Tag Archives: chicken

Matrimonial Magic: Smoky Chicken Paprikash

Smoky Chicken Paprikash

Smoky Chicken Paprikash

When I think back on significant life events…certain wonderful memories spring to mind.

  • The first time I rode a horse.
  • My first kiss.
  • The first time I discovered the joys of Excel pivot tables.

As every ying must have its yang, I also have less than pleasant memories seared in my mind.

  • The first time I fell off a horse.
  • The first time a guy didn’t say “yes” when I asked him out (frankly, I’m still shocked)
  • The first time other people realized that I knew how to work Excel pivot tables.

But perhaps no moment was more upsetting, more devastating, more life-changing than the moment my husband unequivocally declared to me those words every spouse most fears hearing:

 “I am lactose intolerant.”

Like any good Yankee I went through the necessary phases of denial, anger, espionage (secretly trying to add dairy to Matt’s meals, convinced it was all in his head) and shame.

Two years later I am proud to say that I have finally processed this reality and am working towards finding ways to peacefully live with it. It does mean that whenever I go out to eat I almost always order something with dairy, or that whenever I host book club the ladies can be assured of a cheese laden menu. There are even moments when I just beg forgiveness and cook something with dairy anyway. But most of the time, I find that my marriage is better if it’s dairy free.

Discovering this Smoky Chicken Paprikash dish was like winning the lottery because it’s healthy, easy, and despite being very creamy and delicious, dairy free.  A perfect weeknight dinner, serve with some brown rice and mixed green salad. Great leftovers too.

Smoky Chicken Paprikash (Adapted from Fitness Magazine)
Serves 4

4 tsp canola oil
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus additional to taste
2 medium red bell peppers, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
1/2 cup dry white wine
14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dairy free sour cream (such as Tofutti)
1 tablespoons minced fresh dill
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add 2 teaspoons of the canola oil. Season the chicken with the salt and black pepper; add to the pan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes to sear. Turn and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

2. Add remaining oil and the bell peppers and onion to skillet. Saute, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.

Peppers and Onions

3. Add the garlic and paprika; saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chicken broth and bring to a simmer.

4. Return chicken to skillet, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.

5. In a small dish, whisk the flour into the sour cream. Slowly add to the sauce and simmer 3 minutes more. Stir in the dill and lemon juice and season to taste with additional salt and black pepper. Serve over brown rice.

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Filed under Health Conscious, Lactose Free, Uncategorized

Sesame Noodles with Tofu and Red Peppers

Sesame Noodles with Tofu and Red Peppers

Sesame Noodles with Tofu and Red Peppers

This past weekend we threw a little champagne BBQ Birthday Bash pour moi. It was a wonderful evening complete with:

  • LOTS of bubbly (thank you Esquin for your giant magnum bottles)
  • Blazing bonfire
  • Evaluation of what constitutes inappropriate violations of personal space (e.g. crotch flicking)
  • Delicious burgers
  • A healthy debate over the merit (or lack thereof) of Bob Dylan
  • A lemon cake provided by the impressive and talented Angela Clement
  • Sesame noodles with tofu and red peppers

The last dish is a family favorite that often comes out at Family Reunions on Elk Lake. For particularly fun presentation I recommend serving it in little Chinese take-out boxes with chop sticks. For you Seattle-ites you can get these quite inexpensively at Packaging Specialties.  This dish makes a lot (8-10), so is excellent for inexpensively feeding a crowd. Serve chilled with…champagne bien sur.

Sesame Noodles with Tofu and Red Peppers

1 lb Chinese wheat noodles, cooked (if you can’t find these, plain old spaghetti will work. Yaki Soba would also be good)

1/4 cup sesame seeds – toasted

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup pure sesame oil

1/3 cup soy sauce

2/3 cup green onions

1/3 cup rice vinegar

3 cups pan fried tofu (chicken is also delicious in this)

1 bag fresh chopped spinach

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

Mix all ingredients except the spinach together and refrigerate for one or more hours. Add spinach just before serving.

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Filed under Cheap Eats, Entertaining, Pasta, Vegetarian

Culinary Marriage Counseling: Chicken Marsala with Cremini Mushrooms and Sage (for two)

I am admittedly bossy, opinionated, and very confident that I’m usually right. While this has served me well at times, it is not always the most productive strategy for one’s marriage. Take last night for example. Tucked in bed, leaving the next day for a business trip, and having been working long hours and seeing little of Matt we offer to do our patented back-rub trade. I went first and provided what I considered to be a top-notch 10 minute experience (being bossy, opinionated and confident, I am known to time our back rubs). We then swapped and as Matt was getting started I felt that he wasn’t living up to his potential (in the back rub department). He seemed distracted, uncommitted, and lacking focus. Determined to help improve the situation I offered the helpful suggestion, muffled from my face in the pillow, to “really get into those muscles”. I accentuated my tone with a drawl/growl that I considered to be both encouraging and tough, just as a veteran coach would do. Matt stopped rubbing, I popped my head up from the pillow like a prairie dog and we both burst out laughing.

Why I thought I could or should critique his back rub is beyond me. I’m afraid to admit I’m not much better in the kitchen. I am notorious for looking at whatever he’s chopping or simmering or poaching and ask pointed questions such as, “You think you want to cut the chicken like that? Huh..um..okay.” or “I think it calls for thickly chopped mushrooms, doesn’t it? Those look a little thin, don’t you think?”

Pending on Matt’s mood he will either acquiesce, blatantly ignore me, indulge me by answering, or leave the kitchen.

I’m working on being less of a tyrant in the kitchen as I often do enjoy cooking together. That said, some meals and their preparation are better suited for two. This Chicken Marsala is a great option. He works on the chicken and mushrooms prep, I begin the cooking, he makes the rice and veggie, I finish the sauce and dinner is done.

Sometimes, it is better cooking with two.

Serve with brown rice and steamed broccoli. Makes excellent leftovers.

Pairs well with a medium red wine such as a Sangiovese.

Chicken Marsala

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Coarse salt and ground pepper

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into thirds and slightly flattened)

1 tablespoon olive oil

10 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 shallot, minced

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage, plus more for garnish

1 cup sweet Marsala wine

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoon butter

Directions:

Place flour in a shallow bowl; season generously with salt and pepper. Dredge each piece of chicken in flour, shaking off excess. I’ve found that you want the chicken pieces to be relatively thin so that they cook nicely without the outsides browning too much.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add chicken, and cook until golden on the outside and opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm (reserve skillet).

Add mushrooms, shallot, sage, and 1/4 cup water to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until mushrooms are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add wine and cream; simmer over medium-high until slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in butter; season with salt and pepper.

Top chicken with mushroom sauce, and garnish with sage.

Adapted from Everyday Food.

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Filed under Kitchen Trials and Tribulations, Uncategorized

Home Sweet Home: Chicken Pie with Biscuits

Chicken Pie with Biscuit Crust

Part of what I love about traveling is discovering a place through its food. What people eat, how they cook it, what their rituals are for sharing it together; all these things can give you an insight into their world far better than travel books or tour guides.

Just back from San Pedro, a little caye off of Belize and feeling relaxed, recharged and happy. We ate incredibly good while we were there (more on that in a later post), but I did also find myself itching to get back into my kitchen and making the cozy foods that have come to be synonymous with Winter for me.

Nothing says that better than Gourmet Chicken Pie.

Serves 6-8

This recipe calls for cooked chicken making it a great way to use leftovers. If you don’t have any cooked chicken just poach a few chicken breasts.

Offer with a simple Italian Red Table Wine. I find this recipe needs no sides, but certainly you could always add a green side salad if you like.

Filling:

4 cups chicken stock

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

3/4 lb red potatoes, quartered and cut into 2 inch pieces (about double the size of carrots)

2 large celery ribs, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 1/2 cups cooked chicken, cut into 3 inch pieces

3/4 stick butter

1 medium onion, chopped

6 TB Flour

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup minced parsley

For Biscuit Crust:

1 1/3 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 TB cold, unsalted butter cut into bits

2 TB vegetable shortening, cut into bits

1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar

1 large egg

1/3 cup well shaken buttermilk

1 TB Butter (for brushing the tops of biscuits with).

Directions

Bring stock to a boil. Add carrots, potatoes and celery and simmer, uncovered just until tender.

(In my opinion one of the great flaws of most Chicken Pie is the over-cooked (read: mushy), veggies. Just lightly cook these enough that with about 20 more minutes in the over at 450 they’ll be tender, but not over done.)

With a slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to a large bowl. Reserve broth for later.

Melt butter in 2 – 3 quart sauce pan. Add onions and cook, occasionally stirring until softened. About 6-8 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring for 3 minutes, to make a roux. Add reserved  broth in slow stream whisking constantly and bring the gravy to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking, for 3 minutes. Stir in nutmeg and parsley. Remove from heat. Pour gravy over chicken and vegetables and stir just until combined. Pour into 4 QT baking dish.

Biscuit Crust:

Put rack in middle of oven and pre-heat to 450 degrees.

Biscuit Making in Process

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend in butter and shortening* until mixture resembles a course meal. Stir in cheese.

*(this is where a pastry blender, one of those silly, only does one job, kitchen gadgets really comes in handy. If you don’t have one you can use your hands or two forks).

Break egg into a measuring cup and add enough buttermilk to total 1/2 cup. Add to flour mixture, stirring until a dough forms. Gather into a ball.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick. Cut out as many as you can, then gather scraps, re-roll, and repeat.

Arrange biscuits on tops of filling, brush with butter, prick with a fork.

Bake until biscuits are puffed and golden and filling is bubbling. About 15 – 25 minutes.

Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook

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Filed under Comfort Foods, Uncategorized

B+: White Bean Chicken Chili

White Bean Chicken Chili

There are those truly great meals that every now and then we are lucky enough to experience. They can be utterly rich and decadent, an indulgence of the highest kind, or sometimes they are a perfect expression of simple yet delicious ingredients allowed to stand on their own.

And then there is the reality of life that often sets in and stands firmly in the way of the aforementioned bliss. Schedules, budgets, emotions, families, friends, work, pets, kids. All these things can slowly creep their way in, and suddenly you find yourself thinking of food and eating as another box to check on the never-ending list of “Life’s To-Do”.

Determined to find a middle ground, I have been looking for simple, affordable, and tasty dinners that can be made in 30 minutes or less and satisfy a crowd. This Chili fits that bill to a T. It’s not out-of-this-world spectacular. You won’t fall asleep wishing for more. But it’s pretty damn good and with the addition of the Toppings Bar, quite fun.

Serves 8-10. Freezes beautifully too for a quick supper in a pinch.

Serve with Crusty Bread, cold, salted butter, and a slightly sweet white wine such as a Gewürztraminer or Semillon.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound diced, cooked chicken meat
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 (18.75 ounce) can tomatillos, drained and chopped
  • 1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (7 ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (15 ounce) can white beans
  • 2 ears fresh corn or 1 can corn kernels (handy option in the winter)
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 lime, sliced

Directions

  1. Heat oil, and cook onion and garlic until soft.
  2. Stir in broth, tomatillos, tomatoes, chilies, and spices. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add corn, chicken, and beans; simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve with a Toppings Bar for people to choose from: limes, cilantro, cheese, avocado, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

Adapted from AllRecipes.com

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Filed under Cheap Eats, Soups