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Archive for the ‘Chicken’ Category

Here is another dish that I made up on my own which is simple enough to make during the work week. Fresh zucchini is available all year but local zucchini can be found later in the summer in northern regions.

The quantities in this recipe are flexible depending on the size of the zucchini and how much spaghetti you like in a serving. For me, the recipe below makes two generous servings.

The cooking time for this dish is fairly quick and prep may be done while the water for the spaghetti is being heated. Part of the timing of this dish is dependent on how long the spaghetti takes to cook and how tender you like your pasta.IMG_0353

Oregano Chicken and Zucchini Tossed with Spaghetti – 1 Knife

Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces dry spaghetti, thin spaghetti, or linguine
  • 2 small or one large zucchini sliced into ¼ – 3/8 inch circles or semicircles (for a large piece)
  • 1 pound (or less) boneless skinless chicken breast roughly cut into ½” dice
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed or minced
  • Dried oregano (plenty – 2+ tablespoons?)
  • Olive oil
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to taste (I like a lot on this dish)

Cook:

  • Set a pot of water on the stove to come to a boil.
  • In the mean time, rinse and dry zucchini and trim off the ends. Slice up and set aside (use a plate or bowl to hold zucchini now and the cooked zucchini later).
  • Dice up the chicken breast and season with salt.
  • Peel two cloves of garlic. (mince if not using a garlic press)
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat.
  • Press one garlic clove into pan and mix around with the oil.
  • Toss zucchini into the oil so all pieces are coated then try to arrange in a single layer.
  • Sprinkle zucchini with a generous amount of oregano. (see photo)IMG_0352
  • Put pasta in the water. Set timer.
  • After a 2-3 minutes turn zucchini over.
  • After 2 more minutes remove zucchini from the pan.
  • Put another tablespoon of oil into the pan.
  • Press in the 2nd garlic clove into the pan.
  • Add chicken to the pan and mix around so pieces are evenly spread.
  • Sprinkle chicken with a generous amount of oregano.
  • After a couple of minutes stir around the chicken. Continue to let chicken cook and occasionally stir the chicken around until it begins to caramelize. Stir in the zucchini; lower heat to low. At this point, the pasta should have two minutes or less remaining. (Raise heat on chicken if you need to speed the caramelization up.)
  • Drain the pasta. Pour a little olive oil into the pasta and mix it around.
  • Add to frying pan and toss everything together. Turn off heat.
  • Serve
  • Top with a generous amount of grated parmesan.
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Chicken Marsala is a classic dish that is well liked and easy to make.  There are many ways to make it; I have several ways myself.  My varieties almost all have the same ingredients with the difference being how little effort you want to take and whether you want to serve it immediately or not.Plated Chicken Marsala

The recipe follows the common cooking approach of sautéing cutlets coated lightly with seasoned flour, followed by sautéing mushrooms and creating the sauce.  My little twist is that I add diced shallots to the mushrooms.  The variations come into play on the last steps.  Do I do it by the book by correctly sautéing the mushrooms, removing them from the pan, then adding the wine, letting it reduce way down, and then adding chicken stock?  Or do I just start sautéing the mushrooms and throw in the wine after a little while, then let it liquid reduce down until I think it’s ready?  Do I place the chicken in a glass baking dish and throw the sauce (not as reduced) over the top, cover, and place in the oven where the sauce will reduce down or get totally absorbed?  Or do I add butter or flour to the sauce to thicken it so I can serve immediately?  It’s ALL good though some are better.  Experiment.  Because it is a simple dish, over the course of the year try making it different ways until you find what works for you.

A minor note about the wine.  I never have measured the wine when I make this dish.  I just pour until I think it’s the right amount.  If you are uncomfortable with that idea, start with a cup and add more if you think you should.  And yes, I use the cheap marsala but you are welcome to buy a better grade of wine.

Chicken Marsala – 1 Knife

Ingredients:

  • 1½ pounds boneless chicken breast
  • ¼ cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil (extra virgin)
  • ¼ cup diced shallot (1 moderate sized shallot)
  • ½ pound cremini mushrooms sliced (regular white mushrooms will work as well)
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons flour combined with twice as much cold water to make a slurry (optional)

Cook:

  • Peel and dice shallots and set aside
  • Clean and slice mushrooms and set aside
  • Using a sharp knife, trim the boneless chicken, then horizontally slice the chicken to achieve thinner pieces of a more uniform thickness (or thinness in this case).  You may want to cut some of the pieces in halves or thirds to get smaller, more manageable pieces.
  • In a non-stick skillet or pan, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat – enough to sauté the chicken with.  This will vary depending on the size of the pan.  Add more oil before sautéing a second batch of chicken.
  • Dredge both sides of chicken pieces in flour, making sure the chicken is coated but make sure to shake or tap off any excess flour
  • Sauté chicken until lightly golden on each side.  Depending on thickness, you may need to cook a little longer.  Or if you are going to bake the chicken in the oven, you can err on the less done side since the chicken will be cooked further.  As each chicken piece finishes cooking, remove from the pan and place on a plate or a glass baking pan or casserole (if doing the oven approach).  Add more olive oil when you add new pieces to the pan.  Cover the plate with aluminum foil to keep the chicken warm while you prepare the rest. IMG_0213
  • Lower heat to medium.  If necessary, add a little more olive oil to the pan.  Add shallots to the pan, a sauté them for a couple of minutes to begin softening, at which time you can add the mushrooms.

Best flavor approach:

  • Sauté mushrooms until done.  Remove from pan (place on top of chicken for ease).
  • Turn heat to high and add wine.
  • Reduce to about ¼ cup
  • Add broth and heat to just boiling
  • Lower heat somewhat and stir in slurry, letting it cook a couple of minutes (optional)
  • Reduce heat to low and stir in butter until it melts and is blended in (optional) [the butter and/or slurry are used to thicken the sauce; how thick you want the sauce is a matter of taste; start with the 1 tbsp flour slurry mixture and the 2 tbsp butter, then adjust the next time you make the dish.]
  • If serving immediately, place the chicken and mushrooms back in the pan to warm back up a bit (a minute or two).  Then remove chicken and cover with sauce; extra sauce can be served on the side. IMG_0216
  • If baking, pour sauce over the chicken, cover the dish, and place in low oven until you are ready to serve.  Set oven temperature based on how soon you will be serving.  If an hour or more, then use a low oven (200°); if ½ hour or less, use 300-350° oven. [Hint: do not thicken sauce as much for this method.]

Simplistic approach:

  • Sauté mushrooms until they start to soften
  • Add wine and raise heat to high
  • If serving directly to plate,
    • Reduce liquid until you have the amount of sauce you want.
    • Lower heat a little and add slurry; cook a couple of minutes more so the sauce thickens.
    • Lower heat more and add chicken back to pan heat up and get coated
    • Serve
  • If serving baking in the oven,
    • When the mushrooms have softened and sauce has reduced somewhat, pour sauce over chicken.
    • Cover baking dish and place in a 300 degree oven for ½ hour or longer

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I am doing something today that I haven’t done in a long time on this site: I am posting a recipe without a photo.  Gasp!  Alert the media!  Seriously, you all know what BBQ sauce looks like.  With a food like BBQ I care more about the ingredients then the color and am therefore imposing that on you all.

This BBQ  sauce is perfect for grilling chicken.  The trick is to baste the chicken with the sauce about every 12 minutes as its grilling.  Or you can use this sauce for anything else you can imagine.

 

Aunt Nancy’s Barbecue Sauce – 1 Knife

Ingredients:

  • 10 tablespoons Ketchup
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 8 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder (sometimes also called dry mustard)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Two ¼ inch slices of lemon

Prep:

  1. Peel a garlic clove and mince it into small pieces, or press it through a garlic press.  Set aside.
  2. Cut two ¼ inch thick slices off a lemon and set these aside.
  3. Cut the skin off of a ½ inch section of ginger, and then run that section of ginger over a fine grater.  Set about 1 teaspoon of the grated ginger aside.

Cook:

  1. In a medium saucepan, not yet on heat, combine all of the listed ingredients above.  Stir to mix.
  2. Put the saucepan on a burner over medium heat.
  3. Stir the sauce occasionally so further blend it.
  4. Cook the sauce for a few minutes until all of the ingredients are incorporated together.
  5. Once finished use the sauce to coat your favorite meat and enjoy!

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I should probably start by mentioning that Grandma Helen is not my grandmother.  She is my good friend Mitzy’s grandma, who I have dined with on numerous occasions when I’ve tagged along on Mitzy’s trips home to New York for Jewish holidays.  For Passover 2009 (I think) Grandma Helen made this chicken dish, and I enjoyed it so much I asked her for the recipe.

The recipe takes only 40 minutes to make, and is perfect for a quick after-work dinner.  It would pair well with a simple rice dish like rice pilaf or any vegetables.  I should note that I made one small change the original recipe and used boneless chicken breasts instead of bone-in.  You could just as easily use the sauce on any cut of chicken including drumsticks and thighs, just be sure to adjust the cooking time.

Grandma Helen’s Honey-Mustard Chicken – 1 Knife

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder

Prep:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash the chicken under running water and place them in a baking dish.
  3. Wash your hands carefully with soap and water.

Cook:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat add the butter and cook until its just melted.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and pour into the butter the honey, mustard, salt, and curry powder.
  3. Stir well to create the honey-mustard sauce.
  4. Spoon half of the sauce onto the chicken making sure it coats each of the breasts.
  5. Bake the chicken for 15 minutes.
  6. Carefully take the chicken out of the oven and spoon the remaining sauce over the chicken.
  7. Bake for another 15 minutes or until cooked (the center of the chicken should be opaque and any juices should be clear).
  8. Serve the chicken with your favorite side dish and enjoy!

 

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The key to any good stir-fry is the sauce.  Without good sauce you have bland, or worse super salty, limp veggies with some sort of meat.  This sauce recipe comes from my dad, and works fantastically with chicken and an assortment of vegetables.  You could also use fried tofu if you are of the vegetarian persuasion.

For this recipe I will list the sauce, and also some ideas for what would go well in a stir fry with it below.  For stir-fry content quantities you can be the judge depending on how many people you are serving, and how much you like certain ingredients.  I for instance don’t like baby corn and choose to omit it when I make stir fry for myself.

Easy Stir-fry Sauce – 1 Knife

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Cook:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, stirring well so they are all incorporated.
  2. When you have finished frying all of your meats and vegetables add the sauce and stir in.
  3. Cook for a few minutes to bring the sauce to a boil.
  4. Let thicken in the pan for a minute.

Suggested Stir Fry Ingredients:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast cut into small (½-1 inch cubes) – For this cook about one breast per person you are serving.  Also remember when handling the raw chicken to follow the Food Network Rule and wash your hands!
  • Bok Choi – Cut off the blunt end and discard.  Chop into bit size pieces, including the greens if you like them.
  • Shredded or matchstick carrots
  • White mushrooms or oyster mushrooms – Oyster mushrooms are most easily found canned
  • Baby Corn – Again easiest sometimes to find in a can
  • Water chestnuts – Look for cans of these in the “Asian” or international aisle
  • Bamboo Shoots – Once again, a can in the “Asian” or international aisle is the way to go
  • Celery – Chop into thin slices
  • Green Pepper – Remove the stem and seeds and chop into small strips or 1 inch chunks

Cooking your stir-fry:

  1. Cook chicken first in a few tablespoons of canola oil.  As you see sides turning white you can stir the chicken to make sure it cooks evenly.  You will know the chicken is cooked when it starts to turn lightly golden on the outside and you see absolutely no pink meat.
  2. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside in a bowl.
  3. Add all of the vegetables to the pan and sauté until they are wilted and cooked through.
  4. Add chicken back into the pan.
  5. Add in sauce, following the directions above.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

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Grandma Emmy’s Chicken Soup

Its cold and flu season, so having some chicken soup around can’t hurt.  My dad says that the chicken soup as a remedy for being sick theory is hooey, but we’re all free to believe whatever we like, right?

You can add any type of noodle to this soup, or matzo balls.  My family likes to use those weird little alphabet noodles, but fine egg noodles work perfectly too.  If you want to add matzo balls just be sure to cook them in a separate pot as they can sap the flavor from the soup during their cooking process.

I’ve rated this soup only one knife because there really isn’t a lot to do.  The skimming of the chicken fat off the top can seem intimidating, but it’s really very easy to do.

One last soup note before we get started.  Since this soup is made with chicken on the bone it can “solidify” in the refrigerator.  The soup will resemble chicken jello, and this is completely OK.  It will become soupy again when you reheat the soup, and it will not taste any different.

Chicken Soup – 1 Knife

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole chickens quartered (4 thighs, 4 drumsticks, 4 breasts, 4 wings)
  • 1 bunch of dill
  • 2 parsnips
  • 2 leeks
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 white onions
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 quarts of water

Prep:

  1. Wash all of the vegetables to remove any dirt or grime
  2. Chop the roots off of the leeks and wash out any additional dirt in the white parts
  3. Peel the skins off of both onions and discard
  4. Cut the celery stalks in half or in thirds so that they fit comfortably in the pot
  5. Peel the carrots and cut them into 1 inch pieces
  6. Wash all of the chicken pieces, leaving the skin on.  Once you’ve finished handling the chicken be sure to wash your hands.  Food Network TV production has a rule that the chefs have to demonstrate hand washing after handing chicken – so be sure to follow the Food Network Rule!

Cook:

  1. Add the water, chicken and salt to the pot and bring to a boil.  While the pot boils you can use a spoon to skim the white, gloopy fat off of the top of the water.  Either discard the fat or you can save it to render and fry with later (see: How to make Schmaltz).
  2. Add all of the vegetables to the pot and bring back to a boil.  Once at a boil reduce the heat to medium-low.
  3. Cover and cook for 45 minutes.
  4. Remove all of the vegetables except for the carrots.
  5. Remove the chicken just prior to serving.

The leftover chicken is quite delicious.  You can eat it as is, and it also makes for incredible chicken salad.  The vegetables also make a nice snack once they are out of the pot.  I personally love the onions, but I’m an onion girl.

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