weeknight cooking

Citrus-Marinated Chicken Thighs

IMG_0010

Chicken thighs are the unsung heroes of economical, healthy cooking, and this simple citrus marinade makes them really shine. I come back to it again and again.

This dish is fairly quick, flavorful, and versatile. I’ve used this recipe with both bone-in and boneless varieties, although bone-in hold up a bit better — especially if you decide you’d rather grill outdoors than broil, which works well too!

???????????????????????????????

A few tips for marinading: you want both an acid (citrus) and an oil. Use a glass container or plastic bag, not metal, and keep the meat in the refrigerator. With chicken, don’t marinade longer than 2 hours.

???????????????????????????????

The chicken and reserved sauce are fantastic served over roasted spaghetti squash or pasta and  a large helping of broccoli, or try it with a bed of your favorite greens. Next time, try a double batch of the marinade and use it for grilled or roasted vegetables.

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

Citrus-Marinated Chicken Thighs

From Bon Appetit

Makes 4 servings (2 thighs per person)

1 bunch scallions (green onions), white and light green parts only
1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
8 chicken thighs, preferably bone-in, skin-on (about 2 pounds)

If you like raw scallions, finely chop them and set aside 1/4 cup.

Place all ingredients except chicken into a food processor or blender and pulse until a coarse purée forms. Set aside 1/4 cup marinade; place remaining marinade in a large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken, seal bag, and turn to coat. Chill at least 20 minutes, but no more than 2 hours.

Preheat broiler. Line a broiler-proof baking sheet with foil. Remove chicken from marinade and place skin side down on baking sheet; discard marinade. Broil chicken until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Turn; continue to broil until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh registers 165°, 12–15 minutes longer.

Serve chicken with reserved marinade and scallions, if desired.

Pork Tenderloin with Date-Cilantro Relish

Pork tenderloin is a go-to for weeknight dinners — quick, lean, and versatile, and not a lot of leftovers (important when you’re cooking for 1 or 2 and get  bored easily).

Dates are something new for me, and after a few bites adjusting to the texture, this recipe won me over. My grocery store carries dates in bulk, allowing me to buy just the quantity I needed.

Serve the pork with green vegetables, and if you want a starch, try rice, potatoes, or polenta (sweet potatoes or winter squash will be overwhelmingly sweet).

???????????????????????????????

Pork Tenderloin with Date-Cilantro Relish

From Bon Appetit

Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pork tenderloin (about 1½ lb.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup Medjool dates (about 4 oz.), cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro plus leaves for serving

Preheat oven to 425°. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, 6–8 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and cook pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 140°, 10–15 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing; set aside pan drippings.

Toss dates, orange juice, reserved pan drippings, 3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Spoon relish over pork and top with cilantro leaves.

Tuna Pasta Salad with Lemon Dressing

I may or may not have eaten one too many brownies and had one too many glasses of wine yesterday while celebrating America’s birthday. That’s what happens when you’re surrounded by good friends and good food.

Today, I was looking for a light meal with minimal cooking and prep. I came across this recipe and happened to have the ingredients (I’m not a big tomato fan and left them out).

image

High-protein and lower-carb, this salaf is great for getting back on track after over-indulging. The lemon dressing adds a light, refreshing kick. If you have it, throw in some fresh dill.

Tuna Pasta Salad with Lemon Dressing

Adapted from Koko Likes
Serves 4 as a main course

4 oz. uncooked pasta
6 3/4 oz. package solid white albacore tuna in water (or a large can, drained)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half, if desired
2 cups (or more) tightly packed baby spinach
4 teaspoons grated Parmesan

Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse and drain under cold water. In a small bowl, break tuna into rough chunks, drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and toss gently.

In a large bowl, whisk together lemon zest and juice, remaining oil, garlic, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper.Add pasta, beans, tomatoes and spinach to bowl; toss well to combine. Add tuna and toss gently. Taste; season as desired. Divide among 4 shallow bowls and top each serving with 1 teaspoon Parmesan. (RHRW Note: if not serving immediately, reserve spinach until ready to serve)