Maple Dijon Chicken Thighs

Maple Dijon Chicken Thighs | Zim on a Whim

This chicken recipe is a must try! It’s chicken thighs like you’ve never had them before. A sweet and savory sauce is poured over them and then they are baked in a hot oven to get that amazing color on the skin. If you prefer your thighs skinless, I recommend leaving the skin on for the baking process and then removing it before eating. Your chicken will stay nice and juicy by leaving it on. But I tell ya, I can’t resist the skin on these. I don’t usually eat it otherwise, but on these I do!

I realize the only thing you just read above is “hot oven”. Many parts of the U.S. right now are sweating parts off because of this heatwave we’ve been having. It’s brutal. I’m sure you are getting ready to click away to your next internet destination, but don’t go just yet. Save this recipe for when you can turn on the oven and enjoy this meal properly! (I meant to post this a while ago but ever since school let out it’s been hard to get in a blog post!)

I adapted the recipe from these two sources: Just A Pinch and Ranting Chef/Maggie Monday so thank you both for a keeper!

When I compared the two recipes, I noticed Maggie used more maple syrup than dijon mustard and Donna used more dijon. I’m sure you can’t go wrong with either, but I leaned more to the sweeter version. You can always adjust the ratio to your liking!

You’ll notice I have a lot of thighs in my photos. I usually buy the value packs of meat so we have leftovers for our family of 4. I am posting the recipe for the smaller chicken package so if you buy the value pack (4-5 lb.s) just double the ingredients like I did.

Here’s how it goes:

Line a baking dish with foil or spray with cooking spray. Don’t skip this step. The sugars from the maple syrup caramelize and this step is crucial for easy clean up!

Place thighs in baking dish and season them with salt, pepper, and McCormick’s Garlic and Herb Seasoning. I love using that blend – it’s so good on many things – but if you can’t find it, just sprinkle on some garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, rosemary, and paprika.

Maple Dijon Chicken Thighs - seasoned

Mix the dijon mustard, maple syrup (use the real stuff!), and the rice wine vinegar in a bowl and pour mixture over the thighs.

Maple Dijon Chicken Thighs - Ready for oven!

Bake in a 450 degree F oven and serve! (Read recipe for full instructions.)

Maple Dijon Chicken Thighs | Zim on a Whim

MAPLE DIJON CHICKEN THIGHS
Ingredients:
1 1/2 to 2 lbs. chicken thighs, bone in
Salt and pepper
McCormick Perfect Pinch Garlic and Herb Seasoning blend (or a little of these spices if you can’t find that blend: garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, rosemary, and paprika)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking dish with foil or spray with cooking spray.
2. Remove any excess fat or skin from the chicken thighs, but leave the top layer of skin on them. Place them in the baking dish.
3. Season both sides of the chicken thighs with salt, pepper, and McCormick’s garlic and herb blend.
4. In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, dijon mustard, and the rice wine vinegar. Pour mixture over the chicken. Turn the chicken to coat evenly, and then make sure all pieces are skin side up.
5. Bake in oven on middle rack for about 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. About halfway through cooking time, baste the chicken with the juices and sauce in the bottom of the dish. (I actually do this a couple of times.)
6. You want the skin to be nice and caramelized. Remove when done and serve with some of the extra sauce. So yummy!

Like I said, I know very few of you want to put your oven on right now, but make sure to pin this for later. You will love it as much as we do.

Stay cool!
~Micha

“King Cone” Ice Cream Cake

King Cone Ice Cream Cake | Zim on a Whim

It’s just not summer without the sound of the Good Humor truck cruising through the neighborhood. It keeps at a pace that’s just slow enough to grab your money if you hear it in time, yet quick enough to evoke a bit of anxiety in every child so they run out yelling, “STOP!” so as not to miss it.

Along comes the Summer 2013 edition of the Kraft Food & Family magazine and low and behold is the Sundae Cone Cake they have created. As soon as I saw it, I knew we had to try and make this. I love Good Humor’s King Cone – it’s an ice cream sundae in a cone. This “cake” was a big hit here and not that hard to do.

All you need are these ingredients…

King Cone Ice Cream Cake | Zim on a Whim

…some foil, a big bowl, and a microwave to melt the chocolate.

Line a big bowl with some foil, pack in the slightly softened vanilla ice cream, and press some of the cone pieces into it to form a “crust”.

King Cone Ice Cream Cake | Zim on a Whim

Freeze for about 4 hours, remove from freezer, and unmold onto a plate. Press the rest of the cone pieces into the side of the cake.

King Cone Ice Cream Cake | Zim on a Whim

Melt the chocolate and stir in the oil. Cool slightly, then drizzle over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with crushed nuts.

King Cone Ice Cream Cake | Zim on a Whim

And that’s it! A delicious, no-bake dessert that is easier than running after an ice cream truck.

I hope everyone is having a good summer so far!
~Micha

“King Cone” Ice Cream Cake (recipe from Kraft)

Ingredients:
1 tub of vanilla ice cream, slightly softened (1.75 qt.)
6 sugar cones, divided
4 oz. Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Squares
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts

Directions:
1. Using the back of a spoon, pack the softened ice cream into a foil-lined 1-1/2 qt. bowl. Crush 4 sugar cones and place over the ice cream. Press them gently into the ice cream to form a crust. Freeze 4 hours or until firm.

2. Unmold cake into plate. Remove foil. Break up remaining cones into pieces and press them into the side of the cake.

3. Melt the chocolate according to package instructions. (Use medium power and do it in 30 second intervals until melted, stirring after each interval). Stir in the oil and let it cool slightly. Drizzle the chocolate over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Serve!

* You can make this ahead of time and store in the freezer for up to 3 days. Before serving, remove from freezer and let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes to make serving easier.

Harvest Pork Chops

Harvest Pork Chops :: Zim on a Whim

Please don’t ask me why these are called Harvest Pork Chops when the three ingredients it calls for have absolutely nothing to do with harvesting anything! Well, I guess if you want to stretch it a bit. This is a super easy pork chop recipe that my mother used to make when we were little, and it has stood the test of time all these years. I’m not sure where she got it from — perhaps her mother made it as well — and it only uses a few ingredients that you probably have on hand already!

Now, don’t be grossed out when I tell you the sauce is just ketchup and orange juice. I know, it sounds so un-gourmet, but after a nice simmer the flavors really connect well with each other. This is best served with some rice on the side, soaking up some of that sauce. Add a green veggie and you’re set!

You will want to use pork chops with the bone in. If you use the boneless ones, they will come out too dry. I have tried it, and even the sauce can’t help them!

If you have young children, give this a try. My kids really like this dish. {Even before they knew there was ketchup in it!} If you’re not so great in the kitchen, this is a very easy dish to whip up. Totally a beginner’s recipe. Try it and let me know what you think!

HARVEST PORK CHOPS
Ingredients:
4 Center Cut Pork Chops, bone-in (medium thickness/not too thin and not too thick!)
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Onion Powder
Canola or Vegetable Oil
1 cup Orange Juice
1 cup Ketchup

Directions:
1. Trim away the excess fat from along the edge the pork chops. Season both sides of the chops with kosher salt, black pepper, and onion powder.
2. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. (Use one that has a lid. You will need it later.)
3. Brown the pork chops a few minutes on each side. You are not cooking them through; You just want a nice brown color on them.
4. While the meat is browning, whisk together the orange juice and the ketchup until well combined. Add a little salt, pepper, and onion powder to this mixture as well.
5. Remove chops from the pan and drain the excess oil.
6. Pour the sauce mixture into the pan, and add the chops back in, coating them completely with the sauce.
7. Cover the pan and turn down the heat to low. Simmer for 45 minutes.
8. Serve the pork chops with sauce and rice. Enjoy!

Maybe instead of Harvest Pork Chops they should be called O.K. Pork Chops? O for orange juice, K for ketchup? Yes? No? Is this thing on?

Micha