Baked Chicken Alfredo Ziti

The husband loved this dish. I think mostly because it was made of leftovers but totally remade. We had some ziti that was cooked for meat sauce and we had the beer can chicken leftovers. Luckily, we had milk, Parmesan, chicken broth, garlic and some mozzarella too.

I cooked 2 cloves of minced garlic with 3 Tbsp of unsalted butter. Then I added 1 Tbsp of flour and cooked it a bit. Then, I added 1/4 cup of chicken broth and about a cup of milk, a good pinch of salt and a couple shakes of dried oregano. I let it cook until it thickened a bit. I then added freshly grated Parmesan.

In a pie dish, I layered cooked pasta then cooked cubed chicken, then a sprinkling of mozzarella, finished with more cooked pasta and dumped the sauce over all of it. I added a bit more Parmesan and then popped it uncovered in a 375 degree oven for about 17 mins.

I let it sit for 10 mins before serving.

You can add other stuff to. I think some red pepper flakes would be good or cooked mushrooms. My kiddos don’t like either so, it was made just as I said above.

Enjoy!

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Spicy Basil Chicken and Yellow Curry

I could eat this everyday. It’s fun to mix it up too by plopping an over easy egg on top. After the first day, the gai gra prow gets spicier and the richness of the fried egg perfectly balances the spice. I think I’ll make this tonight.

I do have two little humans at home. So, I pull half the sauce from the pan of the gai gra prow before adding the chilies and they devour it.

Gai Gra Prow (Spicy Basil Chicken)

  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (I used Hoisin sauce because I didn’t have oyster and it was delicious)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, or as needed
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced Thai chilies, Serrano, or other hot pepper (I used jalapeños and it was fine)
  • 1 cup very thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Whisk chicken broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, white sugar, and brown sugar together in a bowl until well blended.

Heat large skillet over high heat. Drizzle in oil. Add chicken and stir fry until it loses its raw color, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in shallots, garlic, and sliced chilies.

Continue cooking on high heat until some of the juices start to caramelize in the bottom of the pan, about 2 or 3 more minutes. Add about a tablespoon of the sauce mixture to the skillet; cook and stir until sauce begins to caramelize, about 1 minute.

Pour in the rest of the sauce. Cook and stir until sauce has deglazed the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until sauce glazes onto the meat, 1 or 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in basil. Cook and stir until basil is wilted, about 20 seconds. Serve with rice.

Yellow Curry

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Half a yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 3/4 carton of firm tofu cubed
  • 1/3 cup yellow curry paste
  • 10 baby golden yukon potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Handful of mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • Half red bell peppers, cubed
  • Handful of green beans, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut cream (it’s like coconut milk, but even more luscious)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
  • cilantro and rice for serving

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium low heat. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes until the onions are fragrant and softened. Add the chicken and curry paste; saute for 3-5 minutes. Add the potatoes and stir to coat with the curry paste.

Add the coconut cream and 1/2 cup water to the pot – simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the veggies are fully cooked, adding more water depending on the consistency you want for the sauce. Stir in the tofu toward the end so it doesn’t break up.

Stir in the fish sauce and brown sugar to really take it up a notch. Seriously – so good. Serve over rice.

Beer Can Chicken For The Win

This is a very easy Sunday night meal that gives the best leftover chicken for the rest of the week. Cook 2 and your weeknight protein is set.

Beer Can Chicken

(NY Times Recipe)

  • 1 whole chicken, approximately 4 to 5 pounds
  • 4 tablespoons sweet paprika, or mild smoked paprika
  • 2tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chile de arbol or red-pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 can beer, ideally yellow in hue, with the top half consumed or poured off (Tecate is a great choice)
  • Barbecue sauce (see recipe, or use whichever recipe you like), for basting chicken and for serving (optional)

Build a fire in your grill, leaving approximately half the grilling area free of coals. If using a gas grill, turn burners to high and then, when ready to cook, turn off the burner on the side where you will place the chicken. If using an oven, heat to 425 degrees.

Remove neck and giblets from chicken. Rinse the chicken in cold water. Pat dry.

Combine all the spices in a large bowl, then apply the dry rub to the chicken, inside and out.

Put the beer can on a solid surface. Pick up the chicken and, taking a leg in each hand, put the cavity over the can and slide the bird down onto it. Carefully transfer the bird and the can to the cool side of your grill, its back to the fire, balancing the chicken upright and using the legs to support it in this position. If using an oven, place the chicken upright in a roasting pan using the same method and place carefully into the heat.

Cover the grill and cook for approximately 1 1/4 hours, basting with barbecue sauce twice during the final half-hour if you’d like, until the breast meat registers 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer or until the legs are loose in their sockets. (If you’re using an oven, you can tent the bird with foil after 45 minutes to keep the skin from getting too dark.) De-can and carve.

Salmon Cakes

Living on the Northern California coast blesses us with abundant access to everything from freshly picked fruit (wild olalliberries) to fish from the sea. We recently drove to the harbor and one of our fishermen were selling salmon. I couldn’t resist buying a whole salmon – one that was way bigger than my little family of four could eat in one sitting. On our way home, we stopped at our local hardware store to buy out first Food Saver knowing we would need to freeze a lot of fish.

I then donned on my apron and set up a table outside. I brought parchment paper, a sharp fillet knife, a pastry cutter, roll of paper towels, and my phone. My hubby pulled up a “how to fillet a whole fish” video tutorial on my phone by Jaimie Oliver and I began to fillet a whole 11 lb salmon for the first time. Generally, it went well. Note: descaling fish with a pastry cutter works super well.

I was lucky last night to have a very gracious guest over for dinner – my mom! We are “like kings” as she would say. Salmon was just one of the protein on the menu. So, we had leftovers. Tonight, we made salmon cakes.

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Salmon Cakes

Inspiration from a dear friend

  • 1/2 lb of cooked salmon, flaked and deboned
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp mayo
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, minced
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup Panko
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Combine all the ingredients except the last two. Mix with your fingers until it looks like an uncooked crab cake.

Let it sit.

In a separate bowl, add Panko (should be shallow as you’ll add the cakes to coat soon.

Once the salmon has sit for 10-15 mins, form into silver dollar, 1″ thick discs.

In a large skillet or frying pan, heat on medium heat and add olive oil.

Lightly pat salmon patties into the Panko until they have an even layer. They will not be completely covered.

Slide these into the hot oil and cook until golden on each side.

Serve with a wedge of lemon, avocado slices and Pepper Plant hot sauce (it any hot sauce of your choosing).

I have 2 more cakes leftover and I plan to make salmon cake Benedict’s tomorrow. NBD

ENJOY!!

Minestrone

One thing we can count on, living in Northern California on the coast, is a few foggy days during the summer. Ok, a lot of foggy days. Today was one of those days. So, that calls for some heart-warming soup. This one came out so good.

Minestrone

Serves 6

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced about 1/2″ thick
  • 3 carrots, cut on the diagonal
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, sliced in half then in 1/2″ thick 1/2 moon shaped pieces
  • 1 large red potato, diced
  • 1 handful of green beans, cut in2″ lengths
  • 1/4 head of cabbage, chopped
  • 1 can of red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can of fire roasted chopped tomatoes
  • 3-4 handfuls of dried conchiglie or penne pasta
  • 4-5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • Fresh basil
  • Grated Parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and potatoes and about 2 tsp salt. Cook for 5 mins. Add thyme, oregano, zucchini, bell peppers, pasta, 4 cups of stock and tomatoes. Cook for 10 mins. Add green beans, cabbage and kidney beans. Cook until pasta and potatoes are tender. Add stock if needed and salt to taste. Once cooked, add fresh basil and top with Parmesan.

Enjoy with a buttered baguette.

Lamb Stew

Do you like lamb? I’ve found that lots of people I know don’t like lamb. Although, I would definitely choose a fish dish over lamb chops at a restaurant, I actually crave this stew at least once a month in the winter and spring. The tang from the olives and the sweet, roastyness from the red bells perfectly compliment the slightly gamey shredded lamb.  Mmmmm. Before I was glutenless, I would serve this with Israeli couscous and a side salad. Now, the gluten free Barilla penne will have to do. 

  
Lamb Stew

  • 2 lbs lamb shoulder, cut into 2″ cubes
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 1/2 cup water
  • 2 TBS corn starch slurry (2TBS corn starch and 2TBS water mixed)
  • 1/2 cup pimento green olives, sliced
  • 3/4 cup red bell pepper, roasted and sliced
  • 1 TBS parsley, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 

In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 TBS oil until shimmering. Season lamb with salt and pepper and add to pan in batches. Do not over crowd. You want to wear all sides to a pretty golden brown. Remove to a plate and continue until all the lamb is browned. 

Add onions, celery and carrots to pan and turn down a bit. Cook until tender. Add tomato paste and cook until paste is slightly browned. Add wine and deglaze, scraping up brown bits. Stir constantly until wine is evaporated. Add water and bring to boil. Add lamb and any juices from the plate. Cover and braise in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until lamb is fork tender. (Be sure to check the pot after about 2 hours and every half hour after. Add more water if it’s starting to get too dry)

Shred the lamb. Add the cornstarch slurry and bring to a boil on the stovetop to thicken (stir, stir, stir). Add olives, pepper and any addition salt and/or pepper to taste. 

Serve over favorite noodles or Israeli couscous. Sprinkle with parsley. 

Enjoy!!

A trip to Germany Inspires

i just got back from an extremely spontaneous and short trip to Berlin. It was amazing! 

While there, we ate at two really great restaurants, Hasir (Turkish) and Schogl’s (German). I loved every bite. 

Now that I’m back, I wanted to share that yumminess with my family (really, I had to recreate the deliciousness before my needy stomach put me back on a plane for more!)

Here’s what I ate in Germany 

  Amazing Turkish meal at Hasir in Berlin.   
This crazy smorgasbord of schnitzel, sausage, fried meatballs, and currywurst. 

 I was so sad I couldn’t finish every bite. 
 
One day soon, I’ll try to make all the amazing Turkish dishes (there were 12 not including the grilled meats that came next). But this time, I just tried to tackle the lamb meatballs in sauce, taziki and roasted eggplant with yogurt and tomato salad. The meatballs were spot on. I’m still working on the eggplant. How do they get that warm yogurt so fluffy?

   
 Turkish Lamb Meatballs

1 pound ground lamb 

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1/2 medium onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint 

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon allspice

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Mix bread and egg together in a small bowl to soften the bread. In a large bowl, combine the lamb, onion, mint, cumin, salt, pepper and allspice. Mix with your hands until well combined. Then add in the egg and bread and mix thoroughly again. Shape meat into walnut size balls. Put olive oil into a large frying pan and put in meatballs. Brown on one side and then the other, then remove from the pan and put on a plate. Reserve drippings for sauce.
Sauce for Meatballs

1 large can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes. 

1/2 medium onion chopped fine

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 TBSP balsamic vinegar

2 Teaspoons sugar

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Reheat the drippings in the skillet and add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is soft. Add tomatoes, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, sugar and allspice to the pan, mixing thoroughly. Taste for sweet sour balance adding more sugar if necessary. Bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan. Blend about 3/4 of the sauce. Return to pan and add the meatballs. Simmer slightly covered on low heat for 15 – 20 minutes. 
Eat with lavash and taziki. 

Taziki

A couple scoops of Greek yogurt

A squeeze of lemon

Sliced cucumber

Fresh mint

Salt

Mix together and season with salt to taste. 

So, I didn’t try to fry a whole bunch of meats for our German meal recreation. Although, my hubby would’ve loved that!! Instead, I went for just the currywurst. How the heck haven’t I had that before??

Currywurst (a better looking recipe is here but I haven’t tried it yet. Mine is made up)

1/4 cup Catsup

2-3 tsp Curry powder

A few dashes of Worcestershire

Mix together, heat and douse over bratwurst. Serve with pan fried potatoes, sauerkraut and pickled beets. 

  
Yum. Yum. Yum.