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.

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!!

Braised Chicken and Mushroom Risotto

It is so chilly on the West coast (I know, 49 degrees is not cold but I have never had “snow days” so I can complain about needing to wear a scarf and gloves). Nothing warms me better than comfort food – mmm, mashed potatoes, potpies, biscuits and gravy, stews. I’m already starting to feel my toes warm up just thinking about publishing this post.

Papa was in the mood for mushroom risotto for his birthday so…I took on the challenge. I’ve made risotto once before so I knew there was going to be a lot of stirring. Nana helped though and we paired it with a very easy braised chicken.

Braised chicken

Braised chicken

Braised Chicken and olives (adapted from Fifteen Spatulas)

  • 4 chicken legs, skin-on and bone-in
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 handful of kalmata olives, pitted
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • zest of 1 lemon, julienned
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Salt and pepper the chicken legs. Heat up an ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and the chicken legs skin side down. Cook for a couple minutes until the skin has browned. Turn over and sear on the other side. Remove the chicken from the pan. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the fennel and onion to the pan. Saute until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.
  3. Add the white wine to the pan and bump the heat up to medium high. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper, olives, lemon zest strips, bay leaf, thyme, and chicken stock, and bring to a boil.
  4. Return the chicken to the pan skin side up and place in the oven to cook for ~ 40 minutes depending on the size of your legs (or until the juices run clear when you knife prick the joint between the drumstick and thigh). (While the chicken is in the oven, start the risotto)
  5. Turn the broiler on high, and cook the chicken for 2 minutes to brown and crisp up the skin (watch carefully).
creamy mushroom risotto

creamy mushroom risotto

Creamy Mushroom Risotto (adapted from Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook)

  • 2 quarts chicken stock or vegetable stock (the recipe says duck stock but I couldn’t find any. I bet it’s amazing with it though)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup shallot, leek or onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups risotto rice
  • 1/2 pound fresh crimini, sliced
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  1. Pour the stock and wine into a pot and bring it to a gentle simmer.
  2. In another medium pot, heat the butter over medium-high heat and add the minced shallot or onion and a pinch of salt. Saute until it softens and turns translucent. Add the garlic, mushrooms and rice and coat with the butter. Stir often.
  3. When the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, add a ladle of hot stock to the rice and stir well (I like to use a wooden spoon).  The key to making a great risotto is to constantly stir. Think of it as stirring the bottom of the pot. As each ladle of stock is absorbed, add another, then another. At some point, you’ll see that the rice isn’t absorbing the stock as quickly. Keep adding a ladle of hot stock until the rice is cooked through, but still firm.
  4. When you reach that point, add the grated cheese and a little more stock. Stir to incorporate the cheese into the risotto. Add the chopped parsley and serve at once with your braised chicken.
Together, braised chicken and risotto - comfort in a bowl

Together, braised chicken and risotto – comfort in a bowl

PS if you have leftover risotto, check out my next post on Arancini (or risotto balls)

Pot Pie (aka Leftover Haven)

Ever since I was a kid, pot pies have graced our dinner table. In the early 80s, they came piping hot out of the oven dressed in silver – doughy bowls wrapped in aluminum tins filled with turkey, carrots, peas and possibly a cube of potato or two swimming in milky gravy and topped with a crusty cap. They were delicious. Especially if we got to eat on our collapsible dinner trays (again aluminum) in front of the TV – probably watching “Gilligan’s Island”. I still remember the twang of the trays when they popped into the legs. I think I need to get us some vintage TV trays…hmmm.

Pot pies now mean something different to me. They are refuge for leftovers. The other night we had roast chicken and saute yellow squash and green beans. We had leftover bacon from breakfast and I had some premade biscuits in the fridge as well. So, the next night when I was looking for something to cook, a family pot pie seemed to be the quickest and most comforting option – sans TV and TV trays unfortunately.

Although, it doesn’t have that uniform cap that we’ve come to associate with pot pies, nor the doughy bowl, this recipe captures all the comfort of TV trays and aluminum trays designed for single serving noshing.

Biscuit Topped Pot Pie

  • 1/4 cup Leftover poultry, shredded into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup Leftover sauted veggies (squashes, beans, roots, etc)
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1 large leek, onion or shallot, sliced or diced
  • 4 slices of precooked bacon, sausage or other cured/seasoned pork (leftover from breakfast)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 wine glass of milk
  • 1 wine glass of white wine
  • 1 TBS flour
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven per the biscuit package instructions.

Saute allium (onion, leek, etc), celery, carrots and garlic in melted butter and olive oil until fragrant over med-low heat. Add thyme and a pinch of salt. Add wine and cook down until nearly evaporated. Add flour and cook for 1 minute. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Add leftover meats and veggies and saute over med-low heat for 5 mins. Letting the flavors mingle. (If you didn’t have leftover meats and veggies, add them raw to the mixture now and add 1 more wine glass of water. Cook covered for 20 mins).

Pour the mixture into a pie pan.

Pop the biscuit can.

Place the biscuits on the top of the mixture. Pop into the oven and bake per the biscuit package instructions. But keep an eye on it. Don’t let those biscuits burn!

Let it rest for a couple minutes before diving into it. The sauce will thicken a bit and it’ll all cool down so you can properly enjoy it.

Happy comfort food and a little bit of indulgent TV watching.