Category: poultry

Angry Chicken (Arrabbiata)

The word “arrabbiata” in Spanish means angry, and this sauce is meant to make your mouth burn. That was my goal at least, as I’ve been trying to kick a wicked sore throat for days and have a very unscientific theory that spicy foods will heal the hurt.

This sauce turned out GREAT, and earned happy sighs and compliments from my fiancé as well. It’s spicy but not overboard, easy but layered in flavor. I’m making this again with shrimp!

IngredientsSeasoning
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 6 boneless chicken thighs or 3 breasts
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 TBS minced garlic
  • 1/2 diced red onion
  • 1 (24 oz.) marinara sauce
  • 4 tomatoes, roughly chopped or 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (or more to taste)
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne or chili powder
  • 12 oz. pasta for serving
  • Goat cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Season the chicken thighs with a pinch of salt, pepper and cayenne.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Brown the chicken on both sides (5-7 minutes each side), then remove the chicken from the skillet.
  3. After the chicken is removed from the skillet, add the onion and minced garlic to the pan, loosening the browned bits. Sauté briefly until onion and garlic are soft.
  4. Add marinara sauce, tomatoes with juices, basil, crushed red pepper, and chicken broth to the skillet. Stir to combine.
  5. Return the chicken to the skillet with the sauce, and spoon some sauce over top of each piece. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer. Taste it and adjust the heat and salt. Simmer the chicken in the sauce for 30 minutes, turning the chicken over half way through to make sure both sides receive adequate heat and sauce.
  6. Serve the chicken and sauce over cooked pasta. Top with goat cheese.

Adapted from Budget Bytes.

P.S. Don’t serve this over brown rice pasta. They’re lying. It’s not the same as normal pasta and you will be disappointed.

No Cook Main Meal: Chicken Caprese Salad

It’s summer. They tell me we’ll hit 100 here in Austin for the next 3 months. For the sake of our electric bill and my sanity, I’m hunting for low-to-no cook dinners. I found this lil’ beauty on The Skinny Chick Can Bake, and made a few changes.

You’ll spend time on the prep side with chopping and dicing, so pour a glass of wine and carry on.

Ingredients:1823189

  • 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, chopped (or halved grape/ cherry tomatoes )
  • 12 – 16 oz. fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • I.5 cups diced celery – this sounds odd but it’s necessary for the crunch and color
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 cup sliced basil (or combo of dried, paste and nearly-dead leaves from your patio plant)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup+ balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste (like guacamole, don’t under-salt)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups diced, cooked chicken (optional)

Instructions:

1. Chop tomatoes, mozzarella, celery, cucumber and basil. Combine them one bowl. If adding chicken, put it in too.

2. In a smaller bowl, combine garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil. Whisk together and pour over vegetables and chicken. Toss gently.

3. Eat! We ate it straight up with forks, but pita pockets or naan would also work well. I might add avocado or chilled pasta next time. Taste and see what you think. A pinch of sugar?

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Honey Mustard Sauce (with Chicken)

Though the source recipe is focused on the chicken, the best takeaway on this dish was the sauce. Seriously, it was amazing. My first bite took me back to a Superbowl party with a Chick-Fil-A chicken tray. I kept the sauce leftovers and poured it over salad the next day.

Honey Dijon Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup dijon mustard

4 tablespoons spicy mustard – I used brown

salt & pepper

1. Heat a skillet on medium high heat and add olive oil. Pat and press chicken with paper towels so it is very, very dry. Season with salt and pepper generously. Add chicken to skillet and brown on both sides, about 6-8 minutes each, depending on the thickness.

2. In a bowl, combine honey and both mustards. Whisk well. Taste, adjust to heat/sweet preferences.

3. Remove chicken and while it is still hot, brush on mustard.  Serve!

Better-for-you Butter Chicken

According to my fiance, this should be called “Righteous butter chicken.”

I love butter chicken and order it every chance I have. Officially known as ‘murgh makhani’ and described as ‘Indian chicken in tomato cream sauce,’ I’m rarely disappointed. This is baby Indian food — almost zero heat, sweet and hard to resist seconds, or thirds.

However, generally I place it in the category of ‘foods best made by others’ since the amount of cream sends my stomach racing into hiding. To avoid lactose overload, I gave this version from Natural Noshing a try. It’s light on dairy but still full on flavor, and can easily be made lactose free. Overall assessment: it’s good. It’s not EPIC or a copycat recipe but it’s solid.

Next time I’ll use vegetable or peanut oil, though. I apparently don’t like the scent of heated coconut oil; it reminds me of being stuck in a car on a hot day with a box of melting crayons and a coloring book. Also, lemon juice is an absolute must for finishing the dish. I’ve made the changes that I will make next time to the recipe below.

TIP: This will take you about 2 hours, start to finish.

Ingredients for the Chicken:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 cups yogurt (can use dairy-free options)
2 TBS ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tsp tandoori masala powder
2 tsp kasuri methi or 1 tsp ground dried fenugreek seeds
4 TBS canola oil, coconut oil or other neutral oil

Directions For the Chicken:
1. In a small bowl mix together cumin, garam masala, salt, cayenne pepper, tandoori masala and fenugreek/kasuri methi. Rub on both sides of the chicken and refrigerate for at least 30-60 minutes.
2. Line a pan with parchment or foil. In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil and ginger garlic paste. Dip each chicken breast into the yogurt mixture. Coat well. Lay on prepared pan.
3. Heat oven to broil and cook 10-18 minutes or until cooked through (depending on thickness of chicken), flipping them over halfway through. For 4 meaty breasts, I cooked 15-20 minutes on each side. When cooked through, let chicken rest for 5 minutes. Optional: slice chicken into 1 inch cubes.

Ingredients for the Butter Sauce:
4 TBS coconut oil, canola oil or other neutral oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
3 TBS ginger-garlic paste
4 cups diced tomatoes (use canned or marinara to save time)
2 TBS flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp garam masala
3 TBS kasuri methi or 1 tsp dried ground fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 TBS sugar or sweetener of choice
1/2 cup coconut milk OR greek yogurt OR  sour cream
4 TBS butter, ghee, or margarine
Juice of 1 lemon

Directions For the Butter Sauce:
1. Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan. Cook onions until soft and translucent. Add ginger-garlic paste and stir for about 1 minute.
2. Add tomatoes, flour, cayenne, cumin, garam masala, kasuri methi, salt and sugar. Cook on medium heat until thick. Optional: Puree sauce in a blender and return to the pan. Personally I find blending hot liquids in batches a messy business.
3. Add dairy (yogurt/coconut milk/sour cream) and butter. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes. Add lemon juice. Taste and adjust. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add a bit more coconut milk.
4. If you opted to cut up the chicken, add it to the pan and simmer for a few more minutes. I sliced up the chicken and poured sauce over it instead.

Serve hot with lentils, rice and buttery garlic naan. Sigh contentedly and enter righteous butter chicken food coma.

 

Skinny Sloppy Joe’s

I’m craving big, bold flavors right now. No mansy-pansy olive oil and parsley for this chicka. I stumbled on this recipe for Hungry Girl Broccoli Slaw and saw an opportunity. Veggies + ground turkey + BBQ sauce  = a sloppy joe!

Ingredients
12-oz. bag (4 cups) dry, prechopped coleslaw, broccoli slaw if you can find it
1 pound ground turkey
8 oz marinara sauce, pizza sauce or tomato sauce
Bottle of favorite BBQ sauce – I used Weber Molasses Sauce
1/2 cup vinegar – I used a combo of rice and balsamic
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tsp. onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
buns for serving

Instructions:
1. Combine chicken broth and bag of coleslaw in a large pot. Set over low-medium heat for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cabbage begins to soften. Don’t wilt it; you want some crunch left.
2. While the coleslaw softens, cook the ground turkey in a skillet with salt and pepper.
3. Add the marinara sauce, onion powder, 1/2 the bottle of BBQ sauce and 1/4 cup of vinegar to the coleslaw mix. Stir, and let simmer 5-10 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste and adjust. TIP: I used a lot of vinegar since the sauce was so sweet, but this will vary based on your preferences. Add remaining tomato sauce and BBQ sauce to taste.
4. Add the cooked, ground turkey to the BBQ coleslaw pot. Stir to combine. Simmer another 10 minutes. Taste and adjust.
5. Spoon the mixture onto your bun and nosh! Keep the paper towels handy, and don’t eat this while wearing a while shirt.

I liked how easy this was, and how the half-meat, half-veggie filling offered a way to get more greens in the diet. Even my meat-lover bf thought they were a hit, eating 3 skinny joe’s to prove it! Oh, and this paired well with Yeungling Light beer.

January is Eat-at-Home Month

As usual, I was a bit overzealous in my holiday gift buying, leaving my budget a bit depleted. It’s hard not to buy things that make me think of people! And by extension, not to treat myself along the way. The thought process goes something like this:” Well, they asked for fun socks and it’s a better deal to buy this large pack, so then I can keep several pairs too because I also need socks.”

Fortunately, there are solutions. Like a diet, little decisions to change add up to bigger results. Bar hop after work? Nah. Pick up a $3 hazelnut coffee? I can have free coffee in the office. Running late and tempted to say f– it? I can always pack peanut butter. And despite what Target thinks, I really don’t NEED another pumpkin spice candle, even if it’s on clearance. So this month is eat-in month.

The Plan: At my house we’re alternating being in charge of dinners – flipping chef or sous chef titles – by each selecting 2-3 recipes for the week and purchasing the necessary ingredients.  We also have some flexibility to eat out one lunch a week, and a dinner out with limited beverages. DC martinis cost something ridiculous like $12 each. So far, eat at home month has turned out a couple new standby’s. A few recipes so far:

  • Easy Tomato-Vegetable soup with rosemary crackers and hummus
  • Crock Pot Beef Stew – held the peas and wine, added tomato juice
  • Fun-shaped Pasta with Vodka Sauce and Lemon-rosemary White Bean Dip
  • Pad See-Ew (literally “soy sauce stir-fry“) with Chicken — An eating out splurge, though I do dream of having Thai noodle cooking skills
  • Chicken and Vegetable Potstickers with soy sauce and sesame oil — The  frozen potstickers were so-so, but I am a huge fan of mixing 2 parts soy sauce: 1 part sesame oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and/or garlic and it’s a party in your mouth.
  • Chicken Gumbo with Sausage soup — canned, with oddly crunchy white rice

On the menu this week:

It’s great being an omnivore, isn’t it? Updates to come! Other simple but tasty dine-in dinner suggestions welcome.

Chicken ‘n Pineapple Coconut Curry

I have a thing for Thai and Indian food flavors – I love the (medium) heat, the complexity of the spices, the warmth and comfort. Yet in spite of owning 5 cookbooks on the methods, I just haven’t yet duplicated any restaurant quality recipes at home.

This one comes close.

Originally created by my big sister as a crockpot dish, I ran out of time and decided to wing it and make it in the oven. Below is the recipe I’ll use next time, with adjustments included as I went along.

Ingredients
6-8 Chicken tenderloins
1 can coconut milk – not the light stuff, people
1 can pineapple chunks
1 small can tomato paste (do they even make large cans?)
1 large green or red bell pepper, chopped
3 TBS curry powder
1 TB minced garlic
4 TBS chopped fresh basil, divided
Juice of ½ lemon
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS salt – for real, it needs it
pepper
prepared Rice (optional)
baby spinach (optional)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place olive oil and chickens in a baking dish.

2. Using an immersion blender or other device, blend together coconut milk, juice from pineapple can, ½ of the pineapple chunks, tomato paste, ½ of the chopped bell pepper, curry powder, garlic, salt and pepper. The sauce is a festive orange and feels slightly thick.

3. Pour the pureed mixture over the chicken, flipping the chicken to coat it. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes.

4. Remove from oven. Stir in remaining pineapple chunks, remaining chopped bell pepper and 3 TBS basil. Cook another 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked and sauce bubbles around the edges of the pan.

5. Remove pan from the oven. Squeeze lemon juice and top with basil. Serve over rice and baby spinach.

To make it in a crock pot, place oil, chicken and blended sauce in a crock pot on low for 6 hours. The final 15 minutes or so, complete step 4 — just long enough to warm everything up.

I enjoyed this dish, though it was a tad bitter for my tastes. What would you recommend to make it even better? Sugar? Butter? Flaked coconut?

 

 

Stuffing So Good You’ll Forget It’s Vegetarian

My family is comprised of solid omnivores. We hail from a state that exports chicken, folks. Come a holiday meal, there may be bacon, sausage, duck or chicken in every dish — often several at once when gumbo graces the table. Last Christmas we made an English goose and fried everything in goose fat. We’ve adopted The Barefoot Contessa’s stuffing recipe as the gold standard.  My dad recently killed a deer in the backyard with a crossbow and is busy crafting new venison stew recipes. We are meat-o-saurauses.

This Thanksgiving, however, I spent the holiday with two meat eaters and one vegetarian. To keep  it inclusive, we made everything except the turkey vegetarian friendly. I chose stuffing and mashed potatoes as my dishes, which offered the challenge of how to create a delectable stuffing that wouldn’t make me notice the lack of meat. I’d also never made stuffing from scratch thanks to Pepperidge Farm’s bags of dried bread bits. After much hemming and hawing, I settled on this recipe for Vanishing Stuffing by Vegetarian with Benefits.

All I can say is that this was the first dish of leftovers we polished off — in under 24 hours. There were rave reviews by vegetarians and carnivores alike. If I’d known how well it’d turn out, I’d have doubled the recipe to bring home a tupperware for myself!  As is, this makes one 9×13 pan of 6-8 servings, depending on the size of your appetites. It took about 90 minutes start to finish, mostly because my knife skills leave something to be desired.

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf Italian or French bread
  • 8 TBS butter (1 stick)
  • 16 oz mixed mushrooms, chopped – include shiitake if possible
  • 2-3 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup cranberry sauce, whole berry or jellied
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped finely
  • 10 leaves fresh sage, chopped finely
  • 8 leaves fresh basil, chopped finely
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped finely
  • 4 TBS parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 TBS+ olive oil

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F

2. Cut the bread into small cubes, aiming to keep them under a square inch. Spread the bread cubes evenly on 2 baking sheets. Toast the bread in the oven until browning – careful not to burn! This took about 10 minutes, with checks every few minutes.

3. In a large stock pot or large sauce pan fry the onion with a couple TBS of butter and a couple TBS of olive oil. Saute onions until translucent. Add mushrooms and carrots. Saute on medium low head until mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. Add more butter and olive oil to keep bits from sticking and over-browning.

TIP: Since you’ll be chopping and stirring for a good bit, keep a glass of wine handy. The art of pairing wines with food is largely a matter of personal preference however, some safe bets for Thanksgiving wines are Pinot Noir, Syrah and Zinfandel. We enjoyed all three!

4. Add the thyme, sage, basil, rosemary, and 3 TBS of the parsley. Add 2 cups of vegetable stock. Allow to simmer for a couple of minutes then add the bread cubes. Turn off the heat. Stir from the bottom up, folding the contents like soft whipped cream to keep the cubes from getting too broken up or drenched. Add additional butter and/or olive oil as needed. Mix in the cranberry sauce and dried cranberries. Salt and pepper to preference. Sample. Yes, grab a spoon and taste it!

5. Transfer the stuffing to a buttered baking pan. Top with thin slices of the remaining butter before putting it in the oven. Bake until the top is golden brown and crunchy – about 40 minutes.  When it’s done baking, top it with remaining 1 TBS parsley. Indulge!

Like any new recipe, this one could be tweaked with additional ingredients and experimentation: toasted pecans, green apples, chopped celery…sweet Italian sausage…

First Fall Soup: Chicken Sausage ‘n Bean

For no particular reason I couldn’t get to sleep last night. I futzed around, watching SVU reruns on TV, replying to emails from people, thinking about my Austria trip on the horizon, and tossing a foil ball up and down the hallway to my cat’s delight. I think I finally tucked in around 1am — which explains why my productivity and energy took a nosedive.

To salvage what’s left of my alert brain, I present my first fall soup recipe: chicken sausage, beans and kale.  It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s healthy and surprisingly flavorful.  The recipe is adapted from an old Real Simple recipe. Aside: I like Real Simple in general, but often find their recipes bland – they’re too simple. Fortunately, this soup is an exception.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cans of beans, any kind, drained – I used butter and white beans this time
  • 13 oz package of precooked sausage, cut into 1/4″  pieces – I favor Al Fresco chicken sausages
  • 16 oz vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes or tomato sauce – If using tomato sauce, you may want to toss in a few halved cherry or grape tomatoes for texture
  • 2 cups + kale, roughly chopped or torn
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Heat oil in soup pot over medium-low. Add the cut sausage and brown them without moving the pieces, 3-4 minutes. Resist the urge to stir! I only halfway succeeded – as evidenced by the photo at right.

2. Flip the sausage pieces and allow other side to brown a bit. Add the garlic.  Now you can stir to your heart’s content.

3. Add the beans, broth, tomatoes and basil to the pot, stirring to combine. Increase the heat to medium and bring the contents to a simmer. Once  simmering, add the chopped kale and stir it in, allowing the leaves to wilt for 3-5 minutes. (I poke the leaves down into the broth to speed up this process. A patient chef I am not.)

4. You’re done! Ladle the soup into bowls, top with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and serve with a side of crusty bread or crunchy crackers. Mmmm…warm flavors and colors of fall. And it’s ready in ~20 minutes.

I made this on a Sunday night and had 4 lunch-sized tupperwares of leftovers — after eating probably 2 servings for dinner.  This reheats well too – just be wary of the garlic!