Friday, March 9, 2018

Asian Inspired Orange Thyme Chicken Thighs

I was going for something quick and juicy but full of flavor.  This made up recipe did the trick.  First rinse and pat dry 8 Chicken Thighs (originally I made 4 thighs but the next time I made 8).  If they are too wet, they don't brown well, so pat them dry with a clean paper towel.  Season both sides with Salt, Pepper and Thyme.

Heat a skillet, large enough to fit the chicken in a single layer, over medium heat.  Add 3 TBL good quality Olive Oil.   Let the oil heat through.  Dust the thighs very lightly with flour and place flour side down.  This will add a touch of a crunch without it being a breading or a coating.  Dust the upward facing side lightly with flour.  Once chicken is golden brown on first side, flip over each thigh.  When the second side is golden brown, remove from pan and place on a dish, tent with foil allowing steam to escape.

Pour out any excess oil.  De-glaze skillet with 1/2 Cup Orange Juice.  Carefully get the browned bits from the pan.  Should take about 3-5 minutes, stir all the while.  Add 1/3 Cup Orange Marmalade to the pan and stir to combine.  Season with Salt and Pepper and Red Pepper Flakes.

Return thighs to the pan and heat through.  Add any juice from the plate to the sauce.  Serve with good quality rice and vegetables of choice.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Baked Broccoli Rice

I was walking through a big boxed store earlier this year and they were sampling Broccoli Rice.  I never buy stuff I can make at home but I knew it was something my growing teen would love.  So I sampled it in order to make up my own recipe.  It's really a simple dish to assemble and bakes for about 25 minutes plus it can be made ahead.  It lends itself well if you need to bring a dish with you.  Will pair nicely with any meat, for example, Grilled Steak, Roasted or Grilled Chicken, Baked Ham, Panko Crusted Pork Chops, really you name it.  It also holds the heat well if you are transporting it to someone's house.    

Preheat oven to 375.

First, cook the rice so it's slightly under done.  You should do this whenever baking any pasta or rice so you don't end up with mush.  

I like to use Bismatti Rice because the grains are long and the rice has a pleasant nutty flavor.  Add 1 Cup of Rice and 1 1/2 Cups of Water to a pot fitted with a lid.  Add Salt to taste and 1 TBL Butter.  Stir with a fork.  Cover and place over medium heat and cook until it's about to boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 6-7 minutes.  Turn off heat and give it another quick stir, replace lid and let the water absorb.  Remove from heat, rinse in cold water, and strain, to stop the cooking process.  You can leave it in the strainer.

Add 2" of water to a pot that will fit a steamer basket and heat water (without the basket) over medium heat.  Rinse and cut Broccoli so you have tops with a small amount of stem.  You want 2 Cups of Cooked Broccoli in total.  Place the Broccoli in the steamer basket and place it in the preheated pot with water.  Return lid and let steam for about 2 minutes.  The Broccoli should be bright green.  Remove from heat and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.  

Make a quick b├ęchamel.  In a thick bottomed pot, over medium heat, melt 2 TBL Butter.  Once melted, add 2 TBL Flour and stir with a wire whip and cook until it bubbles gently for 3 minutes.  Do not let it brown.  Add 1 1/4 Cups Milk.  Let it cook for another 6-8 minutes, until it thickens.  Add 2 Cups of Grated 4-Cheese Mexican Blend and stir until the cheese is melted.  Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.  Add broccoli and rice to the sauce and gently stir with a spoon.  

Butter a caserole dish large enough to hold the rice mixture.  Add the mixture to the dish and top with bread crumbs.  Dot with 6-8 1 tsp bits of Butter and season lightly with Paprika.   

I grind my own bread crumbs, but Panko works well.  

Bake in hot over uncovered for 25-30 minutes until bubbly and warmed through.  Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.  

Monday, January 15, 2018

Chick-Fil-a Knockoff Sandwiches

I have made these now 3 times and the third time they were very close.  The first time I made them the chicken was too thick.  I fileted the breasts making them thinner but they were far too big around.  The second time, I added  flour because the recipe didn't have enough corn statch but that didn't work very well.  

This third time, I cut the breast in about half, and the I fileted the thinner end into two pieces and the thicker side was fileted into 3 pieces.  These were the perfect size.  The other change I made the third time, was from my tempura days, I decided to double the corn starch the recipe called for and I added Baking Powder - that made all the difference in the world.  Instead of 2 breasts, I graduated to 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts which netted 18 peices of chicken.  My son ate most of it!  I think I got 1 sandwich from that batch.  

Harris Teeter sells Boneless Chicken Breasts for $1.99 a pound and you can't beat the quality, no hormones used, and the pieces for the sandwich ends up somewhere around $.35-$.40 each!  Not bad.  

First, rinse and filet the chicken breasts.  Add no more than 9 or 10 pieces to a 1 gallon Zip lock bag.  For each bag: add 1/2 Cup Dill Pickle Juice, I like Mount Olive Hamburger Dills.  Marinate for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Meanwhile get dry ingredients ready.  1/2 Cup Corn Starch, 2 tsp Paprika, 1 tsp Baking Powder, 1 tsp Salt, and 1 tsp Pepper.  In a bowl, beat 1 Egg with 2 TBL Buttermilk.  After marinating, open bag and squeeze the open end, so the chicken remains inside, and drain the juice. To the bag add the egg mixture and massage.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.  Again, pour out any excess liquid and add the dry ingredients.  Zip the bag closed and massage the dry ingredients until you know the chicken is coated.  In the meantime, heat a pot (I use my iron pot) with 4" Canola Oil until 375 on a thermometer.  Preheat oven to 275.  Add a cooling rack to a sheetpan.  Add 4-5 pieces of chicken to the oil.  Once it begins to look opaque around the edges, flip each piece over.  Cook until the same golden brown.  Place on the ready cooling rack and place in the oven. Let the oil get back to temperature before adding more pieces.  Continue cooking until all the chicken is done.  

For serving, lightly butter and brown a Soft Style Hamburger Bun. Add chicken and top with pickles.  Enjoy!!

Pictured, I made dish of Baked Beans that my sister C turned me on to and is posted here on my blog. Go to the search tab on the top right corner and type in Baked Beans  and it should come up.  

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Baked Cheesy Stuffed Paccheri

I made this recipe up.  I wanted to make a different presentation than what I have done in the past.  I used to get large penne pasta from World Market in Louisiana and loved them, but they stopped carrying them.  I was in a World Markets in NC and found Paccheri that worked just as well, so I'm back in business! 

Recipe to come soon!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Mini Baked Crab and Corn Dip Cups

I better put this in here before I forget what I did!!  I bought 8oz of Fresh Crab Meat and a 1 package of Wonton Wrappers and that was enough to inspire me to make up this finger food which was served during the Wild Card NFL games.  I made 24 cups and had enough filling to make an additional 8-10.  

Peel and cook in boiling water 2 Ears of Fresh Corn for 2 minutes and quickly rinse in cold water.  Remove corn from cob.  Place in bowl. 

Beat 3 oz Cream Cheese with 1/2 Cup Sour Cream.  Beat in 1 Egg.  Mix in 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese.  I used fresh, already grated Parmesan but you can kicked it up if you want to grate your own.  Add Salt & Pepper to taste and 1/2 tsp Thyme, 1/4 tsp Paprika.  Stir in Corn and 8 oz Crab, lump is best but don't get claw meat  

Preheat oven to 375.  Melt 2 Tbl Butter.  Using a Cooking Spray, lightly coat the cups of a mini 24 cup pan.  Using a biscuit cutter, cut 24 Wontons in rounds.  Add a wonton to each cup and butter the inside with melted butter.  Add filling until just slightly below the top of the cup, these will rise a little.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the filling looks set and the cups are browned.  Serve at once.  

NOTE: You can add either sauteed Minced Shallots or thinly sliced Scallions to the mixture for additional flavor.  I opted to go without but next time I will add one of them.  The crab flavor is more prominent without these flavors.  

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Linguine Carbonara

We had 2 snow days which has extented our New Year Holiday and left me motivated to try some new dishes! I figured Pasta Carbonara is perfect dish for a cold winter night.  

This one was pictured in Williams-Sonoma's Christmas catalog and caught my eye.  They used to print the recipes within the pages but now you have to go online and their test kitchen posts all of their ideas in their recipe section.  I had to do a bit of hunting but finally located the one I was looking for.

They used a fat spaghetti shape and I used Linguine.  I think both are suitable.  I read all the time about adding reserved pasta water to dishes but this is the first time I actually did it.  My family competely loved this dish and I can still imagine the delicious flavors, even now, so needless to say, this recipe is a keeper!  

I served it with a simple salad but you can pair this with all manner of things, a Grilled Veal or Pork Chop, Ribs, Boneless Chicken Breast, Italian Sausage, Cheese Toast, even Seared Scallops, but you get the idea, it's versatile! I can even invision adding Orange Zest to this dish for a new dimension.

This makes 4 servings and in my household more like 3 because 1 person, whom we shall not name, ate 2 of them!  Cut 6 Slices of Thick Smoked Bacon Crosswise into 1/2" Lardons.  (NOTE: Lardons are my new favorite Bacon shape!)  

In a preheated skillet, cook Bacon, stirring often, until crispy.  In the meantime, get a pot of water boiling for pasta and ready 2 Cloves of Garlic in the garlic press.  In a bowl, beat 2 Eggs and add 3/4 Cups Parmesan Cheese.  Mince 1 Tbl Fresh Parsley.  Once you remove the cooked bacon, press the garlic into the bacon fat and cook til fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.  Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and add to the dish with the bacon.  

When ready, cook 12 Oz Pasta til al dente and reserve about 1/2 Cup of Pasta Water.  Strain pasta and return to the pot.  Add the Egg and Parmesan Cheese mixture.  Toss to coat until cheese is melted.  Add pasta water as needed to create a sauce that just coats the pasta.  Top with the Bacon, Garlic and place in Pasta Serving Platter.  Serve onto pasta plates, grate additional Parmesan to order and top with parsley and freshly ground salt and pepper.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Scratch Made Green Bean Bake

My sister, D, served green bean bake on Christmas.  Truth be told, after leaving home I never once made this dish nor had a hankering for it, nor have I ever even bought French's Crispy Fried Onions.   It was never my favorite dish when my mother made it, but when I saw my sister's version, it looked different from what I recalled and it definitely smelled better.  When it was served, it was the first thing I tasted and it was awesome.

I asked her about it and she said they made it from scratch.  Hers didn't have mushrooms and I couldn't find a recipe that omitted them.  I got in my head how I would make a quick sauce but came across recipes with cheese and really all manner of twists depending on what direction the recipe went.  With that, I called her to find out what she did.  There wasn't cheese in hers but there were some other ingredients that gave the dish flavor and though she didn't have mushrooms, she thought she would add them next time.

This is my made up version of scratch made green bean bake.  String 12 oz Green Geans and blanche for 1 minute, rinse in cold water when done.  Butter a casserole dish.  Remove stem and clean and dice 6 oz Baby Bellla Mushrooms.  Slice thinly 1 Medium Shallot.   I made my sauce in a low sided pot, large enough for everything before pouring it into the casserole dish. Heat a pot over medium heat.  Add 1 Tbl Olive Oil and 1 Tbl Butter.  Add shallots and mushroom and sautee for 3 minutes til tender.  Dust with 2 Tbl Flour and stir.  Add 2 Tbl Sherry.  Let the alcohol evaporate, about 1 minute.  Add 3/4 Cups Chicken Broth and cook for about 5 minutes, letting the sauce thicken without allowing it too boil, but it should bubble gently.  Add 2 tsp Worchestershire Sauce, I like Lea and Perrins.  Add 1/3 Cup Half and Half.  Let cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add the beans and stir to coat and pour into prepared casserole dish.  Top with French's Crispy Fried Onions.  

Preheat oven to 375 and bake for 25 minutes until bubbling.  Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

I have a growing teen and though my husband and I had a serving each, our teen ate the rest.  So this can serve 4 but next time I plan to double the recipe.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Salty Pretzel Crust Cheesecake with Homemade Caramel Sauce

I had a hankering for a pretzel crust instead of the usual Graham Craker Crust.  Then I decided a caramel sauce would make a nice sauce instead of a berry sauce.  I'm bring this to my sister D's for Christmas dessert tonight.  Recipe and photos to come.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

From Valerie's Kitchen - Leek and Bacon Flatbread

I caught an episode of Valerie's Kitchen and she made a simple flatbread for a party.  The ingredients sounded very good together and the results were amazing!  I normally make my own dough but I found a 1 Pound Ball of Fresh Whole Wheat Dough at the store on sale for $1 (normally $2.99), so I couldn't pass it up. It made two flatbreads.  

When we ski in Park City, we eat at a restaurant called the Silve Star Cafe.  They sell something like this at lunch for around $12 and I've had it many times.  I never thought to make my own but now I will. 

Either make your favorite dough and let proof or remove store bought dough from the refriegerator and place in an olive oiled bowl to proof - coat the dough lightly with oil.  Cover with wrap and place in a warm location.  It should take a least an hour rise and should double in size. 

In the meantime, remove the roots from 2 Medium Leeks.  Slice them thinnly until you get to the tougher dark green portion.  To an 8 oz containter of Creme Fraiche add Freshly Ground Nutmeg to season.  Saute the Leeks til tender.  Cut 6 Slices of thick Bacon into lardons (1/2" cuts along the short dimension) and sautee until crispy.  Grate 4 oz Gruyere Cheese.  

For the Flatbread.  Preheat over to 425.  Cut dough ball in half and roll it thinnly keeping its oblong shape.  I like to use a pastry cloth dusted with flour to keep it from sticking.  Take a large sheet pan and turn it over.  Place the dough on the pan diagonally. Top with 1/2 of the Creme Fraiche.  Add 1/2 of the Grated Gruyere.  Add desired amount of leeks and bacon.  Grind Salt and Pepper to taste.  Bake in oven until the crust is golden and cheese browned slightly.  Remove from oven and drizzle with good quality Olive Oil.  

For Vegetarian, change up the toppings to suit your diet.

(Depending on what type you make, you can add things like Freshly Grated Parmesan, Red Pepper Flakes, Dried Oregano, Fresh Basil, etc).  Let rest for a few minutes and cut  diagonally as pictured.  Serve at once!

New Orleans Barbeque Shrimp on Baked Lemon Risotto Rounds

 Recipe to come!