If your spouse pickups a Kamado Joe, you won’t have to cook ever again. That’s how it seems to be working out for me anyway.
I’ve been out of town or sick for the last three weeks and the Husband is killing it with his outdoor cooking. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but taking cold meds and drinking wine somehow cancels each other out. I feel it’s my duty to inform you, my lovely faithful followers.
Spatchcock that chicken and rub it down with the usual suspects:
1 whole young chicken
This bird needs to be roasted for 40 minutes (or until it’s up to temp) at 400 degrees. Sure, you could do it in an oven, but you could also just spend money on a fancy ceramic smoker that is internet famous and actually lives up to the hype.
We picked up a Kamado Joe Jr. a few weeks ago and we’re in love. (I told you we’re obsessive about kitchen appliances.) This little thing can get over 600 degrees and can be used as a pizza oven.
The lump charcoal you used with it is a bit more expensive, but it does seem to last forever. We tucked the baby Joe out by the griddle and pull our camp chairs up close to pet him while he cooks our spatchcocked chickens. I think he prefers it that way.
To work this beauty, you have to lay the lump charcoal in the bottom and light. Open the bottom hatch and top hatch wide to allow enough air to bring the heat up and then slowly squeeze the bottom hatch to mostly closed. Use the top hatch to further adjust your temperature.
I was super concerned the first time we lit it, but controlling the temp is not difficult at all. This thing comes to temp and cooks foods super fast. Best chicken I’ve ever had!
Last week, Husband and I went to Fredericksburg for an anniversary trip and while there we discovered we are actually food snobs, and also probably wine snobs. (I maintain that is a false accusation, very slanderous, very upsetting. I LOVE YOU BLACK BOX CAB.) All I’m saying is don’t visit Texas wine country looking for a foodie experience to go along with your wine. You’ll end up in a Sonic parking lot eating ice cream and complaining about the fake German food you suffered through.
On our wine tour I stumbled into my best meal of the weekend. Sweetbriar Rose is a bistro on 290 that is family-owned and serves jello shots for all of the bachelorette parties on the winery route. I had the chicken salad sandwich on homemade sourdough with pickled onions and it was the bomb dot com. If you’ve never had pickled red onions, I’m here to let you know that your life has been flavorless and boring up until right meow. There’s no such thing as too much vinegar in your life. If anyone tells you otherwise, cut them out of your life for being a negative influence.
3 cups of chicken, I pulled a rotisserie chicken and dumped all of the meat into a bowl. Use the dark meat too, don’t be lame, this isn’t canned chicken salad.
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup mayo. Duke’s or bust.
1/4 cup olive oil. This is a dressing so spring for the evoo.
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
1 garlic clove, minced. Or, a giant spoonful of that pre-minced pickled garlic if you don’t care about measuring things, and we don’t.
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
If you pull the chicken from a rotisserie, make sure you’re just pulling off giant chunks. Nobody likes shredded chicken salad. That’s for trash chicken that wasn’t good enough to be served in chunks.
In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients listed after the chicken. Use a whisk and give it some elbow grease so it all comes together nicely. Drink enough wine that you don’t cringe at how gross the mayo looks while doing so. Repeat after me, fat is flavor.
Mix that black magic into the chicken and let it chill in the refrigerator while you experiment with tortilla chips and pickled onions.
Super Quick Pickled Onions:
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
Here’s the secret to not having to boil your vinegar mix for quick pickled onions: Use honey instead of sugar, the end. All you have to do is throw all of this into a shallow dish, press the onions down, and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Air Fryer Tortilla Chips:
12 street taco corn tortillas. These teeny things were bought on accident, but I now can’t live without them.
1/2 tsp hot Mexican style chili powder
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
Cut the little street taco tortillas in half. Mix the last three ingredients in a bowl and then brush on both sides of the tortillas. 350 for 7 minutes in an air fryer. I did two batches so they didn’t stick to each other.
Build a sandwich base with badass Rosemary sourdough and butter lettuce and extra mayo for your chicken salad. Taste test and realize it really needed 1/2 cup of chopped dates to lift it that little bit extra. Baby sister said the chicken salad didn’t need the dates, but I’m here to tell you that it 100% does.
And who are you going to trust? Some girl that doesn’t comment on her sister’s blog, or me?
This meal sort of just happened because I had heavy cream, parmesan, and a lemon languishing in my refrigerator earlier this week. The lemon cried when I pulled the asparagus out, and the heavy cream threatened to turn right then and there if I didn’t stop ignoring it. The parmesan was quietly resigned to its fate, so it was really the only ingredient that deserved my attention.
The cream sauce was so good that we stood around the pan after dinner and ate it with a spoon. I know it’s a hit because we’ve already talked about cooking it again and I think chicken breast is trash meat.
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp avocado oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 fresh lemon
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Heat the avocado oil over medium heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, the garlic powder, and the Italian seasoning. Cook the chicken breasts through. I have a great instant-read thermometer that was under $20 and gets whipped out on the regular. You need one, get it.
In the same pan, lower the heat and add the minced garlic. Let it start to brown (do not let it burn, burnt garlic is trash and ruins everything) and then add the heavy cream. Your mix can simmer, but never boil. Lower the heat after 5 minutes and melt in the Parmesan cheese. Parmesan takes a while to melt into the sauce properly, so settle in with a spoon and a bev. Once the cheese is incorporated, turn off the heat and squeeze in the juice from that sad lemon you’ve had sitting in your fridge for too long.
The only thing that could improve this meal is a crusty baguette to drag through that sauce.
I tend to do this thing where I cook similar dishes all week. Oh, we had a pasta dish on Monday? Hope you all liked it, because we’re going to have one on Wednesday and Friday as well.
Two of my favorite things to eat are caramelized onions and mushrooms, and although my poor Husband hates onions with a passion, I use every opportunity to work them into a dish. They really do make everything taste better.
I usually say go with whatever pasta you have on hand, but in this case you do want something short and fat to pick up all of that 5,000 calorie cream sauce we are making. Bow ties are cute and I like how the middle of the pasta stays extra chewy.
Do not substitute frozen spinach for the fresh. It’s a huge mistake and will absolutely ruin your sauce, unless you want everything in your bowl to taste like stewed spinach. Frozen spinach is full of water and you should really only use it for dips after squeezing any remaining life out of it after defrosting it in a sad lump in a colander.
Olive oil, it doesn’t have to be extra virgin if we’re just going to destroy it with heat.
1/2 of a yellow onion, diced.
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 chicken breasts, slice them against the grain, we’re going to destroy them while we cook, so don’t worry about how they look.
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced, if they are big and the stems look tough pull them out.
6 oz fresh spinach, I pull the stems if they are too thick and crunchy looking.
1 tbsp Cajun seasoning, I really like Penzey’s blend because it’s well balanced.
1 cup heavy cream
6 oz of Parmesan cheese. We aren’t animals, so I expect you to buy a block of actual parm. You don’t have to grate it, but I do expect you to chop it up into matchsticks.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high and season up the sliced chicken with the Cajun seasoning and a couple of shakes of salt and black pepper. Rub the seasoning in to the chicken and make sure it’s all evenly coated. Cook your chicken in batches making sure not to overcrowd, and use your spoon or tongs to just destroy it. We call this torn up chicken because you’re half shredding it while cooking and rubbing the pulled apart pieces into the seasoning and oil. Drain on a paper towel.
In the same pot, add another tablespoon of olive oil and lower your heat to medium. Add your diced onions and give them a minute to sizzle and then stir in 1/4 tsp of salt and the balsamic vinegar. You’re going to cook your onions over medium low for around 30 minutes. If they start burning lower the heat and if they dry out add a drizzle of oil.
I’m lazy, so I just push my onions up onto the side of the pot while I sauté my mushrooms. Remember how I feel about overcrowding the pan? I’m much more likely to forgive you for overcrowding the chicken than I am for ruining mushrooms.
Sauté the mushrooms for about 5 minutes and then toss your spinach in to wilt. If you’re me and you’re three glasses in, you’ve 100% forgotten to start your pasta. Cook and drain your pasta.
Add your chicken back to your pot and stir in the heavy cream. As soon as it starts to bubble, turn your heat down to medium low and add you cheese. Stir steadily while your cheese melts or you’ll end up with a big wad of ingredients floating in cream. Taste for S&P again at this point.
Stir in your pasta and dish it up. If you “take out the green stuff,” your Biggin won’t complain. He didn’t notice the onions, so I would say I won this round.