All American Birthday Dinner

January 13, 2008

Tomorrow is the husband’s birthday!! We have a tradition of cooking each other a surprise dinner on each other’s birthdays, and the only rule is that it has to be something creative that we’ve never made before. He surprised me in October with “Paella” of lobster tail and pan-seared scallops with sun-dried tomatoes, jalapeños, roma tomatoes and sweet peppers, served over risotto, topped with capers (directly from the blog!) My original plan was to cook Bison – we’ve always wanted to use it but have never actually done it. But I couldn’t come up with something that I was comfortable making that wasn’t meatballs or a spaghetti sauce. When my mom said she was making BBQ chicken for my sister on Thursday, I thought “Now, that would be delicious!” – and surprisingly it’s something we’ve never made before. Plus, the husband has been alive a quarter of a century now so I figured he needed an All-American birthday dinner.

I set him up on the couch with a 24 oz beer (another requirement of the birthday dinner – I get wine on mine :) ) and I set to work in the kitchen. (I did have to bring him some bourbon on the rocks when his beer ran out!) This was my kind of meal – put chicken in the oven, worry about sides, all comes together at the end. Not too much stress on the stove top!!


The chicken turned out PERFECT!! It was the best BBQ sauce either of us had had. Although I did the whole thing “to taste” so I’m not sure of the ingredient portions, I basically combined 2 cloves garlic, ~1 cup of ketchup, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 a can of tomato paste, 2 tbsp cider vinegar, and 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce in a sauce pot and warmed it through. Then I covered the chicken with it (3 drumsticks and 3 boneless thighs) and put it in the oven for 40 minutes at 375*. I saved a little bit of the sauce to baste at the end and it thickened up quite a bit and was so smoky and sweet and delicious – I would definitely recommend saving some since the chicken sauce gets watered down with the chicken juice as it bakes.

The Result

I don’t normally eat dark meat, but tonight of course was a special occasion – PLUS we got 10 pounds of chicken legs on sale this week for $3!!!! So legs it was. I ate a whole drumstick (skin and all) and took the skin off my thigh (which the husband de-boned) and then put more sauce on afterwards. Chicken skin is loaded with saturated fat and I find that I don’t miss it much if the chicken is cooked with the skin on and I take it off after the fact. It’s still juicy and I still get all the great flavor.


On the side I made a corn dish with dried corn (a present from my grandmother). I added about 2 tbsp canned jalapeños, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tbsp splenda, S + P, and a little Smart Balance to finish it off. I basically simmered 1/2 a cup of the dried corn (260 kcal) in 1.5 cups of water for about 40 minutes. Perfect timing with the chicken! It was an experiment but I knew it wouldn’t be too hard to screw up. I added another 1/2 cup of water about 20 minutes in and it was perfect by the end. It tasted fabulous – like a smoky cornbread! I had about 1/3 of the recipe and the husband ate the other 2/3


Lastly, I whipped up some mustardy hot sauce green beans. Simple and spicy – just how he likes them!


Finished it off with 4 oz of leftover red wine, which really didn’t go well with the meal at all. A bummer since this was a nice bottle. The spicy food would have been better with a nice white or a beer!


All together for roughly 690 kcal (350 of that is chicken – I could have just had one piece but the sauce was TOO GOOD so I had both 😳 ) I’m really full right now and although my mouth wants something sweet, I know my stomach doesn’t need OR want anything else.


Let’s just say the husband LOVED his dinner :)


Afternoon with Friends

This afternoon Maran, Christy and I walked to get coffee in my neighborhood. 40 minutes of walking, good conversation (we’re nerds!) and a sugar-free peppermint non-fat tall cappuccino later…


Off to pack my backpack for classes tomorrow and then finish Pirates!!

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Danielle January 13, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Hi Kath,

Hmm, green beans. On Thursday I am going to have a pound of them sitting in a box in front of my apt door. Why you ask? :) In an attempt to eat seasonally and enjoy fruits and vegetables at their utmost quality I've decided to sign up for a "healthy box" from a farm near my university. Twice a month I get a home delivery of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables from them, yum! My first delivery is this Thursday and as I checked the inventory I found green beans on the list. They're not my favorite veggie and as such, I've never prepared them. Could you think of any recipes that would work well and enhance the flavor? Thanks so much!

P.S. Happy birthday to the husband!


2 jenna January 13, 2008 at 3:45 pm


that looks wonderful!!! I never think of making bbq chicken for some reason but I know Ryan loves it so maybe I will next time! have a GREAT day at school tomorrow!! Can't wait to hear all about it :)


3 VeggieGirl January 13, 2008 at 3:53 pm

looks like the husband did INDEED enjoy his special dinner ;0)

good luck with classes tomorrow!! I start classes tomorrow, as well!!


4 J. January 13, 2008 at 4:10 pm

you poor lady. you're being dragged into that knock-down, drag-out war on eat like me again. i've been toying with the idea of blogging for a while now. but, now… not so much.

p.s. i love that you say "meh." are you a simpsons fan? as in,

Homer: Kids, how would you like to go… to Blockoland!

Bart & Lisa: Meh.

Homer: But the TV. gave the impression that–

Bart: We said "meh".

Lisa: M-E-H. Meh.


5 Lauren January 13, 2008 at 4:30 pm

Thanks for all you do – I really enjoy reading everyday. You have such a way with words, and I appreciate that your blog is so personal and friendly. Have a great first day of classes tomorrow! Can't wait to hear all about it!

Oh, and happy birthday, husband! :) lol


6 B_healthy January 13, 2008 at 4:32 pm

I heard about your site through eat like me and I have to say, yours is much more organized and archived so nicely! Since "cristin" is certified RD, it is more credible to read hers… but I enjoy yours better! I am in Raleigh NC and going for a masters in nutrition as well… I wanted to ask how you are getting your RD at the same time!? I can only do one or the other apparently… anyhow, after seeing all these blogs I have been inspired to start my own! Thanks!


7 Ruby Red Vegan January 13, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Your birthday dinner tradition sounds so fun! The picture of the husband is really, really great. Hahahahahaha.


8 the husband January 13, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Maybe I shouldn't have made such a stupid face for the camera…

And we definitely said M-E-H.


9 Kath January 13, 2008 at 5:04 pm


My favorite is lemon juice, dijon mustard, and toasted almonds. Sear them up in a pan and just stir in the ingredients.


Thanks!! BBQ chicken was great – I bet all men would love it :)


Isn't that such an attractive photo!?


I wish that war would end soon…ugh. Can't they all just agree to disagree?

And YES to The Simpsons! Husband is a big fan, and so am I. My absolute favorite episode is when Homer goes to college and says "Hey, did you get a load of the nerd?" to his jock friends and yells "NERRRRD!!" to him. Hilarious. And the one when Homer fishes the army figurine out of Marge's hair. (By the way, your comment has the husband laughing out loud at his own computer right now!)


I really appreciate your comment. Thanks for reading!


I'm doing the R.D. requirements and masters ones simultaneously, although I won't take my first graduate level course until the summer or possibly next fall. But I'm taking nutrition, chem, and grad courses all together.

Night guys!



10 J. January 13, 2008 at 5:50 pm

Woo-hoo! … I mean…splendid.


11 Kim January 13, 2008 at 5:57 pm

Nice dinner recipe! Great blog. Do you or any readers have any tips for someone with an underactive thryoid, nutritional tips. I put on over 20 lbs, (even though eating right/exercising). I had lost 45 lbs, but I've gained half of it back. :( Have a great day everbody! Thanks so much. I can't run since I also had a spinal surgery/rods so can pretty much just use elliptical trainer, swim etc.


12 kristin January 13, 2008 at 6:19 pm

Happy Birthday to the Husband!


13 Moran January 14, 2008 at 12:45 am

Happy Birthday to the husband!


14 Christianne Warlick January 14, 2008 at 12:54 am

I love your blog but wanted to point out something I think I've read before about cooking chicken with the skin on. I may not have this right but I think that if you cook it with the skin on the fat liquifies (spelling?) and gets absorbed by the meat of the chicken so removing it after cooking doesn't really help with saving on the fat/calories. This is why the meat is so juicy and has so much flavor — the fat's still in there, even with the skin removed. I think that's right…


15 Kath January 14, 2008 at 8:12 am


I'm sorry I don't have any knowledge about under active thyroids. My husband had a spinal fusion a few years ago – so I know how tough that is too. Wishing you the best of luck!


I haven't heard that about chicken, but it makes sense. I don't eat much chicken with the skin on though, so I'm not worried about it as an every-now-and-then dinner. Thanks for the info!



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