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

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.

A little Mexi/Jamaican Meal

I haven’t been to Jamaica. There’s my disclaimer. But, I love a restaurant in the city called Patio. I was craving those flavors but didn’t want jerk chicken. I wanted stewed chicken. So, I made this up.

20150209-071608.jpg

Stewed Cumin Chicken with onions and tomatoes

* 2 whole chicken legs (thigh and drumstick)
* 1 red onion sliced
* a handful of cherry tomatoes slice in half
* 1/2 teaspoon paprika
* 1 tablespoon cumin (decrease a bit if you’re not a huge fan)
* 1 bay leaf
* salt
* 1 1/2 – 2 cups chicken broth
* handful of cilantro sprigs

In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over med/high heat. Season both sides of the legs with salt, paprika, and a bit of the cumin. Place the seasoned legs in the pot and brown on both sides.

Then add the rest of your ingredients. The broth should come up to at least the middle of the legs. Cover slightly and stew (low gurgle not boil) by reducing the heat to low for 25 mins. Flip the legs and cook slightly covered for another 20 mins. Taste for salt.

Served with tortillas, black beans, fried plantains, avocados, fresh cilantro and hot sauce.

This was a huge hit! Enjoy!

Bakesale Betty Knock-Offs

There’s a restaurant in Oakland called, Bakesale Betty. Funny enough, I’ve never set foot in their establishment but have eaten these infamous fried chicken sandwiches of theirs on a number of occasions (my friends brilliantly picked up a bunch for their son’s first bday party).

The sandwich is delicious. I think the draw really is the slaw on top of the sandwich. Or is it the bread? Maybe it’s because it’s fried. Like, who doesn’t love fried? It’s definitely the combination of crunchy, spicy, vinegar with the comfort of the bread that made me want to create my version.

This recipe is on regular rotation at our house. I hope you enjoy.

20140716-214619.jpg

Bakesale Betty Knock Offs

* 1 full chicken breast, boneless/skinless. Sliced in half and then filleted into four pieces. Then cut in half to equal eight pieces
* 1 egg
* a splash of milk
* 2/3 cup panko
* 1/4 cup pastry flour (regular will do fine too)
* 1 tsp salt
* store bought biscuit dough (we use Immaculate flaky biscuits)
* 1/4 head of cabbage, sliced thinly
* small handful of cilantro, chopped
* 1/2 jalapeño, seeds removed for less spice and minced
* 1/4 cup veggie oil
* 2 TBSP rice wine vinegar (red wine can be a substitute in a pinch)
* a dash of poppy seeds or black sesame seeds (optional but pretty)
* lots of veggie oil for frying

Preheat your oven according to the biscuit instructions.

Mix the 1/4 c veggie oils with vinegar and set aside.

Mix the cabbage, cilantro, jalapeño and seeds. Dress with the oil and vinegar and put into the fridge. (This is also great on hot dogs!)

In one shallow bowl, mix egg and milk. In another bowl, mix panko, flour and salt.

Heat your oil on medium in a pan -filling the pan about 1.5″-2″ with oil. I usually test to see if the oil is hot enough by dipping wooden chopsticks into the oil and looking for lots of tiny bubbles. I like to use large chopsticks to turn the fried chicken. Or you can just add a tiny pinch of the panko to check the oil readiness. It should bubble around the edges.

Put the biscuits in the oven.

Dip one piece of chicken into the egg mixture and then into the panko mixture. The panko should stick well to the meat. Don’t crowd the pan with too many pieces of chicken. You should have room around each piece to flip. But don’t flip in until you start to see the sides get golden brown. Work in batches. Taking the done pieces out and letting drain on paper towels. I also like to add a bit of salt to the freshly fried pieces of chicken. Sooo good.

Don’t forget to keep checking your biscuits.

Once done, take out of the oven and serve with chicken and slaw. I just put everything on the dining table and let everyone make their own sandwiches.

Enjoy!

Enchilada (sauce)

Did you know that enchilada sauce doesn’t have a tomato base? Or at least this recipe doesn’t. I was so surprised! Enchiladas seem complex to make but they’re actually really easy. I used to buy the sauce and add tomatoes and extra cumin to “make it my own”. That was until I tried to make the sauce myself. Amazingly, it’s even easier than opening a can and doctoring it up and it’s so much more delicious.

20140715-094554.jpg

Enchilada Sauce

* 2 TBSP veggie oil
* 2 TBSP flour
* 2 TBSP chili powder
* 1-2 tsp cumin (depending on your taste)
* 1/2 tsp oregano
* 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 2 cups chicken stock or veggie

Heat the oil in a large pan over med/high heat. Sprinkle the flour and whisk until smooth cooking for about one minute. Add the seasonings and garlic and whisk. Slowly add the stock stirring to avoid lumps. Cook and stir for ten to fifteen minutes.

Done!

For chicken enchiladas, I seared three full, salted chicken legs. Then added some onions and cooked for a couple minutes. I added about 1/4 cup stock to the pan to deglaze and braise the chicken. simmer on low for another 20-30 minutes until the meat pulls from the bones.

Shred the chicken and roll it up in some corn tortillas (we LOVE Abuelitas brand). I add a little cheese and sauce inside each enchilada before rolling them up. I place them in a tight row in a Pyrex dish. I then smother them with more sauce and top them with cheese. Save extra sauce to top the enchiladas on the plate. (I’m lactose intolerant so I just omit the cheese from my enchiladas) I put them in the oven at 350 and heat until the cheese is bubbling.

Serve with a bit of cilantro and avocado and of course extra sauce.

Enjoy!

20140715-094544.jpg

Cooking by the Camp Fire

I went all out at this year’s annual 4th o’ July camping trip. No, I didn’t stay up late, hooting and hollering over charades. In fact, I was in bed before the kids most nights. And no, I didn’t start my day with Mary’s and continue with beers/wine until sundown. Rather, I prepped and cooked my toosh off.

I made Jan’s cobbler, fried donut holes, made Schmitty’s chicken and taziki wraps and topped it all off with firepit pizza – which was by far, the biggest success. I’m still craving it.

Next time you go camping or have a craving for delicious cobbler, donuts or pizza, try out these recipes. They were a big hit!

Jan’s cobbler
* 3 cups blackberries (or combo of berries)
* 3/4 cup brown sugar
* 3/4 cup rolled oats
* 1/2 cup flour
* 1/8 cup grated asiago cheese
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 3 oz butter (chilled and cut into 1/4″ bits)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Lightly butter a deep pie dish (or you can double the recipe and use a 9×12 baking dish). Put the berries in the dish. In a separate bowl, mix the next five ingredients. With fingers, squash in the butter with the mixture until its course and crumbly.

Sprinkle the topping over the fruit and bake until top is golden brown and fruit is bubbly.

Let it cool before diving in. This travelled really well in the cooler and tasted great chilled.

20130709-145943.jpg

Schmitty’s Chicken Wraps
* 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
* 1/2 cup olive oil
* 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
* 1 TBSP dried oregano
* zest of half a lemon
* pinch of salt and pepper
* 3 garlic cloves minced
* pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
* 1/2 red onion, sliced in strips

Wisk everything together in a medium bowl. Reserve half the marinade. Out chicken in a ziplock bag with half the marinade and freeze if you’re going camping.

The night before heading out, put the tomatoes an onions and the other half the marinade in another ziplock bag and leave in the fridge.

Grill off the chicken over the camp fire and serve with wraps, taziki and the marinated tomato mixture.

20130709-150625.jpg

Camping Donuts
* 1/2 cup veggie oil
* 1 package of instant biscuits (you know, the kind that pops out of the canister)
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1/8 cup cinnamon
* 1 brown bag and some paper towels

Put your sugar and cinnamon into the brown paper bag and set aside. Heat up the oil in a frying pan over med/low heat.

Break each biscuit into four pieces and roll into a ball.

Gently drop one hole into the oil. It should create bubbles instantly around the edges. Put the rest of your holes in the oil but don’t crowd the pan. You’ll need room to turn the holes over as they cook.

As soon as they’re golden brown, drain on paper towels and then drop into the paper bag. Give ’em a little shake and then watch them get gobbled up.

20130709-151505.jpg

Camp Fire Pizza
* 1 package ready-made pizza dough (you can handmake the dough if you’re motivated, just freeze it for better travel)
* 1 container of marinara (I got the stuff from the refrigerated section)
* 1/2 cup mozerella, 1/4 cup parmesean, 1/4 cup asiago – all grated
* olive oil
* dried oregano
* toppings (we did two pepperonis and one zucchini and summer squash) we obviously tripled the recipe
* disposable grate for grill

Get the coals ready.

Cut up any toppings really thin (they don’t really cook).

Roll out the dough – I just pulled on the sides until it was pretty even and rather thin.

Rub olive oil on one side and place the oiled side down on the disposable grill. Set this on the campfire grate and stand watch. It’ll bubble and get chat marks. It should be done in about 2-5 mins.

Remove from the fire and oil the top side. Flip the pizza and top the recently cooked side with sauce, cheese, toppings and a sprinkle of oregano. Top with a foil tent and place back on the fire. Cook for another 2-5 mins checking the bottom and rotating when necessary.

Pull it from the fire. Cut it up. And wait for the OMGs.

20130709-152701.jpg