It seems that I blinked and almost two years went by since I’ve written.
A lot has happened in two years. We renovated and sold our old house, then bought another house, packed and moved.
We took the boys to Disney World, Myrtle Beach and assorted other weekend adventures. We took ourselves to Barbados.
We adopted the most perfectly precious puppy.
The kids got bigger and busier. We got older (and also busier).
My little Avon hobby flourished into a unexpected thriving business, with hundreds of other representatives on my team. (That’s me in the red sweater below.)
We celebrated and we suffered. We gained and we lost. We laughed and we cried.
Basically, we’ve spent the past two years doing the whole life thing, with all of the celebrations and sorrows that brings.
And somewhere in the midst of all of that living, this little ol’ blog lost its place. Quite honestly, I was having a hard enough time garnering the mental energy to even figure out what to cook, let alone gathering the necessary ingredients, cooking it, photographing it, and then writing about it!
As our days became busier and our attention more scattered, we regretfully found ourselves in a routine of easy, not-typically-so-healthy convenience food.
Enter “meal kit delivery” sites.
My lovely sister-in-law has been using a site called Plated for awhile now. Plated offers a weekly menu of meals to choose from. You select your meals a week ahead of time, then they ship you exact portions of the fresh ingredients you need to cook the meals, along with bright, easy-to-follow recipe cards. On your delivery day, everything you need arrives on your doorstep, fresh and ready to be cooked.
After drooling over the pictures of the crave-worthy meals my sister-in-law was cooking with her husband, I decided to give it a try.
My one and only disappointment after receiving our first Plated box was that I didn’t have another box waiting on my doorstep, containing everything I needed to cook a delicious meal on all of the other nights that week! And the next week. And the week after that.
Turns out that there are a number of other sites that offer the same service as Plated. In the past couple months, we’ve also ordered from Blue Apron and become bigs fans of Home Chef, which has proven to be the best fit for feeding our whole family.
Aside from the major convenience factor that Plated and other meal delivery kit sites offer, it’s also become much-needed fodder for food inspiration. Cooking each of the meals we’ve ordered through Plated, Blue Apron, or Home Chef, has stirred the culinary juices in my mind.
One delicious dish leads to an idea for another delicious dish. Change a bit here, add a bit over there, omit a bit over here, and voilá! You’ve got a new dish perfectly suited to your tastes.
One of our favorite Plated meals so far was a recipe for Beer-Braised Chicken. The following recipe is my modified twist on the immensely flavorful dish. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are coated in a fragrant blend of spices, then braised in a smokey chorizo-tomato based sauce, until tender and drenched with deliciousness.
Top with a Mexican cheese, like queso fresco, and enjoy over rice. This chicken would also work well in a sandwich or as filling for quesadillas.
Make a double batch for freezable leftovers!
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8)
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup chorizo, diced*
- 1 medium cooking onion, finely diced
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, rough-chopped
- 1 ounce tequila (optional)
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup Mexican cheese (such as queso fresco), crumbled
*You can use sweet chorizo (dulce) or spicy (picante), depending on your preference for spiciness.
Combine the paprika, cayenne, chili powder and salt in a small bowl. Pat the chicken thighs dry, then generously coat with the spice mixture. Heat the olive oil over medium-high in a wide saucepan. Once hot, add the chicken in a single layer. Sear for 1-2 minutes per side, until lightly-browned. Sear in batches, if necessary. Remove from the pan and set aside. (The chicken will not be fully cooked at this point.)
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the chorizo to the same pan you seared the chicken in. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the onion and cilantro. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until the onion is tender.
Carefully add the tequila (optional). Allow to cook for a minute, then add the lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, tomato paste, and chicken stock. Stir to combine, then raise the heat to high. Bring to a boil.
Once boiling, return all of the chicken to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover the pan, then allow it to cook for approximately 8 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside to cool slightly.
Raise the heat to medium-high and allow the braising liquid to cook uncovered for about 3-5 minutes, until it’s reduced by about 1/2. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, use a fork or your fingers to tear the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Return the shredded chicken to the braising liquid. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper, as desired.
Serve over rice. Garnish with green onion and Mexican cheese.
Serves about 4.