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Posts Tagged ‘chicken’

This is the year of two things: Queen Victoria and Indian cooking. At this moment’s reflection, I realize those two things aren’t necessarily separate. I was looking for easy, “different” recipes for the summer and this jumped right out at me, and was declared an easy winner.

Grilled Tandoori Chicken Skewers with Red Onions
serves 4

1 1/4 lbs. skinless chicken thighs, cut into 32 chunks (about 4 pieces per thigh)*
2 Tbsp tandoori spice mix**
1 medium red onion(s), cut into 16 wedges
2 spray(s) olive oil cooking spray
1/2 cup(s) plain fat-free yogurt

*This measurement is extremely questionable. In the package of thighs I got at my store, 8 thighs is about 2 pounds of meat (a little more). I weighed out a pound and a quarter on my kitchen scale and then cut that in to 32 roughly-same-sized pieces. It came out to about 6 thighs, some larger than others. I didn’t get fewer than 4 pieces from any one thigh, but I got 5 to 6 pieces from others. And I was pleased with this method.

**Once again, I used Patak’s curry paste, available in the Indian foods section of my closest large grocery store.

Put cut-up chicken, 1/2 cup of yogurt, and the spice mix in a resealable plastic food storage bag. Seal bag and turn to mix and coat. Place bag on a plate and refrigerate on lowest shelf for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours, so you can do this well in advance of dinner if you know your afternoon’s going to be busy.

Preheat grill. Remove chicken from marinade; discard leftover marinade. Thread chicken and onion wedges onto 8 metal skewers, using 4 pieces of chicken and 2 pieces of onion per skewer. I did chicken, onion, chicken chicken, onion, chicken. (If you are using wooden or bamboo skewers, as I did, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before use to prevent incineration.) Lightly coat chicken and onions with cooking spray.

Grill skewers, turning often, until chicken is no longer pink in center, about 7 to 9 minutes. Yields 2 skewers per serving. Serve with sweet potato fries or cous cous or rice.

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Chicken Saagwalla

This is a new, go-to spicy chicken dish that I can throw together on a work night and serve with rice. I’ll give you the whole recipe, which makes 4 servings, but I usually only make a half recipe, since there’s only two of us, and I multiple the number of tomatoes so that I am using 2 or 3 tomatoes in a HALF recipe. Because I take the seeds out of my tomatoes and I prefer Roma or plum tomatoes to any other kind, 1 tomato yields much less for me in quantity.

Chicken Saagwalla
whole recipe serves 4

2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
4 tsp. curry powder, mild
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. ginger root, fresh, finely chopped*
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped**
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed in to bite-size pieces
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped in to 1/2″ pieces
10 oz baby spinach leaves
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 c. water
2 Tbsp cilantro, optional***

*I use ground ginger from a jar, particularly the Lee Kum Kee brand.
**I use minced garlic in a jar, whichever brand I happen to have on hand. Notice a pattern?
***But cilantro tastes like soap. Why would I put it on my food?

Place half the olive oil in large nonstick skillet with curry powder, coriander, cumin, ginger, and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until toasted and fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. The spices and oil will create a thick sort of paste.

Add remaining oil and all the chicken to skillet. Stir thoroughly to coat with the spiced oil paste.

Add tomatoes to skillet. Cover skillet and cook for about 10 minutes. Uncover skillet and stir to combine.

Add spinach leaves to skillet. Cover and cook for 5 minutes more. I leave the lid ajar at this stage to let some of the liquids evaporate, or else I find the final dish to be too liquidy.

Add salt, water as necessary, and cilantro, if you are using it, to the skillet. Simmer for 1 minute. Yields about 1 1/2 heaping cups per serving, or you can visually divide it in to four portions.

I make the half recipe for two people, or:

1 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. curry powder, mild
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. ginger root
1 clove garlic
1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed in to bite-size pieces
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped*
5-6 oz baby spinach leaves
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 c. water

*I found one tomato was not enough, so now I’m up to three tomatoes.

Cook as directed for the full recipe.

Serve with 1 cup of freshly cooked white rice.

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The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

Posting Date: August 14, 2010

Ooohhhh. Intimidating. Truly, this was a challenge for me, even though I understand that some people make pierogi regularly, from scratch, from family recipes, all the time. But I don’t think I’ve ever even eaten a pierogi…

We were provided with an array of fillngs to choose from (the dough is basic), we just had to choose the right one: a cottage cheese filling, Russian style filling, potato & cheese, meat & cabbage, soy bean filling, and sauerkraut. I thought Jim would have chosen the sauerkraut filling, but we decided on the Russian style, consisting of mashed potatoes, cottage cheese, onions, and bacon.

Russian-style Pierogi
makes 4 generous servings, around 30 dumplings

Dough:
2 to 2 1/2 c. all-purpose (plain) flour
1 large egg
1 tsp. salt
About 1 c. lukewarm water

Filling:
3 big potatoes, cooked & mashed (1 1/2 cup instant or leftover mashed potatoes is fine too)    
1 c. cottage cheese, drained        
1 onion, diced & sauteed in butter until clear*
3 slices of streaky bacon, diced and fried till crispy
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp. butter, melted        
1/4 tsp. salt        
pinch of pepper to taste

*I fried the bacon, then drained off most of the fat, removed the bacon, and sauteed the onion in a bit of bacon fat with a small pat of butter.

I recommend doing this in stages.

This is my assistant. See how thrilled she is:

Is any of this for me? No? Well, never mind then.

Stage 1: The Filling
Combine all of the filling ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and set aside in the fridge until you need it.

Stage 2: Start the Dough
Place 2 c. flour in a large bowl or on a work surface and make a well in the center. Break the egg into it, add the salt and a little lukewarm at a time. Bring the dough together, kneading well and adding more flour or water as necessary. Cover the dough with a bowl or towel. We’re aiming for soft dough here. Let it rest 20 minutes.

Stage 3: Forming the Pierogi
 On a floured work surface, roll the dough out thinly (1/8” or about 3 mm), cut with a 2-inch round or glass. Spoon a portion (teaspoon will be the best) of the filling into the middle of each circle. Fold dough in half and pinch edges together. Gather scraps, re-roll and fill. Repeat with remaining dough.

Stage 4: Cooking the Pierogi
Bring a large, low saucepan of salted water to boil. Drop in the pierogi, not too many, only single layer in the pan! Return to the boil and reduce heat. When the pierogi rise to the surface, continue to simmer a few minutes more ( usually about 5 minutes). Remove one dumpling with a slotted spoon and taste if ready. When satisfied, remove remaining pierogi from the water.

Cold pierogi can be fried. Boiled Russian pierogi can be easily frozen and boiled to doneness taken out straight from the freezer.

Then I got to thinking about what variation I would make. I couldn’t think, at the time, of any distinctive family recipe that could be easily adapted to being a pierogi filling. So my mind turned to local foods and local ingredients. Lobster pierogi just didn’t sound appetizing. Neither did hot dog & baked bean pierogi. Then I thought about Thanksgiving, and tried to imagine a turkey-and-stuffing stuffed pierogi. Then I was struck by a bolt: something to do with cranberries. Then the Culinary Fairy waved her magic wand, and reminded me of Cranberry Glazed Chicken.

I shredded it with a knife and fork, and mixed in some frozen petite peas and all of the leftover cranberry glaze sauce. It was about at this point that I remembered a recipe that would have been TO DIE FOR as a pierogi filling: Chicken Paprika. Chicken, gravy, boiled rice, peas…I’ll have to tell you all about it later. But believe me, it would have been the heights. With extra cream gravy spooned over the top. If or when I ever make pierogi again, please remind me to make chicken paprika first?

This was, indeed, a challenge. These are the hardest things ever to form. The dough stuck to everything it touched, including me, the rolling pin, the rolling surface — everything except itself. Most of the pierogi I was able to get to the “formed” stage exploded in the water, and the rest developed tiny leaks that made the filling taste watery, bland, and downright blah.

What I would do differently: Use premade wrappers. I’m all about the shortcuts that make a project more efficient, less stressful, and more successful.

Just remind me about the chicken paprika.

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When in doubt, cranberries — even in the summer. This is a good leftovers dish, the sauce is sweet but not too sweet — sort of like a sweet and sour — although if you’re colour blind, it will make mixing the sauce much easier to stomach, as the contrasting shades of ruby-red cranberry sauce and bright-orange French dressing can be a little overstimulating. But it darkens and thickens as it bakes and comes together like a charm.

Serve with rice and plenty of leftover sauce on the side for each person’s taste.

Cranberry Glazed Chicken
serves 4

2 1/2 lb. meaty chicken pieces*
1 16 oz. can whole cranberry sauce
1 8 oz. bottle reduced-calorie Russian or French salad dressing
1 envelope onion soup mix (1/2 2 oz package)

*I thaw one chicken breast for each person I’m feeding, plus any leftovers I want to plan on. If you decide to go with wings or drumsticks, I would calculate 3 of these pieces per person and get that much chicken. Sometimes the by-weight recommendation in recipes just don’t work for me.

Arrange the chicken in one layer in a rectangular baking dish. For the glaze, combine in a large bowl the cranberry sauce, salad dressing, and soup mix. Pour the glaze over the chicken.

Bake, uncovered, in a 350-degree oven for about 1 hour or until the chicken is no longer pink. Stir glaze and spoon over chicken once or twice during baking. Serve in the baking dish or on a platter, with the glaze, and hot cooked rice if desired.

This has few ingredients and ingredients which you can keep on hand in your pantry, which makes it ideal for family dinners, but it is good enough to serve guests for dinner as well. I made it for a hearty dinner while my parents were visiting, the day Jim and my dad spent most of the day in the hot New England seaside summer sun doing work on the exterior basement entryway. My mom was able to eat it and enjoy it, with a little less rice, even being diabetic, and my dad, who has been known for years as the picky eater, said it was a good meal.

One takes one’s credit where one can.

For 8 servings:
5 lb. meaty chicken pieces
2 16 oz. cans whole cranberry sauce
2 8 oz or 1 16 oz. bottles reduced-calorie Russian or French salad dressing
2 envelopes onion soup mix (1 2 oz package)

Prepare and bake the same as 4 servings, but use two baking dishes instead of one.

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The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

Posting Date: July 14, 2010

They gave us a basic step-by-step recipe for homemade nut butters: Take nut of choice. Throw in food processor. Process the life out of it. Add a neutral oil if necessary to bind the puree together. Try not to eat it all straight out of the food processor, or there won’t be enough left for the recipes!

They also provided challengees with four savory recipes that incorporated homemade nut butter, often in place of mere chopped nuts. I chose the recipe that seemed the most likely to be enjoyed at the Eatery, Chicken with Pecan Cream and Mushrooms.

You know, for someone who doesn’t particularly like pecans, I sure use them a lot.

I decided to make my actual nut butter during the afternoon, when I was home by myself and the screaming whine of the food processor wouldn’t bother anybody. I put my pecans in the processor:

and whirred away.

And whirred, and whirred, and whirred. I watched the pecans reduce in size:

I could feel the processor bowl getting warmer and warmer. I started to worry that my processor would give out before I achieved pecan butter. I was just starting to get a butter-like cohesion around the bottom of the bowl when I decided to add a drip — just a drip! — of vegetable oil. And that’s when the magic happened:

Pecan butter! It’s thin, pourable not spreadable, and very very tasty.

I transfered it to a glass bowl with an airtight lid, trying not to eat too much of it on the way. It. Was. DELICIOUS.

Here’s the actual recipe:

Chicken with Pecan Cream and Mushrooms
serves 4

For the pecan cream:
3/4 c. coarsely chopped pecans*
1 cup water
3/4 tsp. salt

*If starting with prepared pecan butter, blend 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. pecan butter with the water and salt until smooth.

For the sauce:
1 Tbsp. deglazing liquid, your choice (water, broth, wine)
1 tsp. olive oil, more as needed
1/4 c. finely chopped shallot
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced

1/2 lb. egg noodles or pasta
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 tsp. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Prepare pecan cream. Combine your prepared pecan butter, the water, and the salt. Set aside.

Cook noodles to package instructions. Drain, rinse, and keep warm.

Pound chicken to 1/4 inch thickness to promote even & quick cooking. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste. Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and saute the chicken. You will probably need to do this in batches. Set aside cooked chicken on a clean plate and cover to keep warm.

Add the deglazing liquid of your choice to the skillet and stir to get any browned bits off the bottom. Add another teaspoon of oil, if necessary, for sauteing the shallots and mushrooms. Saute shallots and mushrooms over medium heat 4 to 6 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and starting to brown. Add fresh thyme to the pan. Stir in the pecan cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 2 minutes or until slightly reduced.

Slice the chicken in to strips, divide noodles among serving plates, and add a scoop of mushroom pecan sauce on top of noodles. Lay sliced chicken on top. Garnish with fresh thyme or a pinch of chopped pecans if desired.

Very Pennsylvania Dutch with shades of beef stroganoff. Jim was wary at first but the first bite of mushroom pecan cream sauce definitely won him over. He even went back for more sauce!

Things we would do differently if we made this challenge recipe again:
Sauteing the chicken as individual paillards is hot, intense work, ESPECIALLY in the heat of late June. Next time, we’ll cube the chicken and saute that way. We’ll also probably substitute rice for the egg noodles, because rice practically cooks itself if you use a rice cooker, and it can be ready at the exact moment your mushroom pecan sauce is ready if you time it wisely.

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It occurs to me that I made this for a birthday party last spring, but I don’t think I shared the recipe. My bad.

This recipe works best if you are feeding a crowd, and you have a dedicated sous chef; preferably one who doesn’t mind handling chicken parts.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings
from Better Homes and Gardens Hometown Potluck Favorites

for 24 servings
2 1/2 lb. chicken wings
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
3 Tbsp. cooking oil
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
1/4 c. unsweetened pineapple juice
1/4 c. ketchup
1 tsp. soy sauce
green onions (optional, for garnish)

First, cut off the tips of the chicken wings. Cut wings at joints to form 24 to 30 pieces. This is a really good job for your sous chef.

In a shallow dish, combine the flour, lemon-pepper seasoning, and garlic salt. Coat each chicken piece in the mixture.

Heat your cooking oil in a 12-inch skillet. Add the coated chicken pieces. You will probably end up doing this in batches, which is fine. Cook, uncovered, until brown, turning occasionally. Remove chicken from the skillet and arrange in a 3 to 4 quart rectangular baking dish.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, pineapple juice, ketchup, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour over chicken in baking dish.

Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Turn pieces over after 15 minutes and baste. If desired, garnish with the green onions.

This travels fairly ok, just make sure that you wrap or cover it securely. If you have an insulated hot carrier, all the better. And it helps if there is an oven at your destination in which you can reheat the chicken just prior to serving.

Here is the 12 servings recipe — though I wouldn’t go through with this recipe for only 12 servings. There are a lot of steps to the recipe and it’s just more worth it to make the bigger batch. Leftovers will keep well or can be sent home with guests, and they reheat nicely in the microwave.

for 12 servings:

1 1/4 lb. chicken wings
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning
1/8 tsp. garlic salt
4 1/2 tsp cooking oil
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
2 Tbsp unsweetened pineapple juice
2 Tbsp ketchup
1/2 tsp soy sauce

Prepare using the same method as the 24-serving recipe, except bake in a 2 to 3 quart rectangular baking dish.

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Sweet & Sour Baked Chicken
makes about 4 servings

4 medium skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
salt & pepper
1 Tbsp. cooking oil
1 8 oz. can pineapple chunks in juice (drain the pineapple and reserve the juice)
1/2 cup jellied cranberry sauce
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar or cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 Tbsp. dry sherry, chicken broth, or water
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 medium green sweet pepper, cut into bite-size strips or pieces

After cutting the chicken, season it with the salt and pepper and cook it two minutes per side, or until slightly browned. Place the chicken in one layer in an oven-safe casserole dish. Place the pineapple chunks in the dish with the chicken.

To make the sweet & sour sauce, whisk together in a medium saucepan the reserved pineapple juice, the cranberry sauce, cornstarch, brown sugar, vinegar, orange juice concentrate, sherry/chicken broth/water, soy sauce, and ginger. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Pour over chicken and pineapple in dish.

Cover dish with a lid or aluminum foil and bake in a 350-degree oven for 25 minutes. Uncover and add sweet peppers, stirring gently to coat with sauce. Continue to bake, uncovered, about 5 minutes more or until chicken is done.

Serve with rice. The sauce thickens as it cools, so if it is too thin for your tastes when it comes out of the oven, let it sit a while. Great leftovers!

from Better Homes and Gardens Hometown Potluck Favorites

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