January 6, 2009

Aren't library fines really just non-taxable charitable donations?

That's my story and I am sticking to it. I have become a horrible borrower lately. In a quest to become more financially responsible, I started using the library. The results? Not even close to the realm of "saving" or "penny-pinching". Yikes.

Anyway, awhile back I read something where a popular blogger totally dissed the whole "posting a recipe thing". I thought was quite snobbish of her to say in a such a public forum, as if her content is so much better and higher quality. Furthermore, I thought it was sad. Some of my very favorite recipes that get frequent rotation in our kitchen came from the lowly blog.

Recently, Monkey posted a scrumptious Balsamic Chicken Squash bake thingie. I made a few changes (am I the only one who cannot resist making some sort of change to virtually every recipe I touch?) Anyway, it was a White People Food recipe that she got from MLE. Monkey sprinkled some of her Desi Magic on it and Bam! We are hooked. The best part is that I add the hot sauce to individual servings to make it kid-friendly (Arun has turned 3, which means his taste buds are so boring now. But Anjali? Totally eats this stuff up.)

I made this dish for Christmas but deleted the chicken so that it was more of a side dish. Let me tell you, everyone raved about it and wanted a copy of the recipe. It will definitely be a part of our future Christmas Menus - and I will add it to the Thanksgiving menu as well. And yes, I did re-type the recipe because I am a Type-A Anal-Retentive Bitch when it comes to recipes. Monkey was kind enough to acknowledge that I am, indeed, a Type A Anal-Retentive Bitch and was not bothered in the least by my re-typing her recipe. Besides, I needed to re-type it so that I could store it in my PDA (yes, you read that correctly - I store recipes in my PDA. Then, they are always available when I am at the grocery store shopping for ingredients. Snap!)

This recipe is gold, Jerry! GOLD.

Monkey's Chicken, Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Bake Thingie

2 cups chopped butternut squash (approx. 1/2 inch cubes)
2 cups sweet potatos (approx. 1 inch cubes)
1 whole chicken breast, cubed (approx 1 lb or so)
1 medium onion. Finely chopped.
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1/4 to 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 - 1 cup Italian cheese mix, shredded
1 tbsp Thyme. (Monkey also thinks you could substitute other White People Herbs (WPH) such as rosemary, sage, savoury, basil or tarragon for this. I agree! I just haven't tried it yet.)
1 tsp kosher salt
regular Salt/Pepper (to taste? I suck with measurements of pepper or salt. I sprinkle and grind until it tastes good)
Sriracha sauce (Monkey also uses Togarashi or that even spicier Rooster Sauce.)
Oil (Canola, Corn or Olive) and Butter

1. Heat oven to 375. Dump butternut squash and sweet potatoe cubes in glass baking dish, sprinkle with the kosher salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of oil. Let them bake while you get busy on the stovetop.

2. Heat oil on a non-stick skillet on range over medium or medium high heat.When oil is heated, add onion, let saute for a minute or two. Add garlic. Saute, making sure that it doesn’t burn but always stays a light brown. Decrease heat if it’s cooking too quickly.

3. When onion and garlic look lightly browned, add chicken and sautee further. Season lightly with a bit of salt and pepper (or you can save that step for when you dump it in with the butternut squash) and dump your thyme or WPH of choice in. Adjust heat as necessary to keep the onion/garlic from burning but allowing the chicken to cook. Medium should be okay-the chicken will release its juices and thus keep the onion/garlic from burning (they’ll soften further in the juices released instead).

4. Cook chicken through. I like to chop it up with the spatula as a I cook, but that is because I hate hunks of chicken - feel free to leave "as is" if you prefer bigger chunks. Open oven and toss the onion, garlic and chicken in the dish with the butternut squash. Sprinkle with a bit of balsamic vinegar (1-2 tbsp). Don’t put too much of the balsamic vinegar in right now. If you want it to cook more quickly, increase the heat too 400. Keep a close eye on it!

5. In the same non-stick skillet, melt a pat to a teaspoon of butter on low and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar. Simmer it and allow to reduce. When reduced, or to the consistency you like, open oven and spoon over the bake. Add the cheese. Mix thoroughly.

6. The bake is done when you can slide your fork through the squash.

7. For individual portions, add the hot sauce to taste. This is really useful for families with small children! Eat up!


Anonymous said...

1. I love when people post recipes on their blogs. I am a recipe whore. I also was in the middle of posting a recipe on my own blog when I read this post, so I'm glad to hear you agree.

2. I've been meaning to try Monkey's Balsamic Squash Bake (sans chicken), but haven't gotten around to it yet. Perhaps next week.

3. I store my recipes in a separate email folder. (Don't own a PDA.)

4. I heart random Seinfeld quotes.

meno said...

I too have gotten some of my favorite recipes from my bloggie friends. I consider them pre-tested.

So, i'm giving this one a try. Except i've never HEARD of Sriracha sauce. Is it Asian??? Where would i find some?

MLE said...

You might try it with the pear sometime (like the original recipe) or, if you're feeling like you've got time to spare, carmelizing the onion. It added an amazing layer of flavor to the original dish (which, of course, I modified from the recipe I found in the cookbook).

I need to get back to posting recipes again. Dan's been off school so he has been doing all the cooking and I've reveled in it.

meno said...

Never mind, i just googled that sauce and not only do i know what it is, i have some. I just didn't know it was called that. :)

elizasmom said...

What, posting recipes is lame? Well, I suppose that's why my numbers are not dooce-y.

Seriously, I'm with the other commenters, OI love when people post recipes — I have some of my very favorite recipes off blogs, and I'm not talking foodie blogs either, just regular folks with good taste — and I'll be trying this one, because yum!

Also: Spider=super-cute. And I can't believe I'm saying that.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Thank you for writing it up so well!

meno said...

so, i made this for dinner tonight. I loved it. I think next time i'd serve it over couscous.

It's easy and it doesn't take long. Yum.

Thanks. :)

And don't post anymore recipes. Word on the street is it's lame!!

Anonymous said...

I have to try this tonight! I have some butternut squash just sitting there waiting for inspiration. Too bad the hubby doesn't like squash. Oh well, he can have leftover spaghetti and Caleb and I will feast!

I love recipes from real people who have actually cooked them, especially knowing they have two rug rats roaming around that will actually eat it! Thanks for posting this.

Average Jane said...

How obnoxious! I'll post a recipe whenever I damn well please!

I'd love to try the squash recipe, but it seems likely to run afoul of the husband's too-weird-o-meter. Maybe it's worth a try anyway.

Anonymous said...

Re-commenting now that I've actually eaten this dish to say how kick-ass it is! I'll definitely be making it sometime soon.

hawkeyejlp said...

WPH=GOLD! Thanks for the laugh, and the great new recipe. Where do I find the original recipe with pear, as that sounds intriguing as well.