Day #2: Tis the season…to season

Today I made Spicy southwest chicken, goat cheese and kale mashed potatoes, and balsamic glazed asparagus.


Spicy Southwest Chicken 

Yesterday I used a marinade to flavour the chicken and today I tried another commonly used method: spice rubs. Spice rubs also known as rubs are a great way to add flavour to meat. They usually consist of a mixture of spices which are then rubbed into the skin of the meat.

There are many benefits of using a spice rub over a marinade. Rubs do not require any time for the chicken to sit in the mixture whereas marinades can require upwards of 30 minutes to soak into foods. Given that most rubs consist of spice mixtures, they cut out many of the fatty ingredients that can be found in marinades while still offering the health benefits of the spices. The tradeoff: the exterior is drier with rubs than with marinades (in my opinion).

The Recipe
(yields one cup)

1.5 Tablespoons chilli powder
1 Tablespoons paprika
0.5 Tablespoons cayenne
0.5 Tablespoons ground cumin
0.5 Tablespoons ground coriander
0.5 Tablespoons granulated garlic
0.5 Tablespoons granulated onion
0.5 Tablespoons kosher salt
0.5 Tablespoons cracked black pepper

  • Mix ingredients together well.
  • Sprinkle mixture over chicken breast and rub into skin. Do this for both sides. Mixture should be rubbed into the entire surface of the chicken. Chicken skin will darken as it absorbs the rub.
  • Optional: Sprinkle extra seasoning over chicken breast.
  • Grill chicken breasts

Recipe adapted from The Food Network by Emeril Lagasse.

What I learnt

The recipe was simple and the chicken was easy to make. It turned out well.

Balsamic Roasted Asparagus

I chose a recipe with Balsamic because I thought it would be a nice balance to the already present spicy flavours of the chicken.

The Recipe 

1 pound of asparagus (I just used one bundle of thin asparagus from the store)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic (I used regular raw garlic)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions can be found here. Adapted from Cooking Light by Joy Zacharia.

What I learnt

This is a definite re-make. I enjoyed the true simplicity of the recipe from the list of ingredients to the amount of work it required. My own personal adjustment would be to add a smidge more balsamic vinaigrette.

Goat Cheese and Kale Mashed Potatoes

Given that the plate had the spicy flavours from the chicken and the tangy flavours from the asparagus, I thought it would be best to have the final component be on the richer side.

The Recipe

The recipe can be found on Food Republic.

What I learnt 

This was my first time cooking with Kale so I wasn’t sure what it “tender” kale looked like. I just tasted it after a few moments and it was soft and easy to eat, so I assumed it was ready. I was a bit scared to over-mash the potatoes as the recipe had warned. Therefore I stopped short of mashing enough and the mashed potatoes were slightly chunky. Finally and most importantly, ensure that you salt to taste. Building on my earlier mention of spices, salt can play an important role. A small amount of salt actually enhances the flavours of other ingredients in the recipe. I had not salted before I started eating and only remembered to salt after I had a few bites. The addition made a difference!


Completely. All aspects of this meal turned out well and were simple to make. I’ll likely remake them all!



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