Showing posts with label poultry and fowl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poultry and fowl. Show all posts
05 April 2014

Easy Roasted Drumsticks & Vegetables

I got an excellent deal on chicken drumsticks a few weeks ago and my freezer is now well stocked them. Drumsticks aren't usually something I buy, but The Husband really likes fried chicken and I figured I would oven-fry some of them ... but, ummm, I keep forgetting to.

But, hey! They roast really well! Add some chopped vegetables and supper is in the oven in just minutes. I used an Italian seasoning blend, but I'm guessing poultry seasoning or lemon pepper would work pretty well, too.

Easy Roasted Drumsticks & Vegetables

1 pkg drumsticks
3 carrots, cut into chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
1 small onion, cut into chunks
Italian seasoning blend
olive oil

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Place drumsticks and vegetables in a shallow pan, trying not to crowd. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.

Bake for 30 minutes. Stir vegetables 'round. Bake for another 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve.

While the drumsticks were deliciously crispy and tender, the roasted veggies really stole the show. Seriously, roasted celery! Where have you been all my life?
28 March 2014

Comfort Me With (Slow Cooker) Chicken Soup

We were supposed to have sushi tonight, but work drama and an incipient cold had me hankering for soup. Happily, there were frozen chicken breasts and mixed vegetables in the freezer, so soup was go. (Seriously, is there any food more comforting than a big bowl of soup? Oatmeal on a bitter grey January morning comes close, I guess? Or that first scrambled egg and toast after days of gippy tummy?)

There's really no proper recipe for this soup -- I put three frozen boneless chicken breasts into the slow cooker insert with some chopped celery stalks, carrots, onion, garlic, and tomato. Added low-sodium fat-free chicken broth until everything was just covered. Topped it all off with Bell's salt-free poultry season and a bay leaf and let it cook on low for 6 hours.

Slow Cooker Chicken Soup

Then I shredded the chicken with two forks, added a 12-oz packaged of frozen mixed vegetables, chopped parsley, some hilopetes (pinky-nail-sized square Greek egg noodles) I'd picked up at the Polish grocery, and enough broth to almost fill the insert. I cranked the slow cooker up to high and let it cook for another hour. Then I removed the bay leaf, tasted, and adjusted the seasonings as needed.

Slow Cooker Chicken Soup

Not only was the soup pretty darn tasty and comforting, it made the whole house smell like home. Each time I stepped back into the house between appointments and errands, I took a great lungful in and felt ridiculously contented by the aroma. Soup, it's Feliway for humans.
10 March 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Italiano, Yum

So I ran a little mad buying chicken at the market during last week's sale and my freezer is now impossibly full. So full, indeed, that some of the sale chicken won't fit. We've eaten chicken for three meals running now and, while chicken is delicious, I'm looking forward to tomorrow's ahi tuna.

Chicken Italiano

Tonight, I made Pillsbury's "Chicken Italiano" using skinned bone-in thighs and rosemary-and-lemon infused Kalamata olives. I cooked the dish for 8½ hours on Low and then left it on warm for about 1½ hours and it came out really well. Succulent, full of bright flavors, and beautifully colored ... I'd be pretty happy eating this chicken dish every month. And, since it uses kitchen staples, I certainly could. Yum.
02 March 2014

Turkey Every Day

I roasted a turkey last Sunday and, in a fit of optimism combined with weak math skills, estimated we would be out of turkey by Wednesday. We actually ran out of turkey on Saturday, after I fed the last six ounces to the cats because there was simply no way we could stomach any more turkey and I wasn't about to add it to the already stuffed freezer. (Anyway, the cats are crazed by the unending cold and ice and clearly needed a little extra something from the humans).

So I started with a roasted fourteen-pound turkey:

Roast Turkey
Rubbed well with olive oil, seasoned with sea salt, pepper, and Bell's Seasoning.

And that became Sunday supper:

Sunday Dinner
With gravy, tarted-up instant mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, and parslied carrots.

And then pizza:

Turkey Pizza
Ready-made pizza crust, turkey, pizza sauce, red onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, seasonings, "pizza" cheese blend.

And soup:

Leftover Turkey Soup
Mafalda, turkey, broth, dill, salt, black pepper, bay, garlic, red onion, carrots, celery, corn, peas.

And salad:

Leftover Turkey Salad
Turkey, red onion, bell peppers, guacamole, romaine, lime juice, black pepper.

And another soup that I forgot to snap a photo of before we gobbled it all up and many, many sandwiches. And now we are positively done with roast turkey for quite a long time to come!
10 February 2014

Sunday Dinner for One

I love roasting Brussels sprouts, but fresh sprouts can be a little pricey. Happily, I discovered I could roast frozen Brussels sprouts pretty much the same way as fresh and therefore enjoy roasted sprouts whenever I wanted them and save myself a little money -- frozen sprouts are 17¢ less per ounce than fresh at my local Stop & Shop (and I don't even have to clean them). Fabulous!

Since I was roasting sprouts, I thought I'd do another sweet potato and then I figured why not chuck some chicken breasts in there, too? And, without meaning to, I ended up with a smashing Sunday dinner for one (with leftovers for weekday meals).

Sunday Dinner for One

First, I preheated the oven to 400°F (and made sure the top rack was in the center of the oven as I frequently forget to put it back after broiling things and moving around a hot rack is not the best fun).

Tossed the 16 oz bag of still-frozen Brussels sprouts with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper and arranged them in a single layer on a small baking tray. Popped them into the oven with a well-scrubbed-and-poked sweet potato and set the timer for 20 minutes.

Sunday Dinner for One

While the vegetables cooked, I pounded three boneless chicken breasts until they were all about the same thickness and then smeared them with a mixture of Dijon mustard and maple syrup. Plopped them onto a baking tray with a sprinkling of black pepper and set them aside until the oven timer went off.

Sunday Dinner for One

Then I shifted the contents of the oven around so the chicken could fit, gave the sprouts a stir, and set the oven timer for another 20 minutes.

At the end of 20 minutes, the chicken and sprouts were done so I removed them from the oven and tented them with a little foil so they would stay warm. The sweet potato was a little firm so I gave it an additional 10 minutes, at which point it had gone all oozy with potato juices. Yum!

I sliced the breasts and plated one with the baked sweet potato and some Brussels sprouts (I admit a bunch of Brussels sprouts got nibbled to death while I waited for the potato). The other breasts went into serving bowls with Trader Joe's Multigrain Blend With Vegetables and roasted broccoli (olive oil + sea salt + pepper + 425°F + 20 minutes) and served me well as work meals.
01 January 2014

Fast Duck, Easy Duck

I was ridiculously excited to discover boneless duck breasts at my local Stop and Shop. Hopefully, they're not just in stock for the holidays, because duck breasts are delicious and I'd love to make them a regular item on my weekly grocery list. A boneless skinned duck breast is not only quite low in fat and calories, but also very flavorful and cooks up in a matter of minutes. (Seriously, they spend more time sitting around than they do cooking).

Boneless Skin-On Duck Breasts
You have no idea how excited I am!

Anyway, I cooked two for dinner by following the instructions on their packaging and they were fabulous. I burnt the skin, because I had the skillet closer to high than medium-high, but I'd never intended to eat the skin, anyway. I was a little bummed to realize burnt skin wasn't going to yield very nice duck fat, but I still have a jar in the fridge from other duck experiments so it's not the end of the world.

I peeled the burnt skin from the breasts just before slicing and plating them. The flesh was flippin' fantastic -- tender, succulent, lean and very flavorful with nary a hint anything had charred.
Easy Boneless Duck Breasts

2 boneless skin on duck breasts (about 8 oz each)
Seasonings as desired [Boxed Goodes' Harvest Season]

Remove duck from packaging and pat dry. Score skin (do not cut the flesh) in a crisscross pattern. Season liberally. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Scored Duck
I found a serrated-edged steak knife worked best for scoring.

Heat a heavy skillet to medium-high. Add duck, skin side down, and cook for 2 minutes. Drain off fat (there will be a lot). My skillet has a convenient pouring spout so I just poured it straight into a jar. If yours does not, try using a ladle to spoon it out. If you haven't burnt the skin, try to save the fat because it is rather wonderful to cook with.

Searing Duck
All that liquid? That's fat. It was a dry pan to start, but 2 minutes later ...

Continue to cook, skin-side down, for another 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 6 minutes or until meat is 145. Remove from skillet, cover loosely with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice thinly and eat.

Sliced Duck
Perfectly cooked duck! From my kitchen. Hot damn.

I have shared this recipe at these delicious blog parties:
Swing by and link up your own dishes!
30 December 2013

My First Roast Duck

I roasted my first whole duck over the long Christmas holiday using Women & Home's recipe for Easy Roast Duck. While the duck was very good, it lacked the crispy skin I desired. Scalding the duck with two kettles of boiling water certainly helped render out some of the fat (and tighten up the skin) and roasting it at such a high temperature rendered out even more -- indeed, the duck that came out of the oven was significantly smaller than the duck that went in -- but the skin still wasn't crispy.

My First Duck
5 lb duck, thawed.

My First Duck
Innards removed and skin stabby-stabbed to help the fat escape later.

My First Duck
After pouring two big kettles of boiling water over it.

My First Duck
Rubbed with sea salt, smoked paprika, and Penzeys Northwoods seasoning blend.

My First Duck
After roasting for 90 minutes at 400°F.

My First Duck
Lovely, if not quite crispy, duck with mashed potatoes and peas leftover from Christmas.
23 December 2013

Creamy, Garlicky Chicken & Mushrooms

I still had half a tub of the Savory Garlic Philadelphia Cooking Crème left after the zucchini gratin and, even though we weren't in love with the stuff, I didn't want it to go to waste. There were chicken thighs, mushrooms, and fresh thyme in the fridge so I thought ... why not make a creamy version of chicken marsala? Whoops, no marsala! But I had sherry and that'd worked well enough as a substitute in the past, so supper was still a go.

Creamy Sherry Chicken & Mushrooms
Creamy Sherry Chicken & Mushrooms
Serves 2-4 (depending on size of thighs)

1 Tbsp olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, well trimmed
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
¼ cup sherry [Taylor]
½ tub of Savory Garlic Philadelphia Cooking Crème
2 Tbsp tomato paste
4 Tbsp grated Parmesan [4C Homestyle Parmesan Romano]
4 springs fresh thyme, chopped
Fresh pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Cook the chicken on both sides 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove chicken from skillet, cover to keep warm, and set aside.

Add mushrooms, onions, and garlic to skillet and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent and the edges of the mushrooms have gone all golden-brown.

Add the tomato paste, sherry, Cooking Crème, and thyme to the pan, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add the chicken and any resting juices back to pan. Heat through. Season with black pepper to taste, garnish with Parmesan and additional thyme, and serve over buttered egg noodles with peas.
17 December 2013

Creamy Lemon Cheesy Zucchini

Philadelphia Cooking Crème was on sale so I picked up a tub of the Savory Garlic flavor because we like cream cheese and we like garlic ... so why not give it a try? I decided to add the crème to the Lemon Cheesy Zucchini I'd made for December's Eating the Alphabet Challenge and turn the dish into a gratiné de courgettes (zucchini gratin).

Creamy Zucchini Gratin

Also, you know, The Husband isn't keen on zucchini (or most vegetables that aren't carrots, corn, peas, green beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, white potatoes, onions) so I thought adding a creamy sauce and more cheese couldn't go amiss. As he said it was "okay" and ate his entire serving, I consider this dish a success.

I thought it was pretty good -- maybe a touch salty from the cheese and cooking sauce, but the lemon helps balance that somewhat and the zucchini was still nicely firm despite being sautéed and then broiled.
Creamy Lemon Cheesy Zucchini
Serves 2 generously as a side dish

1 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz baby zucchini, halved lengthwise
6 Tbsp grated Parmesan
[4C Homestyle Parmesan Romano]
4 sprigs thyme, chopped
zest 1 lemon
Freshly cracked pepper, as desired
4 Tbsp Philadelphia Savory Garlic Cooking Crème

Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the zucchini, cut side down, and sauté for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and toss with the 4 tablespoons Parmesan, Cooking Crème, zest, thyme, and lots of black pepper.

Pour into a greased small baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Broil until bubbly and browned.

Creamy Zucchini Gratin
I served this with sautéed lemon pepper chicken breasts that I drizzled with 2 tablespoons Cooking Crème, sprinkled with grated Parmesan, and broiled until golden.

The Cooking Crème reminded me of garlicky Alfredo sauce and, while perfectly okay, was not something I feel I need to purchase again. Unlike the adorably twee baby zucchini, which I will buy again and again and again ...
30 November 2013

Second Thanksgiving

A few weeks ago, I bought a case of satsuma mandarins from The Fruit Company for The Husband. Alas, they weren't very good satsumas -- watery and bland, sayeth The Husband -- and have been lurking in the basement since the third failed attempt to find a "good" one in the box.

I was loathe to compost the satsumas, because even if they weren't good for straight out noshing, surely they might be good for cooking? I had dreams of satsuma-glazed mini bundt cakes and satsuma-roasted chicken thighs, but those dreams never got off the ground.

And then it was Thanksgiving and, while we were going to my parents, I picked up a turkey for us because THANKSGIVING. I recalled that roasting whole chickens on beds of thickly sliced red onion made for phenomenal chicken. So why not satsumas under the turkey? Because, you know, alliums and citrus are so similar ...

I took a bunch of satsumas, plus a few oranges that had been malingering in the produce drawer, and trimmed a thin slice off opposite sides so they would lay flat(tish) in the roasting pan. Then I halved them and arranged them in the pan, packing them as closely as I could.


Roaster lined with Citrus

I whizzed some of the citrus trimmings 'round in my food processor until they were well chopped, then mixed in four tablespoons softened unsalted butter, and one teaspoon Bell's Seasoning. I gently slid the butter mixture between the turkey breast meat and skin. The excess butter mixture was smeared all over the outside of the turkey and then I sprinkled it with a teaspoon of sea salt.

Citrus Peel

Citrus Turkey

I stuffed the turkey cavity with three or four quartered satsumas -- some didn't fit, so I just tucked those pieces in any gaps in the orange carpet at the bottom of the roasting pan -- and roasted the turkey at 325F°, uncovered, for about four hours.

Then I remove the turkey from the oven, tented it with foil, and allowed it to rest for fifteen minutes while I mashed potatoes and microwaved vegetables.

Our Thanksgiving

The roasted turkey was fragrant, moist, and tender without being overwhelmingly citrus-y. If I ever have satsuma troubles again, I will certainly use this method to dispose of them!
21 November 2013

Improv Challenge: Orange & Cardamom

It's time for the monthly Improv Cooking Challenge! This month we showcase orange and cardamom. Because baking has suddenly become something that makes me go "meh," I decided to take a savory approach and make a marinade, butter, and glaze for chicken thighs. Orange and honey are natural companions to chicken, so adding cardamom to the mix didn't seem that risky.

Orange-Cardamom Roast Chicken Thighs

I used bone-in, skin-on thighs for this recipe simply because that's my taste preference. As thighs can be pretty fatty, I trimmed them well and left only a small patch of skin on the "top" of the thigh. You could use boneless skinless chicken thighs, but then you'll have to skip the cardamom-orange butter and all your cooking times will be different.

And, by all means, omit the crushing and biffing by using ready-ground cardamom. The pods were just what I had on hand. I don't know how much ground cardamom you'd need, though, so be prepared to experiment. (Not as if this entire post wasn't one long, probably mad, experiment).
Cardamom-Orange Marinade
Juice of half orange
12 whole white cardamom pods
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
4 chicken thighs, well trimmed

Gently crush the cardamom pods to release the seeds. Sandwich seeds between parchment paper and lightly biff with a meat mallet until seeds are a bit crushed. Whisk together cardamom and all other ingredients (except thighs, obviously). Pour over chicken thighs and marinate for four hours or so.

Marinading Chicken Thighs

Meanwhile combine ingredients for:

Cardamom-Orange Butter
1 tbsp butter, softened
zest of half orange
4 whole white cardamom pods, crushed and biffed

When you're ready to cook your chicken, remove them from the marinade and preheat the oven to 450F°

Gently slide fingers between chicken skin and meat to loosen skin. Rub butter over thigh meat under skin. Sprinkle skin with salt and pepper, if desired. Roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes, basting with pan juices every 10 minutes or so.

Marinaded Chicken Thighs

Roast Chicken Thighs

Serve with rice pilaf and broccoli blend.

Overall, I think my orange-cardamom chicken was mostly successful, but adding more cardamom to the marinade and soaking the thighs longer might have added even more flavor. They were orangey, yes, but the cardamom flavor was very faint. Beautifully fragrant, though. Some of that could be because I used white cardamom pods, which have a milder, more floral flavor than green cardamom?

20 November 2013

P/F/G Challenge: Chicken Stew Stuff

Chicken Stew Stuff
Yes, that's my lap. Yes, eating in front of the television. No, we're not posh.

Supper was supposed to be "Baked marinated freezer chicken breasts with buttered peas-and-rice and steamed green beans," but I forgot to thaw the chicken breasts ahead of time so we had slow cooked chicken stew stuff, instead. It was pretty tasty, actually, even if it wasn't very pretty. And it kept me from going "Oh, the heck with it! I'm tired. Let's order in."
Slow Cooker Chicken Stew Stuff

2 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup frozen leftover turkey gravy
1 cup frozen chicken stock
½ cup frozen diced onion
2 cups diced peeled carrots
2 cups chopped fresh green beans
1 garlic bulb, broken into cloves and peeled
Salt-free Italian seasoning blend
Dried parsley
Black pepper

Put the carrots, onions, green beans and garlic at the bottom of the slow cooker insert. Add chicken breasts. Top with broth and gravy. Sprinkle with seasoning blend, parsley, and pepper. Cover and cook on LOW for 9 hrs. Shred chicken. Stir everything together. Serve over rice.
We've eaten nearly all the garden carrots and I'm going to have to go back to buying them again, soon. Ridiculous.
17 November 2013

P/F/G Challenge: Easy Cheesy Salsa Chicken

I threw this together the other night when I realized there was more cheese in the cheese drawer than there was actually "proper food" in the rest of the fridge ... not an unusual occurrence in this household, you know. Probably I should be embarrassed, but ever since we started watching Pushing Daisies, I've thought this every time I opened our fridge:

If you haven't seen Pushing Daisies (get thee to Netflix), let me just say that two of the characters really love cheese. So much so that their fridge contains nothing but cheese and their niece spendt years thinking that's all the appliance was for and was, indeed, called a "cheese box."

While, for all my talk of cheese, this isn't a super-cheesy dish, it is quite fast and satisfying. We always have extra beans and salsa in the cupboard, because you never know when you'll need them. I guess it's like other people's need to always have an extra jar of peanut butter jar on hand.

Cheesy Salsa Chicken

Cheesy Salsa Chicken
Serves 2 generously

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded flattish
2 Tbsp taco seasoning [Penzeys Arizona Dreaming]
½ cup low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup frozen fire-roasted corn, thawed
½ cup garlicky salsa [Green Mountain Gringo Roasted Garlic Salsa]
2 oz shredded cheddar[Cabot Seriously Sharp]

Rub breasts with seasoning blend. Cook in a hot oven-safe skillet for about 5 minutes per side or until breasts are a lovely brown on each side and cooked through.

Pour black beans, corn, and salsa over the chicken and top with cheese. Pop skillet into the oven and broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden.

Serve topped with sour cream and more salsa, if desired.
You could serve this over rice, if you were so minded, but it's pretty filling on its own.
15 November 2013

Eating the Alphabet: V is for Vanilla Beans

Vanilla beans. November's Eating the Alphabet Challenge letters are U, V, and/or W, and I knew I just had to use vanilla beans. I'd bought a tube of them at Penzeys last Christmas (eek) with the intent of making some kind of bourbon-soaked vanilla bean-enriched cake for my dad, but that never happened and I've been "stuck" with them ever since.

I really wanted to do something simple but savory with the vanilla beans. I found a recipe for "Slow-Cooked Chicken with Sauteed Mushrooms and Vanilla" in an old Country Living and a recipe for vanilla-infused "Savory Pork Tenderloin" on the Nielsen-Massey site so I knew meat and vanilla could go together. I didn't want to make those particular recipes, however, because they served too many. I knew The Husband would turn his nose up at savory vanilla anything and I didn't want to eat pork tenderloin all week for lunch ... especially if it didn't turn out very well!

So I decided to "cheat" and go the easy way. I'd poach two boneless skinless chicken breasts in a vanilla-infused bath and see what that did. If it was good, yay. If not very good, then it could be drowned in curry sauce. And, if it was very bad, the cats would still like it!

Poaching w/ Coconut Milk & Vanilla
Coconut milk, vanilla bean, sea salt, white pepper
As the chicken poached, the vanilla-milk-broth bath became more and more aromatic -- so much so that I began to worry the chicken would come out tasting like a vanilla-scented candle. Well, I needn't have worried as the poached chicken smelled and tasted only vaguely of vanilla. Decidedly chicken, with a faint, sweet note of vanilla. Actually, kind of disappointing. Perhaps I should have used two beans? Or omitted the chicken broth? Or just be thankful it wasn't more strongly vanilla?

The dressing, while definitely stronger tasting than the chicken, was still only mildly vanilla. Very aromatic, mind you, as the whole dining room seemed to smell of it after I dressed the salad. Very tasty, too. Interestingly, the flavor of the dressing was much more pronounced on the greens than on the chicken. I think it might be nice tossed with cantaloupe and blueberries.

Vanilla-Scented Poached Chicken Salad
Needs. Moar. Flavor.
Honestly, this salad is the most disappointing dish I've made for the Eating the Alphabet Challenge. It was certainly edible and the cats did not get any, but as I ate it I kept wishing I knew how to make it better.
Vanilla-Scented Chicken Over Greens

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, well trimmed
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped [Penzeys Madagascar]
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp white pepper
8 oz fat-free low-sodium chicken broth [Pacific Organic]
13.5 oz can coconut milk [Goya -- not recommended]

To a medium-sized pot add chicken broth, coconut milk, vanilla seeds and pod, white pepper, and salt. Give it a stir. Add chicken.

Bring pot, uncovered, to boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 12-14 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Drain chicken. Thinly slice. Serve atop salad greens with a drizzle of vanilla balsamic and grind of fresh black pepper.
Vanilla Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 Tbsp flax seed oil
1 Tbsp white balsamic
1 tsp vanilla [Penzeys Mexican Vanilla]
pinch each white pepper and sea salt

In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic, vanilla, salt and pepper. While still whisking, slowly drizzle in oil until oil and vinegar are well combined.
I used whole fat coconut milk in the poaching liquid, because I prefer the flavor and the chicken wasn't going to absorb much, if any, of the milk, but feel free to use light coconut milk or cow's milk. I do not recommend the Goya coconut milk, however, as it seemed excessively watery. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods' house brands are much better.

Also, olive oil would be fine in the vinaigrette -- I just prefer the lightness and nuttiness of flax seed oil.

02 October 2013

Carrot Fest '13: Sad Chicken

Sometimes, I make something and it just makes my mouth sad. Such was my chicken and carrot disaster. From the beginning, I knew boneless skinless chicken breasts weren't meant for the slow cooker. Slow cooking makes them dry and mealy, oddly enough. Much better to throw bone-in thighs or legs in the slow cooker.

Chicken & Carrots

But boneless breasts are what I had and so what I used. Still, I could probably have saved this dish by cooking it on the stove top, but I was feeling lazy and just chucked everything in the slow cooker ... for six hours. Unsurprisingly, the poor chicken was flavorless and dry.

I tried to salvage the dish by making a gravy of the pot juices, but the broth was also rather flavorless and was no help to the chicken. A liberal seasoning of salt and freshly ground pepper did not improve things much.

The carrots were awesome, though. Tender and earthy.

Anyway, I've posted the recipe I made below with tentative improvements in brackets. Any recommendations would be welcome.
Sad Chicken
Serves 4

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
[2 bone-in turkey thighs]
1 cup turkey broth
1 Tbsp Bell's Seasoning
[2 tsp dried thyme, crushed]
1 1-lb carrot, peeled and diced
[3 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces]
1 medium red onion, diced
1 cup frozen peas [omit]
[4 cloves garlic, pressed]
salt and pepper, to taste

Put carrots, onions, and garlic at bottom of slow cooker. Top with chicken breasts. Whisk Bell's and broth together. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on LOW 6 hours. Remove chicken and shred. Add back into slow cooker. Stir in peas. Let cook 10 minutes more or until peas are thawed.

[Put carrots, celery, and onion at bottom of slow cooker. Top with turkey thighs. Whisk broth, Bell's, thyme, and garlic together. Pour over thighs. Cook on LOW 6 hours. Remove turkey meat from bones and stir back into pot. Season with salt and pepper, as needed].
29 August 2013

Pesto Rotisserie Chicken Salad

I picked up a $5 rotisserie chicken at Price Chopper last weekend to go on my workday tossed salads, but there was still plenty of chicken left after assembling those and I was feeling a wee bit sammich-y ... so I made chicken salad with leftover pesto and plain Greek yoghurt.

Pesto Chicken Salad

Ordinarily, I'd use light mayonnaise in chicken salad but I wanted something really savory this time. I thought the pesto would dominate the Greek yoghurt, creating something creamy, but undeniably pesto-y. It mostly worked, but the addition of lemon zest might have given it a little more depth.
Pesto Rotisserie Chicken Salad
Makes enough filling for 4 sandwiches

4 Tbsp fat free Greek yoghurt
2 Tbsp prepared pesto
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1½ cups diced rotisserie chicken
3 inches cucumber, seeded and diced fine
½ shallot, diced fine
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together the pesto, yoghurt, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add chicken, cucumber, and shallot and stir until combined. Allow to sit for an hour or so in the fridge (overnight is fine).

Season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve on toasted sandwich thins with lettuce and tomato.
I'm really quite pleased with the Price Chopper rotisserie chicken. It was a succulent little thing and, for $5, provided the principle ingredient for eight meals. I froze the picked-over carcass and it, combined with others, will make a fine broth this fall. Thrifty and delicious, no?
07 August 2013

One Pan Chicken & Summer Squash

Came home from work, covered in poison ivy (not nearly as awesome as bees, thank you), with no real desire to put supper on the table but still unwilling to let the produce drawer compost itself ... so I threw this together out of odds-and-ends and was pleasantly surprised by the results.

Summer Squash Salsa Chicken

If you had a lot of fresh tomatoes on hand, you might want to chop up a few and use them to sub out the salsa. You'd need to add seasonings, of course, but a bit of rub would probably do.

This is also a great way to use up not-very-good grocery store corn as all the other flavors help smooth over its failings.
One Pan Chicken & Summer Squash
Serves 3 (or 2 plus tomorrow's lunch)

3 4-oz boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
Southwestern-style chicken rub, as desired [Just Cook's Ancho Chicken Rub]
1 6" zucchini, chopped
½ small onion, chopped
Kernels from 2 ears of corn
1 cup salsa [Green Mountain Gringo's roasted garlic salsa]
Coconut oil or whatever cooking oil you prefer

Preheat oven to lowest setting (mine has a "warm" setting).

Rub chicken generously. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, cook chicken in oil about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown on outside and no longer pink in center. Remove chicken to oven.

Cook zucchini, onions, and corn in skillet for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in salsa. Reduce heat to medium; cook 2 minutes longer or until thoroughly heated.

Serve chicken and vegetables over cilantro rice.
18 July 2013

Improv Challenge: Peaches & Herbs

July's Improv Challenge ingredients are peaches and herbs. I decided to go simple and make a peach salsa cruda to go over peachy grilled chicken. I used basil, instead of cilantro, in the salsa because I happen to have a big pot of basil on my porch and it needed a good trim before it bolted.

Peachy Chicken w/ Peach Salsa

While peaches aren't actually in season here yet, the "Eastern" peaches I bought at the grocery store were really quite fine. Beautifully fragrant with just a little give and dripping with juices when I cut them open. The sweetness of the peaches paired with the slightly acidity of the tomatoes and the basil, red onions, and white balsamic tasted fresh and bright. Like summer!
Peach Salsa Cruda

2 peaches, pitted and chopped (peel if you don't like fuzz)
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 oz red onion, finely chopped
1 oz basil, rolled and sliced thinly
2 Tbsp white balsamic
salt and pepper, if desired

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Let sit 20 minutes or so before serving to allow the flavors to marry. If not serving immediately, cover and refrigerate. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Peach "Salsa"

To boost the "peachiness" of the dish, I marinated the chicken overnight in a peach marinade. I'd found a few recipes online for peach marinades/barbecue sauces but they all used peach preserves or jam. I didn't have any jam, but I did have canned diced peaches and orange marmalade so I pureed those with a bunch other ingredients I had on hand (including more basil).
Peachy Grilled Chicken

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about one pound)
6 oz drained canned diced peaches
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 heaping Tbsp orange marmalade
1 heaping Tbsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
⅛ ounce fresh basil
¼ cup olive oil

Pound two boneless skinless chicken breasts (about one pound) until they are of a uniform thickness. Place in a wide shallow dish and set aside.

Add remaining ingredients to your food processor or blender and process until smooth. Pour over chicken, turn chicken to coat, cover, and let sit in fridge overnight. When ready to eat, grill chicken however it is you like to grill chicken.

I briefly considered serving the chicken and salsa over peach tea-infused rice, but decided that might be taking things too far! Instead, I served them on their own and though they were pretty darn fabulous. Sweet, savory, a little tart and so very fragrant. Yum.

Peachy Chicken w/ Peach Salsa

14 July 2013

Spicy Slow Cooker Peach-Mango Chicken

Spicy Slow Cooker Peach-Mango Chicken

I created this dish while trying to think up ways to use peaches and herbs together in July's Improv Challenge. It's not peach season here yet, but I had canned peaches in the pantry so that's what I used. I used dried cilantro as my herb, but also added in a lot of spices for a bolder flavor.

Honestly, I'm not sure what flavor-signature I was trying for -- Moroccan? Caribbean? Weirdtasteville? -- but it works. The flavors came together quite well and the dish is all savory and sweet at the same time. (There's no way, however, The Husband would ever try the smallest forkful as he is a firm advocate of the separation of fruit and meat).
Spicy Slow Cooker Peach-Mango Chicken

1½ pounds well-trimmed boneless skinless organic chicken thighs
8 oz canned diced peaches packed in fruit juice, drained
8 oz frozen diced organic mango, partially thawed
13.4 box organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1 oz red onion, finely chopped
4 oz orange marmalade
[Bonne Maman]
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp sriracha
½ tsp dried ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp dried cilantro

Arrange thighs in bottom of slow cooker insert. Add diced peaches, mango, beans, and red onion.

Stir together marmalade, soy sauce, sriracha, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and cilantro. Pour over chicken and fruit. Cook at LOW for five hours.

Spicy Slow Cooker Peach-Mango Chicken

Serve over rice with pot juices. (If you like, feel free to thicken the pot juices with a little cornstarch slurry).
I did not add any additional liquid like broth or wine to this dish as I knew the canned peaches, partially frozen mango, and chicken thighs would produce lots of liquid.

If I were to make this again, and it seems like something my taste buds would love in January, I would definitely track down some good peach or mango preserves to use instead of the marmalade. The marmalade was good, but a bit too strongly orange.
26 June 2013

Southwestern Chicken & Rice Bowl

Southwestern Chicken & Rice

As with many of the dishes I've made lately, there's no real recipe for the above -- it's just beans and rice, sliced grilled marinated chicken, and guacamole. It's yummy, though, and worth posting about simply so I remember to make it again.

The rice is my first attempt at beans and rice and I think it turned out pretty well. Maybe not restaurant-worthy, but I wouldn't be ashamed to feed it to supper guests.

Start a pot of rice. Sauté chopped red onion and garlic in olive oil. Add one can drained, rinsed black beans and a splash of broth. Season with salt, pepper, and Penzeys Arizona Dreaming. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are heated through and broth has evaporated. Give them a bit of a mash and set aside. When rice is done, add to beans and stir well. Sprinkle with cilantro and adjust seasonings as desired.

A bit of lemon or lime juice would be a nice brightener. Oh! A little lemon zest mixed in with the cilantro?

Southwestern Chicken & Rice
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