Orange Beer Can Chicken with an Apricot-Chipotle Sauce

8 06 2014

My hubs and I belong to Fresh Fork Market, a farm buying club which sources locally grown organic meats, cheeses and produce in Cleveland, OH. Fresh Fork puts together a weekly grab bag containing items in season sourced from local, sustainable vendors. The ingredients you get each week are fresh from the farm, and can typically be used together. The summer season just started and this past week we received our first grab bag, which had some beautiful produce as well as an organic whole young chicken. Immediately, I knew Sunday’s supper would be beer can chicken!

Beer or soda-can chicken is an awesome grilling technique. Outside of preparing the chicken and turning it half-way through cooking, the grill and the can literally will do all the work for you!

I always keep a citrus salt on hand with kosher salt, lemon or orange zest and a dried herb.  I happened to have orange salt this week, creating the base flavor of this dish and the reason I choose Hoegaarden for the beer which has complimentary citrus notes. Crispy, smokey and juicy chicken paired with a sweet and spicy sauce – what’s not to love!

If you’re a member of Fresh Fork, stay tuned for more recipes using the summer share! And if you’re not a member or aren’t local to Cleveland, search for a farm buying club in your area – you won’t be sorry you did!

Orange Beer Can Chicken with an Apricot-Chipotle Sauce

The following makes 1 small bird (compliments of Cuisine at Home, Real Simple and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 organic, whole young chicken
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Orange zest
  • Dried rosemary
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 bottle (12 oz) Hoegaarden beer, and an empty 12 oz can (use a beer or pop/soda can)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup sugar-free apricot preserves
  • 2-3 tsp chopped chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Prepare your grill by lighting your grill and turning all the burners to high. Close the lid and let the temp come to 500. Then, turn off one of the burners to create indirect heat. You want to keep your grill between 325 and 400 for the duration of your grilling.

Clean out the cavity of the chicken, rinse and pat dry. Rub with 1 Tbsp olive oil and mix the rub by combining some kosher salt, orange zest, dried rosemary and red pepper flakes. Just eye ball it! Sprinkle some of the rub inside the chicken cavity. Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with more of the rub, enough to coat evenly – rubbing to make sure it sticks.

Fill the empty can with the beer and poke 3 more holes in the top of the can. Arrange the chicken cavity on the can. I used a beer can chicken stand. If you don’t have one it’s ok, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was easier! If you don’t have the stand, be sure to pull the legs forward to create a tripod of sorts so the chicken stands up.

Place the chicken over the unlit portion of the grill (once the heat drops to 325-400). Cover and cook until the skin is golden brown and crisp, juices run clear, and an instant-read thermometer registers 180°. Take the reading in the thickest part of the thigh, be sure not to hit a bone. The chicken will take about 1–1.5 hours. Rotate the chicken halfway through grilling (be sure to use a kitchen towel or oven mitts as the chicken will be hot). Once done, remove the chicken to a baking sheet or roaster and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

While the chicken is resting, make the sauce. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the apricot, chipotles, cumin and a 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often until slightly thickened, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and remove from heat.

Remove the chicken from the can and slice. Serve sliced chicken with the apricot-chipotle sauce and either a side of veggies or a salad. I made a simple kale salad dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.

Cindy’s Midday Smoothie

3 05 2014

This is a bright smoothie recipe, packed with antioxidants. You can bump up the amount of spinach in smoothies like this because of the fruit, which masks the taste of spinach itself. Leaving it both delicious, and nutritious!

Cindy's Midday Smoothie

The following makes 3 cups (adapted from Vitamix Whole Food Recipes):

  • 1 orange, peeled and halved
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 apple, quartered and seeded
  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach
  • 4 frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup ice

Put all ingredients in a high-powered blender – if using a Vitamix, be sure to put them in the order listed. Secure lid and turn on high. Blend until smooth, about 45 seconds, or until desired consistency is reached.

Transfer to glasses and either serve immediately, or keep cool in the fridge until ready to serve.

Orange-Salted Cod With Cherry Tomatoes, Olives and Capers

6 04 2014

This deliciously simple Italian fish supper is from one of my fav cookbooks, Piatto Unico, meaning a complete meal. Showcasing one-course Italian meals is what this cookbook is all about. I only changed the recipe slightly, the biggest addition being my orange salt, which brightened the fish. Serve with some crusty bread to mop up the yummy broth!

Orange-Salted Cod With Cherry Tomatoes, Olives and Capers

Orange-Salted Cod With Cherry Tomatoes, Olives and Capers

The following makes 2 servings (adapted from Piatto Unico Cookbook):

  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium-thick skinless white fish filets, I used cod
  • Orange salt (combine a good amount of orange zest, a little kosher salt, dried rosemary and red pepper flakes)
  • 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1-4 to 1/2 cup dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 400.

Place the capers in a small bowl and cover with water; soak for 5 minutes, then drain.

Drizzle a little olive oil over the bottom of a casserole dish and smear it around with your hands.

Season both sides of the fish with a little orange salt (be careful not to over salt). Place seasoned fish in the oiled casserole dish.

Combine the tomatoes, olives, drained capers, garlic, half the parsley and wine in a bowl. Pour over and around the fish. Top everything with a Tbsp of oil.

Cover with foil and bake until fish filets are just done, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness.

Dish out fish, tomatoes, olives and broth into shallow soup bowls or plates, and top with the rest of the parsley.

Serve with crusty bread for mopping up the broth, and roasted asparagus or a salad of mixed greens on the side if desired.

Spicy Orange Chicken with Asparagus and Brown Rice

4 01 2014

Usually you’ll find orange chicken battered and fried in restaurants…delicious, but not very healthy. This is a fast, better-for-you spin on the classic Chinese take-out. It’s extremely flavorful and offers a nice kick of heat, although as the cook, you can control the level of spice. Since the hubs and I enjoy spicy foods, I played around and added some Sriracha to the sauce which we really enjoyed. Will be making this meal again very soon!

Orange Chicken with Asparagus and Brown Rice

Spicy Orange Chicken with Asparagus and Brown Rice

The following serves 2 (adapted from

  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed or sliced into strips
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp red pepper flakes (I use more because I like it spicy)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, chopped
  • 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • Juice of two oranges, zest from one orange
  • Sriracha sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • Handful green onions, chopped

Cook rice according to package directions, but rather than using water to cook the rice I recommend using chicken or veggie stock. It helps add flavor to the rice. Season with salt to taste.

Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the garlic and red pepper flakes for a minute until fragrant, then add cubed or sliced chicken and saute about 8 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the asparagus and cook another 4-5 minutes.

In a bowl whisk the soy sauce, honey, sesame seeds, orange juice and the rest of the zest. This Girl’s Tip: If you want it a little spicier, add a squirt of Sriracha sauce. Add the mixture to the skillet with the chicken and cook for another few minutes until well combined and sauce thickens a bit. Taste and season with a little salt if needed.

Divide the rice among two plates and serve the chicken, asparagus and orange sauce over rice. Don’t worry if the sauce is a little thin, the rice will suck it right up! Garnish with green onions.

Grilled Chicken and Orange-Herb Butter With Grilled Veggie Potato Salad

5 06 2012

This rustic meal is fairly easy thanks to the grill. And the compound butter used for the chicken is a great trick for infusing flavor, while keeping the meat juicy. You can switch out the citrus and herbs in the butter for what you have on hand, I did!

Grilled Chicken and Orange-Herb Butter With Grilled Veggie Potato Salad

The following serves 2 (ideas compliments of Everyday Food and Food Network Magazine):

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Red skinned or russets potatoes, sliced (2 per person)
  • Rosemary
  • 1 lemon
  • Half a small red onion, sliced
  • Half a zucchini, sliced
  • Half a yellow squash, sliced
  • Handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp fresh orange juice
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp basil, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt

Preheat grill to medium-high. Drizzle chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill covered, about 4 minutes per side or until the juices run clear.

Boil sliced potatoes for 5 minutes. Drain well and toss with olive oil and rosemary (I used dried). Grill the potatoes, 1/2 lemon, sliced red onion, sliced zucchini and sliced squash until you get good grill marks on both sides. Remove from grill and when cool enough to handle, chop the potatoes, onion, zucchini and squash. Toss everything with olive oil, parsley, salt and juice from the grilled lemon.

To make the orange-herb butter: Mash together unsalted butter, orange zest and juice, cayenne pepper, garlic, basil and coarse salt. Set aside until the chicken is done.

Once the chicken is done, remove from grill and top with orange-herb butter, cover with foil and let rest 5 minutes.

Serve chicken with the veggie potato salad.

Simple Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry Over Orange-Ginger Brown Rice

2 04 2012

You know the saying, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it? Well that’s how I feel about the basics of this simple stir-fry that my Mom used to make when I was growing up. The secret is in the store-bought sauce and even though I enjoy making things from scratch…I don’t mind cutting a corner here and there , especially when I know it works. Trust me, this dinner is fresh, delicious and couldn’t be easier!

Simple Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry Over Orange-Ginger Brown Rice

The following serves 2 to 3:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • House of Tsang Classic Stir-Fry Sauce (look for the bottle in your grocery store’s ethnic food section)
  • 1 bell pepper, whatever color you want, cubed
  • Half of a large red onion, cubed
  • Half a head of fresh broccoli, florets chopped
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups dry brown rice, use instant or quick 10 minute rice
  • 3 and 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • Zest of half an orange
  • 1 tsp fresh minced ginger (I use minced ginger in the tube, it’s so much easier)
  • Green onions / scallions, chopped

Cube the chicken into nice bite size pieces and set in a bowl. Add pepper, onion and broccoli to another bowl. Drizzle some of the stir-fry sauce in both bowls. Mix well and add more sauce if needed – you want enough to completely coat both the chicken and the veggies. Marinate for 30 minutes to an hour. I marinate these in separate bowls because I like to get the chicken cooking first and this step makes it easier.

When your chicken and veggies have marinated long enough, start the rice. You can make it straight up as the package directs, or put a little spin on it like me. Either way, you’ll want to follow the directions on the package…here’s how I made mine: Combine chicken stock, orange zest and ginger in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the rice and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover; simmer for about 9 minutes. Remove from heat and stir; cover again and let stand for about 9 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

While you let the rice stand, make the stir-fry. I like to use an electric wok, but you could make this on the stove as well, the trick is to get your pan or wok nice and hot (about 375 degrees). Then add about a Tbsp vegetable oil. When the oil is shimmery (which will happen fast), add the marinated chicken and juices and stir-fry for a minute or 2 (stir-fry means continuing to tossing / stirring the ingredients while cooking over high heat). Next add the veggies to the wok and stir-fry everything together for another 4-5 minutes or so.

Serve the stir-fry chicken and veggies over the rice, top with chopped green onions / scallions.