Happy Monday to you! What was the highlight of your weekend?
My Mom, Lincoln and I started our Saturday by bundling up then heading off to the downtown farmers’ market. No weekend is complete without a trip! (Baby hoodie from American Apparel – I dress him in it everyday for at least a minute no matter the temperature because I just can’t get over how cute it is – BAH!)
It was a cool and beautiful FALL morning (I’ve come to terms with it – summer is officially over!) and the late-season flowers were really knocking my socks off. I just love mums, and who can resist sunflowers – especially mini ones?
After an hour and a half at the market, we found ourselves nearly produce-less, as we kept running into people we knew. At one point I was having a conversation with three different groups! Lincoln loved all the attention. ; ) (Chest strap loosened for comfort at the market – don’t chide.)
Before the baby reached hangry status, I swooped up a truck-load of kale from one of my favorite vendors to make a double batch of Kale Fried Rice later this week. I’ve been whipping it up a lot lately as Ben and I both adore it, and it’s rare we find a dish that we both like so much. I’m rolling with it as a weeknight staple for as long as I can.
I was also tempted to pick up a few festive pumpkins to decorate the house with, but decided to wait as we still had another stop to make later that afternoon…
Berry Patch Farm!
Annual apple and pumpkin picking at Berry Patch Farm in Nevada, IA is one of my favorite fall activities. The farm is 30 minutes north of home and the drive through the country to get there is nice and relaxing. The fact that we get to pick all the fresh apples we want at a bargain price once we get there is a huge bonus!
There are a lot of orchards in town that have mazes and activities for kids, which I suppose we’ll get into in a few years when Lincoln’s old enough to play around, but the quaint and quiet, family-run-factor of this farm is what we really love. Plus it’s free to get in, which is hard to find anymore.
Ben and I parked then headed out past the pumpkin patch, where we picked out a mini pumpkin for Lincoln, then arrived at our final destination…
If you’ve been reading IGE for any length of time then you know that I, like many of you, am next-level obsessed with Honeycrisp apples. Thus, the wide-open rows of packed apple trees just ripe for the picking may have elicited a very excited squeal from this Iowa girl.
Ben set off filling our sack with the best HCs he could reach… (Tip: if you go to Berry Patch Farm yet this year, head to the Honeycrisp rows that are in the back of the farm. Those are the most ripe/untouched so far!)
While I tended to the little man, trying to convince him that apple picking is so much fun. (FYI – I have an ERGObaby Carrier with an Infant Insert that I use for longer walks/activities like this. The back support for Mom is awesome!)
He did not think apple picking was so much fun! We had a brief meltdown mid-pick, but luckily Dad was able to save the day.
20 minutes later we walked to the front with cough, 10lbs of Honeycrisps and a pumpkin that totaled – get ready for it – $19.95. The Honeycrisps were only $2.25/lb – unbelievable! Get ready for some apple recipes in the next couple of weeks!
Normally we’d head to nearby Ames for lunch at our favorite BBQ/homestyle joint, Hickory Park, but the interstate was absolutely slammed with traffic for Iowa’s biggest football game of the year, University of Iowa vs Iowa State. Instead we headed home to watch it at home with my parents and, I won’t gloat, but the right team won… ; )
Sunday was rainy and blissfully lazy. Ben and Lincoln watched football, while I grocery shopped then made a yummy dinner of Honey and Balsamic-Onions Chicken Skillet in a new saute pan that I am so, so impressed with.
This skillet dinner has a base of balsamic-glazed caramelized onions which get sticky-sweet while cooking with garlic-seasoned chicken breasts. The chicken is removed from the saute pan once cooked through then honey, more balsamic vinegar, and chicken broth is added to make a quick, 1-minute pan sauce. This dish is not that cute, but so good nonetheless.
Start by slicing 1 large sweet onion. This was a vidalia onion and was HUGE! Cut it in half, then slice each half into thin slices.
Heat 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat then add the onions and saute until they’re just starting to turn golden brown, about 20 minutes. You don’t have to babysit these onions, by the way. Unload the dishwasher, pay some bills, etc, while they’re cooking and just give ’em a stir every once in awhile.
Next add 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar. I saw a Barefoot Contessa episode recently where Ina, my hero, roasted sliced red onions tossed with balsamic vinegar as a burger topper, which gave me the idea. The vinegar gave the sweet caramelized onions an even more intense sweet flavor, with just a hint of tang.
Stir the onions so every slice is coated in the vinegar, then scooch ’em to the outside edges of the pan and turn the heat up just slightly. Next add 2 chicken breasts that have been pounded out and cut in half then seasoned with garlic salt and pepper into the center.
Saute the chicken for 4-5 minutes a side, or until cooked through, then remove them to a plate and set aside. I loved how none of the onions stuck to the pan as they got more and more caramelized around the chicken. This nonstick coating is serious biz.
To finish up and make the 1-minute pan sauce, turn the heat to low then add 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup chicken broth, and 1-1/2 Tablespoons honey and stir until thickened.
Spoon the sauce over the chicken, which I placed over cooked egg noodles, then dig in – and enjoy!
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Honey and Balsamic-Onions Chicken Skillet
Honey and Balsamic-Onions Chicken Skillet is made in just one skillet, and ready in no time!
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion, cut in half then sliced
- 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
- 2 chicken breasts, pounded thin then cut in half
- garlic salt
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons honey
- Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions then saute until just starting to turn golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar and stir to coat then push onions to outside edges of skillet.
- Turn heat up slightly then brush chicken breast halves with extra virgin olive oil and season both sides with garlic salt and pepper. Add to center of skillet then saute for 4-5 minutes a side, or until no longer pink in the center. Stir the onions once or twice along the outside edges while chicken is sauteing. Remove chicken to a plate then set aside.
- Turn heat to low then add remaining 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, chicken broth, and honey to the skillet. Simmer for 1-2 minutes or until sauce is thickened then spoon over chicken and serve. I plated the chicken and sauce over cooked egg noodles.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
A little sweet, a little tangy, and a little garlicky, this chicken is totally out of the norm. I really, really loved it. Enjoy!