effort to expand my list of go-to entrees, I remade and modified my braised chicken thighs/drumsticks with artichokes and pearl onions recipe.

The main alteration I made in the recipe was pre-seasoning the chicken with Sunny Paris, salt, and pepper and letting it chill in the fridge for several hours before baking it off. This simple, extra step makes this dish another winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Please note you can adapt this recipe to fit whatever is in your crisper: change the veggies (e.g. mushrooms & onions, carrots & leeks etc.) and/or toss on some fresh herbs at the end.

Follow the jump for the new and improved version!

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Day 28 of Whole30 Eats

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This morning’s schedule was jam-packed, so I made sure to ingest enough protein and fat to power me through ‘til noon. Yep, another frittata was just the ticket…

This breakfast frittata was made with ready-to-eat ingredients straight out of the refrigerator: 3 eggs, roasted bell peppers, and sauteed greens. I’m glad I got off my lazy ass and prepped these veggies on Sunday.

After my weekly volunteer stint at my older son’s school (it was a lifelong dream of mine to be a library helper), my hubby and I accompanied my mother-in-law to her oncology appointment. We’re super-relieved that she’s finally hooked up with a great breast cancer clinic and we have a definite plan of attack — the uncertainty was the source of a lot of stress these past couple of weeks.

When we got home, I had five hungry adults to feed: myself, my parents and my in-laws. Again, I thanked my lucky stars that I had tons of prepared goodies in the fridge with which to assemble a quick-and-easy chicken salad for everybody. Today’s salad was composed of mixed greens, baby arugula, sous vide chicken breast, hard-boiled eggs, roasted bell peppers, shredded carrots, cucumbers, and toasted slivered almonds.

After feeding all the adults, I kicked ‘em all out. While Lil-O napped in the afternoon, I spent some quality time with my older kid, Big-O, playing board games and reading books. Before I knew it, two hours had passed. Lil-O woke up and joined in on the fun.

By 5:00 p.m., I was worn out. I started preparing dinner, but I was seriously half-assing it. I’ve already spent enough time in the kitchen this week, so my goal was to whip up a no-fuss, no-muss meal.

Taking inventory of our pantry and fridge, I decided to cobble together some braised chicken with artichoke hearts and pearl onions. While the chicken sat in the oven, I tossed some broccoli with avocado oil and roasted it in my toaster oven for a super-quick veggie side dish. (Just TWO MORE DAYS ‘til I can add bacon back into my veggies! Not that I’m counting or anything.)

Braised dishes are my favorite! You do a little bit of work and — provided you’re willing to wait around for 45 minutes — you’ll be rewarded with a dish that’s tender, hearty and full-flavored. Plus, the smells from your oven’ll have you drooling before the food’s even plated. Braising is perfect for winter.

Here’s our dinner:

Yes, there’s chicken underneath the veggies. See?

Braised Chicken Legs with Artichokes and Pearl Onions

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I was in the mood to experiment tonight. By early evening, I was exhausted, so rather than planning an elaborate meal, I raided the kitchen and threw together a bunch of stuff I had in my freezer, fridge, and pantry to see if, perchance, an easy and yummy one-pot dish might materialize.

I’m happy to report that an investment of just 15 minutes of hands-on time yielded a savory dish that an entire family can happily scarf down. Well, 3 out of 4 members of the Nom Nom Paleo household enjoyed it. Our three-year-old, Lil-O, is always the sole holdout. “I want eggs,” he says. Every. Single. Night.

Where was I? Right: Ingredients.

I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s and I always read the chain’s wackily illustrated Fearless Flyer so I can strategically plan my next shopping excursion. Some of TJ’s new items are misses, but most are hits. I recently found two things in the freezer section that piqued my interest: frozen artichoke hearts…

…and peeled and prepared pearl onions.

Despite being an anti-processing Paleo freak, I love prepped frozen veggies ‘cause they help accelerate the time my dinner gets to the table. On the one hand, they’re a little pricier, but on the other hand, I can get away with doing less work. And Nom Nom Paleo is all about the lazy.

Here’s what I scrounged up:

  • 2 whole Kosher chicken legs, split into drumsticks and thighs (you can definitely double the amount of chicken)
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 Tbsp Sigona’s Green Poultry Seasoning (contains thyme, sage, pepper, coriander, marjoram, & parsley)
  • 12 oz bag of Trader Joe’s frozen artichoke hearts
  • 16 oz bag of Trader Joe’s frozen peeled & ready to use pearl onions
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and trimmed
  • 3/4 cup organic chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp Banyuls vinegar

Here’s what I did:

I preheated the oven to 325 F and I assembled all my ingredients.

I didn’t bother defrosting the artichoke hearts or pearl onions because I knew they’d quickly cook in my skillet. (Skeptical? Fine: The real reason I didn’t defrost them is that I was too lazy to add another cooking step. Happy now?)

My favorite chicken cuts for braising are bone-in, skin-on thighs. At my local TJ’s, they carry whole Kosher chicken legs so I just cut them into thighs and drumsticks (cut through the cartilage and not the bone or you’ll eff-up your knife). I seasoned my chicken with green poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Next, I heated 2 tablespoons of avocado oil over medium high heat in a 12-inch, oven-safe, lidded skillet and I seared my chicken parts until they were browned on each side.

After removing the browned chicken to a plate, I threw the frozen pearl onions into the empty skillet and seasoned it with some salt and freshly-ground black pepper.

Once the onions were caramelized, I tossed in the frozen artichoke hearts and the garlic cloves (along with more salt and pepper). I sauteed all the vegetables until they were nice and toasty. Then, I nestled in the chicken parts and poured in the chicken broth and vinegar. After bringing it up to a simmer…

…I put on the lid and popped it in the oven for 45 minutes. The results were pretty tasty for the minimum amount of effort I put in.

The artichoke hearts are a wee bit acidic so you can back off on the vinegar or use a sweeter vinegar like balsamic. Also, the amount of chicken legs can definitely be doubled because I had a bunch of leftover chokes and onions that I’ll be pairing up with other proteins in the next few days.