Paleo Baked Chicken with Sage and Dill — quick, easy, delicious, and cheap!

The end result! Baked Chicken with Sage and Dill. This recipe makes a large pan full of meat, enough to feed about six people.

The end result! Baked Chicken with Sage and Dill. This recipe makes enough to feed about six people. I made baked sweet potatoes to go with it — all for under $10!!

It’s not often one can make a meal that serves six people for under $10, but that’s what I did tonight. I paired this recipe with baked sweet potatoes topped with butter and cinnamon. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs that cost me $8.00. A bargain! Lucky for us, there are only two people in my household, so that left us plenty of tasty chicken and sweet potatoes for lunch tomorrow and maybe a supper later in the week. Plus I baked enough extra sweet potatoes to have some fried for breakfast for the next couple of days. Easy peasy future meals. The herbs give it a fresh taste and aroma, and the maple syrup balsamic vinegar provides just a hint of sweetness. 

Ingredients

2 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (they are moister than breasts, cheaper, and cook quicker). Trim the extra fat off the thighs. Set thighs aside.

2 T olive oil

Two-and-a-half pounds of boneless chicken thighs is a LOT of meat! This dish easily serves six.

Two-and-a-half pounds of boneless chicken thighs is a LOT of meat! This dish easily serves six.

Coating Mix

1 C almond meal/flour

2 T finely chopped fresh organic sage

2 T finely chopped fresh organic dill

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 T coarse ground salt (leave out, and sprinkle on chicken after coating each piece)

Mix all ingredients except the salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

This is the brand of Almond Meal/Flour I usually use. I don't think it's organic, but it's available at most of the grocery stores near me, and that makes in convenient.

This is the brand of Almond Meal/Flour I usually use. I don’t think it’s organic, but it’s available at most of the grocery stores near me, and that makes it convenient.

Both The Herbal Garden sage and the dill are organic and available at Meijer. The coarse ground Mediterranean Sea Salt is great for coating chicken.

Both The Herbal Garden sage and the dill are organic and available at Meijer. The coarse ground Mediterranean Sea Salt is great for coating chicken.

Finely chopped sage and dill. I put the spoon next to the piles so you can see how much of the herbs are there -- each pile is two tablespoons.

Finely chopped sage and dill. I put the spoon next to the piles so you can see how that this is a lot of herbs — each pile is two tablespoons.

The almond flour after mixing in the cumin, sage, and dill.

The almond flour after mixing in the cumin, sage, and dill.

Batter

2 large eggs

1 T maple syrup balsamic vinegar

Beat eggs and vinegar together in small bowl, set aside.

Adding the maple syrup balsamic vinegar to the eggs makes them really dark, but don't worry. It's supposed to look like that.

Adding the maple syrup balsamic vinegar to the eggs makes them really dark, but don’t worry. It’s supposed to look like that.

The Process

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If you’re making sweet potatoes to serve with this (I highly recommend it), wash them and put them in the 350-degree oven about 30-40 minutes before the chicken.

You’ll need a baking pan large enough for the chicken to lie in a single layer. I used a broiler pan — it has low sides and enough square footage to accommodate all the chicken.

  1. Coat the bottom of the pan with the olive oil.
  2. Dip each piece of chicken in the egg batter, then pat it into the the bowl of the coating mix making sure to coat both sides very lightly. Almond flour can sometimes create a gritty or very dry texture, so go easy. You don’t need to cover every inch of the chicken.
  3. Place the chicken in a single layer in the pan.

    Just before it goes in the oven. Notice that the chicken thighs are not completely covered with the breading mixture. This is on purpose, otherwise the almond flour texture is overpowering.

    Just before it goes in the oven. Notice that the chicken thighs are not completely covered with the breading mixture. This is on purpose, otherwise the almond flour texture can be gritty and dry.

  4. When all the chicken is in the pan, sprinkle each piece evenly with some of the coarse salt. Use your fingers or the back of a spoon to press the salt into the chicken.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Chicken is done when you can cut it with a fork and the juices run clear.
  6. Turn up the oven to 425 degrees, place chicken on the top rack and brown it for five minutes. Do not overcook it or it will be dry! It won’t get super browned, but will brown up a bit.

Serve it with a side of sweet potatoes with butter and cinnamon on them and you have a full meal! Yumcious, scrumptious!

The end result! Baked Chicken with Sage and Dill. This recipe makes a large pan full of meat, enough to feed about six people.

The end result! Baked Chicken with Sage and Dill. This recipe makes a large pan full of meat, enough to feed about six people.

Chicken soup with cilantro, chipotle, and lime

I have been sick for the last three weeks.  I don’t do sick very well.  Being sick means resting, and resting doesn’t really agree with my lifestyle.   I let a lot of things slack the last three weeks, including preparing healthy food, but I am finally back to feeling energetic and feeling like cooking again.  Yippee!

Chicken soup sounded so good the last three weeks, but I had no homemade stock left and the all day process of making stock seemed like too much (even though it is not).  I got around to making chicken stock yesterday using leftovers from my roast chicken. I also had chopped cooked chicken meat left from that same roast chicken, so I was able to easily make chicken soup after work today and boy was it worth it!  I need to never ever run out of chicken stock again.

The  idea to put lime and cilantro into my chicken soup came from my dad.  He is a fantastic cook and I always look forward to trying his culinary creations.  I decided to use cabbage in place of celery, the first reason being that I didn’t have any celery.  The second being that I detest celery with a passion.  I can tolerate it if it is overcooked in soup, but I really just avoid it if possible.  All of these flavors work so well together, turning a very simple chicken soup into something truly special.  This is the ultimate in a nourishing and comforting food.  Better yet, this soup can be whipped up in less than an hour.

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Ingredients

1.  1T coconut oil

2.  6 medium carrots- peeled and chopped

3.  1 medium yellow onion-diced

4.  2 cloves garlic-minced

5.  1/2 head small green cabbage-shredded

6.   6 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)

7.  2 cups chopped cooked chicken

8.  1t salt (or to taste)

9.  1/2t fresh cracked black pepper

10.  1/4 t smoked paprika

11.  1/4t chipotle spice

12.  1/2 cup Cilantro- chopped

13.  1 lime

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Directions

1.  Heat the coconut oil in a large pot.   Add the carrot and onion and saute until onion is translucent.

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2.  Add garlic and cabbage, allowing the cabbage to wilt a bit.  Add about 1/2 cup of the stock so the veggies don’t stick to the pot.  Sprinkle the salt on the veggies.

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3.  Add the rest of the chicken stock and the chopped cooked chicken.  Add the black pepper, smoked paprika, and the chipotle spice.   Allow to simmer on low for 20- 30 minutes, until the carrots and cabbage are tender.

4.  Slice the lime in half and squeeze one half into the soup.  Slice the other half into wedges.  Serve the soup with a generous sprinkling of chopped cilantro and a lime wedge.

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Roast Chicken

Some of the best recipes are the simplest ones.  I did a search for a roast chicken recipe the other day and stumbled across this one on Epicurious.  When I read the ingredients I thought it would probably be good, but also thought it couldn’t really be that great because of the lack of seasonings, vegetables, herbs, butter, etc…   Boy, was I wrong.  The meat ends up moist and succulent, the skin is salty and crunchy.  This is honestly the best roast chicken I have ever tasted and I probably won’t make roast chicken any other way.

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Ingredients:

1.  4-5 lb whole chicken

2.  2-3 tsp salt (I use Real Salt)

3.  Fresh cracked black pepper

4. 1-2 tsp fresh Thyme (optional)

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees

2.  Prepare the chicken by removing the giblets and then rinsing inside and out. My dogs love roast chicken night because I feed them the giblets. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels inside and out.  The chicken needs to be as dry as possible so there is no steam when you are roasting it.

3.  Place the chicken in a roasting pan or do like I do and use a cast iron chicken fryer.  I absolutely love my cast iron and use it for most everything.  Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with 2-3 tsp of salt.  I know it seems like a lot, but you want a crust of salt  to form on the outside of the chicken.  Sprinkle with a little black pepper, maybe half a teaspoon.

4.  Tie the legs tightly together and tuck the wings under the bird.

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Ready to go in the oven!

5.  Place in the oven, uncovered, and roast for 50-60 minutes.  I usually end up with a 5 lb bird and 60 minutes is perfect.  Do not touch the chicken when it is roasting.  Just leave it. Don’t even look at it.  You probably should go for a 50-60 minute walk.

6.  Pull the chicken out of the oven and spoon the drippings over the top of the chicken.  If you want you can mix some fresh thyme into the drippings before you pour them over chicken.  Let the chicken sit for about 10 minutes before carving it up.

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see the salt crust?

When dinner is done do not throw away the carcass.  What I like to do is pick off any uneaten meat and put in a freezer bag.   Then I put the bones/carcass in another bag and throw both bags in the freezer.  When I am ready to make chicken broth it is ready to go in the pot.   If I am making chicken soup (stay posted for the recipe)  I use the leftover meat for the soup, otherwise the meat can be used for most anything you want.   Enjoy!

Thai Chicken Stew with Roasted Root Veggies

We deal with some pretty brutal winter weather here in Michigan.  Becoming a runner has made winter fun again for me.  There is nothing like getting out on the trail when it is crisp and cold with the snow crunching under your running shoes.  The sense of accomplishment after conquering the distance in challenging conditions is always pretty awesome.  Whatever winter activity you like, having a bowl of this stew afterwards is sure to warm and satisfy you.

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2 sweet potatoes- peeled and cut into half inch pieces

1 medium rutabaga- peeled and cut into half inch pieces

4 large carrots-peeled and cut into half inch pieces

1 red onion- chopped into medium pieces

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs- cut into 1 inch pieces

3T coconut oil- divided, plus a little to grease pans

1t Salt

1t Pepper

1 can coconut milk

2T red Thai curry paste

1t fish sauce

32oz broth (chicken or veggie)

6-10 basil leaves-cut into thin slices

 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Put all your cut up veggies in a large bowl.  Drizzle with 1T coconut oil and mix to coat.

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3. Spread veggies in a single layer on baking sheets greased with coconut oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in oven for 30 minutes, turning once to avoid burning.

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4.  While the veggies are roasting, heat  1T coconut oil in a large skillet.  Add chicken and saute until cooked through and no longer pink.

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5.  Push the chicken to the side of the skillet, add remaining 1T coconut oil to empty spot on skillet.  Add red curry paste to oil and saute until fragrant- about 30 seconds.

6.  Mix up the chicken and curry paste in the skillet and then add the can of coconut milk and fish sauce.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.

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6.  The veggies should be done now, pull them out of the oven.   Put them in a big stock pot along with the broth.

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7.  Add chicken mixture to veggies and broth.  Simmer for 10 minutes or so, until everything thickens up.   Serve sprinkled with fresh basil.