Kimmy tries more cooking

Previous Healthy Eating post (10/31/2015): Not Your Standard Cupcakes

I’ve been on a bit of a cooking streak lately, and I’m finally seeing some improvement with my meals! I’ve been researching more on proper techniques, and it’s paying off. I’m no longer concerned about serving edible food for other people! 😉

Novel Cooking with Split Pea and Ham Soup

For Christmas, we bought the typical pre-cooked spiral ham. Reminiscing on past Christmases with my mom cooking, the main reason I wanted a ham was to turn the leftovers into split pea and ham soup! My boyfriend and I managed to make it to the grocery store with two minutes to spare on Christmas Eve and picked out a ten pound bone-in ham for only 30 bucks! I checked a few specialty butcher shops prior, and they were going for as much as $15 a pound. Honestly, our ham tasted wonderful, and I’m okay knowing I got 8 extra pounds’ worth for the same price!

I based my soup recipe from a combination of the veggies I had available in my fridge, a slew of online suggestions, and my mom’s advice. Not only was it delicious, but it was boyfriend-approved! I included the following ingredients: two bags of dried split peas, chicken stock, water, ham bone, cut up ham, carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, and spices to taste. Use about 3-4 cups water for each dry cup of split peas, and throw in some starchy veggies!

Lessons learned:

  1. Boil down the ham bone first, so you can easily pull apart extra meat from the bone and add to soup later.
  2. Don’t worry about having too many veggies. At first it seems like your ratio is way off, but once the peas absorb all of the water, even a large amount of veggies seems rather small.
  3. Add some fresh ham to the soup each time you reheat it (suggestion from Mom).
Mm-mm-good! Split Pea Soup.
Mm-mm-good! Split Pea Soup.
Novel Cooking with Lemon-Parsley Chicken

What do you do when you’re craving Giada de Laurentiis’s Lemon-Basil Chicken, yet the drought in California caused a basil shortage (or so the store clerk says)? You turn to Martha Stewart! I tell ya, the woman may be an insider-trading crook, but she’s a great cook. I followed recipe nearly exactly for Martha Stewart’s Easy Roasted Chicken Thigh recipe.

I was incredibly pleased with this recipe, and I learned a great way to bake thighs! First, you create an olive oil, lemon juice, mixed seasoning marinade. I added chopped parsley as well.

Marinating Lemon Chicken
Marinating Lemon Chicken

After letting the marinade set for a bit, roast the chicken first skin side down for 20 minutes. Then, flip the thighs over and roast skin side up for 10 minutes. Is there actually a difference between baking and roasting? These are the knowledge tidbits about which I am not as keen – I simply used a regular baking sheet.

Mix a dijon mustard and honey glaze and brush it on the chicken. Then, broil for a few minutes to make them crispy. I love broiling for crispy skins! A year ago, I had never broiled before, and now it’s one of my favorite methods for crisping or cooking all different kinds of food.

Roasted lemon chicken with steamed broccoli and carrots
Roasted lemon chicken with steamed broccoli and carrots

Lessons Learned

  1. Try to plan ahead, so you can let the chicken marinate for at least an hour.
  2. Find a better container than the bowl for marinating. Any suggestions? Plastic bag or tupperware, maybe?
Novel Cooking with Cilantro-Lime Chicken

This next recipe is perhaps the best dinner I’ve cooked yet, or at least in a while. The funniest part is that my boyfriend ended up going to dinner with a friend, so he didn’t even get to try it! All for me – yum 🙂

I had given up avocados for a while because we’re in a love-hate relationship. I think avocados are divine, and I am aware that they are popularly considered a “healthy” fat. However, we’ve discussed my moderation issues before…Having an avocado or two a day is definitely beyond the moderation point! After giving up avocados for a few months, I had a real craving for them the other day and discovered this Cilantro-Lime Chicken recipe.

First, mix up the marinade: cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and I added more parsley and garlic powder. I always use parsley in recipes whenever I buy it because it’s dirt cheap and SO MUCH PARSLEY. It always ends up going bad! I also do not believe there is such a thing as too much garlic. Vampires, beware!

Cilantro marinade
Cilantro marinade

Next, soak the chicken in the marinade.

Chicken marinating in cilantro and parsley spices
Chicken marinating in cilantro and parsley spices

Throw the chicken in the oven. I cooked it exactly the same way as the previous recipe – bake, flip and bake, broil. While it’s cooking, mix up some onion, tomatoes, lime juice, and avocado.

Avocado salsa - I don't think there's enough avocado to justify this as guacamole.
Avocado salsa – I don’t think there’s enough avocado to justify this as guacamole.

To finish everything, I laid the chicken and salsa on a bed of spinach and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Bon appetit!

Voila! It tasted as good as it looks. YUM!
Voila! It tasted as good as it looks. YUM!

Lesson Learned

  1. Don’t cut the avocado and tomatoes as small as I did. The texture would be better with slightly larger chunks.

If you end up trying out any of these recipes, please comment below to let me know how your concoctions turn out! I’m always interested in more healthy recipes (especially low-carb and low-dairy), so please share!

2 thoughts on “Kimmy tries more cooking”

  1. Bravo, Kimmy! May I suggest watching America’s Test Kitchen on Create TV as part of your journey to better cooking? Mike and I watch it religiously because they explain the science behind why certain methods work or don’t work. I learned so much watching that show, and their recipes always turn out extremely delicious!

    1. Thanks, Sandra! I haven’t heard of that, but I’ll check it out! Learning the science probably would help me care more about proper preparing methods. I didn’t start caring about food itself until I learned more about the physiological effects on hormones.

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