Healthy Diet

Chicken Marengo + Perfectionism Rant + Dad’s 80th + Montana Beauty

A few weeks ago, my youngest son, William, and I were pumped because we got to fly to Montana for my Dad’s 80th birthday party.

I still can’t believe The Nicker is 80..what.the. hell???

Check out the hair.

Dad's Chicken Merango
The Nicker’s Chicken Marengo

It has been a long time since the whole family has gotten together, and we had a RIOT.

We also enjoyed some delicious food and gorgeous hosting courtesy of Nick & Carol in their magical home. Is it still considered hosting when it’s your parents? .

WHAATT – Everrr.

Mi Madre. So Lovely.
Mi Madre. So Lovely.

I am inspired to be in my parent’s casa as they are quite artful in the way they approach life, and that feels familiar and energizing to me.

Like any family, it’s not always Shangri-La when we hang out together.

We’re a fiery bunch; some of us more than others, including, Yours Truly.

But basically, since our gang is hilarious & free-spirited, we adore being together.

No one else is quite like us.

Speaking of hilarious, check out this video of my son and my little bro talking about my Dad:

http://[iframe id=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/M8rdJgyBl9I?rel=0″ mode=”normal”]

You can find out more about these characters here.

At our family dinner table, the funniest person is the Last Man Standing.  The competition is fierce, but also, um, rather sparkly.

Kind of like this:

DO NOT skip this video.  O.M.G……

[iframe id=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/_qu7UiHwilI?rel=0″ mode=”normal”]

Okay…REALLY??? That was funny.

And this:

[iframe id=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/e4jtnVxmviU?rel=0″ mode=”normal”]

Adore my sister-in-law; the other: Lisa Spencer.  She’s a beauty, no matter how you slice it.

And as I say:

The only normal people are the ones you don’t know that well yet;)

Besides that, normal is overrated.  I think if we’d get completely over that whole idea, people would be a lot more content with themselves and with those around them.

And don’t get me started on the idea of perfection.  That little seemingly innocent concept is straight from the devil.

Perfectionism will voraciously devour your lovely human spirit and leave you in a cold sweat heap on the floor if you’re not watching out for her. She is one cruel, not-to-be-trusted, raging task master mistress.

Can you tell I feel strongly about this? Sometime later, we’ll taaalllk.

Alrighty then, enough with my armchair rant.

Let’s get on with the loveliness:

Room with a View
When’s everybody getting here? This is a lot of work…

The Bitterroot Valley has this luminous quality about it.

The air looks different. Not sure what it is.

No, I’m not smoking funny cigarettes.  Don’t touch the stuff.  

No Judgement.

It’s simply that I don’t enjoy driving WAY under the speed limit and eating entire batches of cookie dough;)

Blondes Have More Fun
 Do they have yodeling classes in Montana?

One of our best days was fly fishing with my brother Nick, and his  son, Nicky, my pal son Will, and my youngest bro, Alex.

[iframe id=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/7QHWMs8ZCcQ”]

I’m extremely proud of my little (big) bro, Nicky: Apparently I’m the only person allowed to call him Nicky 😉 

Getting ready for the big event:

All Dressed Up and Ready to Party
All Dressed Up….

At the big shindig, we had a lot of great food but this was my “way” favorite:

Moussaka
Well hello there, Handsome – Moussaka

And finally, the recipe you’ve been waiting for.  My BRAND new favorite dinner EVER is the one my Dad both created and prepared the first night we arrived.

It’s simple to make and great for leftovers the next day.  I’m big on that.  Cook once, eat twice.

This version is totally Paleo (sans the freakin’ bacon;) and full of great nutrients and fiber.

Your body will say: I Love You, and your tastebuds will be in Shangri-La.

Chicken marengo
You know you want me..

Without further a-do, here you go with my Paleo version of it: 

Chicken Marengo Tango

1 whole organic chicken

1 onion chopped coarsely

2 -3 cups baby tomatoes

1 medium eggplant

1/2 dozen Kalamata olives (forgot those this time)

1/2 lb. string beans (I used Romano beans)

1 red and 1 green bell pepper

2-3 green zucchini (smaller ones)

2-3 yellow summer squash

1 dozen small red new potatoes (optional)

1/4 cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic smashed & slivered

1/2 cup white wine

3 tablespoons fresh oregano

2 tablespoons fresh thyme

1/2 cup organic unsalted chicken broth (optional)

sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

We look SO Good together!
Damn Girrll. We look goood together….

First off: Get the freshest, local seasonal veggies you can find.  I am a regular summer stalker at  Joe’s Garden’s.  I actually have to fight back indulging in an ugly cry when they close at the end of the season. Joe’s represents just about everything I love about Bellingham.

Check out the garlic harvest at Joe's Garden's.
Check out the garlic harvest at Joe’s Garden’s.

Roast bell peppers until nicely charred. Let them “sweat” in a glass container to cool.

Anoint chicken and onion with oil. I simply rub it lightly on the whole chicken and toss the onion and garlic in a stainless bowl with a little oil. Put it in a big roasting pan with a lid.

I LOVE my graniteware for this recipe as years ago my Dad taught me to use these pans for almost anything roasted.

If you don’t own a lovely speckled roaster you have a few options:

Option 1: Call The Nicker and tell him you don’t own any granite ware, and he will most likely feel so terribly sorry for you, that he’ll buy you a roaster and send it to you.

OR:

If you’re not feeling that ballsy….

Option 2:  You can purchase one online or at a true value hardware store. They are really inexpensive!

Any-hoo A.D.D. girl, back to the task at hand:

Lightly salt and pepper the whole thing, toss about 1/2 the fresh herbs on top of the chicken and onions & garlic, add the wine cover the roaster, shake it around a bit and pop into a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes, shaking around occasionally. Do this quickly so you don’t let too much heat escape your oven.

Could ya give me a little privacy? Geez.
Could ya give me a little privacy? Geez, what an idiot!

Chop the rest of the veggies in big chunks. Toss in olive oil with a little salt and pepper and the remaining herbs. A big stainless bowl works well for this. I’m growing herbs in my garden-‘course, and I have this Cuban oregano that I added. It’s FABULOUS!

Add veggies to pan and cover and cook 45-60 minutes longer until juices run clear. Remove lid and put under broiler to brown the top. Cover and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Serve with: NOTHING! It’s all there. This tastes even more delish the next day.
Be prepared. It’s THAT Good..

I even got my hair done for you. Sexy, no?
I even got my hair done for you. Sexy, no?
Chicken Marengo Tango PALEO
Author: Lisa Spencer
Ingredients
  • Chicken Marengo
  • 1 whole organic chicken
  • 
1 onion chopped coarsely
  • 2 -3 cups baby tomatoes
  • 
1/2 dozen Kalamata olives (optional)
  • 
1/2 lb. string beans (I used Romano beans)
  • 1 red and 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2-3 green zucchini (smaller ones)
  • 2-3 yellow summer squash
1 dozen small red new potatoes (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic smashed & slivered
1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup organic unsalted chicken broth (optional)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Roast bell peppers until nicely charred. Let them “sweat” in a glass container to cool.
  2. Anoint chicken and onion with oil. I simply rub it lightly on the whole chicken and toss the onion and garlic in a stainless bowl with a little oil. Put it in a big roasting pan with a lid.
  3. Lightly salt and pepper the whole thing, toss about 1/2 the fresh herbs on top of the chicken and onions & garlic, add the wine cover the roaster, shake it around a bit and pop into a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes, shaking around occasionally. Do this quickly so you don’t let too much heat escape your oven.
  4. Chop the rest of the veggies in big chunks. Toss in olive oil with a little salt and pepper and the remaining herbs. A big stainless bowl works well for this. I’m growing herbs in my garden (‘course), and I have this Cuban oregano that I added. It’s FABULOUS!
  5. Add veggies to pan and cover and cook 45-60 minutes longer until juices run clear. Remove lid and put under broiler to brown the top. Cover and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Serve with: NOTHING! It’s all there. This tastes even more delish the next day.
  6. Be prepared. It’s THAT Good.

Questions or comments? Scroll on down the road.

Try this recipe and let me know how it rolls in the comments down yonder.

Sorry.  Apparently I’m still thinking I’m on Bonanza 😉

I DO love to hear what you have to say so let it rip!

OK…I’m clearly back on the West Coast now;)……………

18 Comments
Join The Conversation

Sign up to get updates delivered right to your inbox!

Share Your Thoughts On Anita Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Awesome! The videos cracked me up, but the pictures were breathtaking and the recipes looked so good my mouth was watering!

    I love the family fun and think it’s great that you shared it with us. By the way, my grandpa’s hair was just as thick and no gray! We were always amazed!

    Happy belated birthday to your dad! And congratulations to the wonderful hostess, your mom, whose good vibes came shining through.

    🙂

  2. This is my kind of family! Lots of food, fun, and parties! And I love the Montana landscape. Reminds me of “A River Runs Through It,” ha-ha!!

    The food looks delish and I’m taking down the recipe for trying out this weekend.

    Kudos to your dad!

      1. Well, we’re eating the leftovers today – more like inhaling them. We had nothing planned for last night and I had to go to the store anyway, so voila! I fixed it. We didn’t have exactly that roaster, but had a crock pot and just let it go for a couple of hours until everything was basically falling apart. We almost ate each other while we were waiting, because the smells were so good, but anyway we lived to talk about it and everyone still has all their hands and feet!

        Thanks for a delicious meal idea and I can’t believe it’s actually so healthy, but I kept my mouth shut about that as nobody else really cared. I do like to eat healthy, but this was like a sensory experience so no one else ragged on me for cooking healthy.

        A win-win, in my mind! That’ll be our little secret, Lisa. 🙂

  3. This looks amazing. After working all day with families that are out of joint, it’s such a relief to find some truly happy, connected families who share good food and fun. Renews my faith in humankind.

    Besides, I can’t wait to try the chicken and I’m looking up the Moussaka. I love healthy food that’s delicious, too.

    Thanks for sharing this celebration and happy birthday to your father!

    1. Hey @Sissy MacDougall, What kind of work do you do? I wish I had posted the Moussaka too! Thank you for stopping by and thanks for the birthday wish for my Pop. Let me know what you think of the Marengo Tango!

      1. Hi, Lisa. I do home monitoring and intervention in pretty sad cases of child abuse and other domestic problems, so I’m always looking for something to soothe me in the evenings when I get home. And one way is definitely to hook into healthy, loving, even fun-loving families like yours. It’s a whole different planet. So I like to travel when I can, find places with great food, hang out with fun-loving friends, and window shop a lot! I will definitely tell you how it comes out when I try the recipe, probably tomorrow night. 🙂

  4. I love a great party and love traveling! I think I have to put Montana on my list now – it looks heavenly. Your parents look terrific!

    I loved the table setting with crystal glasses and thrown ceramic plates. Quite gorgeous – a mix of finery and rustic.

    I am not much of a cook, but I’ll give the recipe a try one of these days. Whatever you’re feeding the family, it sure looks like it’s helping everyone stay fit and vital.

  5. I want to make one of these for a potluck we are having for a Red Hat dinner, but I’m not sure I like the ladies that much 🙂 No, I love them like family, and this looks like it’s made with love for family. I’d definitely be showing all those old birds up, don’t ya think Lisa? Thanks for always having the best and easiest recipes on here. I love you for it.

  6. You can see the love that you and your family have for each other. It’s so wonderful. And it shows in the way that you feed one another as well. When you feed each other with good food like this, how can you not have a close knit family that enjoys each other?

  7. Hey, your dad looks awesome and so does the food. Yeah, if you can post that Moussaka recipe here in the comments, we would love you for it. xox

    Ha-ha! Anyway, I love to run and eat healthy so please keep them coming. In fact, I’m going to snoop around and see what else you got here.

    Thanks so much.
    🙂

  8. It is such a blessing to have a family as wonderful as yours. I wish that my family was closer so we could get together more often. It’s a testament that your family is a blessing because you are passing the blessings that they have given you onto others. Thanks.

  9. Is there anyone in your family who doesn’t know how to cook a wonderful meal? It seems that every time you get together someone is making something absolutely delish! I’m totally jealous and rather hungry right now. I can’t wait to try this one and serve it to my father who deserves to have me make a good meal for him. He’s been cooking me good meals for *mumbling incoherently* 40 something years now so it’s time I cook something that will make his belly sing.

  10. I think I’m going to have to invite myself into your family, and be the ‘normal’ one for about 10 seconds, because I think I’d fit right in with y’all. Would you accept the y’alls thrown in there every now and then? I sure hope so.

    As for the Chicken Marengo Tango I’m 100% positive it was perfect without the olives. I’m not a lover. But I’m sure that your family will love me anyway. The rest I’d dive in. I’m not sure with my family of 5 that there would be any leftovers, but that’s OK, I’d be more than happy to make it again. I bet it makes the house smell FANTABULOUS!

  11. Wow, congratulations to your dad! Your family looks veeery nice and friendly, I really hope that you’ve had such a great time during this celebration and after that LOL. :)) Cheers!