Saturday, April 30, 2011

Roasted Chicken with Chickpeas, Cauliflower and Tomatoes

We loved this Everyday Foods recipe so much, I've already made it again.  Both my kids (ages 3 and 1) literally ate more than I did.  My son favored the chicken and cauliflower.  My daughter was a huge fan of the tomatoes and chickpeas.  I loved it all.  Especially how easy it was to make!

1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), rinsed, patted dry and cut into 9 pieces (I used a package of thighs)
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 small head cauliflower, cored and cut into 2-inch florets
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Place a rimmed baking sheet in oven and preheat to 450 F, with racks in upper and middle thirds.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Carefully remove sheet from oven and arrange chicken, skin side up, in a single layer.  Roast on upper rack, 20 minutes.  Preheating the pan saves time on cooking and helps the chicken to brown.  The chicken released enough juice that you don't need to add any oil.

Remove chicken from oven and, with tongs, transfer to another rimmed baking sheet along with tomatoes.  Add cauliflower, onion, and chickpeas to drippings on first sheet and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper.  Roast chicken on upper rack and vegetables on middle rack until chicken is golden and cooked through and cauliflower is tender when pierced with a knife, about 25 minutes.  Transfer chicken and vegetables to a serving dish and serve immediately.

I kept everything on the same pan.  After the chicken had cooked twenty minutes, I added the vegetables and gently moved everything around so the veggies were tossed in the juices.  With only 5 chicken thighs, there was enough room on one pan.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Zuppa Toscana

Olive Garden's image
Seattle's food culture pretty much set me on a course of never wanting to eat at chain food restaurants.  But about once a year, I still get a hankering for Olive Garden's bottomless salad and soup combo.  This recipe is supposed to rival the Zuppa Toscana, which is always my first soup of choice.  I ended up making several changes, so you can find the original here if you really want to go for the taste test.  I thought my batch was still delicious.

1 pound Italian sausage
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large white onion, diced
4 slices bacon chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
7 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups whole milk
6 smallish new potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
4 cups baby spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium skillet, saute the Italian sausage with the red pepper flakes. Drain excess fat, set aside.  

In a large soup pot, saute the bacon. When the bacon is half way cooked,  add the onions and garlic. Saute until the onions are tender-about 5 minutes.  Add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil.  Add the potatoes, reduce to a simmer, and cook until soft, about 15 minutes.  Add in the milk and sausage and cook until the soup is heated.  Stir in the spinach. Season with salt and pepper.  Serve hot.
Serves 8

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cream Scones

Since we're officially living in England now, my mom suggested I try yet another scone recipe.  Why not?!  These took the number two spot out of the three that I've tried (links: still in first and now third).  Anyone else have a recipe to throw into the mix?!

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, cubed
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg white
1 tsp water

Combine first 4 ingredients.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly.  

Whisk together cream, egg, and vanilla; add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Pat dough to 1/2-inch thickness; cut with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter, and place on baking sheets.

Whisk together egg white and 1 teaspoon water; brush mixture over tops of scones.  Sprinkle scones with additional sugar.

Bake at 425 for 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Overnight Apple French Toast

Along with the recipe for overnight orange french toast, Jaime sent this one as well.  Delicious!  It'd be a great last-minute idea if you need something special for Easter tomorrow.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp corn syrup
2 tart apples, peeled and sliced (I used three and will use four next time)
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
thick sliced French bread

Cook sugar, butter, and corn syrup until syrupy.  Pour into a 9x13 baking dish.  Spread apple slices over the syrup, place bread on top of apples slices.  Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over bread.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Bake uncovered for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Grilled Halloumi Skewers

Life-long friends of ours live in Cyprus and many years ago introduced us to halloumi, a traditional Cypriot cheese.  You've got to try this stuff!  Affectionately labeled "squeaky cheese", we were immediately hooked!  This cheese has a high melting point and is sturdy enough to withstand a skewer, so my mom and I fired up the grill.  The results were delicious served over quinoa.  We chose to go the vegetarian route (shallots, green pepper, zucchini and halloumi), but you could easily add chunks of meat.  We simply brushed everything with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Yummy!

If you are able to find halloumi, get enough to also try slices pan-fried and in a pita with cucumbers, tomatoes and a bit of hummus.  Wow.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chicken and Rice Soup

This soup reminds me of my childhood.  My mom is amazing at taking what she has on hand and creating a delicious meal out of seemingly nothing.  This is one of my favorites from her kitchen.

6-8 cups chicken stock
rice, 3/4 cup uncooked, or 2 cups cooked
1-2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1/2 cup corn, canned, frozen, or fresh
2 carrots, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

After slow-cooking a whole chicken and using most of the meat for three other recipes, I made my own stock and combined it with the above ingredients for a simple and delicious soup.

Bring the stock to a boil.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender (and rice is cooked if using uncooked to start with), about 20 minutes.  With a good-tasting stock you shouldn't have to add much other than a little salt and pepper to bring it all together.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fried Chicken

We celebrated my mom's birthday this weekend!  She's one of my favorite people.  We let her pick the meal.  Fried chicken was mentioned.  None of us could remember the last time we had eaten friend chicken.  I'd never made it.  The decision was final.  Fried chicken for her birthday dinner.  I don't have much in my tastebud memory to compare it to, but I thought it turned out great!  I could barely get the picture taken before little hands and tongs were grabbing for the plate.

1 boiler/fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 cups low fat buttermilk
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp Hungarian paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
flour, for dredging
vegetable shortening, for frying

Place chicken pieces into a plastic container and cover with buttermilk.  Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

Melt enough shortening (over low heat) to come just 1/8-inch up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan.  Once shortening liquifies raise heat to 325 degrees F.  Do not allow oil to go over 325 degrees F.

Drain chicken in a colander.  Combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.  Liberally season chicken with this mixture.  Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.

Place chicken skin side down into the pan.  Put thighs in the center, and breast and legs around the edge of the pan.  The oil should come half way up the pan.  Cook chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 10 to 12 minutes per side.  More importantly, the internal temperature should be right around 180 degrees.  (Be careful to monitor shortening temperature every few minutes.)

Drain chicken on a rack over a sheet pan.  Don't drain by setting chicken directly on paper towels or brown papers bags.  If you need to hold the chicken before serving, cover loosely with foil but avoid holding in a warm oven, especially if it's a gas oven.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dinner Penzeys Style

Here is another post from Tricia, highlighting Penzeys spices.  Tricia gets the credit for introducing me to Penzeys.  I love their spice blends!

Penzeys seasonings can make any food un-boring.  I had potatoes, fresh green beans, and a filet of orange roughy.  Kind of boring.  But with Penzeys, I had herb and vinaigrette marinated fish, creamy peppercorn smashed potatoes, and green beans drizzled with red wine vinegar pan drippings from the fish.  How un-boring!  Here's how:

2 fish filets or chicken breasts (I used one giant orange roughy filet I found on sale)
*2 Tbsp olive oil
*2 tsp red wine vinegar
*1/2 tsp ground Penzeys India tellicherry peppercorns
*1/2 tsp Penzeys California sweet basil or thyme (I used basil)
*1/4 tsp Penzeys granulated garlic
2 Penzeys bay leaves
1/4 tsp ground Penzeys sea salt
Enough fresh green beans for 2, cooked however you like

Mix *starred items.  Coat both sides of filets with marinade.  Break bay leaves into 3-4 pieces, and press on both sides of filets.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hr.-overnight.  Remove leaves, discard extra marinade, sprinkle with salt and cook in skillet.  Fish 3-4 minutes/side, chicken 5 minutes per side.  Remove meat from pan, but don't discard anything else.

In pan, add another 2 tsp red wine vinegar to remaining drippings and toss with cooked green beans.  Another idea for a side (instead of potatoes) is to toss the drippings and red wince vinegar with warm pasta.

Creamy Peppercorn Smashed Potatoes:

5 butter yellow potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes, skin on
1/2-1 tsp Penzeys Creamy Peppercorn seasoning (I just shook it in there, so I'm not exactly sure how much I used.  You can add more if it isn't flavorful enough)
1/2 Tbsp sour cream

Boil cubed potatoes until soft.  Drain and return to the pot.  Mix with creamy peppercorn seasoning and sour cream - that's it!

If you have more time, you can let 1/2 tsp seasoning soak in 1 Tbsp water for 5 minutes, then mix with sour cream.  It thins the sauce, but it might let out more flavor.  I just decided as I drained the potatoes what I was going to mix in it, so I didn't have time to let it set.  That's the beauty of Penzeys - just try their seasonings (a lot of salad dressing bases made good add-ins for potatoes, pasta, or veggies or to sprinkle on meat) and see what you like best.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I've mentioned before my dad's expertise in the kitchen.  It's limited, but what he does, he does very well.    Snickerdoodles are one of his specialties and he said I could share his tried and tested recipe with you.

1 stick margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 3/4 cups sifted flour
1 tsp. soda

2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Cream butter, shortening and sugar in a large bowl.  Add eggs and mix well.  Add remaining four dry ingredients and mix until well combined.  Cover and chill for at least one hour.

Combine 2 Tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small bowl.

Roll dough into walnut-sized balls.  Coat each ball in the sugar and cinnamon mixture.  Bake at 375 degrees on an ungreased baking sheet until light brown, about 10 minutes.  

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dijon Chicken Stew with Potatoes and Kale

Kenan has never sent me a recipe I didn't like.  I haven't tried this yet, but since it's from her, I'm confident it will be fantastic!

image found here 

4 tsp olive oil, divided
2 cups leek, sliced (I used onion)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp pepper, divided
1 cup white win (I used chicken broth)
3 cups chicken broth, divided
1 Tbsp flour
2 cups water
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cups potatoes (I used plain old baking potatoes, and I used two)
8 cups loosely packed torn kale (the first time I made this, I did 8 cups and it was way too much.  The second time I made it, I just tore kale into the pot until it looked good to me)
crushed red pepper, optional for topping

Heat 1 tsp oil in a large pot, add leek and saute until tender.  Add garlic and saute about a minute more.  Empty into a bowl and set aside.

Place 1/3 cup flour in a clean bowl and dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess.  Heat remaining 1 Tbsp of oil in pot and add half of the chicken mixture.  Sprinkle with 1/8 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper.  Cook until all sides are brown.  Add to leek mixture and repeat with rest of chicken, removing all chicken from the pot.

Add wine to pan and scrape sides to loosen browned bits.  Combine 1 cup chicken broth with 1 Tbsp flour and whisk until smooth.  Add broth mixture, remaining 2 cups broth, water, and mustard to pot.  Bring to a boil.

Stir in chicken mixture, remaining 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Stir in potatoes.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes more, or until potatoes are tender.

Stir in kale.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Garnish with crushed red pepper if you want.

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