Roasted Chickpeas

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Hello everyone, I’m back! My work contract is over, and I’m super-excited to get back to blogging now that I have some more time on my hands. Yay!

Have you tried roasted chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans) yet? If not, I’m so delighted to share this recipe with you. I’m a firm believer that roasting makes everything taste better, and chickpeas are no exception. Roasting turns bland-and-boring chickpeas into little balls of goodness that are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Roasted Chickpeas

The best thing about these roasted chickpeas is that they are healthy and my kids love them too. In fact, this is one of their favorite after-school snacks (and mine too). Chickpeas are a great source of protein and fiber, as well as several vitamins and minerals such as Folate, vitamin B6, and Manganese.

I started making this recipe with just one can of garbanzo beans, but I found that wasn’t enough for three hungry gals, so I make this with two cans now. Sadly for my husband, there still doesn’t seem to be any left when he gets home from work.

The basic recipe just calls for salt and pepper, but you can get as adventurous as you like by adding your favorite spices, like paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, or even cinnamon and brown sugar for a “dessert” chickpea.

Ingredients
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 tablespoon olive oil (approx.)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with 2 layers of paper towels (or a clean dish towel).

Drain and rinse the chickpeas and then put them on the towel-lined baking sheet to dry. If you have time, you can leave them on the baking sheet and let them air-dry, or you can place another towel on top of the chickpeas and roll them around a bit to dry them off.

Once dry, add the chickpeas to a large bowl and combine with the olive oil. You want enough oil to coat every chickpea. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir gently.

First, remove the towels from the baking sheet and then pour the chickpeas onto the baking sheet. Be sure to spread them out in a single layer.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the chickpeas are golden-brown. Shake the baking sheet every 10-15 minutes to keep them from sticking.

Let cool and add more salt and pepper, if desired.

Enjoy and happy snacking!

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Oven Roasted Carnitas

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I’ve always prepared carnitas in my Crockpot, but I found myself without a Crockpot the other day, so I decided to try cooking carnitas in the oven instead. Oh. My. Word. I’ve always thought my Crockpot carnitas were really good, but these oven roasted carnitas are amazing. The flavor is doubled, the meat is super moist and tender, and there are all of these little crispy bits that you just can’t get in the Crockpot.  

My husband loved this recipe and said I should only make carnitas this way from now on. The Crockpot carnitas are still great, especially for busy weeknights, but this is the recipe to use if you want really amazing carnitas. I always make a big roast, and then freeze the leftovers for another meal (carnitas tacos anyone?). Also, you will need a large ovenproof pot with a lid (I use an enameled cast-iron dutch oven) for this recipe.

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (4 pound) boneless pork shoulder roast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 limes, sliced into wedges
Tortillas

Mix together the salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Cut the pork roast into several large chunks and trim off any large areas of fat. Coat the pork with the spice mixture.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium heat. Add the meat in batches and brown well on all sides. Don’t add too many pieces of meat to the pot at once, or else they won’t brown well. Turn down the heat, if needed, to prevent the spices from burning.

Add all of the browned meat back to the pot, cover tightly with a lid and place the pot in the oven. Bake until the meat is tender enough to be shredded easily with a fork, about 2 ½ to 3 hours. This is what it will look like when it’s done. 

Remove the pot from the oven and use a large spoon to skim off the fat from the pan juices. Use two forks to shred the meat and combine with the pan juices.

Serve with lime wedges and tortillas, and prepare for carnita nirvana!

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Oven Roasted Spareribs with Southern Dry Rub

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This is a wonderful way to prepare spareribs when it is too cold and wet outside to fire up the grill. The long roasting time ensures that the ribs turn out tender and delicious. The dry rub is packed with flavor and is a nice alternative to sticky-sweet barbeque sauce.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground marjoram
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 large rack of pork spareribs

Combine all of the spices in a small bowl and set aside.

Line a large baking sheet with foil. Rinse the spareribs in cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Place the ribs on the baking sheet.

Using your hands, rub both sides of the ribs with the spice mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1, or up to 12 hours for a stronger flavor. Take the meat out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking to let it warm up a bit (this will help the meat cook more evenly).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Turn the ribs bone side up and roast for about 45 minutes. Flip the ribs meat side up and continue roasting for another 45 to 60 minutes. Remove the ribs from the oven and let them stand for about 15 minutes before slicing.

Serve with your favorite side dishes.

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Garlic Parmesan Drumsticks with Sweet Potato Coins

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When it comes to chicken, I am typically a white-meat gal, but I’ll never pass up a good drumstick. It has the perfect portion of chicken, and it even comes with its own handle! This recipe produces tender chicken with a flavorful, crunchy crust, and it’s kid-approved! Serve it with Sweet Potato Coins (see recipe below). Those of you who think you don’t like sweet potatoes must try this recipe; it’s that good!

Garlic Parmesan Drumsticks

Ingredients
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup parmesan (I used shredded, but grated parmesan works too)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
12 chicken legs (approximately)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a shallow, microwave-safe bowl, add the minced garlic and the olive oil and heat in the microwave for 15-30 seconds to combine the flavors. (Note: you can heat the garlic and oil in a small pan on the stove instead, if desired.)

In another shallow bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parmesan, salt, and pepper. Now, I recommend that you setup a “chicken assembly line”. First you will have your chicken, then the garlic/olive oil mixture, then your bread crumb mixture, and finally your baking pan. The chicken will produce a lot of juices while it’s cooking, so be sure to use a broiler pan (a slotted upper pan that fits on top of another pan to contain the drips). This way your chicken will come out crunchy, instead of soggy.

Take a chicken leg with your right hand and roll it in the garlic olive oil to coat. Then drop it into the bread crumb mixture (don’t touch the bread crumbs with your wet right hand). Now take your left hand and coat the chicken with the bread crumb mixture. Pick the chicken up with your left hand and place it on the broiler pan. I recently learned this “wet hand/dry hand” trick which keeps your hands from getting too goopy. Repeat for the remaining chicken legs.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until golden and crispy.

Sweet Potato Coins

I love sweet potatoes – not that sugary marshmallow-topped casserole, which is forever banished from my Thanksgiving table – I’m talking about delicious sweet potatoes, oven-roasted to perfection. Even if you think you don’t like sweet potatoes, give this recipe a try. It’s easy and creates lovely bites of sweet potato that are tender on one side and have a blissful caramelized layer on the other side. This recipe came from Jessica Seinfeld (you know, Jerry’s wife), but I changed the preparation a bit to suit my taste.

Important Note: Your grocery store will probably call their sweet potatoes “garnet yams” or “jewel yams”, but don’t be fooled; they are sweet potatoes, not yams. A true yam is usually only found in specialty stores and isn’t even related to our delicious (and much more nutritious!) sweet potatoes.

Ingredients
2 medium sweet potatoes (they should feel heavy for their size)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and lightly oil a large baking sheet.

Rinse and scrub the skins of the sweet potatoes to remove any dirt. Cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch rounds (if the potatoes are large, you may want to cut the rounds in half). Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl, and then add the olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cumin and pepper. Using a large spoon, mix thoroughly to coat the potatoes. Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast about 30 minutes (no stirring needed), until the potatoes are tender and the bottoms have a brown, crispy caramelized layer (like crème brûlée, yum!).

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