Taste and see …

Chicken and cherries April 30, 2010

Filed under: Dinner — F. Penner @ 8:43 PM
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I decided to branch out a bit from my usual tastes this week, and make a recipe I saw in a Rachael Ray magazine – Chicken and dried cherries, served over couscous.  I’ve made couscous before and liked it, but it was the flavored kind (like olive oil and garlic or parmesan – yum!).  And the recipe calls for curry powder, which I’ve had, but haven’t used it in my cooking.  And the cherries… well, I like dried cherries.  I like them in my granola bars, in my cookies, etc.  They’re different.  So I thought that a non-sweet recipe with dried cherries would be interesting.  I was right – it was interesting – in a good way 🙂

Chicken and dried cherries

  • One 10-oz. box couscous
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 3/4 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into cubes
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced, plus chopped leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk

Prepare the couscous according to the package.  Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the flour, curry powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Add the chicken and toss to coat.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until browned and just cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 tsp. olive oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.  Add the cherries and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil.  Stir in the evaporated milk and chicken along with any juices; season with salt.  Serve over the couscous and top with the celery leaves.

I realized as I was typing out the ingredients list that I used boneless skinless chicken breast instead of thigh… oops!  I really should read all the way through a recipe before making it…  I thought it tasted just fine, although I guess next time I’d probably try it with the thigh meat just to see what it’s supposed to taste like!

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Cheez-It chicken salad February 26, 2010

Filed under: Dinner,Salads — F. Penner @ 11:33 PM
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So I was clearly deceived by the mid-40 degree weather we’ve been having here, and thought that breaded chicken over a salad would be a nice dinner.  Which is was, but I decided to have this the other night when it suddenly got colder and apparently there was supposed to be a blizzard… I should have done mashed potatoes and hot vegetables, or something equally comfort food-ish.  Oh well!

I got the recipe for the chicken from my sister-in-law, and it’s really no harder than making regular breaded chicken – you just use crushed Cheez-Its instead of breadcrumbs!  Since I’m generally only cooking for me, the quantity is for one person (although this actually ended up lasting me for a couple of meals).

Cheez-It chicken

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, either pounded thin or sliced thinly, cut into several pieces
  • about 1 cup of Cheez-Its
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • several tablespoons of flour
  • 1 egg, beaten with milk
  • oil for cooking

Crush the Cheez-Its either in a food processor or in a bag with a rolling pin (I used my food processor), until they resemble coarse crumbs.  Place in a bowl and mix in the Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning.  Dip each piece of chicken first in the flour, then in the egg, then in the Cheez-It mixture.  Place each piece in a frying pan, and cook until each side is golden brown.  Or, if you have a meat thermometer, you can use that to know when it’s done.  Cut the chicken into strips and place on top of your salad – then eat! 🙂

 

Chicken!! February 21, 2010

Filed under: Dinner,Soup — F. Penner @ 7:20 PM
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When we got hit with those blizzards a couple weeks ago, I had already planned on taking the time to roast my first whole chicken, turn it into stock, and then into soup.  And the weather was obliging enough to keep me inside all weekend (and a couple of days in the middle of the week too…) so I took advantage of being stuck inside to do all this.  I was also initially going to start my blog that weekend, but that didn’t happen, as I got stuck on coming up with a good name.  However, since I am wicked proud of the fact that I did all of this (and that it all tasted good!), I’m making it my ‘real’ first post anyway. 🙂

Having never done any of this before, I went searching online for a good roast chicken recipe, and finally settled on Julia Child’s recipe. I got my shopping list together and found everything I needed, fortunately. I have to say, I was a little concerned about the 1/2 cup of celery leaves – but I just pulled all of the leaves that I could out of the whole celery bunch and it seemed to work out okay. I prepared the chicken the way Julia said to, and a couple of hours later pulled it out of the oven.

I also made Crash Hot Orange Potatoes to go along with the roast chicken – they were soo! good…

After the chicken had cooled, I pulled it all off of the bones, and put the bones into a bag until the next day.  When I woke up, I got myself all ready for a day of busy work while I let the stock simmer on the stove.  I had already looked through various recipes for chicken stock, and decided that I didn’t really need to follow a specific one.  They all seemed to have the basic ingredients of: carrots, onions, and celery (or ‘mirepoix’), so I put the bones in my biggest pot (which was just big enough) along with the mirepoix and a couple of bay leaves.  And of course salt and pepper.  My house smelled so good all day!!  And after letting the stock simmer for several hours (I think most recipes said 4 hours or so?  I might have let it go for closer to 5) it looked ready to be strained and put aside for chicken soup.

So I strained it – several times, because there always seemed to be sediment or whatever left in the broth.  After the 4th time, I decided that was good enough,

and put it back into the pot so I could let it cool off overnight.  Church had been canceled that afternoon, so I had all day Sunday to make my soup (which I actually forgot to take pictures of… oops!  next time…).  Once again, I just winged it – I had also been looking at a few recipes for chicken noodle soup, and it’s one of those things you’ve generally had enough times that you know what goes into it.  So I skimmed the fat off of the stock (yum!), threw the stock into my Crock-Pot along with more mirepoix (sorry – I like that word :)), the chicken, and water, and let it simmer on ‘low’ all day.  Once again, it smelled soo! good in my house.  I think that’s a large part of why I like cooking – it just tends to smell wicked good!!  I made my noodles separately because in my experience, the noodles always absorb too much broth and then you have to add more, which is a pain.  Plus I knew I was freezing most of the soup, and I really didn’t want mushy noodles.  Ick.  But the soup was yummy.  And I have now successfully roasted a chicken, made stock, and home-made chicken noodle soup – woo!! 🙂