I Hear There is Yummy Chicken in Morocco

Morrocan Chicken Final

This one requires some explanation. I have this Dutch Oven cookbook that I like a lot and this recipe title caught my eye, Moroccan Chicken and Pastina Bake. The picture above is from the second time I made this dish (I trashed all of the pics from the first time because they did not look yummy enough).

I hate to say it, but the first time I made it, it was bland and tasteless. And, I always follow the instructions explicitly when it’s a new recipe so you know I’m speaking the truth here. However, when necessary, I will take artistic license on future attempts of a recipe.

Trust me. It was necessary.

I thought it was weird that I wasn’t instructed to brown the chicken first (so, essentially boiled chicken. yuck.) So, on my second attempt, I used a Tweaked Out version of a Bob Greene pork rub to give it some pizzazz. For the original rub, click here.

My family agreed that my zipped up version of this Morrocan dish was waaaayy better than the original. The recipe below is what I’ll be going with from now on.

Moroccan Chicken with a Bob Greene Kick / The Dutch Oven Cookbook

Servings:  6-8

Cook & Prep Time: 90 minutes (30 minutes prep / 60 minutes cooking)

 You will need: 

  • a 7-qt Le Creuset stock pot
  • 1 small mixing bowl
  • a garlic press (unless you want to mince your garlic)
  • chef’s knife
  • tongs
  • zester
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)

Ingredients:

Chicken & Rub:

10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

4 garlic cloves, pressed

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

2 Tablespoons of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1 Tablespoon of cinnamon

1/2 Tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

Everything Else:

1 lb of cherry tomatoes, rinsed and stemmed

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of salt (and more to taste)

1 large red onion, diced

1 quart of chicken stock

1 lb of penne pasta

2 cinnamon sticks

Zest and juice of 1 orange

Directions: 

Chicken:

Prepare the chicken first. In a small bowl, mix the following ingredients: dark brown sugar, oregano, cinnamon, salt and unsweetened cocoa powder. Mix these well with a fork. Then, add the pressed garlic and olive oil.  Use a fork to mix thoroughly until it is like a paste.

Place your chicken thighs on a cutting board. Dry them with a paper towel and then add the rub to the top of chicken thighs. Then, let the chicken marinate in the rub at room temperature for thirty minutes.

Chicken with Rub

While the chicken is marinating, prepare everything else so you are ready to go. And, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat some olive oil in the stock pot to medium high. Brown the chicken thighs on both sides for about 2 minutes each. Place on a platter until all have been browned.

While the chicken is resting, add the tablespoon of olive oil to the stock pot. Add the cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cover the stock pot and put in the oven to bake for 15 minutes.

When the 15 minutes is up, pull the stock pot out of the oven, place on the stove and add the rest of the ingredients. Layer: pasta, chicken thighs, red onion, cinnamon sticks, orange zest, orange juice and chicken stock. Make sure there is enough liquid to just cover everything. (If you need to add a bit more stock, do it.)

Add a little more salt and pepper, put the lid back on the stock pot and put the pot back in the 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.  

The revised version of this dish was very tasty! Try it, you’ll like it.

I promise.

 

What do you do with a Pomegranate?

Pomegranate braised short ribs - final

You guys are going to think I’m nuts, but here is another short rib recipe. I love these things – they are relatively inexpensive and really delicious. They take a while to cook, but are worth it.

Today is my husband’s birthday so I picked this recipe to make for his special day. First, because it was a short rib recipe and second, because I was intrigued by the pomegranate. I’ve never cooked with them. However, I do recall eating one as a child and having memories of them being kind of hard to eat, really messy and not very fulfilling as a snack.

Pomegranates & Wine

This recipe is in my December 2012 issue of my everyday FOOD magazine if you want to review the original.

Pomegranate Braised Short Ribs / everyday FOOD Magazine

Servings:  6-7

Cook & Prep Time:  20-25 minutes for prepping and 3 hours for cooking

 You will need: 

  • 7-quart stock pot
  • small bowl for pomegranate seeds
  • chef’s knife
  • tongs
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)
  • platter
  • sauce pan
  • sieve

Ingredients:

12 bone-in short ribs (3-inch pieces)

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1 cup of dry red wine (I found pomegranate wine!!!!!)

3 cups of pomegranate juice

1 large yellow onion, sliced into wedges

1/4 cup of flour

10 sprigs of Thyme

1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds, for garnish

Salt and pepper

Directions:

 

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

Season the ribs on all sides with salt, and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in the stock pot to medium-high so you can brown the ribs. Brown them on all sides for about 3 minutes a side. I worked in batches. When browned, remove the ribs and place on the platter.

Turn the heat down to medium and give it few minutes. Then add to the stock pot:  garlic, onions and thyme. Cook, stirring for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the flour and coat the onion mixture – about a minute. Next, add the pomegranate juice and wine and whisk together. Bring to a boil while stirring frequently.

Turn the heat off, then add the short ribs back to the pot.

Cover the stock pot with the lid and place in the oven for 3 hours. Bake until the ribs are easily pierced with a paring knife.

Once done, remove the ribs to a platter.

short ribs out of the oven

Strain the liquid into a fat separator and let sit briefly. Since I do not have one of these, I used a sieve and strained the liquid into a sauce pan and let sit for about 5 minutes. Then I spooned the as much fat off the top as possible. Once that was done, I boiled the liquid down about 10 minutes so it looked like a gravy.

For the garnish, cut the pomegranate in half. Holding one of the halves over a bowl, give the pomegranate a squeeze (to loosen the seeds) and smack the top of it with a large spoon. This process, while sounding bizarre, actually works to get the seeds out with too much of mess (it still looked like a mini crime scene, but I’m thinking it could have been worse if I has used another method).

pomegranate

Side Dish:  I served the braised short ribs with goat cheese mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. Make sure and cover the short ribs with the gravy and garnish with the pomegranate seeds.

This is my favorite of the short rib recipes that I’ve posted so far.

By the way, the birthday boy was happy and that’s all I cared about!

Baked Salmon with Fennel & Cauliflower

Salmon with Cauliflower & Fennel finalThis is another salmon recipe I found in my  everyday FOOD  magazine – the December 2012 issue. We LOVE salmon in our house and I make it about 2-3 times a month.

I’m always on the look out for new recipes.

I did change this recipe a bit from the original – below is my version.

Salmon with Fennel, Cauliflower & Bell Pepper / Everyday Food Magazine

Servings:  6

Cook & Prep Time: 40 (15 minutes prepping / 25  minutes cooking)

You will need: 

  • baking dish
  • rimmed baking sheet
  • small bowl
  • tongs
  • spatulas/wooden spoons
  • chef’s knife

Ingredients:

6 salmon fillets (mine are usually about 6 oz)

2 tablespoon of olive oil

zest of one orange, then orange sliced into wedges

1/2 head of cauliflower, thinly sliced (the original recipe never mentions cauliflower, I just added it)

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

2 tiny cans of sliced green olives

1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

dried tarragon

salt and pepper

Directions: 

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl, combine the cauliflower, fennel, orange zest, orange slices, green olives, olive oil and yellow bell pepper. Give it a good stir before placing the mixture on the rimmed cookie sheet. Season with salt and pepper.

Cauliflower, fennel ready to be roasted

To prepare the salmon, brush it with olive oil and season it with salt, pepper and the dried tarragon.

Salmon ready for oven

With both dishes prepared, put the fennel/cauliflower in the oven first for 10 minutes. When the 10 minutes are up, add the salmon to the oven for 15 minutes. At the end of the 15 minutes, both the salmon and the fennel/cauliflower will be done! You will want to check the salmon – it should be opaque.

Side Dishes: I served this salmon with a quinoa dish that I’ve made before. Click here for the recipe (the kids LOVE it).

This salmon recipe made it into the “Make It Again” category. I will be honest and let you know that my two youngest kids would NOT eat the fennel/cauliflower side dish. And, that was fine with me and the hubs – more for us!

Chili Coconut Braised Short Ribs

Braised short ribs are the best thing on the planet! I’m really not kidding.

This recipe comes to us from my cookbook, Cook This Now. This cookbook has some great recipes in it. However, some of the recipes require things that I have difficulty finding in my store.

I mean, I could probably eventually find the stuff I need if I went to a couple of different stores, but I’m not that dedicated. I’m okay with substituting and “making do”.

For instance, this recipe called for boneless short ribs.- one of the things that I can’t find. However, I can usually find bone-in short ribs so that is what I used instead.

This dinner was fantastic!! You have to try it.

Chili Coconut Braised Short Ribs / Cook This Now / Melissa Clark

Servings:  6-7

Cook & Prep Time:  20-25 minutes for prepping and 2 hours for cooking

 You will need: 

  • 7-quart stock pot
  • a garlic press (unless you want to mince your garlic)
  • chef’s knife
  • tongs
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)
  • zester

Ingredients:

Short Ribs 

8 bone-in short ribs

1 tablespoon of olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced (I press them with my garlic press)

2 jalapenos, minced (since I’m a wimp, I only use 1)

2 inches of fresh ginger, grated (I used 1 tablespoon of minced ginger in a jar)

1 small shallot, minced

1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds (I used 1 teaspoon of ground cumin – I couldn’t find cumin seeds)

1 can of coconut milk

1/2 cup of water

Juice and zest of two fresh limes

chopped cilantro for garnish

Salt, pepper and chili powder

Directions:

 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Season the ribs on all sides with saltpepper and chili powder.

Heat the olive oil in the stock pot to medium-high so you can brown the ribs. Brown them on all sides for about 3 minutes a side. I worked in batches. When browned, remove the ribs and place on a plate.

Turn the heat down to medium and give it few minutes. Then add to the stock pot:  ginger, jalapenos, shallot, cumin and garlic. Cook, stirring for about 2 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk, lime juice and zest. Also, season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a simmer, then add the short ribs back to the pot. Cover and put the stock pot into the oven for 2 hours.

Side Dish:  I served this with cilantro-lime rice and sautéed green beans.

Delish!!

Not Your Mama’s Turkey Sandwich!

My husband came home from a boy’s weekend with a recipe. Yep, people, you heard me, he came home from a boy’s weekend with a recipe.

Weird, right? I thought so too. Aren’t they usually too busy scratchin’, burpin’, drinkin’ and fishin’ to talk about recipes? Apparently not.

One of the wives sent these pre-made sandwiches with her husband for the boys’ weekend. I sent nothing. Hmmmm….

Kudos to her though because these sandwiches are the best and easiest dinner I’ve made in a while. And, it was a HIT. Everyone loves these! My husband called these turkey sliders and the name has stuck.

Turkey Sliders

Servings:  5 or 6

Cook & Prep Time: 40 minutes (10 minutes prep / 30 minutes cooking)

What you will need:

    • 9 x 13 dish
    • small sauce pan for melting butter
    • cooking spray
    • bread knife
    • whisk
    • aluminum foil

Ingredients:

1 lb of shaved turkey

2 packages of King’s Hawaiian rolls (use NO substitute)

12-16 oz of shredded mozzarella cheese

1 stick of butter, melted

2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons of garlic salt (I’ve made this twice and 1 teaspoon is good, I think)

2 teaspoons of poppy seeds

Equal parts of honey & Dijon mustard

Directions:

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Begin melting the butter in the small sauce pan on medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, add the Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt and poppy seeds. Mix with the whisk.

Spray the 9×13 dish with cooking spray. After cutting the Hawaiian rolls in half, place the bottoms in the 9×13 pan. Squeeze as many as you can in the dish – I can usually fit about 20 rolls.

Next, evenly distribute the shaved turkey over the rolls.

Next, cover the shaved turkey with the shredded mozzarella cheese. I usually go through one and a half of the 8-ounce bags. When done spreading the cheese, place the tops onto the sandwiches.

Next, pour the melted butter mixture evenly over the sandwiches and cover with foil.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. For the spread (if you want it) –  mix equal parts of honey and Dijon mustard for a honey mustard spread for the sandwiches.

I served these sandwiches with fruit and chips. As you can see, this recipe is very easy and your family will tell you that it’s super yummy. Enjoy!

Taco Ring: Vegetarian Style

Taco Ring – if you’ve been following either of my blogs (this one or The Engledow Chronicles), you know that my family loves this recipe.

The original recipe comes from The Pampered Chef Busy Mom’s Cookbook  that I bought at one of the gazillion Pampered Chef parties that I attended in the 90s. However, I will admit that I do love my round pizza stone.

You can read my revamped carnivorous version here – click.

Why am did I make a vegetarian version? Well, my oldest started college this fall and two of her roommates are vegetarians. This recipe is pretty inexpensive to make so I thought Rachel could treat her roommates to this family favorite.

Vegetarian Version of the Taco Ring:  

1/2 cup of rice, cooked (use whatever kind makes you happy)

1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 pkg of taco seasoning

2-3 cups of shredded cheese

3 containers of crescent rolls

sour cream (as much as you want)

salsa (as much as you want)

1 lime

handful of cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon of butter      

Directions:

Cook the rice (follow the directions for whatever rice your using – I cooked my rice in veggie stock to give it some extra flavor). Once the rice is cooked, add the tablespoon of butter, juice of the one lime, taco packet and handful of chopped cilantro. Give the mixture a good stir while still in the pot.

In a large bowl combine the rice mixture, black beans, all of the cheese (however much you want), as much sour cream as you want, and as much salsa as you want.  Mix all the ingredients until it has a nice filling consistency. I use a cookie scoop to put the mixture into the crescent rolls – the kicker is to arrange the triangles from the crescent roll package in to a circle so you get the “ring” effect.  (see pics). Then pop into a 375 degree oven for about 17 minutes.     

    

Step 1:  Make a circle / Step 2:  Fill Crescent Rolls with Rice Mixture / Step 3:  Flip the Triangles & Seal the Ring

It’s very easy and super yummy. It also reheats well in the microwave.

I think you will find that this will become a favorite of yours (it’s soooo easy) and of your family’s (because it’s so darn delicious). Enjoy!

Citrus Salmon on the Grill

I saw a picture of some yummy looking salmon in my recent everyday FOOD  magazine But, there really wasn’t a recipe of sorts.

So, I looked at the picture and tried to recreate it. I mean, it didn’t look that complicated.

It’s really a recipe for the grill – our grill as unavailable so I used our indoor Jenn-Air.

Our family loves salmon so I would have to do something completely awful to it for them not to consume it. With that being said, this recipe for salmon was a hit.

Citrus Salmon / Everyday Food Magazine

Servings:  6

Cook & Prep Time: 30 (15 minutes prepping / 20  minutes cooking)

You will need: 

  • grill
  • spatula
  • zester
  • measuring utensils (liquid & dry)
  • chef’s knife

Ingredients:

6 salmon fillets (mine are usually about 6 oz)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 oranges, sliced

1 lemon, sliced

fresh tarragon and/or basil

salt and pepper

Directions: 

 

Lay out the salmon on a cutting board, pat dry, coat with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

On another cutting board, slice the oranges and the lemon. (Before I sliced the lemon, I zested the lemon peel over the fillets as well.) You will need two slices of orange and one slice of lemon per salmon fillet.

I also stripped some tarragon leaves from the stems for salmon.

Heat the oil (all of it) on your indoor Jenn-Air or stove top grill pan on medium high heat.

When the grill pan is ready, place two slices of orange on the grill, place a salmon fillet, sprinkle with the tarragon, and place a lemon slice on top (make six of these stacks).

I squeezed a little orange juice over the fillets, covered them with a foil tent, and cooked until opaque (about 20 minutes).

If you cook on the outside grill, spray your grill with cooking spray, heat it up and cook the fish over indirect heat (not direct) until opaque (maybe 10-15 minutes).

Side Dishes: I served this salmon with a salad and roasted asparagus.

I’m going to make this again and use the outside grill next time! Very light and tasty.