Sunday, March 29, 2015

Mushrooms!

You can really elevate a sauteéd chicken breast or pork chop with a great pan sauce of mushrooms and onions. It's quick, easy and so yummy.

1/2 sliced onion
1 pkg sliced mushrooms
some olive oil
dried thyme
salt and pepper
balsamic vinegar

Sauté your meat, chicken or whatever and remove to a plate and keep warm. Add a tad more olive oil to the pan and add the onion and mushrooms, and salt and pepper, some dried thyme. Stir around as the mushrooms and onion brown. Add about a 1/4 cup balsamic and turn off the heat-stir. Serve over whatever!


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Chicken Thighs and Caulifower

I happened to see this recipe on blog called "The Amateur Gourmet" and I switched it up a bit to work with ingredients that I had on hand. It was really very good.


Recipe: Braised Chicken Thighs and Cauliflower with Olives and Capers

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • A package of chicken thighs (with bones and skin), I had 8
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 1 can or pkg of diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup green olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • Freshly chopped parsley
  • Plain couscous, cooked according to package directions

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet on medium-high heat. Meanwhile, pat the chicken thighs dry and season them all over with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, add the chicken (skin-side down; it should sizzle) and walk away. You want these to get good and brown, so don’t play with them. Leave them alone and then check after 3 to 4 minutes with a pair of tongs. If you can’t lift it and the skin is sticking, keep cooking. It’ll detach when it’s done. Then flip over and sear on the other side.
  2. Remove the chicken to the plate and add the cauliflower florets to the hot oil. Sprinkle with salt and sear on all sides until golden brown (do this quickly; you don’t want the cauliflower to get too cooked at this stage). Remove to the same plate as the chicken.
  3. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt, and move it all around to collect the brown bits on the bottom. Do this on medium-high heat and as the onion starts to color, you can lower the heat. I
  4. Add the garlic. Cook until fragrant (like 30 seconds) then carefully add the white wine vinegar–careful, it’ll sizzle. Use that to work up all the brown bits then add the tomatoes and another sprinkle of salt. Stir around for 30 seconds, then add the chicken and cauliflower back. Cover with water and another splash of white wine vinegar–a big splash–and add in the olives and capers. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cover and cook for 30 minutes. (Check every so often to make sure the mixture is lightly bubbling.)
  5. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and taste the sauce. If it’s watery and not flavorful enough, add more white wine vinegar. Also: adjust for salt. Cook another 15 minutes, allowing the sauce to concentrate and taste one last time.
  6. Sprinkle everything with parsley and serve it up over couscous. There won’t be any leftovers, promise.
I used a boxed Near East mix for the couscous.
















Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Here's a good idea if you happen to have a cooked chicken breast hanging around.

  • 1/2 cup wild black rice, cooked
  • 1 large chicken breast cooked and shredded
  • 1 pkg sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2  onion, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 clove garlics, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 quart chicken stock--I used homemade stock so I needed to add extra salt
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley, garnish
Cook the rice separately. In a large pot sauté the mushrooms in olive oil, then add all the other veggies, garlic, thyme and salt and pepper. Pour in the stock and the shredded chicken and cook for 15-20 minutes. Garnish with parsley.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Curried Chicken Salad

Here's a very tasty take on chicken salad if you happen to have these ingredients on hand. The only unusual ingredient for many might be the hot pepper jelly, but we always have that for making spicy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
1 teaspoon hot pepper jelly
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 green onions, chopped

Mix all those ingredients together and combine with one shredded cooked chicken breast, a handful of raisins and a handful of chopped walnuts. Yummy!


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spicy, Garlicky Meatloaf

I just love Melissa Clark, food writer for the NYT. She's a fabulous cook and I really like her no nonsense style in the kitchen. Recently I saw this recipe when meandering online and I found an article that she had written, "When Meatloaf Needs a Jolt."  I happen to love meatloaf but have always found it a bit bland, too. I usually add some zest to the ones I have created. This recipe of hers really kicks up the garlic and adds sage. The outcome was splendid if you like spicy, garlicky stuff!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons chicken stock, heavy cream or milk
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, garlic, scallions, jalapeño, sage, salt and black pepper.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together bread crumbs and stock, cream or milk. Let stand five minutes.
  3. Add pork, beef and soaked bread crumbs to egg mixture. Knead ingredients together until just combined. Press mixture evenly into an 8- or 9-inch loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together the tomato paste and olive oil. After meatloaf has finished baking, brush top with glaze; sprinkle with pine nuts, if using. Bake 15 minutes more (glaze will be thick and a meat thermometer should read 160 degrees). Let meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.