Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Devilish Chicken

This is one of my favorite recipes and a great flavorful go to for chicken. It is from the Rachel Ray 30- Minute Get Real Meals cook book. She has some wonderful recipes in this book and if you are one that whats to watch their weight this book is wonderful. As she says everything in moderation. Like me, Rachel Ray loves pasta. In this book she has her pasta recipes but use only uses 1/4 lb of pasta in a recipe that serves 4 people. That is not much pasta for one person and you still can get your pasta fix.

In the book this recipe is paired with what she calls "Cool Green Beans" I did not make the bean with the recipe because it calls for mint leave and my wonderful husband is not crazy about mint with his veggies. The chicken should take you 30 minutes to cook (if you are Rachel Ray) so it's a fast meal too for those weeknight dinners. Another great thing about this recipe, and a lot of Rachel Ray recipes, is that they are easy follow and easy for anyone to cook. Not a lot of steps and if there are they are simple. So with out further ado here is one of my favorites.

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon dry mustard or 1 tablespoon of spicy mustard
salt and ground black pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breats
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, quartered lengthwise and sliced into thin strips
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1/2 handful of chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons cold butter

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the EVOO over medium-high heat. Mix the paprika and mustard with some salt and pepper and season chicken breasts on both sides. Add the seasoned chicken to the skillet and brown on the first side for 3 minutes, flip, and then sear the second side, 2 minutes. Remove the chicken and reserve on a plate under a foil tent.

To the pan, add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes. Cook the vegetables for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock to the vegetables and bring to a simmer. Add the reserved chicken back to the pan and cook for 10 minutes more, turning the chicken over every now and then.

Remove the chicken from the skillet to a platter. To finish the sauce, turn the heat off and add the parsley and butter, stirring to melt the butter. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Serve immediately.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Beef Ziti with Silky Bechamel

So, I finally opened the other cookbook I bought myself for Christmas, 300 Best Casserole Recipes. I know casseroles are not always the healthiest meal. They usually have either pasta or some kind of condensed can soup like cream of chicken in them. I would like you all to know that this recipe is most likely not in the "healthy" category but there is a section in the book for healthy meals and I will make it my quest to make some and let you know how they are.

For this casserole, it's perhaps a more gourmet version of your typical baked pasta. The recipe is titled Beef "Ziti" but of course you can use any type of short style pasta. In my case I used Cellentani. Also the recipe says it makes 8-10 servings. I wasn't looking to feed a crowd so I cut some of the ingredients down. I cut the meat sauce down to half. I also only used 1/2 lb of pasta. I did keep the Bechamel Sauce as directed in the recipe. For those who don't know what a bechamel sauce is it's pretty much a thin creamy cheese sauce.

I actually have to say that this recipe was kinda bland. At least the way I made it. Maybe if I did not cut down the other ingredients then perhaps it would have been better. I think, and I will try next time, if you added more of the seasoning it would give it more flavor. Another comment I have with this recipe is it called with a lot of boiling using medium heat. With my stove I think it took me more then double the time to make this then it should have. Now as always I will give you the recipe as it is printed in the book and you can make changes as needed.

Meat Sauce
2 lbs  lean ground beef
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cans (14oz) diced tomatoes
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
Bechamel Sauce
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp salt

1 lb ziti pasta
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. grease a 13x9 pan. In a large nonstick skillet, oven medium heat-high heat, cook beef, garlic, and onion, breaking beef up with the back of a spoon, for 8-10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink. Drain off fat. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, salt, oregano, basil, thyme, and hot pepper flakes; bring to a boil. Cover, leaving lid ajar, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occational, for about 40 minutes or until some of the liquid has evaporated but sauce is still moist.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle with flour and cook, whisking constantly, for about 6 minutes or until roux is golden. In another medium saucepan , bring milk to the boiling point over medium heat. Gradually add to roux in a steady stream, whisking constantly until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking. Cook, whisking constantly, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan and salt until cheese is melted. Keep warm

In a large pot of boiling water, cook ziti according to package directions until just tender. Drain, transfer pasta to a large bowl and stir in 1 cup of the bechamel sauce. Spread one-third of the ziti in the prepared baking dish. Spread half the meat sauce evenly over top. Add another layer of ziti and top with remaining meat sauce. Layer the remaining pasta on top. Pour the remaining bechamel sauce evenly over top. Cover and bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until bubbling. Sprinkle with mozzarella and bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted,


Monday, January 10, 2011

Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

I can't seem to leave this new crock pot cook book that I got. This is the second recipe I have made and I keep finding more recipes that I want to try. This one is a great go to when you just want something casual or would be great from any of those Super Bowl parties coming up. Another great recipe that you can start in the morning and cook all day long. I actually started this one the day before. I had some chicken in the fridge that I had to cook and we were having dinner with family at their place. So I made this recipe and cooked it though and put it in the fridge. The next day I pulled it back out put it back in the crock pot to heat though.
 Another great thing about this recipe is that it is easy to cut to make smaller serving or double for those parties. Also I had all the ingredients on hand and didn't have to go out to get anything extra. Great for someone who lives about 20 minutes from the store and has to back up all three kids to go. Actually takes me longer to pack up the kids then it does to get the store and back again. As usual I will give you the recipe from the book but of course feel free (and it's easy) to alter as needed.

3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 cup ketchup
1 small onion chopped
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 garlic clove minced
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried orgenao
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
10 kaiser rolls, split

Place chicken in 5-qt slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, onion, water, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, garlic, bay leaf and seasonings. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours or until chicken is tender. Discard bay leaf. Remove chicken; cool slightly. Shred chicken with two forks and return to slow cooker; heat though. Serve on rolls.

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