baked honey lime ginger chicken

This summer has had a slowed down, leisurely feel to it. This is contrasted with the hectic fall and spring, when I was trying to fit in working, taking classes, and planning a wedding from dusk 'til dawn. The past few months, on the other hand, have actually included free time! I've found myself sleeping until it's light outside, watching TV at night, reading for pleasure, going for walks after dinner, spending an entire weekend just "hanging out." I'm learning to put less pressure on myself when less pressure is needed, and it feels pretty good. I've had so much more time to cook and try new recipes, which has made me (and Ryan) so happy. One recipe I tried out on a particularly leisurely Tuesday was this baked honey lime ginger chicken. Andddd wow.

This is some seriously flavorful chicken. I used big, skin-on chicken legs (which, of course, include both the thigh and the drumstick), a super tender and flavorful part of the bird. The chicken is covered with a combo of ginger (way more than seems reasonable), zesty lime, honey, Indian spices, and jalapeño. It's browned on the stove to lock in flavor, topped with a bit of sugar and more lime zest, then baked. The result is as awesome as it sounds. Plus, it's ready in under 40 minutes and requires very little hands-on time.  So, if you're in the mood for a chicken dish that's different, comforting, and packed with flavor, you've gotta try this!

I served the chicken with a starter course of that spicy golden gazpacho. QUITE a summer dinner. God I love this new free time!

If you want to give the chicken a try, here's how:


spicy golden gazpacho

I've never considered myself much of a soup person. You know those people that just LOVE anything soup? Yeah, not one of them. I mean, soup is fine. Some soups are pretty delicious. A warm soup in the winter can be pretty darn comforting. But I rarely choose soup over other more... solid... foods. And cold soup? I've DEFINITELY never been a cold soup gal. I've had gazpacho a couple of times, and I had a cold asparagus soup once (though, admittedly, it was given to me as a complimentary -- i.e., unchosen -- appetizer). These cold soups were pretty good, but also pretty odd. I mean, cold soup is a little weird, right? Something just feels off when you're eating it. Like it should either be hot, or if it's gonna be cold, it should be solid, yeah?

All of this coming from the girl who willingly made a cold soup to share with you today. The truth is, I'm coming around on it! It was a HOT 90 degree day when I decided to go for this chilled golden gazpacho soup. I was flipping through Food and Wine magazine when I spotted the beautiful golden soup with avocado on top. It just called to me. 

Turns out, I really enjoyed it. I STILL think cold soup is slightly confusing to the mouth, but it's a nice change-up. And this soup is very, very refreshing for a hot summer day. I made a few changes to the original recipe to make it more flavorful (adding some onion; marinating the veggies in oil and vinegar first) and I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would. It's basically made entirely of vegetables and healthy fat. It's a nutritional powerhouse in a bowl! Once you top it with some goodies -- avocado, pico de gallo, greek yogurt/almond milk -- it becomes even more awesome. By the way, this soup is very spicy. Just warning you! You will NEED those cool toppings. You could also remove all of the jalapeño seeds if you don't want as much of a kick, but I loved it that way. 

I loved this trifecta of toppings on the gazpacho, but you can really go in your own direction here. Some crunchy tortilla strips or fresh cilantro would be delicious. And your "cream" doesn't HAVE to resemble sperm, I promise (yeah, didn't notice that until later). 

However you enjoy it, you should give this golden gazpacho a try this summer. It makes you look kinda fancy, but it's actually incredibly simple to make. Got a blender? Then you got this. I obviously served mine with something a little more substantial and protein-packed, but this soup could hold its own for a light lunch. [By the way... the chicken pictured here was unreal! Will post the recipe soon].

Here's how to make the gazpacho:


the best baked chicken wings

Happy almost-fourth-of-July, everyone! I hope everyone has fun and exciting plans to celebrate this weekend. We are heading to Lake Anna for the weekend with a bunch of our close friends, so I'm just counting down the hours to three days of sun, boating, beer, and best friends. Yesss.

Guess what? I'm actually posting a recipe to my blog today! I know, I haven't done that in ages. This is a classic, too. Chicken wings! Also known as, Ryan's kryptonite. My husband is a wing connoisseur. Watching him order, inspect, and then eat wings (every. last. morsel.) is basically a show. Because I'm a good wife (oh, and because I love wings too), sometimes I make them at home. Even though my home-cooked wings aren't fried like some of his favorites, he still requests and loves them. They're "among his favorite." I'll take it.

These chicken wings are baked, not fried. A bit of oil, high temps, and some broiling at the end is the trick to baked wings that are juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Without flour or frying, these don't get as crispy as some other wings, but they are pretty darn delicious.

Then you just have to decide which sauce. Buffalo...

Or fiery asian? Both are amaaaaazing. You can't lose.

Wings are super American, right? Make some to celebrate the nation's birthday this weekend! Or just make them any time. These need no occasion. 

Here's how to make 'em:


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