Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Honey Garlic Chicken

I'm back! The past few weeks have put being a Balebusta to the test (even more than an oven without any temperature controls ever had!). I prepared my first Passover, a feat in and of itself. Twelve full holiday meals, only three doubles on the menu (too good not to repeat right away, posts coming soon!) and individual desserts geared toward each meal. Yup, I did that! Oh and did I mention that I did that after packing up my entire apartment and moving five hours away from home in the span of two weeks? At first I felt crazy, tired and exhausted beyond belief, now I feel like I'm earning my Superhero Balebusta title every minute! Couldn't have done it without M, basically the most super awesome guy in the universe! We decided to do this crazy life changing adventure together and as he drove the U-Haul five hours across the highway, I had plenty of menu planning time (which meant my cookbooks and printed e-mails from an awesome friend scattered throughout the front seat while I furiously wrote out notes and grocery lists).

One of the main things I took into consideration while menu planning (while also taking into account Passover restrictions and guides) was the availability of food items and the time necessary to prepare each meal. Basically cooking for Passover entails not using any wheat, rye, oats, barely or spelt, as well as rice, legumes or beans. Since I started keeping kosher and celebrating Passover, I've only ever gone to other people's houses for meals, I've never really had to prepare anything on my own. I was slightly worried that we'd arrive and go grocery shopping three days before the holiday to find all the kosher for passover ingredients and substitutions wiped off of store shelves. Luckily enough, the stores were still stocked 72 hours before we were set to sit down for our first meal! After two days of unpacking and a return trip home to pick up the car, we headed out to the grocery store and faced the mobs.

I knew it would be incredibly expensive and unintelligent to rely on items specifically marked for Passover three days before the holiday when most people start shopping weeks ahead of time. I opted to go for a menu that was focused on items always readily available (vegetables, fruits, chicken, ground beef, fish). Seeing as how Passover is over now and recipes pertaining to it are great when you can't have any flour or legumes but a little lacking when you can, I thought I'd post a chicken recipe that came out great!

It has all the features that make it a winner in my book; the ingredients are all pretty typical items that can be found in your pantry and fridge, it doesn't take very long to prep at all and it involves using one measuring cup and measuring utensils so clean up is basically non-existent! It's a great option for a quick weekday dinner and it can definitely hold it's own for a holiday or dinner party as well! It's a variation on a recipe in my current favorite cookbook Netivot HaTorah's "Gatherings" You don't have to cook kosher to appreciate how incredible this cookbook is, from the peanut butter mousse cake, avocado chicken salad and so on, it's a staple in my kitchen!!


Honey Garlic Chicken (my own variation of "Gatherings" Netivot HaTorah, page 141 'Honey-Garlic Wings')

2 Chicken thighs
1 teaspoon of pepper
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon of chicken soup base

1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce (for Passover I used a "Stir Fry" Sauce)
1/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons of minced garlic

Place the chicken thighs in an oven safe dish
Pour the half cup of water into the dish
Sprinkle the chicken soup base in the dish around the chicken (I usually bake my chicken using this water/chicken soup base method. I find that it leaves the chicken very tender and moist)
In a small bowl combine the garlic powder and pepper
Sprinkle the garlic powder mix over the chicken and rub in
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 375 degrees F

*Here's a super helpful hint that I learned from Gatherings, "When preparing poultry that has sugar in the sauce, cook the chicken first and then add the sauce and continue cooking" (page 141).

In a small bowl combine the honey, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar and minced garlic
Pour over the chicken once removed from the oven
Return dish to the oven and bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, turn it over and bake for an additional 15 minutes

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled and initially was meant to be used over chicken wings! The possibilities for the sauce alone are unending! Enjoy!!


P.S. I couldn't resist, here's a link to the cookbook if you want to take a look!
http://www.feldheim.com/authors/netivot-hatorah-day-school/gatherings.html

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