chicken · pork · veggies

Cast Iron Creations

Welcome to Eating with Julia! You may know me from Tumblr, but here is a whole new look. Enjoy 🙂

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I took advantage of my cast iron pots and pans this week because I love a seamless transition from stove to oven. My first creation was buttery, lemon, dijon chicken breasts with balsamic roasted brussel sprouts and quinoa tabouleh.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 and pan seared the chicken in butter and olive oil with a bit of salt, pepper and rosemary sprig for 3 minutes on each side. In a small bowl combine:

1/2 lemon, juiced
a couple generous squeezes of grainy dijon
1 tbsp olive oil
salt, pepper
1 tsp garlic powder.

Pour the mustard sauce over the chicken and put in the oven for 30-40 minutes.

Toss the sprouts in olive oil, salt, pepper and put them on a baking sheet. They go in the oven for 45 minutes (toss half way) so I’d put them in a little bit before the chicken.

Meanwhile, cook up 1 cup of dried quinoa. If you have time you can do this hours before in order to let the quinoa cool. If not, you’ll have a warm salad, which is still tasty! To the cooked quinoa add:

1 cup chopped parsley
2 chopped tomatoes
1/2 lemon juice
1 TBSP cider vinegar
2TBSP olive oil
squirt of dijon
sprinkle of garlic powder

Notice how the ingredients in the salad are similar to the sauce for the chicken? This was no coincidence! This salad could even be made a day ahead to allow the flavours to bond.

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Once the sprouts are done toss them in a few glugs of balsamic vinegar and serve immediately. I used thawed frozen brussels, but I think it would be better with fresh.  What a delicious week night meal! The sprouts were slightly bitter and earthy with a lovely sweetness from the balsamic. The quinoa tabouleh was light and fresh and the chicken was so tender and savoury. You might want to double the dijon sauce for the chicken if you’re feeling saucy. It was so tasty!

Matt went to Montreal for the weekend and all of the sudden I turned into a college kid. I left my dishes everywhere, slept next to a pile of clothes and ate out a lot. Friday night rolled around and I was feeling SO lazy. I was hungry but my fridge was filled with vegetables and I really wasn’t craving a carrot. On the other hand, I had big porchetta sandwich for lunch so I wanted something moderately light. I opened our cupboard pantry and guess what I found? A pack of ramen noodles. You know the kind that you boil in water for 3 minutes and add that salt bomb containing 4 days worth of sodium to? Yep, that’s the one! It’s delicious but so bad for you so I decided I’d do a “healthy”, sophisticated version.

Julia’s 5 minute ramen bowl:

bring 2 cups low sodium chicken broth, 1 tsp minced ginger and 1 clove crushed garlic to a boil.
add noodles and let cook for 3 minutes.
while cooking pan poach an egg. (heat a pan, crack an egg, add an ice cube, cover with lid, when ice melts it creates steam and poaches the egg. Should only take 2-3 minutes!)
pour broth and noodles over fresh spinach
top with egg, scallions, lime wedge and hot sauce

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WHAT!!!! Why have I never made this before? It was just what the doctor ordered. Put your own spin on this with sautéed mushrooms, baby bok choy or even slices of processed cheese! I hear this is something that people like to do.

My final meal involved my dutch oven (not to be confused with my slow cooker). This is a giant cast iron pot with a nice heavy lid. Perfect for stews and luckily, I made the PERFECT pork stew. I gave myself a major high five for this one. Winter is in the air I’ve been craving apple cider. What better way to get your cider fix than to cook with it! I had a 2 pound pork loin in the freezer that I had been meaning to use and what goes better with pork than apples? This is what you’ll need for my creation:

2 pound pork loin, cut into chunks (if you go 4 pound, just double the recipe!)
1.5 cups apple cider (I actually used apple/cranberry cider because they were all out! make sure it’s unsweetened.)
3 sliced shallots or 2 smallish onions
3 cloves chopped garlic
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1.5 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
olive oil

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*pre-heat oven to 350*

1) melt a pad of butter and glug of olive oil in your dutch oven over medium heat. Brown the meat and set aside.

2) toss in shallots, garlic and veggies and brown for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and stir. Toss the meat and any juices back in.

3) add broth, cider, vinegar, herbs and bring to a simmer. Cover and put in a 350 oven for 2 hours.

Serve over rustic mashed potatoes, polenta or with crusty bread. WOW. WOW. WOW. I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW GOOD THIS WAS. I know I say that a lot but I loved this so hard. The tart and sweet cider made the pork so tender and flavourful. It tasted like something you’d eat after building a snowman all afternoon. I loved it and I think you will too!

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AND THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK! Join me next week on wordpress! Same old Julia, with a new look! And make sure to keep following me on tumblr for updates 🙂

What did we learn?

1) Pork and apple are a match made in heaven

2) quinoa tabouleh is super tasty and healthy

3) ramen is not only for college kids

4) FOLLOW JULIA’S EATING JOURNEY ON WORDPRESS!

As always, thank you SO much for eating with me. I can’t wait to start the 2nd part of my blog journey.

Love,

Julia

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