Caribbean-Style BBQ Chicken Legs
You guys, this book.
Just to clarity, it IS a cookbook, but it’s so much more than that. I have never in my life read a cookbook cover to cover like a novel. Nor has one ever brought me to tears. When I finished the book I was alone in my bedroom, almost afraid that my kids would come in and see the tears streaming down my face. I could imagine their confused little faces when I told them I was reading a cookbook, along with my two-year-old’s big, fake laugh and her little voice saying, “You’re silly!”
Granted, I’m in a state of delicate emotions right now, but I believe it would have made me cry sans pregnancy. But, my little fireball is right. Pregnancy can be silly sometimes.
I hadn’t even tried out a single recipe, but judging from the to-do list I jotted down as I was reading, I knew it was going to be one of my absolute favorites.
I think the reason I connected with this book so well is that Ashley and I are in very similar stages of life right now. We both have a passion for food and feeding others. We’ve both been married about 11ish years and each have three children (Her daughter and one of mine share a name, even.). And we have both found ourselves knee-deep in child-rearing and feeling like we need to reconnect with our spouses (who both happen to have dark hair and olive skin). I think I’d get along really well with Ashley.
In Date Night In, Ashely shares sweet courtship stories and weaves you in and out of the past as she tells how she and her husband reconnected through weekly date nights at home. She recreates food memories they shared early in their marriage and even opens up and shares some rough patches they struggled through. Ashley put her whole heart into this book, and I admire the couple’s determination to intentionally carve out time for each other. I loved her writing and felt like she included me in her experiences — as if we were sitting down in a little cafe together as friends.
I’m excited to give one of these books away to you! I wish I could give one to every married couple knee-deep in child rearing. Or every married couple in general. Or ever person who has ever thought about getting married. (Giveaway details are at the end of the post!)
Let’s look inside…
Ashely organized her book by season (which I LOVE). Within every season she groups recipes into entire meals, and every meal begins with a personal story. This is what I meant about reading it like a novel. Oh, the stories. They’re sometimes super sweet and sometimes a little heart-wrenching, but always beautifully written and meaningful.
Let me add here that these meals aren’t something you whip up when it’s 4:30 and you have no idea what to make.
The intention behind her book is to share the meals she made for her and her husband, Gabe, during their weekly date nights. Some are more work than others, but she helps you out by breaking the meal down into a timeline and giving you a shopping list. I love doing things ahead to make a special dinner less stressful!
The meal I chose from the book was her Caribbean-Style BBQ Chicken Legs, Mango Miso Slaw, and Thyme and Parmesan Roasted Sweet Potatoes. (There was also a drink, but because we don’t drink alcohol, I just skipped it.)
No, this isn’t a paleo-oriented cookbook, but everything is made from scratch. I also found many recipes that were at least grain-free (or could easily be adapted). This meal sounded amazing to me. and I happened to have most of the ingredients already. Plus, this one was nearly grain-free as is!
And if you’re wondering… no, this wasn’t a date night with Steve. Our kids were there, too. In order for us to eat alone I’d have to make something else for the kids and do our dinner prep after they went to bed. I don’t have that kind of stamina lately, but I would like to try it once baby gets here and decides that sleeping is a good thing.
That BBQ sauce completely won me over so I decided to share the chicken recipe with you (see below!). There are a lot of ingredients, but none of them are obscure or hard to find. I love the Caribbean flavors she threw in there — ginger, molasses, lime, allspice. It gives the sauce a different little kick. And the sauce isn’t overly sweet, which I prefer.
The slaw was so beautiful! I loved all the colors. It was the perfect punch of freshness for this meal. I swapped out the miso for some almond butter and it was delish.
Those potatoes — dusted in cornstartch (I used arrowroot powder) and tossed in a Parmesan-Thyme mixture before getting a little crispy in the oven. I love this method and debated on sharing the recipe as well. While I LOVED them, for some reason my kids weren’t too excited about them. (?!) I think I’m going to tweak them a bit and make them paleo. And THEN share them with you. Hopefully soon.
Like I said, my 7-month pregnant body doesn’t have the cooking stamina of my pre-pregnant self, so the Caramelized Pineapple Sundaes with Candied Coconut got postponed until the next day.
I’m so glad I didn’t postpone it forever, though. I didn’t change anything about this dessert to make it more paleo-friendly. I made it as is.
Let me just tell you… this may have been one of the best ice cream sundaes I’ve had in my life. Honestly. I had some homemade caramel sauce leftover from Christmas, so I just added the spices from her caramel recipe to it, threw a little into a skillet with fresh pineapple for a few minutes then spooned it over vanilla ice cream and topped it with some crunchy candied coconut flakes. And more caramel.
*swoon* No words, people.
Even if the only thing you made for date night was this sundae and looked your spouse in the eyes as you chatted for 15-20 minutes, uninterrupted, I think you would accomplish your goal. Ashley’s plan for reconnecting might not be for everyone, and she admits that not all date nights are an elaborate spread, and depending on their schedules, sometimes they get pushed back a week or two. But they happen. Because they intentionally carve out time for each other. I loved the final paragraph from her last story:
“The main message remains the same: for as long as I’m alive, I will wake up every morning and say yes to you. Sometimes I will do it with a great joy pounding in my heart, and other times I will do it because of the promise we made so long ago. Regardless, I will continue to choose you over and over again.”
Happy Valentine’s Day, friends.
You can find the chicken recipe and the giveaway details below!
Yield: 2-3 servings with extra sauce Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes Total Time: About an hour and 15 minutes For the chicken: For the sauce: Nat's Notes: From Date Night In by Ashley Rodriguez (recipe shared with permission)
Caribbean-Style BBQ Chicken Legs
Yield: 2-3 servings with extra sauce
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: About an hour and 15 minutes
For the chicken:
For the sauce:
From Date Night In by Ashley Rodriguez (recipe shared with permission)
DATE NIGHT IN GIVEAWAY
HOW TO ENTER:
Leave a comment on this post and answer the following question:
What’s your ideal date night in?
Married, dating, or single, how do you like to spend a night in with someone you love? (Keep it clean, please. ;))
*For an extra entry, follow Perry’s Plate on Instagram! Then come back here and leave another comment saying you did! If you already follow me on Instagram, just leave another comment so I can count you twice.
A few little details…
1. Comments will close on Thursday February 12, 2015 at 8PM PST. I’ll use a random number generator to choose a winner that I will contact and announce here shortly after. If I don’t get a response after three days I’ll pick a new one.
2. Contest open to US and Canadian residents only.
3. Leave a valid email address for me to contact you.
Disclosure: This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. Purchases made by using these links doesn’t cost you any extra, but sends a few pennies over to Perry’s Plate. This enables me to sponsor more giveaways and replace sticky camera equipment. But mostly sponsor giveaways. Both my copy and the giveaway copy of Date Night In were provided by Running Press. I received no other compensation for this post and all opinions shared are my own.