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My husband is a HUGE pickle fan and has been on a roll with pickling lately. He started just last month and we’ve already eaten our way through jar after jar of deliciousness. But he really topped himself this week with these amazing sesame ginger pickles. They are super fresh and crunchy and packed with flavor! We served them as an appetizer to our favorite Paleo Chicken Pad Thai. We almost ate an entire jar each (and some the next night too!). This is a super simple recipe, great for beginning picklers.

sesame ginger pickles 01

Sesame Ginger Pickles
via The Joy of Pickling

1 lb Asian or pickling cucumbers (about 3/4 inches in diameter)
1 teaspoon pickling salt
1 scallion, cut into 1 inch lengths then slivered
1-inch piece fresh ginger slivered
1 to 2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and slivered
3 tbs rice vinegar
5 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil

Halve the cucmbers lengthwise and then cut them into 1-inch long pieces. In a bowl, toss the cut cucumbers with the salt. Let them stand at room temperature one hour. Drain the cucumbers and return them to the bowl. Mix them with the scallion, ginger and jalapeños. In another bowl, stir together the vinegar, soy sauce, and oil, and pour the mixture over the cucumbers. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (he transferred them to mason jars here). Let the pickles stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, or in the fridge for 24 hours, turning the cucumbers occasionally. The pickles will keep in the fridge for about a week (day 3 today, and they’re still delicious and crunchy!)

sesame ginger pickles 03

(ps) this is how much my husband loves pickles…. meet Mr. Pickle:

mr pickle

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I love this twist on a typical corn chowder! So much healthier too! With coconut milk instead of your traditional heavy cream, this soup has a satisfying heartiness without all the extra heaviness. And with a little chili pepper, it has just the right amount of kick. Might even toss in a bit of chicken next time for some extra protein. This is an awesome base for so many great additions, but is definitely delicious all on it’s own!

thai corn chowder

Thai Inspired Corn Chowder
via the kitchn

1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 Thai chili pepper, finely chopped, optional
3 tablespoons finely grated lemongrass
4 cups corn kernels (frozen or fresh from 4 corn cobs)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
13.5 oz can coconut milk (1 2/3 cup)
Olive oil
Salt to taste
Roughly chopped cilantro and lime wedges, for serving

Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and place over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and a pinch of salt. Sauté until translucent. Stir in the potatoes, chili pepper, lemongrass, and a pinch of salt. Add a splash of broth, cover, and cook until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the lid, stir in the corn and cook another two minutes. Add the remaining broth and bring to a simmer, then remove from heat. Stir in the coconut milk. Serve warm, garnished with cilantro and lime.

So, so delicious and so easy! This was the perfect side to a bit of chicken this week. I had a few radishes in the fridge leftover from the weekend that I rolled in olive oil & salt and tossed on the pan too. I almost didn’t touch the chicken, this veggie mix was awesome. And the vinegary parsley oil paired with each so perfectly. I love an easy veggie side that’s really just a few minutes in the oven – minimal prep is my fave.

roasted acorn squash with carmelized shallots

Roasted Acorn Squash & Caramelized Shallots with Parsley Oil
via with food and love

2 large acorn squash
6 – 8 large shallots
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt & more for finishing
pinch ground pepper

Preheat the over to 400 degrees and line a baking tray with parchment paper (or foil). Half the squash & scoop out the seeds, then quarter the squash so you have 8 pieces. Trim the ends of the shallots and peel the thinnest outer layer off. Arrange the squash (with one of the cut edges down) and shallots together on the baking tray, rub them gently with a little olive oil and pinch of sea salt. Roast for 15 minutes, the edges that are down should be golden brown. Flip the squash to the other cut edge and flip the shallots, roast for another 15-20 minutes. The shallots should be beautifully caramelized and the squash should have brown edges and soft centers, if they need a little more cooking, lower the heat to 350 and continue cooking until satisfied. As the squash and shallots are cooking you can prepare your parsley glaze. In a small mixing bowl combine the chopped parsley, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and pepper. When the squash is done cooking immediately rub the mixture all over each piece and serve warm!

One of the things I did over the holidays was make stock. Lots and lots of stock. Which led to many soups and stews over the past few weeks. We made a lot of old favorites (like split pea and turkey noodle), and a few new ones! This beef noodle stew is a rich hearty classic that I’d been craving for a while. There’s just something about a rich beefy stew when it’s freezing outside – warms and fills you up in the most satisfying way.

beef noodle stew

Beef Stew with Noodles
via martha stewart

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 medium onion, sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups beef, turkey or chicken broth
1/2 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
2 cups egg noodles
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over high. Add beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook until seared and brown, about 6 minutes. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion just begins to soften (reducing heat if necessary), about 3-5 minutes. Stir in flour until beef and onion are coated and cook 1 to 2 minutes (careful not to burn). Add broth and 3 cups water, stirring and scraping up browned bits. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until beef is tender, about 25 minutes. Add carrots and potatoes and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add noodles and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, stir in parsley and vinegar.

Slightly spicy, perfectly lemony delicious roasted chicken is what this should be called. I made this on a Sunday night, but there was so little prep, it could be easily managed after work one night. I served it with my favorite risotto (that I haven’t made in 3 years!! due to an inability to track down escarole). This wonderfully flavored chicken was the perfect balance to the warm, creamy side dish. It has just the right about of bite and tang.

roasted chicken with lemon and oregano

Roasted Chicken Thighs With Lemon And Oregano
via bon appetit

1 lemon
4 large or 8 small skin-on, boneless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3 sprigs oregano
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/2 garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 425°. Very thinly slice half of lemon; discard any seeds. Cut remaining lemon half into 2 wedges. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
Coat a large room-temperature skillet with 1 teaspoon oil. Add chicken, skin side down. Place skillet over medium heat and cook, letting skin render and brown, and pouring off excess fat to maintain a thin coating in pan, until chicken is cooked halfway through, about 10 minutes.
Scatter half of lemon slices over chicken and half on bottom of skillet (the slices on top of the chicken will soften; those in the skillet will caramelize). Transfer skillet to oven, leaving chicken skin side down. Roast until chicken is cooked through, skin is crisp, and lemon slices on bottom of skillet are caramelized, 6-8 minutes.
Transfer chicken pieces, skin side up, and caramelized lemon slices from bottom of skillet to a warm platter. (Leave softened lemon slices in the skillet.) Return skillet to medium heat. Add oregano sprigs, shallot, garlic, and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Remove skillet from heat. Add wine; cook over medium heat until reduced by half, 1-2 minutes. Add broth; cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. Squeeze 1 lemon wedge over and season sauce with salt, pepper, and juice from remaining lemon wedge, if desired. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons oil. Return chicken to skillet, skin side up, to rewarm. Serve topped with caramelized lemon slices.

So before I dive into the ten thousand-ish soups and stews I made this season, we had a nice break last month from the comfort food with this light, bright, fresh dish. It feels perfect for January actually. A breath of fresh air after all that holiday eating and leftovers and meals made from leftovers. I cooked the rice the night before while something else was stewing, which made this super quick and perfect for a weeknight too.

chicken green bean stir fry with basil cream sauce

Chicken & Green Bean Stir-Fry with Basil-Sour Cream Sauce
via the kitchn

1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil
1 tablespoon honey
12 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast (about 1 large or 2 small breasts), cut into 1/4-inch thick strips
Salt and pepper
Sunflower or other high heat oil
12 ounces green beans, ends trimmed
1/2 bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch thick strips
2 cups cooked white or brown rice, for serving

Combine the sour cream, basil, and honey in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place a wok or large skillet over high heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook until it just begins to brown, about 3 minutes, stirring a couple times to evenly cook. Add the green beans and bell pepper and cook another 3 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are crisp-tender.
Serve over rice and drizzled with the basil sour cream.

This meal is SO quick, especially with a little prep the night before. We cooked the rice the evening prior, and mixed it up while the chicken was cooking and voila! A 15 min dinner. We did only marinate the chicken for the minimum 10 minutes, and it was absolutely delicious, but next time I’m going to try marinating it overnight to see if we get a little more kick of out of the jalapeños (and we will definitely be making this again soon!).

honey jalapeno chicken avocado cilantro lime rice
Honey Jalapeño Chicken
via bookpage

¼ cup honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons kosher salt
¾ teaspoon black pepper
3 pounds chicken tenders
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Sour cream for serving

Preheat the grill and oil the grill rack.Whisk together the honey, soy sauce, oil, garlic, jalapeños, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Toss the chicken in the marinade and let stand for at least 10 minutes. Grill the chicken until well browned and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Serve the chicken sprinkled with the cilantro and with a dollop of sour cream on the plate.

Avocado Cilantro Lime Rice
via cooking classy

4 – 5 cups cooked brown (preferably day old)
2 medium, ripe avocados
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 small clove garlic, minced (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Mash avocados in a large mixing bowl. Stir in lime juice, cilantro, cumin and garlic, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in warm cooked rice and serve warm.