Tag Archives: chicken

Roasted Chicken

This morning marks the beginning of week three of Lean & Green Challenge (via Jogo Crossfit Gym).  I must report that the lady writing on Paleo day two is quite different from the one writing in front of the computer today.  There are some areas that are still the same.  For instance, walking into the grocery store and seeing the lovely pastry bat it’s eyelashes at me is a bit tempting.  However, what’s most noticeable is my overall health.  It’s not just physical energy, but mental energy.  So when you hear that phrase, “you are what you eat;” well, I think there’s something to it.  My mental state seems to be at its peak.  I don’t want to attribute it all to how I’m eating, but I truly believe what I’m putting in is making a difference to thinking more clearly.

It’s interesting when you think of the various methods people deal with stress & anxiety.  There are those that I know who attempt to drown out the noises by numbing the pain with drugs.  I’ve always thought, “well, at least I don’t do that,” but there is something to be said about what I have used to numb the pain.  I never thought I used food as a “way out,” but on Saturday, it seemed like the advise I had given my friend of being mindful, drinking some tea, etc, didn’t cut it.  As I’ve briefly mentioned before here, we’ve dealt with various difficulties with our oldest.  In front of her, there are many obstacles (in terms of developmental delays) most of which, she has no idea; however, as her mama, I’m fully aware of them.  On Saturday we received a letter from a visit we had with a genetic researcher/doctor.  It didn’t leave me with warm fuzzies either, but more of that pit feeling.  You know the pit.  It appears to be an unconquerable wall standing in front of you, and if you look at this way, then that’s what it will be.

It was in that moment, as my stomach turned with that unwelcome old friend “anxiety,” that I wanted a mocha, or something sweet to deal with that moment.  But alas, I knew it was my will versus the wall, and I wasn’t going to let it conquer me.  It didn’t and I found that my soul needed time to be creative.  To let out tears of the unknown, talk with God about it, paint (something I haven’t done in a while) and create, and I found my soul (and stomach) was the better for it.  I’m learning a lot about myself (and my jeans have also noticed–in a good way).  One of those things is my renewed love of cooking, while baking takes a backseat.  This roasted chicken is one of them.  It will definitely earn you a couple of “ooos” & “awws” in the kitchen, while not taking much time standing in the kitchen.  Again, thanks for reading and sharing with me in this journey.  I’m certain that I’m not the only one with that unconquerable wall staring at me, but I’m certain you too can conquer it.

 

A Year Ago: Traditions

Roasted Chicken (printable recipe)

I love roasted chicken, because it appears that you’ve been slaving in the kitchen much longer than you actually did.  Plus, take the carcass and turn it into chicken broth.

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
bundle of fresh thyme
coconut oil
3 strips quality bacon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425.  Have ready a dutch oven.  Take your chicken and remove all the insides, clip any nails still attached and rinse with cool water.  Pat dry the outside & inside of the bird.  Be generous in sprinkling salt inside the cavity of the bird, along with ground pepper.  Rub coconut oil on the outside of the bird on the breasts, along with under the breast skin.  Sprinkle salt & pepper under the breast skin & on top of the breast.

Put the bundle of thyme inside the cavity.  Place your whole bird in the dutch oven.  By using a dutch oven, you will not have to deal with trussing the chicken.  Take the wings and tuck them behind the back of the chicken.  Now with a pair of kitchen shears, snip an opening on the fat portion near the birds downside (butt) on both sides, in order to tuck the drumstick ends through the holes (consult picture).


Place the three strips of bacon across the breast and put into the oven, cook for 20-25 minutes.  After 20-25 minutes, remove the bacon and turn down the heat to 350.  Baste the chicken.  Cook for an additional 25-35 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 165 (poke it between the drumstick & breast).

Once it hits 165, remove from oven.  If you want to make gravy using the drippings go ahead.  Serve it up & enjoy.  Be sure to use the carcass for some great stock.


Chicken Chilaquiles

What do you do when you don’t know if you should make chicken tacos or chicken tortillas?  You do the most sensible thing and make Chicken Chilaquiles.  If you’re not familiar with chilaquiles, it is typically fried tortillas topped with a green or red sauce then simmered to break down the tortillas.  Chicken can be added, but isn’t always the case.  You can top it with queso fresca & crema and refried beans.

In my rendition of chilaquiles, I’ve used corn tortillas (no frying), a simple green sauce with chicken & cheese.  This is one of those so easy, yet so good–you’ll wonder why you’ve been making tacos or enchiladas this whole time.  I didn’t make mine very spicy as I only had one can of puree green chilis and who would’ve known that the salsa in the fridge was moldy (it was Organic–I blame it on that).  You can easily make it spicier by adding jalapenos, chili flakes or some other tongue burning inducer during the sauce stage.

We ate this & drank Strawberry Margaritas for Cinco de Mayo, because I didn’t want to make anything too complicated.   If that’s you–then enlist in this quick.  Plus, you could easily buy a rotisserie chicken to save on time.

Chicken Chilaquiles (printable version)

I used a can of pureed green chilis from Trader Joe’s, which you can add more than one can to make the dish more spicy.

Ingredients

2 Tb canola oil
1 onion, sliced
2 Tb kosher salt
3 – 4 cups water
1 can green chilis
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, plus additional for topping
3 cups chicken, pulled off fashion (I roasted a chicken, pulled off the chicken & used some breast, thigh & drumsticks)
10 corn tortillas

**Toppings: sliced radishes, fresh chopped cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheese, lime

Directions: Put the canola oil in a dutch oven or large pot.  Heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the sliced onions to the pot until nicely browned.  Add the can of green chilis & 3 cups of water until it hits a roaring boil.  Add the sliced corn tortillas & shredded cheese.  Stir & thoroughly mix. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes, then add the chicken.  You will want to stir occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.  The chilaquiles will thicken, the cheese will melt, & the liquid will soak into the tortillas & soften them.  Serve once most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Top with cilantro, radishes, shredded cheese, sour cream & squeeze of lime.


Comfort of Chicken-n-Dumplings

One of my favorite summer events was going camping with other family’s from our church family.  We would go to Indian Hills in the Laguna Mountains right outside of San Diego (one benefit of growing up in a town like Yuma, AZ).  The parents would do who knows what, while us kids would find the most willing & easily taken advantage of adult to take us to the pool.  We would also try to get some wax paper from the ladies who made the meals, because there was the monster of all slides with other puny playground equipment around.

After watching Swiss Family Robinson, I was convinced that living on a deserted island in a tree was pretty much the best place ever.  And here in the middle of Indian Hills was a tree house that emulated all I ever dreamed.  Aside from the stairs leading up to the tree house (the key was “Don’t Look Down!”), once you got to the top we would run toward our destiny–our anticipated ride down.  The ride being the largest slide I have ever encountered.  It was as if we were Fred Flintstone for a mere section in the opening credits as he slid down the Brontosaurus’ neck.  In fact, the camp specifically had painted on the wooden side enclosing the slide, “NO WAX PAPER.”  But we threw caution to the wind.  At that very moment, we embraced all that we knew to be a kid.  So what did we do?  We would sneak some up anyway.   There was a thrill knowing we were breaking the rules, in order to gain that perfect amount of speed and a little bit of vertigo.  All for round two & three and so one as we raced back to the stairs to start again.  It’s no wonder that kids are innately born with tons of energy with no awareness that their play is actually exercise.  Any rational person would quickly realize the time it took us to climb up wasn’t worth the ride down.  But we were living dangerously with our smuggled in wax paper.

It was also no wonder that when dinner time hit, we were starving like the deserted inhabitants we envisioned ourselves to be.  While the Swiss Family Robinson’s dream hit the fan around 4:30, as we whimpered to our parents about our stomachs eating themselves.  I strolled on over to the eating area around 4:00 where Gramma Naomi Quinn was preparing dinner for us.  Now, Gramma Quinn was that quintessential, older lady that you envision having rhythm in the kitchen.  She knew what paired well.  She knew how to feed an army.  And she knew how to give some of the best, big Gramma hugs a child (or adult) could imagine.

She was known by everyone as Gramma Quinn.  When our church did a baking auction to raise money for the Youth Group, her homemade cinnamon rolls were the big ticket item.  Because with those simple six words, “They were made by Gramma Quinn,” had more clout than a notary stamp.  She came up to me, as I shivered in the cool breeze, and asked, “Kamille, what would you like me to fix for dinner?”  By her asking me that question, it made me think the following:  a.) I would be picking dinner for everyone else b.) that “Gramma Quinn” only asked me & no one else and c.) knowing she made the best (and only) Chicken-n-Dumplings I ever tasted in my whole seven years of living.  “Your chicken-n-dumplings please!”, I replied.  She smiled and said, “Well, I think that would be perfect on a cool evening like this.  (and indulging me a little bit) And do you think that would hit the spot for you?”  “Oh YES!,” I said.

Me (8 yrs), Andrew (2 1/2 yrs), Willy (10 yrs)

That wouldn’t be the only time Gramma Quinn would make me chicken-n-dumplings, but this was the first where she made them to order on my request.  Whenever I think about the creamy, salty, buttery dumpling laced with the gravy-like stew sprinkled with pepper on top, I always think of her and how she nourished my body and my soul with her big pot of goodness and her big Gramma bear hug.  And so in her memory and my childhood nostalgia, make this hearty pot of chicken-n-dumplings.  I think you’ll be recalling your own childhood dinner stories as you take your first bite.

My recipe is a transfiguration of sorts, which I find very handy when you’re trying to cook from scratch with shortcuts..if you will.

Chicken-n-Dumplings (printable recipe)

Now there are so many ways in which you could use chicken for the recipe.  You could boil down a whole chicken, then use the chicken stock & the chicken for the soup.  Or you could use some chicken breasts & pre-made chicken stock.  Or you could buy a rotisserie chicken, remove the meat, then boil the carcass with the veggies to make your own stock.  You be the judge.

Ingredients:

One rotissiere chicken, meat removed & cut into bite sized chunks
6 cups water
2 carrots, big chunk slices
1 onion, cut into quarters
2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Dumplings

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 Tb shortening
3/4 cup buttermilk

Directions:

Making the broth: In a dutch oven or big stock pot, add your chicken carcass, cold water, carrots, onion, celery & salt.  Bring to a boil, cover & lower heat.  Simmer for 45 minutes (Time saving tips below).  Remove chicken carcass.  Strain veggies out & reserve the carrots & celery (discard the onion).  Put a sieve over a bowl and ladle the chicken broth to separate any remaining particles.  Rinse your pot, pour the broth back in and keep heat on medium heat.  Now make those dumplings.

Make the dumplings: Combine the flour, baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt; cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture is consistency of coarse meal.  Add the buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead 4 or 5 times–no more, you’re going for biscuit like.  Pat the dough down to a 1/4-inch thickness.  Set aside.

Bringing it altogether: Put the pot of broth on medium-high heat & bring it to a boil, and stir in the milk & pepper.  Correct seasonings, if you so desire.  Take the dumplings and pinch off 1 1/2-inch pieces, one or two at a time and drop into the boiling broth & reduce the heat to medium-low.  Stir from time to time to keep the dumplings from sticking.  Continue dropping in the dumplings until there are no more.  Cook for 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the cut chicken, carrots, & celery to the pot and simmer until heated through.  Remove from heat, a couple of grinds with pepper & serve.

Time Saving Tips:

  1. Use the rotisserie chicken for the chicken, but use boxed chicken broth instead of making your own.
  2. The original recipe calls for cooking up a whole chicken for 60-70 minutes to make the broth; however, I find an already roasted chicken makes for a deeper & richer broth.

Pull out the recipe box

As I mentioned a couple posts back about my cooking class and all the wonderful food I enjoyed, but didn’t have the recipes quite yet.  Well, I do now and I would love to share some of them with you.  But before I do that…I have to tell you a rather sweet & lovely morning I woke up to.

First off, I had a date with Ben last night and dominated the conversation (thanks for listening).  I dumped on him about how I’ve been feeling as a stay at home mom (ie trying to feed the kids in a fashionable time frame, wanting to enjoy a hot cup of coffee for once, trying really hard to run the inner workings of our house while spending quality time with my girls, etc etc etc).  As he was listening, he asked, “what would your ideal day look like with the girls?”  I think I repeated about three times, “well it would look like, no but that would be unrealistic,” while he would continue to say, “I didn’t ask what’s realistic, but idealistic” (here my realistic hubby telling his idealistic wife to stop being realistic–gotta love it).

So one of my answers was being able to enjoy a hot cup of coffee, sit down for breakfast all together and come home from Thursday playgroup with lunch already made to serve when we walk in the door (and a little bit more I’m leaving out, maybe it was a massage?).  Well, listen he did.  He took care of the oldest breakfast, had an americano for me and when I thought it couldn’t get any better…”here,” he said diverting my attention to a clear rubbermaid container, “a grilled cheese sandwich that just needs to be heated up and apple slices for the girl’s lunch.”

This is what hospitality looks like to a mother with two young children, who just the day before wanted to drive far, far away by herself.  I’m blessed to have such a guy and I try really hard to not take it for granted.  And as you read this and maybe make one of the recipes, I hope you will find someone you can bless through the simple act of hospitality, in the form of a meal.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

adapted from Thomas Keller, Ad Hoc

IMG_3754I personally am not a big fan of fried chicken, but I do believe some of you are…specifically Liz S.

Ingredients:

1 gallon cold water

1 cup plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey

12 bay leaves

1 head of garlic, smashed but not peeled

2 tablespoons black peppercorns

3 large rosemary sprigs

1 small bunch of thyme

1 small bunch of parsley

Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

Two 3-pound chickens

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons onion powder

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

2 cups buttermilk

Vegetable oil, for frying

Rosemary and thyme sprigs, for garnish

In a very large pot, combine 1 quart of the water with 1 cup of the salt and the honey, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Add the lemon zest and juice and the lemon halves and bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Let cool completely, then stir in the remaining 3 quarts of cold water. Add the chickens, being sure they’re completely submerged, and refrigerate overnight.

Drain the chickens and pat dry. Scrape off any herbs or peppercorns stuck to the skin and cut each bird into 8 pieces, keeping the breast meat on the bone.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Put the buttermilk in a large, shallow bowl. Working with a few pieces at a time, dip the chicken in the buttermilk, then dredge in the flour mixture, pressing so it adheres all over. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet lined with wax paper.

In a very large, deep skillet, heat 1 inch of vegetable oil to 330°. Fry the chicken in 2 or 3 batches over moderate heat, turning once, until golden and crunchy and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of each piece registers 160°, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to paper towels to drain, and keep warm in a low oven while you fry the remaining chicken pieces. Transfer the fried chicken to a platter, garnish with the herb sprigs and serve hot or at room temperature.

Mile High Buttermilk Biscuits

adapted Cooks Illustrated


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These are truly a phenomenal buttermilk biscuit, which are super quick & easy.

Ingredients:

2 C flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 1/2 C buttermilk

Additional flour

2 Tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 500ºF. Spray a 9 in springform or cake pan with some nonstick spray.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt to a bowl and mix the ingredients together evenly. Using a fork or pastry blender, cut in the butter until the pieces are no bigger than a small pea. Fold in the buttermilk until everything is just blended, and there are no streaks of flour remain. Do not overmix, the mixture should still be lumpy.

Line a plate or tray with some flour and using a 1/4 C measuring cup or 1/4 C ice cream/cookie scoop or eyeball it & use your hands, scoop out balls of the dough onto the tray of flour. Flour your hands and roll each ball around in the flour to evenly coat them in a layer of flour. The dough is very wet and very sticky. Place the dough balls into the prepared pan. Place 9 balls around in a ring and 3 balls in the center of the pan. Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter.

Bake for 5 minutes at 500ºF (middle rack) and then lower the temperature to 450ºF and bake for another 15 minutes.

Apple Tarte Tatin

IMG_3772

Pate Brisee

12 oz flour, sifted

1 tsp salt

8 oz unsalted butter, diced

1/4 C club soda (more or less)

Put flour, salt, and butter in food processor. Mix until it looks like grated parmesan. Add club soda a little at a time until pastry forms a ball and does not stick to sides. Dump dough onto a flat surface and push it away from you using the ball of your hand.  Do this two or three times.  Combine into a disc using your hands (don’t worry it will look pretty crumbly, which is normal).  Put dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.  Let it rest on countertop for 10-15 minutes, till a bit pliable.  Then roll for your pie pan.

Ingredients for Apple Tarte Tatin

8 tart (granny smith) apples

3/4 C sugar

1/2 stick unsalted butter

creme fraiche to serve

You need an oven proof frying pan –  cast-iron ovenproof frying pan is fine.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Peel, halve, and core apples. Melt butter in pan on stove. Add sugar (just sprinkle it on top of the butter) and place the apples decoratively on top (cut side down). Cook slowly until caramelized. This can take up to one hour. Do not stir! (Clearly, low heat here.)

When cooked (check by lifting an apple and seeing what’s going on), remove from heat.

Roll the pastry, put it on top of the apples. Tuck the sides in. Cook in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove, take a flat dish and turn the tarte upsidedown. Serve warm with creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream. You can also scrape a vanilla bean into the apples at the beginning of the caramelization and let the pod sit in there with them, too, but it’s not totally necessary.


Poached Pears

IMG_3799

Ingredients

2 cups Orange Muscat
1 medium red beet (1/4 pound), peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
7-8 small firm-ripe pears (3/4 to 1 pound total), peeled, halved lengthwise, and cored

Bring wine, beet, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and bay leaves to a boil in a 1 1/2- to 2-quarts saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved.

Add pears and cover with a round of parchment paper. Simmer, turning occasionally, until pears are tender and liquid is syrupy, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer pears to a bowl. Discard cinnamon stick and bay leaves and pour syrup over pears. Cool completely in syrup, about 30 minutes.

Poached pears can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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