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!

Advertisements

The Best Belgium Waffles

People! The holidays are just on the horizon and that means we can indulge a bit on the sweets and decadent breakfasts. Who am I kidding? We make these monthly.

These waffles are a family favorite. They freeze really well and can be popped in the toaster for a quick weekday breakfast. You can serve it with fried chicken or cheesy toppings to make it savory.

The trick to making the best waffles is the waffle maker and mix. You can get both at Williams Sonoma. The waffle maker is an investment. Well, shoot so is the mix but it’s sooooo worth it. The waffle maker is the All Clad 2 waffle maker. It’s great and consistent. The mod is the gluten free or regular Willams Sonoma Bellgem Waffle Mix.

Go out and splurge on this set for yourself, your kids or someone who has those little humans running around their house. It’s a great gift.

Notes: I heat the waffle maker to 4. I add an extra tablespoon of butter to the mix (and always let it sit 15mins before cooking). I use a 1/3cup mix for each waffle. I freeze them flat in the freezer and then bag them (otherwise they bend in funny shapes and won’t fit In the toaster).

Happy Waffle Wiggles!!

Honey Cakes

These are typically eaten for the Jewish New Year to insure a sweet new year. I’m a bit late posting because I wanted to see how well they froze. The answer: perfectly! These would be wonderful holiday gifts too especially in the little loaf pans.

Honey Cake

Exact recipe from Smitten Kitchen

    3 1/2 cups (440 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
    1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    4 teaspoons (about 8 grams) ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    1 cup (235 ml) vegetable oil
    1 cup (340 grams) honey
    1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
    1/2 cup (95 grams) brown sugar
    3 large eggs at room temperature
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
    1 cup warm (235 ml) coffee or strong tea
    1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh orange juice

Fits in three loaf pans, two 9-inch square or round cake pans, one 9 or 10 inch tube or bundt cake pan, or one 9 by 13 inch sheet cake. I made mine in one full-size loaf pan plus four miniature ones.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray. Line the bottom with lightly greased parchment paper, cut to fit.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Make a well in the center, and add oil, honey, white sugar, brown sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee or tea, orange juice and rye or whiskey, if using. (If you measure your oil before the honey, it will be easier to get all of the honey out.)

Using a strong wire whisk or in an electric mixer on slow speed, stir together well to make a thick, well-blended batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom.

Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). Sprinkle top of cake(s) evenly with almonds, if using. Place cake pan(s) on two baking sheets, stacked together (this will ensure the cakes bake properly with the bottom baking faster than the cake interior and top).

Bake until cake tests done, that is, it springs back when you gently touch the cake center. For angel and tube cake pans, this will take 60 to 75 minutes, loaf cakes, about 45 to 55 minutes. For sheet style cakes, baking time is 40 to 45 minutes.

Let cake stand fifteen minutes before removing from pan.

Freeze once cooled and store for up to 3 months.

Arroz Con Pollo

You really, really, really need to make this now. It is the perfect comfort food that has just enough freshness that you feel healthy after eating it. Healthy comfort food – that’s an oxymoron.

Arroz Con Pollo

(Small adaptations from SmittenKitchen)

Chicken

  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
  • 4 chicken breast halves with bone, halved crosswise
  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • 4 chicken thighs

Rice

  • 3 ounces Spanish chorizo (cured sausage), skin discarded and sausage cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (I used a bratwurst because I didn’t have chorizo)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 California bay leaf
  • 1 lb. tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 12-ounce. bottle beer (not dark)
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice (14 ounces) I used Jasmine and it was great
  • 1/4 cup roasted red pepper, cut into strips

Marinate chicken: Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 2 teaspoons salt, then transfer to a large bowl. Stir in vinegar and oregano.

Remove skin and excess fat from chicken, then toss chicken with marinade until coated and marinate, covered and chilled, at least 1 hour.

Cook chicken and rice: – Cook chorizo in olive oil in a 6- to 7-quart heavy pot (12 inches wide) over medium-high heat, stirring, until some fat is rendered, 2 to 3 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add cumin, oregano, paprika, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and bay leaves and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add chicken with marinade to chorizo mixture and cook, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring frequently, 10 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, beer, broth, and rice and bring to a boil, making sure rice is submerged. [Deb note: I actually had a really hard time keeping the rice underneath the chicken so that it would cook evenly. I’d suggest that you use tongs to temporarily remove the chicken from the pot, mix the rice in with the other ingredients in the pot, and then replace the chicken, pressing it into the broth a bit before going onto the next step. ]

Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover mixture directly with a round of parchment or wax paper and cover pot with a tight fitting lid. Cook, stirring once or twice, until rice is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Discard parchment paper and bay leaves, then scatter pimiento strips over rice.

Do ahead: Chicken can be marinated up to 2 hours in advance.

Braise Collards

I am a big fan of greens but I understand that some are not. I know one gentleman in particular who is not keen on choosing greens but when it arrives mysteriously on his plate, he’ll eventually take a bite. That’s how I got him to eat these collards and now he’s a big fan. And that’s why I’m sharing this recipe in particular. It’s a hit and I usually prepare it when we have ham around because, why not?

Braised Collard Greens

Adapted from this food network recipe.

  • 2 six-inch long, two-inch wide pieces of ham cut into chunks (can switch for 2 strips of bacon)
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch fresh collard greens, leaves stripped from large inner veins and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper

Cook the ham (or bacon until crisp) in a deep saute pan on medium-high heat leaving the fat in the pan. (If you use bacon, take it out before proceeding to the next step. Add the red pepper flakes, garlic and lemon zest, and saute until fragrant. Add the collard greens and cook until they begin to wilt. Add the chicken stock and 1/2 cup water and cover, lowering the heat to a simmer. Let cook until the greens are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Uncover, (add the bacon back to the pan if using), raise the heat to medium-high, and reduce the liquid by one-quarter, 1 to 2 minutes. Add about 2 tsp of lemon juice and taste. If you need more add it to taste. Season with salt and pepper.

This is really great to make on New Years Day with Hoppin’ John and then eat together the next day as leftovers.

Gluten-free Breakfast

I think the worst thing about trying to be gluten-free is breakfast options. I was a pastry every day girl. Now? Well, now it takes a bit more effort. But in truth, it’s delicious. Like cold cuts, pickles and hard boiled eggs. Or yogurt with granola and chocolate sprinkles. But this has to be my favorite concoction. It’s a little like chiliquiles and huevos rancheros. It’s super satisfying both in taste and texture and is so darn delicious even my gluten-full family members love it!   

 Gluten-free Cal-Mex Breakfast

  • 1 corn tortilla
  • 1 egg, fried
  • 1 slice of bacon, fried and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pinto beans, heated
  • 1/2 zucchini sliced and cooked with a bit of cumin and olive oil
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • A dollop of salsa
  • Chopped cilantro

Tear apart the corn tortilla and put on the bottom of a plate. Add beans then bacon then zucchini. Top with your fried egg then salsa and avocado and cilantro. 

Enjoy!!