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Currant Chicken Salad

20 Jul

This recipe was a lot of firsts for me. We recently got some red currants in our weekly CSA and I honestly had no idea what to do with them. I don’t even know if I had eaten anything with currants in it up to this point in my life. Is that sad? I hope not.

I popped a currant into my mouth and immediately tasted the tartness with a slight sweet undertone. I decided I would make something savory with these red currants, but what?

Why, the answer was simple! (Sort of) Chicken salad! I love love love chicken salad. There is a lunch spot near my office (Al’s South Street Deli in case you are wondering) that served a MASSIVE chicken salad sandwich. I could down one of those in a heartbeat. And then I would have to check that my heart was actually still beating.

You see, they use A LOT of mayo. I’m actually not a huge fan of mayo unless it’s in a chicken salad sandwich. Even then, I try to put more mustard than mayo in my salad concoction.

This time I decided to forgo mayo entirely and substitute it with it’s healthier cousin, Greek Yogurt. I have to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Greek Yogurt on its own, but when it’s paired in a dish such as this? Amazing. You will not miss the mayo in this salad people. And you don’t have to be guilty about eating seconds, because this salad is actually HEALTHY for you!

Stick some on a bed of lettuce or even with your favorite bread, and you are golden.

Currant Chicken Salad

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded (I roasted mine beforehand)
  • 1 cup fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup chopped spring onions (use the greens too!)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup whole currants, packed tightly
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped roasted walnuts

In a small sauce pan, add the currants and sugar and stir to combine. Cook on medium heat until boiling and then reduce the heat and simmer to your desired thickness. I like to mash up some of the currants as well. Take off the heat and set aside to cool.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the greek yogurt, garlic powder, paprika, dijon mustard and red wine vinegar and mix to combine. Once the currants are cool, add the mixture to the yogurt mix. Add the chicken and spring onions and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add walnuts if you want an extra crunch.

Can be served slightly warmed, or if you want the flavors to meld a little more, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for an hour. Serve over lettuce or in your favorite sandwich bread!

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Daring Cook’s Challenge: Gumbo

14 May

I’ve never been to New Orleans. That’s sad. I’ve wanted to go to New Orleans for as long as I can remember. My Dad used to promise that some year we would go to the Big Easy for Mardi Gras. Yeah, well, that didn’t pan out so well.

A lot of things come to mine when you hear or talk about New Orleans. Obviously, Katrina is a big one. But I’m talking about GOOD things. Delicious things.

Beignets.

Po Boys.

Crawfish.

Jambalaya.

King Cake.

GUMBO.

All these things are foreign to me. Well, except the beignets and po boys. Those I’ve had. But nothing else. The cuisine in New Orleans makes my mouth water. I keep telling my husband that I want to go to New Orleans for our next vacation, but he doesn’t like to listen to me. ::shakes fist::

Thank goodness this month’s Daring Cook’s challenge was Gumbo because there happened to be a Gumbo recipe in my new cookbook, Slow Cooker Revolution from America’s Test Kitchen. I love this book. I love my slow cooker, but let’s face it, sometimes you throw something in the slow cooker and then fish it out, sometimes it just doesn’t taste good. It’s an amalgam of something. Don’t get me wrong, there are other times I put something in the slow cooker and it turns out AMAZING. Slow Cooker Revolution’s recipes are a little more involved than just throwing ingredients in the slow cooker and letting it do it’s magic, but believe me, the extra steps are WORTH IT.

Our May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

Slow Cooker Chicken Gumbo

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 canola oil
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, minced (seeds and stems removed)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, minced (seeds and stems removed)
  • 1 celery rib, minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3.5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I substituted using chicken base and boiling water)
  • 1.25lb andouille sausage, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 12oz frozen cut okra, thawed and patted dry
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 scallions, sliced thin
  • dried parsley and red pepper flakes for garnish
Place oven rack in lowest position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add flour to a Dutch oven over medium heat and stir constantly until it begins to brown. Take off the heat and whisk in the oil until smooth. Cover pot, place in oven and cook about 45 minutes.
Remove pot from oven and whisk roux to combine.
Stir in onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic, thyme and cayenne into roux and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until softened, about 10-12 minutes. Whisk in the chicken broth, making sure to scrape the edges and removing any clumps. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer, then carefully transfer to slow cooker.
Stir in sausage, okra and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place the chicken on top of the slow cooker ingredients. Carefully push the chicken down until it is just covered. Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4-6 hours on low.
Once the chicken is tender, carefully remove the chicken and shred. Once the stew has settled, remove any fat from the surface. Remove bay leaves. Add shredded chicken back to slow cooker and stir in and let sit for 5 minutes.
Ladle into bowls, and add scallions and garnish.

Mexican Chicken Rice Bake

11 Jan

When my husband and I cook for the week, we generally eat whatever we had for dinner for lunch the next day. The reason? It’s super easy, healthier, and isn’t boring like taking a sandwich every day for lunch. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love sandwiches just as much as the next person, but you can only have the same turkey sandwich so many times in a row.

The only problem with this Mexican rice bake from Picky Palate is that there were TOO many leftovers. I think we had leftover’s for at least a week. However, I did made this with the intent that my husband would eat more of it while I was away. This is a dish definitely worth making for a potluck since it is HUGE! And it’s really healthy! (Just ignore the cheese portion teehee)

Mexican Chicken Rice Bake

Adapted from Picky Palate

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped sweet peppers (I used a combination of green, red, yellow and orange)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 4 Cups cooked rice
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 Cups shredded chicken breast (I used thighs and roasted them in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper)
  • 1/2 Cup Salsa (store bought or homemade)
  • 1  can corn, drained
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1/2 Cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1-2 Cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place oil into a large skillet over medium heat.  Saute onion and peppers for about 5 minutes or until softened.  Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Stir in cooked rice, season with cumin and reduce heat to low.

Transfer mixed rice to a 9×13 inch baking dish.

2.  Place chicken breast into a medium skillet over medium heat with salsa; mix and reduce heat to low.  Pour corn over rice.  Next layer the beans and cilantro. Lots, and lots of cilantro.

Next add the chicken and cheese. Lots and lots of cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with any combination of more salsa, more cheese, sour cream, guacamole, whatever. Have a party!

Orange Chicken

6 Nov

Before I knew how to cook properly my culinary expertise extended to Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken. Mr. Kitchen Misfit and I thought we were fancy. Real fancy. We loved that orange chicken from Trader Joe’s. We ate a lot of Orange Chicken back then….

Well, now I feel I have enough culinary prowess to take on making my very own orange chicken, from SCRATCH.

So I was delighted when I found this recipe, and not only was it Orange Chicken from SCRATCH, but it was actually not very bad for you! (Unlike the Trader Joe’s version I might add)

Orange Chicken

From Cordon Pink

Orange Sauce

  • 1/3 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1/2 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup White Sugar
  • 2.5 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Orange Zest
  • 1/2 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 2 Tsp Corn Starch
  • 1 Tbsp Red Pepper flakes (more or less depending on your preference for heat)

Mix Orange Juice with corn starch until smooth. Add corn starch mixture and the rest of the ingredients to a small sauce pan over medium heat until mixture coats a spoon.

Chicken

  • 1lb skinless/boneless chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • Salt  & Pepper to taste

Add flour, salt and pepper to a ziploc bag. Add chicken and mix until chicken is completely covered in flour mixture. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil to saute pan. Cook chicken until browned throughout, about 3-4 minutes per side. Add Orange mixture and coat chicken.

I like to serve mine with steamed broccoli and white rice. Sometimes I whip up a double batch of orange sauce if I was to coat both the chicken and the rice.

Roast Chicken Deliciousness

24 Jun

So I just got finished reading Anthony Bourdain’s sequel to Kitchen ConfidentialMedium Raw. Let’s get something straight here. I freaking *LOVE* Anthony Bourdain. I want to *BE* him. I want *MY* job to be jaunting around the world, eating anything and everything, and then documenting it on TV. And get paid to be kind of an a$$hole in the process.

But I can’t, and I’m not, so I just have to live vicariously through him by reading his books, watching his TV show, and maybe going to his former restaurant Les Halles (Yes, I’ve been there. And I saw Carlos. And I might have been a little giddy about it. Shaddup.)

But I digress. Before Bourdain became a hot shot round-the-world traveler, he was a chef for a very very long time. He talks about how people have forgotten how to cook the basics, and that basically every man, woman and child should at least have some rudimentary skills in the kitchen. At one point, he quotes:

“Everyone should be able to roast a chicken. And they should be able to do it well.”

I think I’ve done good by Anthony, if I do say so myself. Although to be honest, I first became enamored with roast chicken when I saw Ina Garten do it on Barefoot Contessa (Another person I am obsessed with, but let’s leave that for another post shall we?) Roast chicken is great because you can do it a million different ways. Here’s mine

Roast Chicken with Vegetables

Adapted from Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken

  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh dill
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 3 lbs of red bliss potatoes
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 2 yellow squash
  • Olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

First up: Veggies – Cut and chop all your veggies and place in roasting pan. Place a couple of sprigs of dill in the pan as well. Toss liberally with salt, pepper and olive oil.

Mmmmmm, veggies.

Next, the chicken – Remove all the nasty bits inside and wash the chicken inside and out and pat dry. Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Cut the garlic clove in half as well as the lemon. Shove it all inside the chicken along with another handful of the dill sprigs. Fold it up nicely and tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string and tuck the wings underneath. Take your melted butter and a brush and go to town on the chicken, because that is what gives you the awesomeness that is crunchy skin. Place the chicken (breast side up people!) on top of the veggies, and stick it in the oven for 1.5 hours, or until the juices run clean when you slice into it.

Chicken – Sliced                                  Vegetables – Diced

Once the chicken is finished, take it out of the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes, covering it with aluminum foil. Then, chop it all up and serve!

Now if only Anthony Bourdain would read this and take me on as his assistant. A girl can dream, right?

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