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

A few weeks ago my youngest son, William and I were all charged up 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.  Not to mention that the dude is uber generous. He still does a ton for our family.

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? 

What-evah.

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

I am inspired being in my parents 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 so freaking hilarious and 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:

[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:

Look at the old _alls.

O.M.G. don’t skip this one – s’riously:

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

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 there. 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  William and my favorite days ever was fly fishing with my brother Nick, and his darling son, Nicky, and my youngest bro, Alex. My sweet son Spence and Fabulous Husband were both was dearly missed on this trip.  But we still had FUN:

[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 and Ready for a Party….

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 prepared (and created) 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 thank you and your tastebuds will be in Shanghai-la.

Chicken marengo
You know you want me..

Without further ado, here you go:

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….

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 graniteware, 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 + Dad’s 80th (s’riously?) + Montana Beauty
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 must be back on the West Coast now;)……………

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