Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

There are some things that I’ve never or have almost never cooked; one of them is a roast. I know, it’s shocking! I’ve made soufflés, Beef Wellington, risottos, and many other dishes that are supposed to be complicated or “expert level” long before I made my first roast. Why? Because all my life my mother, the in-laws, or my HH have made it. Recently the grocery store had chuck roasts on sale, and I decided it was finally time to make my first roast. A search of my Pinterest pins for roasts brought up lots of recipes, but most of them were slow cooker recipes and I wanted a traditional oven-roasted version. Thankfully I had pinned this pin for Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon by Kristy of The Wicked Noodle. It was just what I was looking for; oven-roasted with carrots, potatoes, and a self-made gravy.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

The Pintesting:

I don’t know why, but I thought that roasts required magical ingredients to make them turn out delicious. I was so wrong. These basic ingredients are all that’s needed. The peas are my own addition, but I’ll get to that later.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

First season the roast with salt and pepper.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Next, heat the pan and oil to sear the roast on one side.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Then sear the other side.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Remove the roast and add onions.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Cook the onions until they are soft.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Next, add the balsamic vinegar and cook until it’s reduced and syrupy, then add the Dijon mustard.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Put the meat back in, add the broth and thyme, then roast in the oven.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

The meat should be tender and fall apart.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Add the potatoes and carrots and cook longer.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

When the potatoes are thoroughly cooked, you’re all done.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Plate your dinner and show off your masterpiece.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Now for the peas. This is one thing that my HH prefers to NOT be cooked with the roast. I’ve always liked them with the roasted veggies. Since one of the keys to a great marriage is knowing when and how to compromise, I cooked the peas separately and served them smothered in the gravy. We both agreed that this was a delicious recipe and as the resident roast maker, he declared my first roast a complete success. High praise, indeed.

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results: 4.4 Pins

Pintesting Seal 4 Pins

Accuracy:  This recipe turned out exactly like Kristy’s pictures. The roast was very tender and juicy. The balsamic and dijon gave a nice twist to the traditional chuck roast. The potatoes and carrots were perfectly tender without being mushy. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty:  There are no difficult techniques to this dish. However, I am giving this 4 Pins because you transfer a hot dutch oven from the stovetop to the oven.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Time:  Preparing the roast took very little time; about 15 minutes. Since this takes several hours to cook, however, I’m giving this 3 Pins.

Rated 3 Pins

Cost:  I happened to get my chuck roast on sale, but even so it was more than $16 just for the meat. The dish made 6 servings and the total cost was about $25 which is $4 per serving. That’s not bad for a full dinner. 4 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Practicality: This is a great dinner and worth the time it takes to make. The next time I try this I’ll make it in the slow cooker since they cook themselves all day on low. The flavor and texture were perfect – just like Sunday Supper. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Honey Balsamic Chicken

It’s the new year and I have resolved to eat healthy – again – for about the 100th year in a row. Anyone else with me on this? Granted, I don’t eat terribly but I’m not as consistent as I’d like to be. But some meals make eating a healthy diet much easier. For example, I saw a video for Honey Balsamic Chicken on Facebook and a couple of days later this pin for the recipe by TipHero (inspired by Chungah of Damn Delicious) popped up on my Pinterest feed, too. They do seem to copy her recipes quite a bit, so if you’re not following Damn Delicious yet you just might want to.

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

I really like the idea of a whole meal made on one sheet pan in the oven. (Hooray for fewer dishes!) I also like that the recipes used a variety of vegetables.

It’s worth noting that there were a few slight differences in the two recipes.

  1. The TipHero recipe uses green beans while the Damn Delicious recipe uses asparagus. We love asparagus in our home, so that’s what we went with.
  2. The honey balsamic marinade recipes had a few differences. TipHero’s used thyme, rosemary, and chili flakes while the Damn Delicious recipe used Dijon mustard, oregano, and basil.
  3. Chungah’s recipe also took less time to make – a big plus in my book.
  4. The TipHero recipe pours the marinade over the chicken and veggies prior to roasting; Damn Delicious didn’t. I went with TipHero on this step. More flavor is more better. (I beg forgiveness from the grammar police for that.)

The Pintesting:

I didn’t get a photo of all of the ingredients this time. What can I say? I was hungry. Fortunately, there aren’t a lot of ingredients.

The first thing that I did was to make the marinade. I used a short-cut here and just dumped all of the marinade ingredients into the bag that the chicken came in and squished it until it was mixed, tossing the chicken in the marinade at the same time. Since my chicken breasts were still somewhat frozen I thought I’d let it defrost and soak up the flavor all at once. Also, since it’s just my HH and me I only used one whole chicken breast (two halves). This worked for us since the chicken breasts are very large and we like lots of veggies.

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

While the chicken defrosted, I lined the pan with parchment and prepped the vegetables.

Quarter the potatoes then add the tomatoes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and season with salt and pepper.

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

Put the chicken on the pan and drizzle the remaining marinade on the veggies.

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

Roast for about 20 minutes then add the asparagus (I drizzled the asparagus with a little more extra virgin olive oil), then roast it for another 10 minutes. This was my timing compromise between the two recipes.

You don’t want to eat undercooked chicken! When in doubt check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. For chicken, this should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

Done! Your dinner is done and the only dirty dishes are one pan, one cutting board, and one knife. Join me in the happy dance?

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

The chicken was juicy and flavorful. The tangy-sweet acidity of the tomatoes, starchy creaminess of the potatoes, and the bright crispy asparagus complimented each other, and the marinade brought it all home. YUM!

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

And now I have to say this. WINNER! WINNER! CHICKEN DINNER!

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results:  4.85 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

Accuracy:  This recipe was as simple as the TipHero video showed it to be even though I followed Chungah’s recipe. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty:  This recipe was very simple – perfect for novice cooks. The prep work was minimal and the marinade made everything taste wonderful. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Time:  The active time to prep and cook the recipe was 40 minutes. The chicken requires time to marinade (30 minutes to overnight). I did this ahead of time and let it marinade all afternoon. While it isn’t active cooking time, it’s still necessary to make the recipe turn out so I’m giving this 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Cost:  The cute little potatoes and grape tomatoes were both buy-one-get-one-free at the store when I got them. (I love shopping sales!) The total cost of all the main ingredients (not deducting for the sales) was $12.00. Even though we used only 2 chicken breast halves, we had 4 meals making this $3.00/serving. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Practicality:  This is the kind of home cooking I could eat every week. It was simple, delicious, and planning ahead with the marinade made quick work of the cooking. Perfect for busy weeknights! You could experiment with using different kinds of vegetables such as green beans, carrots, Brussels sprouts, or whatever your family likes. You can also switch up the marinades – try the TipHero version for a more traditional herbed chicken flavor. This will be a regular in our menu rotation. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Salad Swag: 3 Cures for the Common Salad

Bringing your lunch to work is a great way to save money and eat healthy. If the thought of taking your own lunch brings images of bologna sandwiches, bruised fruit, and pre-packaged “pastry” – think again! Bento lunches are all the rage. Sandwiches, wraps, and flatbreads have had healthy and delicious overhauls. Even packaging has improved, allowing for more and better options.

When I saw this pin for Salad Swag: 3 Cures for the Common Salad from the folks at The Kitchn, I knew this would be a great lunch test.

Salad Swag - Original Pin

The Pin linked via Kelly’s blog and site, It’s not Just Lunch. If you need some ideas for lunches and packaging, Kelly is a FANTASTIC resource. Her blog has lots of recipes and ideas, as does her cookbook, and she has links for not only her own lunch packaging system (can you say successful “momtrepreneur”?) but also other bento and lunch ideas.

BONUS TEST: Two of the salads call for chopped fresh fruit (pear and apple). Since I like my job, and they frown upon bringing a knife to work, I went with the tip given for keeping the fruit from turning brown; store it in a bit of water.

I chopped the fruit (pear pictured).

Salad Swag - Cut Pear - Pintesting

…Put it in a small container, and covered with water.

Salad Swag - Cover with Water - Pintesting

This was a good way to keep the fruit from turning brown, and it did not turn mushy.

Salad Swag - Keep from browning - Pintesting

The only down side is that it’s a bit awkward to drain if using a single-unit container like in The Frenchie Lentil. It was a lot easier draining the apples in the lunch system I used for The Bleu Apple. Read on to see the details.

Back to salads – three of them! Rather than post a pile of ingredients for all three salads, I’ll show each one individually.

NOTE: none of these recipes have measurements, so I eyeballed the pictures and went for a rough estimate.

* THE FRENCHIE LENTIL

This salad calls for cooked lentils, rough chopped hazelnuts, chopped fresh pear, crumbled feta, arugula, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Salad Swag - The Frenchie Lentil - Original

I took my pictures at the lunch table at work.

Salad Swag - The Frenchie Lentil - Pintesting

Although the photo isn’t as fancy, the plated product looked nice and tasted nicer. You can also see how draining the pears would be more difficult with a single-unit container. I also put the dressing in a separate container to make it easier to pour on the salad and make clean-up a bit easier.

Salad Swag - The Frenchie Lentil Served - Pintesting

I would not have thought of putting lentils in a salad, but I’m glad that The Kitchn did. They added a heartiness and meatless protein. The nuts gave a nice texture contrast and added to the protein, keeping me full all afternoon. The pears added a hint of sweet which played nicely against the saltiness of the feta. A filling and delicious salad that was perfect for lunch.

* THE BLEU APPLE

This salad calls for chopped apple, bleu cheese crumbles, cooked and cooled pearl barley, chicken breast, baby spinach, and lemon vinaigrette.

Salad Swag - The Bleu Apple - Original

I made a couple of changes – some accidental – with my lunch. I used leftover shake and bake chicken breast on my salad (rather than get another pan dirty at 0-dark-thirty in the morning). When I picked up the bleu cheese at the store, I accidently grabbed crumbled goat cheese and didn’t notice until I was packing the lunch. Goat cheese it is. Finally, when I went to make the vinaigrette, my lemons were bad. *sigh* Creamy balsamic vinaigrette.

Salad Swag - The Bleu Apple - Pintesting

On this day I used the Rubbermaid Lunch Blox Sandwich Kit. This lunch system comes with four containers and an ice-pack cooler that all snap together whichs keep things from falling all over my lunch bag and organized. Because the containers are all separate, it made draining the apples much easier and the dressing had it’s own container, too. The one “side” container that you don’t see held a small piece of leftover cake. Since it’s not part of the recipe I left it out of the picture.

Salad Swag - The Bleu Apple Served - Pintesting

The combination was still fantastic. The apple was crisp and sweet (but not too much so). The goat cheese was creamy and added a nice tanginess. The pearl barley was chewy and hearty – a nice addition to a salad. The chicken was, well, chickeny. The creamy balsamic dressing tied everything together very nicely. It was another great lunch.

* THE HAWAIIAN

This salad calls for pineapple, almonds, bacon, chickpeas, baby kale, and ranch dressing.

Salad Swag - The Hawaiian - Original

 

I used canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed, and substituted the rest of the bag of baby spinach. Waste not, want not.

Salad Swag - The Hawaiian - Pintesting

This was the hardest to get to lunch, because the bacon kept disappearing. I have no idea how it happened. Let’s just say I’m thankful my salad got some.

Salad Swag - The Hawaiian Served - Pintesting

 

Once again, this salad played a symphony of tastes. The sweet, juicy pineapple was a lovely contrast to the crispy, salty bacon. The chickpeas were creamy in contrast to the crunchy almonds. And the coolness of the ranch dressing brought it all home.

Each one of these salads was delicious, filling, and anything but boring. I had enough leftovers of ingredients to make The Frenchie Lentil again for lunch, and even made The Bleu Apple for a light late supper for two.

Now for the Pintesting Results:

Overall Rating: 5 Pins

5 Pins Overall

Accuracy: All three of the salads were extremely flavorful and filling. There were no measurements given, which nearly brought it down to 4 pins, but I like that you can modify the salad to your own tastes. Even though I had a few substitutions of my own, everything was delicious. 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins

Difficulty: Some of the salads required a bit of prep work such as cooking and cooling lentils, pearl barley, or chicken, chopping fruit or nuts, etc. Not as easy as opening a salad kit, but definitely not hard. 4 Pins

Rated 4 Pins

Time: Each salad requires something with a cooking time of 20-30 minutes; lentils, pearl barley, or bacon. The chicken breast can be cooked on a George Foreman Grill in about 10 minutes. The rest is quick work. 4 Pins

Rated 4 Pins

Cost: These are restaurant quality salads that you would cost about $10 in most moderately priced chain restaurants. Each salad had a variety of ingredients, but most would make more than one salad. The Bleu Apple was the most expensive salad due to the chicken; roughly $4.50. The Frencie Lentil and Hawaiian both came in at $4.00 each. That’s what you’d pay for a Mc Fast Food lunch, only you’re getting a healthy, nutritious and delicious lunch that won’t make you feel guilty. 4 Pins

Rated 4 Pins

Practicality: These salads are easy to make ahead and have ready for the week. They’re a cost effective way to bring your lunch that’s anything but boring. 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins