bacon-wrapped chicken thighs

Okay…so who doesn’t love pretty much anything bacon-wrapped?!  If you don’t then we probably aren’t friends and never will be…and you should stop reading this blog right now!  (Just kidding (not really)  Anyhoo…we are def bacon lovers over here.   Having said that…I am not a huge fan or promoter of eating crappy quality bacon.  Perhaps a bacon snob of sorts!  I fully admit it!  Hehe!!!  Trust me though…once you do away with the low-grade grocery store variety…you will taste and notice such a HUGE difference.

If you are able to make the change to bacon that is sourced from a local farm near you….DO IT!!!  This is what we do.  Sure it may cost a little bit more…or take a little more digging around to find a high-quality standard…but in our opinion it matters.  Worth every penny!!!  Check out the ‘Eat Wild‘ site for a farm near YOU!  Your source for safe, healthy, natural and nutritious grass-fed beef, lamb, goats, bison, poultry, pork, dairy and other wild edibles.  If you frequent farmer’s markets, this is also a great opportunity to pick up some delicious swine.  Check out Evergreen Brick Works and the St. Lawrence Market if you are in the Toronto area.  We also buy some of our meat from The Healthy Butcher, Rowe Farms, Cumbrae’sFresh From the Farm and occasionally Fiesta Farms.

Happy bacon shopping!!!  If you haven’t yet tried wild boar bacon…I highly recommend you do!!!  OINK…OINK…

bacon-wrapped chicken thighs
5.0 from 5 reviews
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Recipe type: appetizer, main
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • coconut/olive oil – a couple splashes (I eyeballed it!)
  • balsamic vinegar (good quality) – several splashes (again…I eyeballed it!!)
  • 9-12 chicken thighs or you could use 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 1 large onion – chopped
  • 6-8 cloves garlic – minced/crushed
  • 1 package of white mushrooms (approx. 10-12) – chopped
  • bacon slices – quantity is dependent on number of chicken pieces used
  • sea salt and ground pepper – to taste
Instructions
  1. prepare the above ingredients and place everything into a large glass mixing bowl
  2. then add chicken thighs into the mix as well
  3. in the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  4. use your hands to combine and ‘massage’ the mixture into the chicken pieces
  5. one-by-one, remove chicken pieces from the bowl and wrap with a slice of bacon (I stretch the slice of bacon a little bit before doing so, to make it wrap more easily around the poultry)
  6. place the bacon-wrapped chicken thighs in a single layer, in an oven-proof dish (Corningware) or on a foil-lined baking sheet
  7. before placing in the oven, top with any of the extra marinade mixture that may be left behind in the bowl
  8. bake for approx. 45-60 minutes, until juices run clear and bacon is cooked (watch them, as you don’t want to overcook/dry-out)
  9. broil for an additional 3-5 minutes if you want the outside crispy (optional)
  10. remove, set aside and serve
  11. enjoy!
Notes

• The combination of the crispy bacon, onions and mushrooms is delightful!!!

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baked chicken thighs – 3 ways!

Chicken thighs…marinated three ways to suit your fancy.  Up until a few weeks ago, I wasn’t even sure if I really cared for good ol’ thighs to be honest with you, as I had never really had them before.  This may be somewhat surprising, but I had previously just overlooked their goodness.  Who knows why?  Basically, the inaugural recipe of such began when I was at the butcher shop, unable to find some chicken breasts for dins one evening.  Sitting lonely, neighbouring the section which once sat the breasts, were some boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  Without much thought, I snagged them and was on my way.

With this new (to me) poultry part in my possession, I decided to get a wee bit creative and whip up some simple, yet flavourful marinades to soak these bad boys in.  I had 12 chicken pieces in total…and decided to separate them equally into three Ziplock bags, containing different marinades.  Funny enough, as it turned out, the night I intended on baking them, I got tied up and just turned to having leftovers that night.  Regardless, they were all ready to go (minus the actually cooking process), so the chicken thighs were fortunate to be able to sit, immerse in the liquid concoctions overnight in the fridge.

Fast forward through the magical world of the www.  Verdict…2 thumbs up!  They turned out super moist and tender, totally filled with an abundance of juicy flavour.  They def get additional bonus points, if you are on a budget, as chicken thighs are a very affordable option.  Similar to that of their white meat counterpart, they can either come with the bone-in or boneless…and also with skin-on or skinless.  The choice here is ultimately yours…personal preference I suppose.  I think I want to try boneless chicken thighs, with the skin-on next time!  Lastly, I must also mention that these delicious chunks of meat serve as terrific leftovers.  I found myself quickly grabbing a couple thighs in the morning for breakfast, as I was literally darting out the door for work.  A super sweet option for those who are often on the go!

Marination is the process of soaking foods in a seasoned, often acidic, liquid before cooking. The origins of the word allude to the use of brine (aqua marina) in the pickling process, which led to the technique of adding flavor by immersion in liquid. The liquid in question, the ‘marinade’, can be acidic with ingredients such as vinegarlemon juice, or wine or enzymatic (made with ingredients such as pineapple or papaya.)[1] Along with these liquids, a marinade often contains oils, herbs, and spices to further flavor the food items.

It is commonly used to flavor foods and to tenderize tougher cuts of meat.[2] The process may last seconds or days. Different marinades are used in different cuisines. For example, in Indian cuisine the marinade is usually prepared with a mixture of spices. (Source: Wikipedia)

Note:  I will try to be as accurate as possible, but not gonna lie – mostly eyeballed it, test-tested and hoped for the best when it came to the amounts of olive oil and balsamic that I put in!!!  I will make these again in the next week or two, and re-jig the recipe to include the exact measurements for y’all.

Marinades (12 chicken thighs total – each marinade was made for 4 chicken thigh pieces each.  You may want to adjust, depending on your quantity)

Balsamic

  • coconut/olive oil – generous amount to coat
  • balsamic vinegar (equal parts oil and vinegar)
  • 3 shallots – finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves – crushed
  • 2 tbsp grainy mustard – good quality
  • coarse sea salt and ground pepper

Lemon

  • coconut/olive oil – generous amount to coat
  • 1.5 lemons – squeezed
  • 3 tbsp Italian seasoned herb mix (dried basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, black pepper)
  • 3 garlic cloves – crushed
  • coarse sea salt and ground pepper

Smoky

  • coconut/olive oil – generous amount to coat
  • 2 limes – juice squeezed
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 shallots or small white onion- finely sliced
  • handful of fresh cilantro – finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground chipotle
  • 2.5 tsp of chili powder
  • coarse sea salt and ground pepper

Prep

  • for each individual marinade – measure and pour all ingredients into a large Ziploc bag
  • add chicken thighs into the bag and zip closed
  • use your hands to shake and ‘massage’ the marinade mixture into the chicken pieces
  • allow to soak and absorb all the flavours for at least 2 + hours (I let marinade for 24 hours – the longer, the better)
  • when ready, preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • remove chicken thighs from bag, and place in a single layer, in an oven-proof dish (Corningware), covering with the liquid marinade
  • bake for approx. 30-45 minutes, until juices run clear (watch them, as you don’t want to overcook/dry-out)
  • broil for an additional 3-5 minutes if you want the outside crispy (optional)
  • remove, set aside and serve
  • enjoy!

bacon crusted chicken strips

Okay…well this is how my brain works.  Home from the gym and bum is fully parked on the couch.  ’The Duster’ utters the classic line…’what do you want for dinner?’  I responded….’hmm let’s see!?!’  We could make those ‘breaded chicken strips!?’  Ya…that’s a possibility…

I peeled myself off the couch to take a peakeroo in fridge to see what else we could throw in the mix.  With a slight notion of something ‘shake and bake(ish)’ floating through my mind…the pound of bacon jumped out at me and gave me the following idea!  Why not take a similar version of our original ‘breaded chicken strips’ and make ‘em extra fancy schmancy by grinding up some farm fresh pork bacon in there.  What is not to love, right?  I thought the flavour of the chicken-bacon combo would be to die for…and I was right (although my husband was someone reluctant to trying this idea in the beginning).  To be honest, I was a little skeptical myself.  I wondered if the mixture would stick properly and fry up to a nice and palatable consistency.  Everything worked out fabulously in the end.  This recipe is a definite keeper for us.  It will serve as a yummy treat every once in a while.

bacon crusted chicken strips
5.0 from 1 reviews
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Recipe type: main, appetizer
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 lb bacon (good quality)
  • 2 chicken breasts – flattened and sliced into strips
  • a few shakes (sorry, don’t remember exact amount) almond flour
  • 1-2 eggs – whisked (for dipping)
  • assorted spices (optional)
  • sea salt and ground pepper
Instructions
  1. start by lining 1 or 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil
  2. place bacon strips by laying them out flat on the sheet(s)
  3. put in oven (separately) and cook at 325 degrees, until desired crispiness (do not overcook)
  4. remove from pan, and set aside to cool
  5. when cooled, put strips of bacon in a ‘magic bullet’ style device and grind
  6. pour this mixture into a separate bowl
  7. add in some almond flour and desired spices (optional) to create the ‘crust’ mixture
  8. meanwhile, flatten chicken breast, using a meat mallet
  9. cut chicken breasts into even(ish) strips
  10. re-add some leftover bacon fat back into a frying pan and heat on medium
  11. take each chicken strip and dip in in egg and roll is ‘crust’ mixture, making sure they are fully coated
  12. arrange in the frying pan and cook for approx. 3 minutes or so on each side (depending on thickness)
  13. using tongs, flip when ready and repeat on the other side (keep a close eye, as you do not want to overcook them)
  14. served with a side garden salad and sliced avocado
  15. dip in homemade sauces or mayo for added pizzazz
  16. enjoy!
Notes

• if you do not wish to use bacon in your recipe, follow the above steps while just omitting this ingredient and adding in a little extra almond flour to create the ‘breaded’ effect
• play around with different spices such as, cumin, paprika, cayenne, cajun etc
• also, feel free to fry them in a pan, using coconut oil, as an alternative

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homemade chicken wings

If you take a wee looksy back at my post from a few days ago, you will find the wild boar bacon wrapped Cajun sweet potato wedges.  Quite the mouthful eh?  That’s just the way some recipes are meant to roll! Perhaps the longest name for a recipe ever! Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious(ish). This meal was extremely well-rounded! Basically, a feast of sorts! As a yummy side dish, we had a nice serving of the cabage, carrot and cucumber slaw.  Finally, to round out this delicious meal…we decided to chef up our own homemade chicken wings.

I love wings…and not sure why this was my first time attempting them.  Whenever I crave to have them, I suppose it is usually when we are out and about, therefore ordering up restaurant styles.  These were a huge hit with us.  We bought 2 pounds of wings from Rowe Farms to do up…and upon fully stripping the meat off the last bone, we were left wishing we had bought more!

Not too much more needs to be said about these wings, except you really need to give them a go.  Quick, simple and super flavourful.  Although all sorts of versions can be created here, we stuck to ‘dry rub’ ones.  We divided the wings onto 2 baking pans and did half Cajun flavoured and the other half mixed herb.  With minimal ingredients needed, get to it and whip some up for your family this weekend.  Warning…there may be a fight over who gets the last one! Mmmmmm…finger lickin’ good~

homemade chicken wings
5.0 from 1 reviews
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Recipe type: appetizer, main
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 2 + pounds wings
  • olive or coconut oil
  • desired spice mixtures (see below for what we used)
  • spicy Cajun mix – ground cayenne pepper, paprika, chili flakes, chipotle, onion powder, garlic, black pepper, salt (Rowe farms also sells an amazing Cajun spice that is already pre-mixed for you!)
  • mixed herbs – dried rosemary, basil, marjoram, parsley, oregano, thyme and black pepper (note: for both create spice/herb mixes using equal-ish parts of each)
Instructions
  1. line your baking sheet with tin foil
  2. brush with olive/coconut oil, using a silicone brush
  3. preheat oven to approx. 325-350 degrees
  4. take desired spices/herbs and mix them up in a small bowl
  5. pour all the wings into a larger bowl and drizzle with some olive or coconut oil (we used 2 separate medium-sized bowls here)
  6. next, toss in your spice mix
  7. with clean hands, get in there and make sure that all the wings are coated with the seasoning
  8. finally arrange the wings on your baking sheet
  9. bake in oven for approx. 30-40 minutes, turning them with tongs mid-way through the process (you can also sprinkle a little more seasoning on near the end)
  10. note – keep and eye on them for about the last 10 minutes…you may also broil at this point if you wish for an extra crispy finish
  11. enjoy!
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triple love salad

I was at work, on my break, when I received a text from our friend Stew.  No words…just a pic of his lunch.  I responded with “mmmmm…looks yummy, what is in the salad?”  He replied…”bacon, garlic, tomato, red onion, olive oil, balsamic and salt/pepper.  So good!”  I continued on the conversation, by declaring, “oh my!  you are making me hungry!”  Then the bell rang.  Break time was over.  The afternoon continued on…In the meantime, I honestly couldn’t get the image of this dish out of my head.  What a fab combo of ingredients, I thought.  In there, were 3 of my top 10, all-time fav foods…bacon, avocado and roasted garlic.  Triple love…hence the name.  End of the day came, and I text-ed back once again…”I am fully making a version of your salad tonight!”

Btw…I love it when my friends send me pics of their paleo(ish) meals.  Kinda nerdy you might say…I say nothing short of wicked!  I get so happy when I see people enjoyin’ and lovin’ amazing food!!!  Sooooo…on my way home from work, I decided to make a pit stop at the market near our house to pick up a few of the ingredients I didn’t already have in the kitchen.  I was good to go with most of it…which was a bonus!  I stuck to to most of his recipe, but decided to switch it up a tiny bit, based on things that I needed to use up…plus some leftovers aka…shredded chicken from the night before.  Fully inspired by Stew’s salad, while adding a few things and subtracting a couple…this is the concoction that I came up with.

triple love salad
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Recipe type: appetizer, side
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • shredded chicken (leftover from whole cajun chicken the night before. Also see, dutch oven chicken)
  • bacon – cooked and torn into bits (use as much as you desire here)
  • 2 avocado – diced (chunky)
  • 1/2 red onion – thinly chopped
  • tomato medley – quartered (one container contains various types)
  • roasted garlic cloves – I did these on the same pan as the bacon!
  • olive oil
  • 1 lemon and 1 lime – freshly squeezed juice
  • sea salt and ground pepper
  • fresh cilantro – chopped
Instructions
  1. arrange slices of bacon on a tin foil-covered baking sheet and cook for 25-30 mins at 375 heat – keep an eye on it, as thickness of the bacon can vary cooking time
  2. when cooked, set aside to cool
  3. in the meantime, quarter the tomatoes, thinly chop the red onion, and peel and dice the avocado
  4. put all of these ingredients into a large salad bowl
  5. next, tear up the bacon slices into and shred the chicken into pieces
  6. then, add the protein into the mix
  7. drizzle with lots of olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice
  8. sprinkle with sea salt and group pepper
  9. garnish with freshly chopped cilantro
  10. use tongs to mix thoroughly
  11. plate and enjoy!
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Modifications:

  • I omitted using balsamic vinegar, because I left it at work! Lol!!!
  • Instead, I added in freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice (wanted to use them up!)
  • Also, added in some chicken, because I had made a whole chicken the night before.
  • Finally, I added in some fresh cilantro, just because I LOVE it so much!  (I know Stew definitely
  • wouldn’t as he is NOT a cilantro fan!!!)

I totally encourage you to try this one!  It is so fresh, easy and a solid addition to our weekly repetoire… that is forsure!!!  Devour with love…

coconut curry chicken soup

This past week, I was feeling a little bit under the weather.  My husband happened to be over at his parents and ended up staying for dins.  When I got in from work…I arrived home to such a wonderful surprise!  I came home to a big container of homemade soup.  Seriously…who doesn’t love soup?!?  I could eat it any day of the week, but so comforting if you aren’t 100 % or if it is chilly. Now…this s not just any soup, but this is a super delicious number created by Joannie!!!  My momsie-in-law had whipped this up the evening before and kindly sent some home with Dusty. We are so fortunate to experience their cooking regularly!  All the ladies over there are so incredible in the kitchen.  Dusty lapped this up in ‘three shakes of a monkeys tail’…and to be honest, I wasn’t far behind.

coconut curry chicken soup
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Recipe type: appetizer, main
Serves: many
Ingredients
  • whole chicken – roasted and shredded (keep the juices for broth/flavour)
  • additional container of organic chicken stock (minimal added ingredients)
  • coconut/olive oil (for cooking veggies)
  • celery, onions, carrots and sweet potatoes – all chopped (divide ratio as you wish)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 lime -squeezed, plus some zest
  • 1 tsp Sambal Oelek (chili paste)
  • 3 tsp curry paste
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • splash of hoisin sauce – *ISH (optional)
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • garnish with fresh coriander
Instructions
  1. in a roasting pan cook whole chicken and keep the juices for broth (you may want to use a food thermometer for accurate cooking time, depending on size of chicken)
  2. when finished, remove all chicken, shred and re-add it to the leftover juices
  3. in a separate pan cook/saute – celery, onions, carrots and sweet potatoes (in coconut of olive oil)
  4. cook and ‘sweat’ the vegetables on low heat
  5. when cooked, add them back in with the chicken stock
  6. next, add in additional container of store-bought chicken stock to the pot
  7. open can of diced tomatoes and coconut milk and add in as well
  8. squeeze in the fresh juice of the lime, along with some zest
  9. spoon in chili and curry paste and stir thoroughly
  10. add in a splash or two of hoisin sauce (optional)
  11. finally, measure and add all dry spices
  12. cook on low heat and let simmer (the longer the better)
  13. if soup is too thick, feel free to add in some more stock or water to the pot, if needed
  14. divide into bowls
  15. garnish with fresh coriander
  16. enjoy!
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