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!!

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.

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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!

Beef Bourguignon

It’s rainy and cold outside. It’s my favorite weather for slow cooked Beef Bourguignon. Not only is it a rather easy dish to prepare, it fills the house with comforting smells and warmth from the oven 🙂

Try it out and let me know what you think.

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Beef Bourguignon
serves about 6
* 2 lbs stewing meat (beef cubes)
* 1 bottle of Pinot Noir
* 2 TBSP fennel seeds
* zest from 1/2 a navel orange
* 1 bay leaf
* 8 sprigs of thyme
* 6 slices of thick cut bacon, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
* a carton of crimini mushrooms (try to get small ones or cut larger ones in half)
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 2 handfuls of baby carrots
* 2 TBSP tomato paste
* salt and pepper to taste

Put the beef, wine, fennel, bay leaf and orange zest in a non-reactive bowl and marinate overnight.

~3 hours before you want to serve dinner, take the beef out of the marinate and let it sit on paper towels. Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees.

In a large Dutch oven, render the bacon until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels. Dump all but 2 TBSP of the bacon grease. Keep the 2 TBSP in the pot.

Sear the semi-dried beef in the bacon grease. (Make sure you turn the meat only once and only when it has a nice golden crust. It shouldn’t take too long per side. ~1-2 mins). You also might need to do this in multiple batches. Don’t crowd the pot. Once seared, remove from the pan and set aside in a bowl.

Add the onions and carrots scraping up any of the browned bits in the pan. Cook on medium for about 5 mins.

Add the tomato paste and stir until it takes on a deeper red color. Add the thyme, marinade (minus the orange peel), and the beef and any beef juices from the reserve bowl. Cook on the stove until slightly simmering.

Cover the pot and put it in the oven at 325 degrees for one hour. Make sure it’s not boiling at this point. If it is, turn down the oven to 300 degrees. Give the pot a stir.

Set your timer for another hour. Check the meat at this point. It should be getting tender and moist. Add the mushrooms and bacon back to the pot. Add 1/2 cup of water and a tsp of salt. Cook for 30 more minutes.

Take it out of the oven (leaving the lid on the pot). Let it settle for about 20 minutes. Check for salt and pepper. Add accordingly.

Serve with egg noodles, boiled potatoes or French bread.

Enjoy!

Last Year’s Turkey: Hoping to recreate the magic

So last year, I BBQ’d the turkey. It was ah-maze-ing. Truly. It was golden and juicy. Even the white meat was delicious (I’m a dark meat kinda girl but dang the whole bird was so good).

Of course, I didn’t document the recipe. So, I’m going to make one up/partially remember and jot it down. I hope it works as good this year as it did last year. I’ll let you know after Thanksgiving.

The Best BBQ'd Turkey

BBQ’d Turkey on a Gas Grill

  • 1 16-18 pound turkey (we use Mary’s heritage birds), giblets and neck and all the other strange stuff inside removed (save the neck and leftover carcass for stock)
  • Brining mix (I use Stonwall Kitchen’s Farmhouse Brine)
  • 2 quarts of water
  • Brining Bag
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 cups of chardonnay
  • handful of fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 yellow onion cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 orange cut in half
  • 1/2 head of garlic (1 whole head cut in half across the cloves)
  • salt and pepper

The day before Thanksgiving: Clean your bird and then put her in the brining bag then put the whole thing in a foil roasting pan. Heat 1 quart of your water in a big pot and add the brining mix. Let cool. Once cooled, add the brining mix, water and extra 1 quart of water to the brining bag/turkey. Refrigerate the whole thing for 12 – 24 hours.

Thanksgiving Day: Remove the turkey from the brining bag and rinse with cold water. Pat dry. Salt and pepper the inside of the cavity. Fill the cavity with the thyme, onion, orange and garlic. Tie up your bird so the legs and wings are held in tight to the bird. Add pea sized pieces of butter under the skin (use care doing this so you don’t break the skin). Salt and pepper the outside of the bird.

Put the bird, breast-side up, on a foil roasting pan and let her rest.

Heat remaining butter in a pot. Add Chardonnay and put 1/2 the mixture in the bottom of the roasting pan.

Getting Ready

Ignite the grill and turn all burners to high. Close the lid and preheat 10 to 15 minutes to bring the grill to 500 to 550 degrees. Set two side burners to medium heat and turn off the center burner. Position your turkey in the pan in the center of the cooking grate and place the lid on the grill. Try to keep the grill covered unless your basting it. I remember basting the turkey about 4 times. If you see the bottom of the pan getting dry, add more of your Chardonnay/butter mixture to the bird.

Cook 11 to 13 minutes per pound or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh not touching bone registers 180 degrees and the juices run clear. Transfer turkey to a platter. Let stand for 15 minutes before carving.
Happy Thanksgiving!!! xoxoxo