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

Easy Friday Supper With Grilled Chick-Chick

Since I read the marinating tips at AmazingRibs.com, I have scored my chops and boneless chicken breasts in a crisscross pattern before marinading or rubbing them. I do think it helps the marinade penetrate deeper into the tissue and the outside tends to get a bit crustier (or extra-flavorful, as I see it). However, this could all just me seeing what I want to see and tasting what I expect to taste. Regardless, there's been some good grilled boneless chicken breasts coming off my grill this summer.


Usually, I soak the scored breasts overnight in ranch dressing or Italian vinaigrette (yes, truly upscale grilling at Chez Savory Tart this summer), but I've had a bottle of Stubb's Bar-B-Q Sauce malingering on the fridge door since May and was fairly sick of seeing it. I soaked the chicken breasts overnight, even though I know that longer soaking probably doesn't make a difference. Longer soaking is more convenient, though. I don't fancy the idea of handling raw meat first thing in the morning so I do it the night before and then the meat is ready to cook as soon as I come home from work.

Cucumbers and tomatoes are my go-to summer side. This time I chopped them and tossed them with Cindy's Kitchen Buttermilk Ranch and a few grinds of Boxed Goodes' Allium Salt.
17 July 2014

Improv Challenge: Popcorn & Peanuts

I had a lot of fun with this month's Improv Challenge ingredients. Neither popcorn nor nuts are something I eat much of anymore as they can cause terrible gastric distress. But I love how they smell and taste and the textures ... sigh. So I set out to make something I could eat that would still meet the Challenge's requirements.


Why not, I thought, literally make popcorn chicken? Served with some kind of spicy peanut butter-based sauce, like the kind you get with chicken satay? Not wanting to spend a lot of time at the grocery store, buying ingredients I might not use again, I stuck to what I already had on hand, using the ingredient lists for Annie Chung's Thai Peanut Sauce and House of Tsang's Bangkok Peanut Sauce as a guide for my sauce.
Popcorn Chicken With Spicy Peanut Butter Sauce
Serves 2 or 3 depending on appetite and sides.

Ingredients
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
3.3 oz bag microwavable plain salted popcorn, popped
2 egg whites
2 Tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp plus ½ tsp sriracha sauce [Huy Fong Foods]
3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter [Jif Natural]
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos [Coconut Secret]
2 Tbsp lime juice
Peanut oil, for frying [Whole Foods Roasted Peanut Oil]

Directions
Whisk together the peanut butter, coconut aminos, honey, lime juice and ½ tsp sriracha until well combined. Set aside until needed.

Put the popcorn in a food processor and pulverize until fine. Shake through a sieve to remove any unpopped kernels ("widows") or bits of hull. Dump sieved popcorn into a pie plate or bowl. It will be very fluffy.



Whisk the egg whites, cornstarch, and remaining ½ tsp sriracha together in a shallow bowl or pie plate.


Dip the chicken strips first into the cornstarch mixture and then into the popcorn, smooshing the popcorn bits quite firmly into the chicken to help them stick. Set chicken on a wire rack over a jelly roll pan and pop in the fridge for about 30 minutes. (I first read about "resting" the breaded uncooked chicken in an issue of Cuisine at Home and I find the breading does seem to stick better).


Heat enough peanut oil to just cover the surface of a large frying pan. Once hot, cook the chicken strips in batches for 3-4 min on each side or until beautifully golden and cooked through (use a splatter guard, if you have one, because this gets messy). Allow cooked pieces to drain on rack (not the rack that was covered it raw chicken!) as you cook the others.




Serve with spicy peanut butter sauce.
The chicken comes out very light and super crispy -- as if I'd used panko instead of popcorn -- and reminds me a bit of chicken katsu. While there isn't a lot of popcorn or peanut flavor to the chicken strips, it pairs very well with the yummy peanut sauce. Oh, the sauce! All sweet and savory at once, I want to dip so many other things in it. Like crunchy steamed broccoli or bell pepper strips ... or just a finger!


25 June 2014

Disappointing Drumsticks

It may shock and amaze you to know that not every dish to come out of my kitchen is a win. For example, I made some really disappointing oven-fried drumsticks the other day. They came out of the oven looking brown and crispy but, while their color was perfect, they were soggy drumsticks. Gluey drumsticks.

Behold, The Sad Drumsticks of Disappointment!


I'd made these by haphazardly combining recipes until I thought I had created something good. I started with Alton Brown's method for "Fried Chicken" -- soaked the chicken pieces in buttermilk, drained them in a colander, and then liberally seasoned the drumsticks with a blend of salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper before dredging them in cracker meal. Alton uses flour, but I thought cracker meal would yield a preferable texture.

It did not. Possibly because, while I drained the buttermilk-soaked drumsticks in a colander, they were still quite moist when I seasoned them. Perhaps I would have done better to pat them dry or spread them over a rack suspended across the sink to drip dry? And, maybe, use panko instead of cracker meal?

Also, I oven-fried the chicken at 350F° on a jelly roll pan in a combination of olive oil and butter for 50 minutes, flipping half way through. I think, perhaps, I should have oven-fried at a higher temperature? Or cranked the oven up to 425F° for the last 15 minutes?

So, next time:
  • Air dry
  • Panko
  • Finish in a very hot oven
Or maybe I should just stop being afraid of hot oil, buy a deep-fat fry thermometer, and learn to fry in my French oven!
22 May 2014

Sunny Spring Sunday, Slow-Cooker Style

Sunny spring Sundays mean (much) more time spent in the garden and (much) less time spent in the kitchen so meals need to be simple, no fuss ones. Made-ahead pasta salads are great, of course, as are big ass tossed salads and grilled things, but the slow cooker deserves some love.

I've made BHG's "Chicken Drumsticks with Barbecue Sauce" a bunch of times now and, with each iteration, I make the recipe a little bit simpler to the point that, currently, I don't doctor the sauce at all. Just broil the drumsticks to render most of the fat out of the skin, then pop them in the slow cooker, and cover them with whatever bottled sauce is on hand.


My mother always used Kraft (original flavor) barbecue sauce when she made barbecued chicken and I still have a soft spot for the product, but find it too sweet now. Some of that may be do to changes to my palate as I grew up, but I suspect a lot of it has to do with that sauce having 13 grams of sugar per serving. I've been experimenting with brands of barbecue sauce and find I rather like Stubb's Bar-B-Q Sauce (original flavor) as it's tangy with just a touch of sweet (4 grams of sugar per serving). Maybe a little runnier than I'm used to, but that's okay.

Anyway, with the slow cooked barbecued drumsticks I made this past Sunday, I also threw together a quick pasta salad about an hour before the chicken was ready. I cooked up a cup of small twisty noodles from the Polish shop and mixed them, still warm, with a combination of fat-free Greek yoghurt, light mayonnaise, lemon juice, fresh dill, Penzeys Greek seasoning blend, and minced red onion, cucumber, and radishes. Completely yum, really.
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

Ingredients
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

Directions
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

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

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

Ingredients
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

Directions
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

Ingredients
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

Directions
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.

DSC_0001

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

Ingredients
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

Directions
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

Ingredients
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]

Directions
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

Ingredients
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]

Directions
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

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

Directions
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.



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