slow cooker garlic chicken thighs

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I jumped on the slow cooker train way too late.  Even when I actually had one in my small kitchen, I kept it in the box because there just wasn’t any room for it.  So this year, when K and I moved into our new townhouse, which had a kitchen about double the size of our old kitchen, I couldn’t wait to give the slow cooker a try.

Since then, the slow cooker gets used about once a week.  Our regulars are pulled pork, chili, and of course, these garlic chicken thighs.  I love this chicken dish (and generally any slow cooker dish) because I can put everything in the slow cooker (even if the chicken is still frozen) and voila! 8 hours later, I have a stunning, juicy yet crispy chicken dish.

Slow Cooker Garlic Chicken Thighs
(Makes 2 servings)

4 chicken thighs, skin on and patted dry
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup white wine such as Chardonnay
1/3 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together the wine and flour until no lumps remain.  Set aside.

Add the onion and garlic to the slow cooker and season with salt and pepper.  Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the slow cooker, skin side up.  Pour the wine mixture on top of the chicken.

Cover and cook for 4 hours on high, or 8 hours on low.

Transfer 2 cups of the sauce from the slow cooker to a small saucepan over medium heat.  Allow to simmer and reduce to about half the volume.  Set aside.

Serve the chicken thighs over couscous with some of the reduced sauce.

slow cook on,
Sharon

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Za’atar crusted Chicken

_dsc0004Growing up in Israel, Za’atar was a staple at our house.  Za’atar is a spice mix made from thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, and sumac (along with a few more mix ins) and is typically sprinkled over hummus or on bread. A few months ago, I was ecstatic to find Za’atar on Amazon – it was an authentic mix, imported from the middle east – in one pound bags.  Needless to say, I was looking for some other ways to use the mix aside from when snacking with some hummus.

This recipe is so so easy.  And as a busy mom, I’m always looking for the flexibility that this recipe provides.  Aside from searing the chicken, everything else is cooked together in one pan, and the whole recipe requires about 10 minutes of hands-on time.  This is something I can prep ahead of time and let it cook while I bathe and feed my son.

Za’atar crusted Chicken
(serves 2-3)

1 lb boneless chicken thighs
2 medium potatoes, cut into 2 inch cubes
1 sweet potato, cut into 2 inch cubes or slices
1-2 carrots, cut to 1/2 inch thick slices
1 turnip, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
3 tbs Za’atar
1/2 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs olive oil

Set oven to 375 degrees.  Coat both sides of the chicken with 2 tbs Za’atar seasoning and sprinkle with lemon juice.  In a saute pan with 1 tbs olive oil and under medium heat, sear the chicken for about 45 seconds on each side.  In a pyrex pan, lay all the vegetables and sprinkle with the rest of the zaátar seasining and olive oil and mix to evenly coat.  Place seared chicken on top of vegetables, cover with foil and bake for 45-50 minutes, until vegetables are soft and chicken is cooked thoroughly.

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Cook on,
– shirley

 

Chicken Katsu Curry

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It has been unusually rainy and cold here in San Diego this winter.  Don’t get me wrong, we need the rain and I’ve welcomed the change in temperatures that I miss since moving from the east coast, but it still leaves me craving warm and cozy meals.  Soups usually fit the bill, but I was looking for something different.  Enter this rich and creamy curry, coupled with a crispy chicken breast – it really hit the spot!

Chicken Katsu Curry
(makes 2-3 servings)

For the curry:
1 tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 medium sized potatoes, diced into 2 inch cubes
1 red pepper, cut into 3 inch long sticks
3 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 tbs curry (I use golden curry sauce mix)
3 cups rice, cooked

For the chicken:
2 chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup vegetable oil

In a large skillet, under medium heat, saute garlic and peppers in olive oil for approximately 3 minutes.  Lower heat to low, add potatoes, carrots, and chicken stock. Continue to cook until the mix simmers, then add curry.  Mix well to ensure curry is dissolved or well mixed. Continue to cook until potatoes and carrots are soft, about 15 minutes. Add chicken stock or curry to thin or thicken the consistency, respectively, to your liking.

While curry is cooking, combine egg, milk, a dash of salt and pepper, and any seasonings you prefer (I like using adobo). Pound chicken breast to tenderize it, dip in egg mixture, followed by panko, and place into vegetable oil under medium-high heat.  Cook chicken until browned, approximately 4 minutes, then flip and repeat.

Serve curry and chicken over rice.

food on,
-Shirley

 

 

Grilled Fish Tacos

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I’ve talked before about my love of seafood and fish, partly due to being raised near great the great waters of New England.  Lucky for me, I was able to potentially upgrade my access to great fish when I moved to San Diego.  And with El Nino warming up the pacific ocean waters, I’ve been in for a treat this year.  A coworker of mine headed fishing this past weekend, and came into work with a large cooler full of mahi mahi.  I came home with a few beautiful, fresh, filets, and I knew I had to make something simple with it so the fish would shine.

Fun fact – did you know mahi mahi, dorado, and dolphin fish are all different names for the same fish?

This dish is super simple.  I put some adobo and lemon on the fish and grilled it on our grill.  Topped it with a little cabbage, cheese, salsa and guacomole.  Took less than 20 minutes and less than 24 hours from swimming in the ocean to my belly.  Talk about fresh.

grilled fish tacos
(makes 2-3 servings)

2 mahi mahi filets
1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp adobo seasoning
6 small corn tortillas
2 cups cabbage, shredded
2 cups guacamole
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup cheese

Rinse your fish filets in warm water, and pat dry using a paper towel.  Spread adobo seasoning and juice of a half a lemon onto both sides of the fish filets.  Place the fish on a hot grill or pan, and cook on each side for about 3 minutes.  Once both sides are cooked, remove from heat.  Heat up some corn tortillas so they are warm and flexible.  Assemble cheese, fish, cabbage, and guacamole and salsa on each of the tortillas and enjoy!

fish on
– shirley

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Homemade Spinach Stuffed Ravioli with Chicken and Mushroom Pesto Sauce

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I love a new challenge.  So, when I decided I wanted to make fresh pasta at home, I wasn’t going to settle for a couple of pasta sheets for lasagna or some spaghetti.  I was going all out.  So what if I was going to make pasta for the first time.  I might as well make ravioli for the first time too.  I was lucky enough to have a quiet day at home last week and I decided to take full advantage of the opportunity.

If you ask me, the timing worked out perfectly.  While I waited for the dough to sit for 30 minutes, I made the spinach stuffing and the pesto sauce.  I had some homemade pesto on hand – thank you Mom – so everything else was ready in 30 minutes, and then it was just time to put the raviolis together and cook them.  Before I knew it, J and I had an incredibly filling dinner on the table!

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Homemade Spinach Stuffed Ravioli with Chicken and Mushroom Pesto Sauce
(serves 2-3)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil
4 oz fresh spinach
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp adobo seasoning
¼ cup chicken stock
2 oz grated cheeses – I used a parmesan, romano and asiago combo

2 chicken breasts
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil
¼ cup chicken stock
6 porcini mushrooms – cut in quarters
10 white mushrooms – cut in quarters
3 tbs pesto
¼ cup heavy cream or milk
salt and pepper, to taste

1 egg, wisked
6 sheets of pasta, each about 24 inches long

To make the spinach filling, sauté garlic with olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add fresh spinach and chicken stock, cover pan and lower heat and allow spinach to cook until wilted, about 7 minutes. Add nutmeg, adobo, and salt and pepper, to taste.  Sprinkle grated cheese mixture and mix.

For the sauce, sauté chicken breasts with olive oil and garlic on medium heat, cooking on each side for approximately 5 minutes.  Remove chicken from pan and replace with mushrooms and ¼ cup chicken stock.    While the mushrooms cook, slice the chicken and return to pan once mushrooms are cooked, about 7 minutes.  Add pesto, heavy cream or milk and stir.  Lower heat and allow mixture to come to a rolling boil.

On a flat, floured surface, lay one pasta sheet.  Add 1 tablespoon of filling to the pasta sheet, spacing filling about 3 inches apart.  Once an entire sheet has been covered in filling, brush the whisked egg mixture on the dough, and lay an additional pasta sheet on top.  With your finger, “glue” the two sheets of pasta together.  Rub your fingers around each filling scoop, removing any trapped air.  Use a knife or a cookie cutter to cut dough about 1-2 inches from the edge of the filling to create individual raviolis.

Sprinkle a cookie sheet with some flour, and lay raviolis on cookie sheet until ready to add to hot water.  Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, adding a bit of olive oil and salt.  Place raviolis, in 2-3 separate batches (depending on size of raviolis and pot) into the hot water for 3-4 minutes.  After cooking, strain raviolis.  Serve pesto sauce over raviolis and sprinkle with cheese.

food on,
– shirley

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Back to Basics: Home Made Pasta

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Guys. I discovered something last weekend.  Homemade pasta.  It’s easy. It’s fresh.  It’s quick.  And sooo worth it.  Just trust me and give it a try.  With the exception of the pasta maker, you even have all the ingredients on hand at home. Unless its groceries day.  Maybe.

I decided I was going to make pasta a few days beforehand, no recipe or pasta maker on hand.  Enter Amazon Free 2 day shipping, and I had a cheap and functional pasta maker in no time.  If you are looking for a pasta maker, my advice is to read some reviews on the internet, don’t be afraid to spend a few extra dollars, and remember that you can always go higher end as your skills require.  I have a KitchenAid mixer and opted to buy a separate pasta maker at first, I may upgrade in the future.  I didn’t go with the cheapest option, but definitely didn’t spend too much money and am very happy with what I got.

I made the dough in my KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook, not a necessity but definitely made the process easier.

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After the dough is formed, there are soooo many possibilities!  I had my eyes set on some ravioli, so I made that first.  With the extra dough I made pasta sheets for lasagna a couple days later!  Next, I am planning on making some linguini since it’s my favorite.  Sharon has already challenged me to add some dye to the pasta to step it up a notch – imagine spinach or tomato colored/flavored pasta!

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Homemade Pasta Dough
(makes 3-4 servings of pasta)

1/4 cup semolina flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a KitchenAid using the dough hook on a medium setting.  One by one, add the eggs and then the olive oil.  Mix until a uniform dough is formed.  Add flour, if needed if the dough is too sticky.

Remove dough from bowl and place on a dusted flat service.  Knead the dough for approximately 5-10 minutes, adding flour if necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow dough to rest for approximately 30 minutes.  If you want to store for longer, up to 2-3 days, place in the refrigerator.

When ready to use dough, cut dough into 4 equal sized pieces so it is easier to pass through the pasta machine.  Roll the dough until it is thin enough for the largest setting on the pasta maker.  Be cognoscente of how wide you roll the dough – try to keep it thinner than the width of your pasta maker – it will make rolling through the machine easier.  Sprinkle both sides of the dough and carefully pass it through the machine.  Continue to increase the settings on the machine, 1 or 2 notches at a time and sprinkle the dough with flour every 2-3 passes.  Work until the dough is at a setting of 6 or 7 –  go thinner than you think as the dough will expand when cooking.

Home made pasta can then be cut into any shape, filled with filling, etc.  Once it is ready to cook, boil a pot of water, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a teaspoon of salt to the water.  Once the water has come to a rolling boil, add the pasta, stirring to ensure it is not sticking to each other, and cook for approximately 3-4 minutes.

Food on
-shirley

turkey chili

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Hopefully everyone had a relaxing and delicious Thanksgiving!  Now that it’s officially December and the chilly nights are in full swing, chili has made its way back into the weekly dinner rotation.

Our family can thank Shirley for the introduction of chili.  Since then, it has become a favorite meal in the family.  We all love it for many reasons.  It’s easy to make, it tastes delicious, and it makes a huge quantity.  One pound of meat will get you a long way.  This means it gives me plenty of leftovers, which I have used as a pasta sauce, for chili dogs, or even in a chili omelet.  Feel free to try out the recipe with ground meat, but I’ve never had issues with using ground turkey.  It fact, I prefer it!  The sauce keeps it moist, and the spices keep it flavorful.  You really can’t go wrong.  Topped with some freshly grated mozzarella or a dollop of sour cream, it’s the perfect Sunday Night Football meal.

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Turkey Chili
(Serves 6)

½ large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound lean (93%) ground turkey
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground Ancho Chili pepper
Hot sauce, to taste
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 large potato, cut into small cubes
1 can red kidney beans
1 can chickpeas

In a large pot at medium heat, cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil until the garlic begins to brown.  Add the turkey, and stir it well with the onion and garlic.  Add the garlic powder, black pepper, salt, and Ancho Chili pepper.  Add as little or as much hot sauce as you prefer.

Once all the turkey is cooked, add the tomatoes, potatoes, kidney beans, and chickpeas.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Once boiling, cover the pot, lower the heat to low, and let the mixture simmer for 30-60 minutes.  The more time, the richer the flavors.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkling of cheddar or mozzarella cheese.

– food on,
Sharon

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