There was a point this week where I wondered if this week would ever end. It seems like it has been one long test of my patience and fortitude. Why you ask? Let’s just say that I am the parent of a 17 year old son. Yep, that pretty much explains it. ‘Nuff said, right?
This week did have its brief moments of wonder too. Moments when I looked at the man-boy creature in front of me and wondered what happened to my sweet little boy and where this demon spawn suddenly came from. I found myself doing the unthinkable as a parent and looking forward to that moment when I will be an empty nester, then immediately feeling guilty — what kind of horrible mother am I? Then the demon spawn reemerges and I am counting down the days until he turns 18 (53!) and I can legally kick his butt to the curb.
I guess no one ever said parenting is easy, right? That must be why there are endless rows of books on parenting advice filling the shelves at Powells. Luckily, I can immerse myself in the refuge of my kitchen where creating a wonderful meal is not so complicated as raising a child. This week I present to you my easy Pan-Roasted Orange Chicken with a side of Parsleyed Potatoes and Green Beans.
Pan-Roasted Orange Chicken
- 1 orange
- 4 chicken thighs — with skin and bone-in
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- pinch (1/4 tsp) coarse sea salt
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- 1 sprig rosemary, chopped
Preheat oven to 450.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat, coated with nonstick olive oil cooking spray.
Trim the ends of the orange off and slice the orange into rounds then cut in half to create “half-moons”. Gently separate the skin from each chicken thigh, creating a sort of pocket. Tuck 2 orange half-moons into each pocket.
Sear the chicken thighs, orange side down, in the pan until golden brown. Turn and sear the other side.
While the chicken thighs are searing, prepare your sauce by whisking together the olive oil, sea salt, fennel seed and rosemary. Take 2 of the orange pieces and squeeze tightly in your palm, letting the juice run out into the oil mixture but retaining the pulp and seeds in your hand. Discard the orange. Whisk the mixture together.
Layer the remaining orange pieces across the bottom of a small baking dish. Remove the seared chicken thighs from the pan and lay them on top of the oranges. Drizzle the oil – orange juice mixture over the top of the chicken thighs. Cover the dish and bake for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove the orange segments from under the chicken skin before serving.
Serving Size: Makes 4 servings
Nutritional Information: Calories 203.4, Total Fat 13.8g, Cholesterol 57.7mg, Sodium 160.4mg, Total Carbs 3.1g, Dietary Fiber 0.8g, Protein 16.3g
Parseleyed Potatoes and Green Beans
- 10.5 oz. (300g) yukon gold potatoes, cubed
- 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut in half
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Pinch (1/4 tsp) sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Use the same pan and fat drippings that you seared my Pan Roasted Orange Chicken in. Heat over medium heat. Add the potatoes, green beans, garlic, salt and pepper and saute until the potatoes are tender. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley. Serve immediately.
Serving Size: Makes 2 servings
Nutritional Information: Calories 144.9, Total Fat 0.1g, Cholesterol 0.0mg, Sodium 230.1mg, Total Carbs 36.4g, Dietary Fiber 7.0g, Protein 6.4g
(Note that the calorie and fat content is lower here because it’s cooked in the fat from the seared chicken thighs which is already accounted for in the nutritional value of the Pan Roasted Orange Chicken. If you prepare this separately, I recommend using 1 tbsp of olive oil or butter as base for the saute mixture. In that case you would need to adjust the nutritional values up accordingly.)
And last but not least, here’s my tip of the week: go big and go home. Yes, you read that right. I have seen so many people — and been guilty of this myself in my past — start a diet by going big. That is, I would go from being a self-indulgent, couch potato to eating rabbit food and working out 6 days/week literally over night. Not only is this not healthy, but it’s not sustainable. It’s too big of a shock on your body, and you’re not giving yourself enough time to adopt new healthy habits. Small steps can lead to big rewards. So instead of suddenly hitting the gym for an hour a day, 6 days per week, start by just exercising 5 minutes a day. For example, when you’re watching TV at night, get up and walk around or march in place during the commercials. Then make it a goal to increase your exercise time by 10% each week — when you start at 5 minutes that’s just 30 seconds! You might be starting small, but you are getting your body used to physical movement and developing new habits at the same time.