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.

 

Chicken Avgolemono (Huh?)

From Dictonary.com:

av·go·lem·o·no

 Greek  [ahv-goh-lem-uh-noh; Greek ahv-gaw-le-maw-naw] noun Greek Cookery. A  soup or sauce made with beaten eggs, lemon juice, and usually chicken broth.

Lemon Chicken Soup - Greek

This is another recipe from my new soup cookbook, easy soups.

New Cookbook

The hubs called with the usual inquiry, “What’s for dinner?” I didn’t know how to answer because I couldn’t pronounce the name of the soup!

Below is the original recipe. I doubled it for our family of four just so we could have some leftovers.

Here are a couple of observations:

Observation numero uno ~ some of the rice was crunchy. Yes, I know. I obviously did not let it cook long enough. After discussing with the family, we decided that orzo would be a better substitute so the next time I make it, I’m making it with orzo.

Observation numero dos, regarding the homemade croutons, um yeah. Something went awry. I don’t think the oil was hot enough or the bread wasn’t stale enough. After I cooked them in the stockpot in the oil, they got kind of soggy. I had to crisp them up by baking them in the oven. Next, time? I’m using store-bought croutons. Blasphemy, I know.

Chicken Avgolemono / Easy Soups pg 159

Servings:  4

Cook & Prep Time: 55 minutes total – 20 minutes for prep / 30-35 minutes for cooking

 You will need: 

  • a 7-quart stock pot
  • chef’s knife
  • a couple of mixing bowls
  • a ladle
  • measuring utensils
  • various spoons and spatulas

Ingredients:

Soup:

6 cups (or 1.5 quarts) of chicken stock

1 roasted chicken from the deli section of grocery, remove skin and pull all meat from the bones.

1/2 cup of long-grain rice

3 eggs

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and Pepper to taste

Croutons:

6 tablespoons of olive oil

4 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled & smashed

3 slices of stale white bread (3/4 inch thick, cut into 3/4 inch cubes)

Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Directions: 

 Bread cubes & garlic

Heat the stockpot to super hot, add the olive oil, and garlic cloves. When one cube sizzles and turns brown in 4 seconds, it’s time to add the bread cubes. Cook (stirring constantly) over medium heat for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Discard the garlic and drain the bread cubes on a paper towel.

Croutons

In the same stockpot, keep heat on medium and add the chicken stock. Next add the rice and bring to a boil. Bring down to a simmer for 15 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Add the chicken until completely warmed through. I let it cook for about 15 minutes.

While the chicken is warming in the soup, whisk the eggs and the lemon juice together in a mixing bowl. Next, whisk a ladle of warm chicken stock into the egg/lemon mixture to thin and temper the eggs.

Bring the heat down to low and pour the egg/lemon/stock mixture into the stockpot while vigorously whisking (you don’t want to scramble the eggs). This will thicken the soup. Remove from heat. 

Your soup is ready!

Serve in soup bowels and garnish with the croutons.

Avgolemono is a hearty, easy soup and I highly recommend giving it a try!

Orzo with Feta & Roasted Veggies

Veggie Orzo & SalmonSurprise, surprise! My going-to-be-college-sophomore cooked dinner for us the other night, and it was really, really good. She is always surprising me which is a good thing:)

One of her college roommates is a vegetarian and Rachel learned this easy, delicious recipe from her. Her roomie eats this as a main dish, but Rachel prepared it as a side dish with baked salmon. (Even my 13-year-old son had seconds!)

Orzo with Feta and Roasted Vegetables

Servings:  5-6

Cook & Prep Time: 35 minutes tops (10 minutes for prepping and 25 minutes for cooking).

 You will need: 

  • rimmed baking dish lined with foil
  • mixing bowl
  • chef’s knife
  • pot for cooking pasta
  • serving bowl
  • various spoons and spatulas
  • liquid measuring tools

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of orzo pasta

12 oz of crumbled feta cheese

3 medium-sized zucchinis (or one large eggplant), diced

2 red peppers, diced

2 yellow peppers, diced

1 red onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for coating the veggies)

salt and pepper

 Directions: 

In a mixing bowl, add the diced zucchini, red peppers, yellow peppers, red onion, and minced garlic. Coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Spread the veggie mixture on your lined baking sheet and cook in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.

With about 10 minutes left on the veggies, cook the orzo pasta.

Also, mix the 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and olive oil to make the dressing.

When everything is done, mix the veggies, orzo, feta cheese and coat with the dressing while everything is still warm so the feta melts a bit.

You are ready to serve it!

IMG_9590

Try this recipe. You will not be disappointed!

Bawdy, Flattened Chicken (aka Chicken Paillard)

IMG_8205 FinalDid you know that paillard in French means bawdy? I looked it up online and that’s what I found. Hmmm… Obviously, in culinary terms, it means flattened. How did meaning get from bawdy to flattened?

If anyone out there really knows French and determines that the research I did was faulty, please feel free to correct me.

I’ve made this dish three times and the third time was the best. Below is my modified recipe. The original recipe can be found in my Rachael Ray Classic 30-Minute Meals cookbook.

Chicken Paillard on Baby Greens / Classic 30-Minute Meals

Servings:  4 (depends on how many chicken breast you want to buy)

Cook & Prep Time: 35 minutes (15 minutes for prepping and 20 minutes for cooking).

You will need: 

  • a large skillet
  • large plate & foil
  • dish for flour
  • tongs
  • whisk
  • chef’s knife
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)

Chicken Ingredients:

8 chicken cutlets

Olive oil

4 tablespoons of butter, cut into pieces (let it set out and get to room temperature)

4 tablespoons of flour, then additional flour for coating chicken

Fresh tarragon, chopped

1 lemon, need both zest and juice

1/4 cup of white wine

2 cups of chicken stock

salt and pepper

1 bag of baby greens

Directions: 

Lay out the chicken breast cutlets on a cutting board, pat dry with a paper towel. Then dredge each piece in flour and season both sides with salt and pepper.

In the large skillet, heat the oil on medium to medium-high heat. Cook the chicken cutlets for 3 minutes per side.  Put the chicken in pan, sprinkle with some tarragon and lemon zest. Flip the chicken, squeeze a bit of lemon juice on the second side and also sprinkle with some tarragon. When done remove the chicken to a platter and cover with foil.

While the chicken is cooking, mix the 4 tablespoons of flour and the room-temperature butter until it looks like a paste. You will use this to thicken your sauce.

Once the chicken is done cooking, use the same pan and turn the heat down to low and give it a minute. Add the white wine to the pan to deglaze. Next add the flour-butter paste and whisk quickly – this is your rue. Turn the heat up to medium. While whisking, add the chicken stock and keeping stirring until the butter, flour and chicken stock are thoroughly incorporated. Your sauce is done when it can coat a spoon.

If you have left over tarragon, add it to your sauce. Also, squeeze some fresh lemon juice into the sauce as well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The Greens:  You are supposed to just use some lemon juice and olive oil. I did this the first time and it was too lemon-y. The last time I made it, I bought some Henri’s® Sweet & Tangy Blend Tas-tee Homestyle Dressing for the greens. I just used a light coating for baby greens. It was a nice complement to the chicken.

To Serve, cover the bottom of the plate with the warm sauce. Top with a small pile of the baby greens, 2 chicken cutlets and then drizzle more sauce over the tops of the cutlets.

Sides: I’ve made pasta as a side as you can see in the picture (use the brown sauce on the pasta). I’ve also made roasted asparagus – 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, asparagus, olive oil, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.

It’s been well-received every time I’ve made it. It’s a quick, but elegant meal if you need to impress someone and don’t have a lot of time!

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!

Sauteed Chicken & Olives with Dijon Asparagus

This recipe is a variation of one that I saw in my everyday FOOD magazine. I used sliced green olives instead of capers because that’s what I had available in my pantry.

Both the main dish and the side dish are very easy and quick to fix. And, everyone (and, I mean, everyone) cleans his or her plate!

The kids do pick around the green olives, but they do add a nice salty flavor to the sauce.

Sauteed Chicken with Olives / everyday FOOD (variation)

Servings:  4 (depends on how many chicken breast you want to buy)

Cook & Prep Time: 25 to 35 minutes (15 minutes for prepping and 10-15 minutes for cooking).

You will need: 

  • a large skillet
  • a medium skillet
  • tongs
  • whisk
  • wooden spoon
  • chef’s knife
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)

Chicken Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts or 8 chicken cutlets

Olive oil (about 3 tablespoons)

3 tablespoons of butter, cut into pieces

Flour

1 2.25-oz can of sliced green olives

2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

salt and pepper

Asparagus Ingredients:

2 bundles of asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

8 oz of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

salt and pepper

Directions: 

Chicken:

Lay out the chicken breasts on a cutting board, pat dry with a paper towel. Then dredge each piece in flour and season both sides with salt and pepper.

In the large skillet, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add one to two pats/tablespoons of butter and cook the chicken for 3-4 minutes. Then flip the chicken and cook for another 3-4 minutes. When done remove the chicken to a platter and cover with foil.

Now add the white wine vinegar to the pan to deglaze. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the bits. Then, add the butter and the olives (including the brine) to the pan. Stir until the butter is melted. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the skillet and warm for a few minutes.

I fix the asparagus while the chicken is cooking.

Asparagus:

In another skillet, cook the bacon until is crisp (medium high heat). When done, use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the skillet to a paper towel lined plate.

Add the asparagus to the skillet and cook for about 10 minutes. Then add the Dijon mustard and the bacon pieces. Cook for another 3 minutes or so.

Side Dish:   None. The chicken and the asparagus were enough.

To Serve, cover the chicken with the olive sauce and serve with a spoonful of the asparagus.

This dinner is very easy and delicious. We’ve had this a few times. Also, I’ve made the side dish with green beans instead of asparagus (which was more popular with kids).

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!