July 21, 2008

Ellie's Maple-Mustard Chicken & Orange Sweet Potatoes

As of yesterday, the soon-to-be-hubby and I are exactly 2 months away from our wedding. That means that not only is it time for me to crackdown on the last little details, but it's also time for us to switch into healthy eating mode - pronto. Neither of us are out of shape and I already run 5 days a week, but there is just something about a wedding that makes you want to look and feel your best. I think the whole few hundred people watching you, coupled with pictures that will be immortalized amongst your family for many years to to come would probably get to anyone. Plus, my first dress fitting is tomorrow and bloated is not the feeling I'm going for.

So last night we decided to start our healthy eating kick with a dish from the Food Network's very own registered dietitian, Ellie Krieger. Ellie always cooks with an eye towards health, but also makes food that looks pretty darn appetizing. I'm a pretty hard critic when it comes to "health food" though. I don't want something that just tastes good, I want something that tastes just as good as the full-fat, high-calorie, oh-so-delicious meal it's trying to replace. Girl has to have her standards. We went to Canyon Ranch once and ate nothing but healthy meals the whole time we were there. People always rave about their food, but let me tell you, by the end of 5 days you will be begging for a piece of white toast.

Due to my overwhelming fear of that big white dress I have to put on tomorrow though, I decided to give it a shot. We made maple-mustard chicken thighs with a side of mashed sweet potatoes with orange essence. The chicken thighs are really simple to make, just coat the thighs with some of the sauce and throw 'em in the oven for close to an hour. The chicken comes out of the oven super moist and almost falling off the bone. The maple-mustard sauce forms a thick coating and definitely gives the meat some flavor. Although I'm a big fan of mustard, I personally found the mustard flavor a bit overpowering. It's very intense, so if I was to make it again I might cut back on the amount of sauce I coated the thighs in. If you do not absolutely love mustard, then this probably is not the recipe for you.

Now for the potatoes -- oh what to say. These suckers were anything but fantastic. They had a really strange flavor with the combination of the buttermilk and orange juice, and I personally didn't care for it in the least. Hubby-to-be didn't eat more than one bite (and that says a lot!). All in, my advice is to steer clear of this recipe and just bake yourself a nice sweet potato with a good pat of butter.

Okay, strike one for the healthy meal ideas. We might need to wait a little while before we try that again...

Ellie's Maple-Mustard Chicken Thighs (all nutritional information can be found at this link)
Adapted from Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger - Ellie Krieger

4 large bone-in chicken thighs, with the skins removed
2 tablespoons French mustard (grainy kind)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 tablespoons maple syrup

  • Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  • After removing the skin from the chicken, rinse each thigh under water then dry with paper towels.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the 2 mustards, chopped garlic, marjoram and syrup.
  • Place the thighs in a glass baking dish and spread the maple-mustard mixture on top of each piece.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes, and make a small cut in one thigh to ensure the chicken is cooked all the way through (no pink).

Ellie's Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Orange Essence
Adapted from Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger - Ellie Krieger

4 sweet potatoes
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter (for topping if desired)

  • Bring a pot with a steamer attachment to a boil.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut into a large dice.
  • Place the potatoes inside the steamer and steam for about 8 minutes, or until they are fork tender.
  • Transfer the potatoes to a medium sized bowl and stir in the buttermilk and orange juice.
  • Mash the potatoes with a fork so that they are smooth but with a few chunks.
  • Add in the zest, salt and nutmeg and stir to combine.
  • Serve immediately and top each individual serving with a pat of butter, if desired.


Anonymous said...

knowing you, you brought homemade cookies to your dress fitting for the nice woman putting in the pins :)

Ashley said...

Haha - I didn't, but what a great idea. Maybe I could bribe her into making my "cups" a little bigger! ;)

Jackie said...


You mentioned in your notes that the mustard flavor was a little overpowering. In next time you will cut back on the mustard sauce. Would you just drop the mustard down to 1 tablespoon each and leave the other ingredient measurements the same or would you cut back on them too.

Culinary Wannabe said...

Hi Jackie - I think I would actually just decrease the amount of the grainy mustard by half, as I think it was the overpowering flavor. With this in mind, you would have a little less marinade, which might also help, as it definitely got caked on there when I made it. Please let me know if you decide to do either though, and how it works for you. Keep in mind that this is super mustardy, but if you like those flavors you should really enjoy this. I know my husband loved it as is. Thanks for stopping by!