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Have you been feeling these cooler temperatures? I guess it depends where you live, huh. Well I gotta say that I much prefer the colder weather even with some rain drops than that awful heat and humidity. I was definitely ready for fall.

And nothing quite screams fall like squash: pumpkin, acorn, butternut. There are so many things you can make with this versatile ingredient, from sweet treats to savory suppers.

So when my blogger friend Junia at Mis Pensamientos organized a #squashlove bloghop for the month of November, you better believe I was in!

As I mentioned in my other post, I made a delightful stew to go along with that awesome cilantro flatbread last month. When I was deciding what I should make, I knew it would have to be something with some Indian spices to complement the flatbread.

I had made a great cauliflower/potato mixture with Garam Masala a few nights before for myself. Nate would’t dare touch cauliflower. All the more for me.

Anyway, that dish turned out so well that I wanted to make something with the same flavors that he could enjoy as well.

I settled on using chicken but thought that some butternut squash, diced tomatoes and yogurt would be amazing together. So that’s what I did. This whole dish really didn’t take too long to make.

I call for chicken thighs because I personally believe they stay extremely moist to the point that you can’t really overcook them. If you like dry meat, then go for the breast, but that’s not my thing. And for those calorie-counters out there, there are 110 calories in boneless skinless chicken breast vs 130 calores for boneless skinless thighs,  for the same 4 ounces. I really don’t think 20 calories are worth sacrificing moisture and flavor. But that’s just me 😉

The link below is powered by Linky Tools.
Click here to enter your link and view this the recipes that are part of #squashlove!

I am co-hosting this #squashlove! bloghop with the following fine chefs:

Baker Street | Anuradha : @bakerstreet29
Bloc De Recetas | Salomé : @blocderecetas
Bon à croquer | Valerie : @valouth
Cake Duchess | Lora: @cakeduchess
Cafe Terra Blog | Terra : @cafeterrablog
Food Wanderings | Shulie : @foodwanderings
Hobby and More | Richa : @betit19
Mike’s Baking | Mike : @mikesbaking
Mis Pensamientos | Junia : @juniakk
My Twisted Recipes | Dudut : @mytwistedrecipe
No One Like Crumbley Cookies | T.R : @TRCrumbley
Queens Notebook | Elizabeth : @mango_queen
Simply Reem | Reem : @simplyreem
Skip To Malou | Malou : @malou_nievera
Teaspoon Of Spice | Serena : @tspcurry
The Daily Palette | Annapet : @thedailypalette
The Professional Palette | Regan : @profpalate
The Spicy RD | EA : @thespicyrd
Vegan Miam | Rika : @veganmiam

Indian-Spiced Chicken and Butternut Squash Stew

Recipe by me!

Print this recipe!

Serves 4-6

1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1.5 Tbsp Garam Masala
1 tsp tumeric
1 cup lowfat plain yogurt (not greek style)
1 lb butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 3/4″ cubes (weight after chopping)
2 cups onions, thinly sliced
1 Tsbp vegetable oil
1/4 cup fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

 Combine first 4 ingredients in bowl and let marinate 30 min.

Heat the oil over med-hi heat. Add onions and saute 5 min or until soft. Add ginger and garlic and saute 1-2 minutes.

Add butternut squash to pan and saute 1-2 min. Add chopped tomatoes with juice. Cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occassionally.

Add chicken. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 10 min, covered. Uncover and cook an additional 5 min.

Take 2 Tbsp or so of cooking liquid and put in a cup. Mix with the cornstarch and whisk to dissolve. Add cornstarch mixture back into chicken mixture and stir. Cook another few minutes until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste.

Stir cilantro in and serve.

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I’ve been hoping I’d come across a recipe to use that leftover chicken breast I had from a different recipe that was all cooked and chopped in the freezer.

So when I was doing my usual browsing on Pinterest yesterday and came across a pic that looked tasty, I was excited to see its main ingredient was 2 cups of chopped chicken!

I checked out the rest of the recipe and it seemed like it couldn’t be more simple. It was 6 ingredients and only took 30 min to bake.

Since you all know I’ve been super busy and short on time, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to finally get a blog post up.

This turned out totally delicious and I think it’s extremely kid friendly! I hope you enjoy 🙂

P.S. Sorry the color in my pictures stinks. For a more appetizing view of this recipe, click on the Food Family Finds link below.


Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Braid

Adapted from Food Family Finds

Print this recipe!

serves 5

Ingredients
2 cans Pillsbury Original Crescent Rolls or 2 cans Pillsbury seamless sheet
2 cups chicken chunks, cooked
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 10-oz box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 egg yolk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, spread both cans of crescents, sealing the long edge of one sheet to the long edge of the other.

Press each of the seams to form a single layer of dough.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, cheese, broccoli and mayonnaise

Spread mixture over the center of the croissant dough evenly to create a log. It should be in a rectangle perpendicular to the seam.

Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut horizontal strips 1 inch apart down each side of the crescent dough bordering the chicken mixture.

Fold the end up and over the chicken. Then fold the dough strips over the top of the chicken mixture, alternating left and right to create a braid.

Brush the top of the braid with a beaten egg yolk.

Bake for 28 – 30 minutes until golden brown. 

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I went to Cleveland this past weekend to visit two of my oldest friends, Mike and Sarah, who happen to be married to each other.

I’ve known them since nursery and kindergarten! And now they have the most adorable baby boy.

Here, you can see some pics of us all over the years.

Sarah and her brother used to come stay with my family in Martha’s Vineyard for a week in the summer since we had a house there. Her brother was also in the same grade as my brother. Here are Sarah and me on my dad’s boat 🙂

Here’s Sarah and Erica (remember her from my bday cake post a month ago?) and me at Sarah’s bachelorette party:

I can’t believe we forgot to take a pice of all of us while I was visiting! I had such a good time with Sarah and Mike, and got the bonus surprise of having her parents visit too, so we had some good catching up 🙂

Anyway, since Mike typically has to work crazy hours and they’re both busy taking care of the baby, I figured I’d take the opportunity to make them a yummy dinner. Sarah suggested that I take advantage of their grill since I don’t have one in nyc, and that’s exactly what I did.

The weather was so nice. It was perfect for being out on the deck grilling.

Now I have to tell you that I’m not much of a griller. That was always the men’s job in my household (although my mom is pretty good at it). I guess no one ever really showed me how. I can never tell when the meat is cooked.

But that’s what’s perfect about this chicken. You bake it first til it’s fully cooked, so there’s no chance of undercooking it on the grill. The grilling part is basically just used to caramelize the sauce on it and heat it back up. Also, because you bake it ahead of time, you can make it mostly the day ahead and just heat it on the grill the day you’re ready to barbecue. Easy peasy.

Note that I took the pics before flipping the chicken. Yours should have grill marks and crispy skin on both sides when it’s ready.

Come back on Thursday for that salsa recipe I’ve been promising you, just in time for the 4th of July!

Important notes about the recipe:

You have to use skin on, bone-in chicken pieces or it will dry out. If you don’t like the skin, take it off when you’re ready to eat it, not before it’s cooked completely. It holds the moisture in. For this weekend, I used 4 breast pieces and a pack of chicken thighs. The breasts took maybe 10 extra minutes in the oven. You know they’re done when you prick it with a fork and the juices that come out are clear. If you’re worried with the big pieces, you can make a small incision in the thickest part and check that it’s not pink. If it’s a little pink it shouldn’t be a problem since they do end up cooking a bit more while on the grill.


Easy Grilled BBQ Chicken
Recipe from mom

Print this recipe!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 lbs chicken pieces, bone-in, skin on
Seasoning: salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, etc
Equal parts of your favorite bbq sauce and Saucy Susan or other Sweet and Sour sauce (found in the ethnic aisle of supermarkets)

Preparation:

Bring chicken to room temperature. Liberally season chicken on both sides. Bake chicken, skin side up, at 350 for 30 min or until juices run clear when pierced with fork. Chicken should be completely, or almost completely cooked.

Cool chicken, or refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temp before grilling.

Mix equal parts of your favorite brand of barbecue sauce and sweet and sour sauce. The amount you use depends on how sauce you like your chicken, but I used about 1/2 small bottle of bbq sauce and had enough left for dipping.

Brush underside of chicken with bbq sauce mixture and place on grill. Grill 5-10 minutes or until grill marks form and sauce is caramelized.

Brush tops of chicken pieces and flip over, grilling skin side. Leave 5-10 min or until other side is crispy. Remove from grill and enjoy!

Remember, the chicken is fully cooked before grilling, so this step is really just to get that lovely caramelization.

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Yeah, that’s right, I’m celebrating the 10th of May…whatcha gonna do about it?!

So once again, I’m posting a holiday recipe post late. But it’s not my fault. Also, how appropriate that today is the 10th of May, i.e. Cinqo( x 2) de Mayo 🙂

Plus, Mexican food is enjoyable every day of the week. This recipe is no exception.

The other night I bought a rotisserie chicken. I wanted to make a quick bbq chicken pizza for dinner using my favorite new quickie, healthy crust: socca. I’ll explain more about that in another post.

Anyway, I was in no mood for cooking up chicken (plus touching raw chicken is disgusting and germy…right Nicole? 😉 ), so I got lazy and bought the cooked rotisserie chicken they have at the supermarket.

It may be expensive, but let me tell you, it’s worth every penny for the time, hassle and degree of gross-ness you save! I only used about 1 cup of it on the pizza so I shredded up the rest and stored it in the freezer for another recipe.

Most casserole recipes that I have come across in my searches involve cooked chicken. I find this soooo annoying as you have to either boil up a chicken breast just for the recipe, or have leftover chicken lying around, which I never do. But this time I was prepared!

I went into my recipe collection and pulled out the one for a Chicken Tamale Casserole from Cooking Light that I had been putting off making because it called for cooked chicken. I knew Nate would love it because it has a cornbread base.

It was incredibly easy to make. It took one bowl and only 30 minutes in the oven. It was perfect for a quick weeknight meal if you’ve got some pre-cooked chicken sitting in your fridge or freezer. And it was totally delicious.

I had some black beans leftover from a Black Bean Brownie disaster (don’t even ask) so I threw them in too. Tasty.


Chicken Tamale Casserole

Adapted from Cooking Light
Serves 8 

Print this recipe!

1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided
1/3 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup egg substitute, or 1 egg
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (such as Martha White)
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
Cooking spray
1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce (such as Old El Paso)
1 cup black beans
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine 1/4 cup cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chiles) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 15 min.
Remove from oven. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork; pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with beans and chicken; sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts.
Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes.
Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream.


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Take two!

…or take three, or four, as the case may be.

As I said in my last post, I had the pleasure of catering lunch for Nate’s short film shooting last weekend. With a lot of hard work, he and his crew managed to finish up shooting all the scenes they needed in two jam-packed days. These guys definitely worked up an appetite during all the takes they had to do of each scene!

Hoisin Chicken

I couldn’t believe all the hard work that goes into making a film. This one is only going to be 10 min, so I can’t even imagine what it must be like to make a feature length film. For each scene they had to completely rearrange all the lighting and camera equipment to get everything just right.

This would be hard to begin with, but in Nate’s miniscule apartment, it made it all the more difficult. Four guys (plus me) were stuffed into a room that’s not much bigger than a walk-in closet. Needless to say with all the moving around and getting stuff done, these guys got hungry and my lunches were a hit! Although, I’d imagine they probably would have eaten anything.

Curried Chicken Salad: Source

The rest of day 1 included a recipe for Grilled Hoisin Chicken Skewers from Bon Appetit that I reworked for indoor use, since I don’t have a grill. It worked out pretty nicely. The second recipe is one of my absolute favorites for making use of leftover chicken. It’s a healthier and refreshing version of chicken salad that I served on big hoagie rolls. I didn’t have time to take a pic of that one, so I borrowed it from Cooking Light’s website.


Hoisin Broiled Chicken

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Print this recipe!

serves 4-5

3/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
3 Tbsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar (or cider vinegar)
1.5-1.75 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch strips
3 Tbsp sesame seeds

Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Place 6 Tbsp sauce in small bowl for glaze.

Mix chicken into remaining sauce; let stand 10 min.While chicken is marinating, turn on broiler.

Put broiler pan or cooling racks over a sheet pan. Spread out chicken pieces on rack, about 1/2 inch apart. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Broil chicken until cooked throught and slightly charred, brushing with glaze and turning oftten, about 8 min. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

(Leftovers are delicious cold or room temp)


Curried Chicken Salad

Recipe from Cooking Light

Print this recipe!

serves 2

1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (about 8 oz.)
1/2 cup halved grapes
1/2 cup diced apple
2 Tbsp diced pineapple
1 Tbsp dried currants
3 Tbsp light mayo
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp lemon juince
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted (optional)

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine mayo thru pepper and pour over chicken mixture.

Toss gently, springly with almonds. Cover and chill

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For Presidents’ Day weekend, Nate and I did what we usually do on a long weekend…we headed down to his mom’s house in PA (near Wilmington). As always, I used this time to relax, recharge, and make use of her giant kitchen!

Aaaah, so much spaaaace!

I had so much room I didn’t know what to do with myself…so I decided to cook 🙂 It was so nice to be in a space big enough that I didn’t have to trip over myself. Instead, I was tripping over dogs. See if you can find the furry fella in the pic below. Luckily, they were fairly well-behaved.

I chose two dishes that are always winners. One is a chicken dish with apricots that we seem to always make during the holidays.  It’s been around so long that I have no idea where it came from, but trust me, it’s worth making!

The other is a  Brussel Sprout Hash with Carmelized Shallots that has become a regular on our Thanksgiving menu. People start getting all hot and bothered when we mention anything about trying a different vegetable recipe for that year. Recipes are at the bottom of the post.

I actually did some baking too, but I’m working on tweaking the recipe because I want to enter it in a couple of baking contests. It’s my first time ever doing something like that, so cross your fingers for me! After the contest deadline, I’ll be sure to post the recipes 🙂 Does anyone know of any good contests besides Pillsbury?

Man, I thought I knew how to relax on a long weekend…but apparently I got nothing on these pooches:

"I know, I'm adorable"

Nate’s mom has two adorable Golden Retrievers- Haley and Ezra.

Canine camouflage

These doggies are his mom’s pride and joy, so for Christmas I thought I’d paint one of their portraits for her. I chose Haley since she’s a camera whore. Ezra freaks when you try to take his picture. I did the painting of four 6″ canvases that, when put together, form the painting. I hung them on the wall in her living room.

Haley's Portrait, by Me

The sides of the canvases are deep, for a more modern look.

side view of painting. Note deep side edges I made a contrasting color 🙂

Long weekends are never long enough. I can’t believe I have to go back to work tomorrow and the next long weekend isn’t until Memorial Day I think!

 

Baked Chicken with Apricots and Currants
Serves 4, source unknown

3-1/2 to 4 lb. chicken, quartered
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 tsp. ginger
1 c. orange marmalade
¼ c. apple juice
¼ c. orange juice (can be canned)
4 oz. dried apricots
4 oz. currants (or raisins)
2 tbsp. packed brown sugar

Preheat oven 375.

Place chicken, skin-side up in shallow roasting pan – can use disposable.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper and ginger. Spread on jam, pour on 2 juices. Bake 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and add fruit, mixing to incorporate. Sprinkle brown sugar over all. Return to oven and bake, basting frequently, until golden and shiny, about 40-45 minutes.

Remove to platter. Pour some juice over meat and serve.

 

 

Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots
Bon Appétit, November 2007
Serves 4-6

3 tbsp. butter, divided into 2 pieces
1/4 lb. shallots, sliced thinly
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
¾ lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup water

Melt 1-1/2 Tbsp. butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until soft and golden, about 10 minutes.

Add vinegar and sugar. Stir until brown and glazed, about 2 minutes.

Halve sprouts lengthwise. Cut lengthwise into thin (1/8”) slices. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add sprouts; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Saute until brown at edges, 5 minutes.

Add water and rest of butter. Saute until most of water evaporates and sprouts are tender but still bright green, 2-3 min. Add shallots, season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

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