Classics, Comfort food, Food, Poultry

Chicken Pot Pie

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Chicken Pot Pie is a hearty meal that will fill you up on any cold night.  I first made this for my father–he loves chicken pot pie!!  When I was reading recipes for chicken pot pie, I was shocked at the amount of butter that the recipes were calling for–and that was just for the filling!  I was not doing that, so I went and got some store bought shortcuts–and it came out really well.  Since then,  I have been following this recipe and it has never failed me.  The additional benefit is that you make the entire meal in a couple of hours and freeze it OR spend another 20 mins to bake it off and you have dinner!  I love making it on a weekend and freezing it down in serving size portions—dinner is then ready in jiff on a weeknight.

Ingredients:

Pre-cooked, store bought chunks of white meat chicken.  I usually get two, 12oz packages.

One, 14.5 oz container of Mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery–all pre-diced!!!!)

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1 package of store bought pie crust

2 tbsp of butter

3 tbsp of flour

2 tsp of Herbs de provence

1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes (more if you want it spicier)

1/2 tsp of cracked black pepper

1 quart chicken stock

Salt to taste (this will vary depending on how salty your chicken stock is)

Method:

In a large stock pot, melt butter on medium heat.

Once butter is melted, add mirepoix and saute till soft and pale golden

 

Add chicken chunks, spices, and flour and stir well till everything is well mixed.

 

Add chicken stock and cook on medium low heat for 20-30 minutes.  You want the filling to thicken.

Once the filling is made, divide into individual bowls.  I have pot pie bowls, and this recipe makes about 4 servings.

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Let the filling cool completely in the bowls.

Cover with store bought pie crust, crimp and seal the edges.  At this point you can wrap the pies with freezer friendly  plastic wrap and freeze down for later.

Cooking instruction:

If cooking immediately:

Preheat oven to 375F.  Brush the top of the crust with some egg wash ( 1 egg beaten with a little bit of water), and cut a slit to allow for the steam to escape.  Bake for 15 mins till crust is golden.

If cooking a frozen pot pie:

Thaw pot pie in refrigerator for 1-2 days.  Once the pie is thawed, follow the above instructions to cook.  You may need to increase the baking to 20-25 mins to ensure the filling is piping hot.

ENJOY!!!

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Asian, Food, Poultry, Quick Dinner

Sunday Stir-fry

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I love Chinese takeout.  I love eating with chopsticks straight out of the paper container.  Alas, there is no Chinese takeout in my neck of the woods, so I have to make do with homemade versions.  I still have not figured out the secret to Asian cooking, so I take a lot of help from the store.  There is one particular brand of stir-fry sauce that I like because it is low in sugar content.  It is on the pricier side, so I stock up when the sauce goes to sale.  The rest of the ingredients, well, put in whatever you like!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1-1.5 lbs of chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 Tbsp of ginger paste
  • 1 Tbsp of minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp of Sambal Olek (use less if desired, I like it spicy)
  • 1/2 bottle of the Tsang Classic Sauce
  • 1 bag of frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 can of baby corn
  • 1 can of oyster mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp of canola/vegetable oil
  • Salt and white pepper (yes, white) to taste
  • White sesame seeds (garnish)

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a wok.  While the oil heats up, cube chicken

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  • Fry chicken with salt and pepper till pale golden
  • Add ginger, garlic and sambal olek-saute for a few minutes
  • Add all the vegetables and saute for 5-10 mins, till the water released from the vegetables has mostly evaporated.
  • Add the sauce and saute for another 5-10 mins, till the stir-fry comes to desired consistency.  I like it a little on the runny side–more sauce for rice/noodles !!!

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  • Garnish with white sesame seeds and serve hot !!!IMG_20190303_122239
Classics, Comfort food, Dinner, Poultry

Roasted Split Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon

 

IMG_20181001_183729Roast chicken is a classic, but it takes time–more suited for a Sunday night.  It has its benefits too.  Plenty of leftovers for sandwiches and chicken noodle soup.  However, when it is fall and you want a hearty, comforting meal on a weeknight,  turn to this recipe.  The trick is to remember to marinade the night before and take the time to brown the chicken (preferably in a cast iron skillet).  Try it soon !

INGREDIENTS

½ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

2 large split chicken breasts

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Whisk together all ingredients except chicken.

Put split chicken in a re-sealable plastic bag and add marinade.

Seal bags, removing as much air as possible and massage marinade around chicken to coat evenly. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. convectional or 425 degrees F. conventional.

Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Heat a large heavy bottom skillet (I use my cast iron skillet) over medium heat. Once heated, put chicken skin side down in the skillet and cook until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer skillet into the oven.

Roast until chicken is browned, meat is cooked through and juices run clear (an instant reading thermometer when inserted in the meat should read 165 degrees F.) about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow sitting 15 minutes to “rest” (this allows the juices to settle in the meat so they don’t run out when chicken is cut).

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Classics, Comfort food, Dinner, Gluten-free, Poultry

Chicken Cacciatore

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For those who know me and also read my recipes, you might have noticed that I cook with whatever is lying around.  I rarely “follow” recipes, most of it is by smell, look and taste.  Nevertheless, I love collecting cookbooks and my inner scientist can respect the importance of a well written “protocol”/”recipe”.  So I dusted off a cookbook that I got for Christmas and cooked this recipe–with a few changes

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Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 pounds of chicken breast, cut into cubes

1 large onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

8 oz mushrooms, sliced

1 tsp of rosemary

1 small can of chopped tomatoes

salt and pepper

(original recipe called for fresh rosemary, chicken thighs and tomato paste)

Method:

Heat oil in a skillet, season chicken with salt and pepper and saute till browned.  Set aside.

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Add onions, garlic, mushrooms and rosemary to skillet.  Season with salt and saute till softened.

Add chopped tomatoes and 1/4 cups water.  Return chicken to pan.

Cook on low heat till sauce reduces.

Serve with crusty bread.

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Dinner, Mexican, Poultry

Chicken Tacos with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

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This is the first time I cooked with tomatillos.  I was always intrigued by this green looking, tomato-like, husked vegetable.   This is a simple dinner, but takes a little bit of time and you certainly would prefer to make it on a cooler day when you can utilize the oven.

Ingredients:

3 small tomatillos, quatered

1 green frying pepper, sliced

1 fresno chili, de-seeded and sliced

1 small onion, quatered

2-3 cloves of garlic

5 chicken tenders

1Tbsp of taco seasoning (our a homemade blend of chili powder, cumin and oregano)

olive oil

salt and pepper

Hard or soft taco shells and all other taco fixings your family enjoys

Method:

Take the first five ingredients, spread then in a single layer on a foil-lined sheet pan.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 20-30 mins at 375F.  You want the vegetables to get slightly charred, but not burnt.

Allow the vegetables to cool and then blend in a food processor to your desired consistency.  You now have your salsa.

While the vegetables are roasting, season chicken with olive oil, salt and taco seasoning.

Saute chicken, till cooked through.  Allow to cool slightly and then shred the chicken.

Take a 1/4 cup of the salsa and mix with the shredded chicken, you now have youe taco filling.

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Heat up your taco shells, pulls out the lettuce and cheese (and all your other favorite taco toppings) and build away !

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Dinner, Indian, Poultry

Tamarind Chicken

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Years ago, it took three friends to convince a certain Irish man to try Indian food.  Trying to make the distinction between spicy and spiced is always a challenge–till you try it.  Needless to say, the Irish man is now a convert.  He now enjoys Indian food and has a variety of chillis in his pantry.  So the dish that he tried was Tamarind Chicken.  Traditionally a South Indian dish, it has several varieties.  Some are more spicy, some more tangy and creamy.  I did not grow up eating this variety of curry so I created my own version of it.  He liked it.  WIN!  Hope you and your family like it too.

Ingredients:

5 chicken breasts, cubed

1 inch of ginger, peeled and cut into chunks

1tbsp of minced garlic (2-3cloves)

2 quartered onions

2 tomatoes

1 jalapeno

1 tsp of mustard seeds

1tsp of fenugreek seeds

1 Bay leaf

3-4 whole cloves

3-4 whole cardamom pods

2 tbsp of tamarind paste, dissolved in 2cups of water

0.4oz of Berbere spice blend (from rawspicebar–refer to image for spice blend)

2 tbsp of canola/vegetable oil

salt to taste

honey/sugar to reduce spicy-ness (optional step)

Method:

Blend ginger, garlic, jalapeno, tomato and onions.

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Heat oil in a pot, and add the mustard, fenugreek, cloves, cardamon to pot and wait for them to start popping in the hot oil

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Then add the onion-tomato paste from the blender.  Then add the berberre spice blend.

Cook then spices, stirring often, till the raw smell has cooked off and it turns a deep red color.

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Add the chicken and saute for 5-10 mins

Add the tamarind paste in water

Cook till the sauce thickens, on medium-ow heat for 30 mins

Taste to adjust salt and seasonings.  You might want to add more spice, or if it is too spicy you can add a tbsp of honey or sugar.

Serve hot with Naan or basmati rice.

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Middle Eastern, Poultry

Orange Saffron Drumsticks

  
A unique flavor spin on your typical of drumsticks.  Roast it or grill it, this will become a new staple in your recipe box.  If you are not a fan of drumsticks, try it on chicken breasts or thighs.

Ingredients:

1lb bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks

zest and juice of 1 large orange

2 tbsp of rosemary

1 tsp of red pepper flakes

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp of saffron

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Marinade chicken in all the ingredients for 3hrs upto overnight.

  
Bake in a 375F oven for 45mins till cooked through.

Savor !

   

Dinner, Gluten-free, Poultry, Quick Dinner

Prosciutto-Basil Chicken in a Tomato Sauce

  
A super speedy dinner I pulled together for a quick dinner party.  It used whatever I had in the kitchen and pantry and pulled together a tasty chicken dinner.  Try it !

Ingredients:

5 thinly sliced chicken breasts

5 slices of prosciutto

10 basil leaves

1/2Tbsp of minced garlic

3 stalks of green onions, chopped

2 shallots sliced

Bruschetta spread ( I bought this from Trader Joe’s)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp of cornmeal

1 tsp of crushed red pepper

1 cup of chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Season the chicken breasts with salt.

Spread the bruschetta mix on the chicken breast and lay two basil leaves on top of the spread.

  
Fold the chicken breast in half and secure with toothpicks.

Wrap each breast with prosciutto.

  
Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a skillet and fry the chicken breasts till golden on each side.  Set aside.

   
 In the same pan add the chopped garlice,green onions and shallots and saute till pale.

Add 2 Tbsp of the bruschetta mix and cornmeal and saute for 2-3 mins

   
    Remove the toothpicks and return the  chicken to the pan and add the chicken stock

Simmer till the sauce thickens.

Serve with your choice of sides.  I did saffron rice and roasted asparagus.

 

Italian, Poultry, Salad, Sides

Saffron Chicken, Lemon and Green Bean Salad

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INGREDIENTS
  • 1 lemon (preferably unwaxed), scrubbed well
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • Pinch saffron threads, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • About 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (tenderloins removed), trimmed of visible fat
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Use a fork to prick the lemon in 3 or 4 places. Place in a small saucepan along with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cover with water; bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 50 minutes or until quite tender. Drain and cool.

Meanwhile, whisk together the saffron, mint, garlic, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the oil and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a gallon-size plastic zip-top bag. Add the chicken and seal. Massage to coat; let it marinate (at room temperature) while you prep the beans.

Set up a steamer over a few inches of barely bubbling water (over medium heat). Place the beans inside; cover and steam for 4 minutes or until crisp-tender and a brighter shade of green. Cool, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces, transferring them to a mixing bowl as you work.

Grease a large skillet with cooking oil spray and place it over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the marinated chicken. (It’s okay if some marinade remains on the chicken; discard any remaining marinade.) Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, then turn the chicken over and cook on the second side for 6 to 8 minutes or as needed, until the chicken is cooked through and nicely browned. Cool, then cut into bite-size pieces, transferring them to the bowl of green beans.

Slice off and discard the ends of the lemon, then cut the fruit in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the flesh and pulp. Cut the remaining peel (with pith) into thin slices, then into 1/4-inch pieces, adding them to the bowl as you work. Add the thyme.

Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the honey in a liquid measuring cup, then whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil to form an emulsified dressing. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the lemon-chicken mixture and toss to incorporate. Serve at room temperature.

Classics, Comfort food, Fish & Seafood, Meat, Poultry, Soups, Stew

Gumbo

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Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound spicy andouille (or smoked) sausage, sliced
8 chicken tenderloins (or 2 skinless/boneless chicken breasts), cut into bite-size pieces
• Salt
• Pepper
3 celery stalks, finely diced
1 large onion, finely diced
8oz of frozen mixed peppers                                                                                                             2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon Creole seasoning
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon, heaping, tomato paste
16 oz bag of frozen, sliced okra.
1 (28 oz) can organic diced tomatoes with juice
2 cups chicken stock, hot
½ pound peeled and cleaned, medium size shrimp (cooked)
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

Preparation:

-Place a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and add the olive oil; once the oil is hot, add the sliced sausage in, and allow it to caramelize and brown for a few minutes; once well browned, remove the sausage from the pot, and set it aside for a moment; next, add the chicken pieces into the pot along with a sprinkle or two of salt and pepper, and allow them to brown in the oil/sausage drippings for about 2-3 minutes; remove the chicken pieces from the pot, and set aside for a moment; next, add in the diced celery, onion and bell pepper, and caramelize it for about 2-3 minutes in the oil, then add in the bay leaves, the Creole seasoning, the cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper, and stir to combine; next, add in the garlic and stir, and once it becomes aromatic, add in the tomato paste, and cook for about 1 minute to cook out the “raw” tomato flavor; next, add in the sliced okra, the diced tomatoes with juice, the hot chicken stock, and the browned sausage and chicken, and stir to combine

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allow the stew to simmer gently on low/medium-low, uncovered, for 20 minutes; after 20 minutes, add in the shrimp (you can season it with a sprinkle of salt/pepper if you wish), and simmer for only 2 minutes more as to not overcook the shrimp; finish by stirring in the chopped parsley and cilantro, and serve over rice.