“Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner”

I put the title in quotes in case it is copyrighted or something. Where did that expression come from anyway? Hmm?

Okay, I am back from my quick internet search…

This recipe is from the 1991 Woman’s Day magazine article “Make the Chicken of Your Choice.” I made one of the seven choices before,¬†Chicken Piccata. The choice for this dinner was Chicken with Broccoli and Dill. And as usual, I changed it up, just slightly.

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So the changes I made were using a mixture of vegetables that did include broccoli but also had cauliflower, carrots, and yellow and green squash. I did not have red pepper but had a frozen mixture of red and green peppers with onions. All told it was about 4 cups of vegetables. They were cut large. I also used only two chicken breasts and unseasoned panko bread crumbs.

  • slightly brown the chicken sprinkled with the bread crumbs in a skillet with 2 tablespoons of oil, 6-8 minutes
  • add vegetables and liquid and seasonings
  • cover and simmer for about 20-30 minutes; I simmered mine for longer just because I was waiting for Hubby to get home.

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  • I removed the chicken and vegetables; blended one cup buttermilk with a tablespoon of flour and teaspoon of dried dill weed.
  • Add that to the skillet and stir over heat until slightly thickened. Well, I added a bit more flour because this was quite soup-y. I then added leftover Chinese rice to thicken it further.

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This was delicious! It is basically poached chicken with different vegetables and flavorings. Who knew that poached chicken could be so good? I’ll make one of these “choices” next week. Stay tuned!

 

 

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Ginger Chicken in Crock-pot

Hubby and I were driving on Main Street and noticed a Thai ice cream shop. So he says “ginger ice cream is really good”. Somehow the conversation ran on to ginger chicken, and then we ordered Chinese take-out after our camping weekend. This all inspired me to actually cook something other than chicken thighs on the grill and/or hamburgers and/or tuna noodle salad. So here is my version of Ginger Chicken with Vegetables and Rice. The amounts are approximations as I did not measure. This is why I am not writing a cookbook. No editor worth her salt would let this pass!

 

 

Get out your handy dandy crock-pot and supper will be ready when you get home from work. And the oven doesn’t have to heat up the house.

  • 4 chicken breasts; these were four medium-sized frozen ones
  • thumb sized chunk of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
  • one onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots,sliced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup broth
  • a good sized squirt of Dijon mustard
  • at least one Tablespoon of honey
  • a shake or two of garlic powder; ideally one wold use minced garlic but I forgot about the garlic until I was putting the lid on the pot.

I put all of the above in the crock-pot, vegetables on bottom, and cook on low for 7-8 hours. When I got home from work I added the following:

  • 1/2-3/4 cup frozen mixed peppers; if I had fresh I would have chopped these and put them in at the beginning.
  • 1/2-1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 pint leftover rice from the Chinese restaurant

Stir this to mix all and continue to cook on low (or high) to get everything hot, about one more hour. I served this in bowls and had leftovers for the next night.

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So this is how I cook. I throw things together. The above could be made with all fresh vegetables if you have them. The rice could be kept separate or left out altogether. You could use more broth if you like a more soup-y dish. One could serve it with soy sauce. I will probably make something like this again but it won’t be exact. Most of you home cooks out there do this same thing.

 

Ordinary cooking!

If you are like me, you, and mostly it is the woman—not to negate the men who do so, just go about fixing dinner without thought to innovation and creativity. Those of us who rarely use processed or prepared foods or take out fast-food, there is a general routine and rotation from pantry and freezer staples. What are yours?

In my kitchen pantry I usually have canned tomatoes, several types of canned beans, sometimes canned fruit, pasta of a variety of shapes, rice and grains, vinegar, oils, etc. in the freezer there is a variety of meats (fish filet, chicken breasts and thighs, small pork roast, the occasional rack of ribs, and burger patties) along with the various packages of frozen vegetables. Sometimes there are pie crusts or pie dough, frozen pirogi or ravioli, and the occasional pizza. We like the cheap but tasty pizzas available at the Aldi discount grocery store. Actually in my freezer I still have some venison sausage from the deer my son-in-law shot earlier this year. Breakfast strata anyone?

I don’t know how some of you are so creative all the time. I get tired, tired, tired! So I just make things up to cook, or to liven up the ordinary food. So browsing on Facebook I saw one of those videos on quickly preparing ginger chicken. I rarely pay attention to all the ingredients or the amounts or the directions.

So I try it on fish. Why not?

There is garlic (yes, I bought the jarred kind. My fresh garlic kind of got old and decrepit on me), fresh ginger root (this keeps in the freezer for millennia), soy sauce, and mixed vegetables on the side. I minced a nub of ginger root, added a pinch of garlic, and dumped that in the ramekin with some soy sauce. Trust me, I used those “exact” amounts! ūüôā I baked the four fish filet and brushed on the juice toward the end of the baking time. It smelled very good. I may have added a squeeze of honey as well.

So then I tried it on chicken…two chicken breasts, one onion, peas and carrots, and quick cooking mixed grains (from Aldi). This worked out well too.

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Directions: dice chicken and cook through in a bit of olive oil. Mince the ginger root, bit of garlic, add soy sauce, a bit of honey, and add to the skillet with the chicken. The amounts depend on your taste. Separately I saute the onion in a bit of olive oil for a few minutes, then add the peas and carrots. Remove to a bowl. Cook the grains as per the package. I had planned to have a “rice pilaf” type dish as a side, but at the last minute dumped the almost cooked grains and the peas and carrots into the big skillet with the chicken. This I covered and let simmer a bit more until Hubby came home and dinner was served.

 

So I made Barbecue Chicken Pizza!

As I had mentioned previously I was thinking of making a pizza in my cast iron skillet. Well, I made the pizza but not in the cast iron. And I got to use my handy-dandy pie circle gadget that I just bought. Silly item: a bag to roll out pie crust into a perfect circle.

I used my favorite pizza crust recipe. I found this years ago on allrecipes.com.  It is a yeast dough but there is no rising time. It is ready to go as soon as it comes together.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)

Combine the dry ingredients. Mix in the oil and water. When dough forms spread it on a large pizza pan. Top as desired. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.

I had Hubby take the meat off of 4 chicken thighs that had already been barbecued. He also sliced an onion. We made a bit more sauce with ketchup (1/4 cup), sriracha (1/8 cup), and Worcestershire sauce (1/8 cup). I had seen that combination somewhere on line, most likely one of those Facebook food videos. You can use more or less sriracha depending on how hot you like your sauce. I have also substituted apple cider vinegar for the Worcestershire sauce.

Spread the sauce on the dough, scatter the onion and the chicken pieces, top with cheese of your choice. This is one of those Monterrey jack and cheddar blends.

It was a very tasty pizza.

Chicken with Lemons and Olives

I like the idea of Mediterranean cooking. I have a variety of cookbooks that are published in the UK. I go through and mark my cookbooks for the recipes I want to try. I know I have done a lemon chicken with garlic before but this is a bit different. The only garlic in this one is the garlic infused chicken broth I used.

I had not been inspired by any recipes in particular lately. We have been eating plain food: cheeseburgers on toast, frozen filet of fish, chicken pot pie, chili, grilled Italian sausages, scrambled eggs. Baking has been put off due to stomach issues and wanting to lose a bit of weight. What am I supposed to do in my kitchen?

So I wanted to put together a nice dinner. And although I had planned to make a shepherd pie I found I did not have ground meat, but did have chicken. So I looked through my Mediterranean cookbook and found this one. The combination of spices sounded so tasty. I really wanted to use the crockpot and not have to do all the cooking when I came home from work. So I got out the crockpot and just threw it all in there. Well, I made the recipe my own. Here is what I did.

  • 2 large boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup garlic-infused chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • a bit of salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped fine
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, cut in wedges
  • 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives

I wanted to throw everything in the crockpot and do nothing else. But I decided to briefly saute the onion with the ginger in a bit of olive oil. I then placed this in the bottom of the crockpot. I mixed the dry ingredients together and rubbed this on the chicken before placing them on top of the onion in the pot. I drizzled the honey on top and then added the broth. I set the pot on low and left it from 7:00 AM until 4:00 PM. At four I turned it down to the keep warm setting and added the lemon and olives. We ate dinner at 6:00 PM.

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I served this with a salad and couscous. I skillet toasted some walnuts and added them to the couscous along with a sprinkling of dried parsley and crumbled feta cheese. Dinner was a hit and there are leftovers for tomorrow night’s supper. Yea!

Lo Mein

At a shopping trip a few weeks back I picked up a package of lo mein noodles and a package of soba noodles because they were on the clearance shelf. Yes, I occasionally buy foodstuffs from clearance. Hubby and I like “Clarence”! That’s often where we look first when shopping but not usually for food. But this was at one of those lot clearance warehouse type stores: Ocean State, Odd Lots, and when and where I was growing up it was Grandpa Pigeons!

I figured I would use some leftover cooked chicken that I had in the freezer. I read the recipe on the back of the package and it was BORING! It was a few vegetables and broth. So I substituted my own ingredients.

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  • one package lo mein noodles (upper right corner)
  • ¬†4 cooked chicken thighs, bone removed
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • about a cup full of sliced carrots
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 green onions, sliced, green and white parts
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2-4 tablespoons mushroom soy sauce

Chop all the vegetables. I started off sauteing these in a bit of olive oil in a skillet but had to move them into the wok. I forgot about having a wok. We may have used it no more than two or three times. I cooked the noodles in water in a separate pot. Everything else went in the wok after the vegetables were cooked for about 5 minutes.

The noodles were drained and added to the wok. This gets stirred around until all is warmed. Sprinkle on a bit more soy sauce and it is done.

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I was pleasantly surprised that it actually tasted like the lo mein from a Chinese restaurant. Hubby thought it was delicious. And I had leftovers for lunch all that week. Now, what to do with the soba noodles?

Lentil Soup

 

I have been browsing through food magazines while walking the treadmill. The problem with this is that I get too many ideas and want to make them all at the same time. Last week I found an article in Rachel Ray’s magazine on One Grocery Bag: 3 Great Meals. This was from March of last year. One of the menus was lentil soup with pita and whipped feta. Sounded interesting. I have a bag of lentils in the pantry and feta in the fridge. So what’s the problem?

Before I get to make that meal, I am browsing through one of her magazines from 2014 and find other interesting recipes that I want to make and have the ingredients (or most of them). One of them is a pasta with chimichurri and tomatoes. This is fabulous because in my “Want to Try” recipe clippings I have a chimichurri recipe that I was trying to figure out what it should go with. Pasta!

But one thing at a time!

For Monday night’s meal I go with the lentil soup. I have leftover chicken so this will not be a Meatless Monday. I use the recipe as a guideline only. I use chicken broth and add potatoes and celery. I want to make a lentil stew¬†as Hubby likes stews better than soups.

  • 20160613_201937620_iOS1 cup rinsed lentils
  • 4 cups chicken broth plus two cups water
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • about 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • about one cup cooked chicken, diced or shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2-1 cup crumbled feta
  • fresh parsley for garnish

Chop the vegetables. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large pot. Throw all the chopped vegetables, including garlic, into this pot and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the rinsed lentils and chicken broth along with the cumin. Add the chicken and bring to a boil.

Cover the pot and let simmer for 30 minutes until the lentils are tender. This could take a bit longer, up to 40 minutes.

Now for the whipped feta. I used my immersion blender instead of a food processor because I only had 1/2 cup of cheese. I put this in a glass measuring cup and added 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Blend/whip/process until smooth and fluffy. Mine was more smooth and creamy than fluffy. I added about 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano as well and drizzled a bit of lime infused olive oil on top. I added some parsley for presentation.

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I served this with Keebler Townhouse Pita Crackers instead of the toasted Pita bread wedges suggested in the magazine. The soup and this made a nice supper. The dip was “grown up” per Hubby and is definitely worth making again. I think I would add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes to the soup next time. I forgot to add chopped parsley to the soup for the picture. When I added it to my soup it gave it a nice fresh flavor addition. This is parsley growing out on my porch. Much nicer than the dried stuff!

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Dinner is served!

 

What we ate this past week…

This past week I had not been terribly inspired to try new recipes or cook elaborate meals. But we do go to work, Hubby and I, and come home and need to eat. For the most part I am trying to eat better, and less, for health and well-being. I usually get two to three days into the week and BOOM!, I fall back into eating too much or having that extra glass of wine or sweet thing that sets off the indigestion or sets back the good efforts I have made.

That said, I have been making protein shakes for breakfast and taking a decent lunch with plenty of fruit for snacking at work. I have a bag of string cheese in the small fridge in my office for a healthy snack mid-morning. One morning I cooked up an egg with a piece of ham with a bit of frozen spinach for color. It took just a few minutes so I am not sure why I don’t do that more often.

Another hallmark of the week is that I have logged 10000 steps one of the days! I did this by walking to work (7/10th of a mile) and walking a mile on the treadmill during my lunch break. AND carrying my iPhone on my person to track the steps. A Fitbit would be easier but it’s just an extra bit of technology that duplicates the App on the smartphone. I do not walk to work everyday because I need to give my ankle a chance to rest and sometimes because I am just plain lazy!

So what did we eat?

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Monday was barbequed chicken baked in the oven. I used my homemade sauce (It’s different every time!). I baked the chicken and poured on the sauce after 30 minutes and then set it under the broiler after 20 more minutes to brown them. I served this with a spinach/romaine salad topped with strawberries, toasted pecans, and feta cheese, dressed with homemade Green Goddess dressing.

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Tuesday was a quinoa salad made with the two leftover pieces of chicken from Monday’s dinner. I found a fabulous quick cook quinoa/wild rice mix that cooks up in 10 minutes and there are no additives or spice mix in it. This is the multi-grain crunch salad from the back of the box. I forgot to use chicken broth to cook the quinoa and just used water. I did not measure the vegetables but added plenty along with my own addition of Craisins and walnuts.

  • make the equivalent of 1 1/2 to 2 cups quinoa/rice/grain mixture
  • add 1 cup cooked diced or shredded chicken
  • 1/3 cup chopped carrots (I used prepared shredded carrots and chopped them up further.)
  • 1/3 cup diced celery (I used 2 large stalks)
  • 1/3 cup diced red pepper (I used 6 mini peppers of varying sizes and added 2 yellow ones as well.)
  • 1/3 cup citrus vinaigrette (I made about 1/2 cup using 1/4 cup of the Persian Lime olive oil and the juice of one lemon. I chopped up fresh chives and thyme and parsley to make a few tablespoons, add a bit of kosher salt and pepper.)
  • 1/4 up Craisins and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Cook the quinoa, chop the vegetables, add the chicken, and toss with the dressing. Super simple and super delicious. And super good for you! I made double and was able to take some for lunches. It can be served warm or cold.

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Wednesday was a “BAD DAY”: Super Nachos! But served with guacamole for the vegetable! For these nachos I browned about 1/2 pound of ground beef seasoning it with 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, a pinch of salt, and a few drops of hot sauce. Pile on cheese and jalapeno peppers and bake for 10 minutes. I make guacamole with garlic powder, diced tomato, lime juice, and a spoonful or so of sour cream. Oh yeah, don’t forget the avocado!

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Thursday was a re-run of the quinoa salad. For this supper I put fresh baby spinach leaves in the bowls and then piled on the salad. This is a great salad. One could switch it up and use rice or lentils or barley instead of quinoa for a nice summer supper.

Friday was the start of a camping weekend. We had our usual Subway grinders for Friday with chips. This lets us get to the campground, set up, and then have a supper ready to eat. For Saturday I had par-cooked (read that as “boiled the heck out of”) chicken leg quarters that we would finish cooking on the grill. I forgot that they were on the stove so they¬†were more than par-cooked and¬†turned out a tad dry but good enough with a Texas BBQ Rub.¬†I did end up with a nice rich chicken stock out of it though! We made a foil packet of potatoes with butter, onions, and cheese as well.The best meal of the camping was the cheeseburgers for lunch. But here is a pic of our dinners:

So now it’s Sunday and were home again. What to cook this week?

Poultry Pepper Pesto Pasta

This dish is somewhat inspired by the cover of the April food network magazine. Also by Hubby! When I picked up the magazine at the checkout line I showed him the picture and we both thought that looked good. But Hubby is allergic to shrimp, so it would just be pesto and pasta or trade out the shrimp for chicken.

 

pesto pasta 001I did not even bother to read the recipe. Hubby suggests angel hair pasta. We have some leftover grilled chicken and away we go! I want to add roasted red peppers since I have an almost full jar open in the fridge. I have 3 quarter cup chunks of homemade pesto in the freezer. So Hubby starts naming the dish and it’s a “P” tongue twister so eventually we settle on the title. Hubby wants to add the mushrooms but I don’t want to. I have no way of knowing if the type of mushrooms name starts with a “P”!

  • 2 pieces of poultry thighs, already cooked, meat cut off the bone and diced
  • 1 jar of roasted red peppers, sliced and diced, save the juice/oil from the jar
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 4 nests of angel hair pasta nests
  • Pecorino Romano cheese for serving

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Chop the peppers and poultry. Put in skillet with a little bit of cooking oil or cooking spray. Stir in the pesto and juice from the pepper jar. Heat through. Cook the pasta according to the package.

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When pasta is done divide into two bowls. Top with the pesto-poultry mixture. Sprinkle on the grated cheese. Eat up.

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The aroma was wonderful as was the taste. The mushrooms would have fit in perfectly. Hubby thought it needed a bit of sauce. We put a dollop of sour cream in each bowl and that did the trick. Next time making a bit of a butter cream sauce should be made. This would be done by adding a bit of butter to the skillet and a bit of cream/milk/or half-and-half to get the consistency desired.

 

Plain cooking

plain cooking 003Ever have one of those days that you are tired at the end of a work day, motivation to “create” dinner is just not there, there’s another tragedy in the news, and the weather forecast is early spring turning back into winter? I did not want to sit down and brood over the local tragedy so I made myself fix dinner. We have been using up what groceries are in the house so the fridge is on the empty side.¬†Luckily the last of the meat (chicken thighs) was thawed in the fridge. And there was one lemon and a bit of sad looking parsley. I was trying to keep fresh herbs in cups of water in the fridge but I am not successful at that yet. They just don’t stay looking fresh. What am I doing wrong?

I have made a lemon chicken recipe before: ¬†https://mykitchenmythoughts.com/2015/12/03/making-do-a-lesson-in-humility/. But this is slightly different and does not require marinading. I basically just layered chicken thighs, lemon slices, and garlic cloves in a baking pan. Squirted it all over with the lemon juice, sprinkled on some of the chopped sad looking parsley for a bit of color, and baked for 35 minutes at 350 F. I chopped up the last romaine heart, salvaged one carrot from a batch that were trying to sprout, and the remainder of the celery for a side salad. Now the fridge feels good and truly empty! But there is dinner…

The next day was a grocery shopping day. I was trying to think about what we needed only for the week otherwise I over buy. This is one reason I go to the discount grocery stores. More food for less money! But so much food can inhibit my creativity as well. There can be too much to choose from. This is often when I revert back to basic “non creative” cooking and baking such as throwing a roast in a pot, opening cans to make turkey chili, pre-breaded fish fillets, spaghetti and then leftover spaghetti, and sometimes scrambled eggs for dinner.

But now there is food in the house so we will see what this week brings!