One skillet balsamic chicken and pears

Balsamic chicken and pears

I love cooking with fruit. Maybe it’s the sweet tooth I can’t EVER seem to shake. But combining a little sweet with the savory is a personal favorite. My friends (ahem….Wendy and Leah!) joke that they always know exactly what I will order off a menu even before I open my mouth.  Let’s just say they wouldn’t be the least bit surprised (while chatting over the phone during the daily, dinner prep hour) to hear I’m making this recipe.

Another bonus here? It’s a ONE SKILLET meal. Which means 3/4 of my kitchen isn’t stacked around the sink when I’m done. It’s adapted from a Good Housekeeping cookbook I reach for all the time. And stay tuned because I’m sure you’ll see me refer to some of the other numerous winners I’ve pulled from it’s pages.

I’ve used various combinations of apples, pears, dried cherries, dried cranberries, and raisins to make this. They are all good so feel free to use your favorite taste combo.

 

One Skillet Balsamic Chicken and Pears
Author: Wendy (adapted from Good Housekeeping)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 t. vegetable oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 Bosc pears, cored and cut into thin wedges
  • 1 c. chicken broth
  • 3 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 t. cornstarch
  • 1½ t. sugar
  • ¼ c. dried cherries
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 t. vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook through, turning once, until golden brown in color. Remove to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
  2. Heat remaining 1 t. of oil in same skillet, add pears, and cook till softened and golden brown.
  3. In a liquid measuring cup, measure out 1 c. of chicken broth. Add vinegar, cornstarch, and sugar and mix well with a fork.
  4. Add broth mixture and dried fruit to pears in skillet. Heat to boiling while stirring constantly, then boil 1 minute till thickened.
  5. Return chicken to skillet, coat in sauce, and heat through. Serve.
Notes
I will often use a thin sliced chicken breast for this recipe if I happen to find them. It just makes the cooking that much faster. If your chicken breasts are on the thick side, I would recommend pounding them a little thinner to reduce cooking time.

Blueberry lemon coffee cake

When I think of the most memorable things my mom has baked over the years, this one lands solidly in the top 5. And the term ”coffee cake” be damned, she made it most recently to top off my sister’s 33rd birthday dinner. It’s pretty and tastes amazing so what else is there?

Blueberry lemon coffee cakeThe addition of a little nutmeg adds a little somthing extra to the common paring of blueberry and lemon. If you hate nutmeg, the cake will still be great without it. If you are nutmeg indifferent, I’d encourage you to give it a try. And I’m including a picture here of what my batter looks like after spreading it up the sides of the pan a bit….for all you visual people out there. The batter is thick, and I find an offset spatula to be the best tool for the job. Just be patient and work it out to the sides a little at a time.

 

Wanting to give credit where credit is due, I just texted my mom to find out where this gem originally came from. My mom has a master’s degree in library science, and for that reason I have pretty specific information to include. Thank goodness.

Baked chicken meatballs

I have always reluctantly reached for the ground turkey as a substitute for beef. While I have enjoyed a doctored up turkey burger on occasion, I find turkey can be just a little on the bland side…..in my humble opinion of course! Ever since experimenting with a ground chicken burger recently, I am a total convert. It’s ironic though, as I generally struggle to get excited over anything involving the ever-popular boneless skinless chicken breast.

But all ground up? And just begging to be mixed with a bunch of flavorful, moisture inducing ingredients? Chicken rocks.

This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen. (If you are unfamiliar, I encourage you to check it out. I could spend HOURS browsing and drooling). It uses a panade, or a mixture of milk and bread, to create an awesome, moist meatball. And one that’s not screaming for a plate of pasta….I think. Maybe I take that back since these would be delicious along side mud. Most times I serve them with some mashed potatoes and veggies, instead of going the spaghetti route. They would also make a great little appetizer. The choice is yours…..you’ll love them any way.

~Wendy

 

Baked Chicken Meatballs
Author: Erin (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup torn up bits of italian bread
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 3 oz. bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 3 T parsley, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees, and move rack to upper ⅓ of oven.
  2. Soak bread bits in milk until softened.
  3. Cook bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 T. bacon fat in pan.
  4. Cook onion in skillet until softened, adding ½ t. salt and ½ t. pepper. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  5. Squeeze excess milk from bread, and discard milk.
  6. In a large bowl, combine chicken, egg, bacon mixture, bread, 1 T tomato paste, and parsley. Mix together gently, ideally with your hands.
  7. Form 12 meatballs and place in a 9×13 pan.
  8. Mix together remaining 1 T tomato paste and 1 T olive oil. Brush mixture on to tops of meatballs.
  9. Bake in upper ⅓ of the oven for 15-20 minutes, until just cooked through.

Streusel coffee cake


The catch was we hadn’t exactly FOUND that home yet.

So here was the plan…..get our house on the market and hopefully under contract, so we’d ready to jump on the perfect new place when it came along. Buyers in our neck of the woods have been in huge competition with each other over relatively low inventory. So houses go fast and are most likely to go to buyers who aren’t in part of a chain. Long story short? Our house sold in less then 18 hours, and we found ourselves living with my mum and dad lol.

And we are in a great spot, really. My parents have been so nice to opening their home to me, my lucky husband, 3 kids, 2 dogs, and more accumulates stuff than you could ever imagine existed. My dad reads books to my oldest son, and gets my little guy out of bed when he awakes pre-dawn. My mum does countless crafts and marathon colouring sessions with my daughter. As I keep reminding them when things do get a little chaotic, “we are making memories here, people!”

The other huge bonus to living here has been a chance to collaborate in the kitchen with my mum. It’s way more fun to experiment with new recipes (and revisit childhood favorites) with a partner. Last weekend she made this coffee cake and I knew I had to share. Hands down, THE BEST after school snack I ever remember coming home to. It comes together very easily in a (larger sized) food processor. It’s perfect for a breakfast or brunch….and a mid-afternoon snack.

~Wendy

Streusel Coffee Cake
Author: Wendy
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
Cake
  • 200g flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 200g. sugar
  • 100g. butter
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 300ml. milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
Topping
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 100g chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans are great, but could be optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 and grease a large pan.
  2. For topping, in food processor, pulse together brown sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon, and nuts until crumbly. Transfer to another bowl.
  3. Add to food processor flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Pulse 2-3 times. Cut in butter and pulse until you have a corn meal consistancy (2-4 times).
  4. In a small mixing bowl, mix eggs, milk, and vanilla together well. Add to flour mixture in processor and pulse 2-3 times just to mix.
  5. Put half of batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of topping. Add rest of batter and sprinkle with remaining topping.
  6. Bake 35-45 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
Notes
The batter will be thick so spread it to corners of the pan with a scraper. I end up dolloping the second layer of batter into the pan, so as not to totally destroy that first sprinkle of topping. And I wouldn’t judge if you decided to make double the streusel topping…I MAY have experimented pretty successfully with those proportions. :) Enjoy!

Buying a new bed?

Our old mattressBefore I explain why I have taken a photo of the old mattress that is currently residing in our garden, let me share a tip. It’s a bit of a long shot, but if any of our readers are planning on buying a new bed, mattress, headboard, bedding or any other bedroom furniture items, then I would strong recommend heading to Bensons for Beds because some of the prices in their latest promotions are quite simply unbeatable.

As part of a new feature on the Three Lucky Husbands blog I am starting a section for saving money and including anything that I can think of that I usually do in order to save money on purchases and other items that are required around the house.

Unfortunately Poppy had an accident on our bed. It wasn’t her fault, it was a combination of the fireworks that were being set off at the turn of the New Year and the fact that she hadn’t been outside much that day as it was so cold and my lucky husband was too busy to walk her during the day. Anyway to cut a long story short it wasn’t discovered until it was too late and it had managed to go through our duvet, both sides of the cover and virtually the entire mattress.

Our mattress was ancient anyway so this was the straw that broke the camel’s back – or so to speak – when it came to deciding to chucking the old mattress and investing in a new one. Me being me and my husband being extremely lucky meant that I was willing to put the house in to do research and find which mattresses were best for our needs, and where we could get hold of a new one by parting with the least possible amount of cash. My husband then only has to go to one shop ONCE in order to confirm that he is happy with my selection and then that night we have a brand new mattress that I know I have saved the most possible money on. It’s a win-win situation.

Anyway after spending a couple of hours doing my homework I found the right mattress for us. Bensons for Beds is without doubt the best place to buy from at the moment because of their ‘Up to half-price sale’. I managed to get my mattress for half price, saving £400 in the process, and I also found out that BedWiki.co.uk have a Bensons for Beds discount code for 5% off of everything. So that was another £20 saved. I then went in to the shop and haggled as much as I could and managed to get free 7 day delivery as well. I thoroughly recommend Bensons for Beds now, which is why I thought I’d rave about them here. You don’t have to take my word for it though, check all of the review websites such as TrustPilot so that you can make your own mind up.

Avocado white bean wraps

Avocado white bean wrapsAnything better than a summer meal you can make ahead? AND not turn on the oven or stove? Big winner right here.

Oh, wait…..it’s vegetarian too! And has more has fibre than you’ll know what to do with.

Not convinced yet?

They taste awesome. Plus, I’m a fan of any recipe that turns simple, super healthy ingredients into something absolutely craveable. I found these on eatingwell.com a few years ago and they’ve quickly become a favourite of family and friends. The chilis in adobo sauce has smoky flavor and is quite spicy. Keep this in mind and adjust quantities to suit your tastes. The recipe calls for only a small portion of what comes in the can. I recommend freezing the remaining chilis to make more wraps down the road, or this salad. It’s also one of those ingredients that I can’t always find at every supermarket, so will often buy 2 or 3 to have on hand. You’ll thank me for the tip. Enjoy!

~Wendy

 

Avocado White Bean Wraps

Author: Wendy (adapted from eatingwell.com)
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 tsp. canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 50g shredded red cabbage
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 5g chopped fresh corriander
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed
  • 1 avocado
  • 100g sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 4 wraps or tortillas
Instructions
  1. For dressing, whisk together cider vinegar, canola oil, chipotle chili, and salt.
  2. Toss red cabbage, carrot, and corriander in dressing.
  3. Mash together beans, avocado, cheese, and onion.
  4. Assemble wraps with a thick spread of avocado mixture and cabbage. Serve.
Notes
If you are bothered by browned avocado and wanting to prepare these ahead of time, mash avocado into beans, cheese, and onion right before serving. Chipotle chilies in adobo sauce is found in a very tiny can in the International food aisle of most supermarkets. Enjoy!

Welcome to the blog

Hello and welcome to the new all singing, all dancing Three Lucky Husbands website. Just like the old website we will be bringing you plenty of our favourite homemade recipes as well as other tips and tricks that we have learned about running a busy household and living our stressful hectic lives. For those of you who have never met us before, then please visit the About page which gives you information on the three of us as well as our three lucky husbands of course.

For those of you who remember the old blog well you can expect the same goings on as the old website. Myself (Wendy) will be taking care of the majority of the technical side of things now, as Rebecca is keeping herself busy with the arrival of her new son, Archie. Emma is still with her lucky husband and will be contributing to the blog on a casual basis as she is now working full time in a primary school.

I’ll keep it short and sweet as due to phenomenal public demand I have vowed to re-write our famous recipe for the Avocado white bean wraps, so stay tuned to see that and many more in the not-so-distant future.

It feels so good to be back! Take care

~Wendy