Category Archives: Poultry

Crispy Oven Baked Buffalo Style Chicken Wings

spicy buffalo wings plated 4My kids and I  love spicy (Buffalo style) chicken wings. My kids actually love the restaurant Buffalo Wild Wings; I hate it (for a variety of well-founded reasons). So, my solution is to make spicy wings at home. As my blog followers know, I am not afraid to fry- I have a fryer and will use it! However, for just a quick batch of wings, I’d rather avoid the mess and the hassle (and the waste of oil). Typically when I do fry, I fry in big batches that make it worth my while. Now, you might think that wings baked in the oven just won’t be good; I ask that you keep an open mind and give these wings a chance. One advantage of cooking the wings in the oven is that you can cook the sauce right into/onto the wings – of course, you add more sauce at the end- which given the wings a more in depth spice and flavor. I used fresh wings – they were on sale at my grocery- but I most often use frozen wings (sometimes labeled Wing Dings, Drummies, Drumettes). You can make this recipe with full-size chicken wings (or any chicken parts, for that matter), but I prefer the little wings. You could adapt this recipe to accommodate your favorite flavor or sauce (barbeque, terriyaki etc.) because it’s so simple.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-5 Lbs. Chicken wings  – fresh or frozen and thawed
  • 2 TBS. Vegetable Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Non-stick Cooking Spray
  • 2 TBS. Unsalted Butter – Melted
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Hot Sauce (favorite brand – but typically a red hot sauce)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees. Spray a wire rack (I use my cookie cooling rack) with non-stick spray or coat liberally with vegetable oil. Position the rack over a baking sheet (foil lined for easy clean-up). Coat the chicken wings with vegetable oil, season lightly with salt and generously with pepper and place on the baking rack. chicken wings on rackBake for 35 minutes. baked chicken wingsIn the meantime, prepare the sauce by combining melted butter, cayenne pepper, about 1/2 tbs. black pepper, and hot sauce. spicy buffalo sauceAfter the wings have baked for 35 minutes, remove from the oven and coat with sauce (I just roll them around in the sauce bowl) and return to the oven – bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the wings are thoroughly crisped.coat with sauce and return to ovensauce baked on wings Dredge the wings in sauce one more time before serving. Serve with Blue Cheese or Ranch dressing and a side of fresh carrot and celery sticks.

 

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Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce

Chicken and basil cream sauce

Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce

We love having Matt, our foreign exchange student from Brazil, live with us, but I must confess that he is a challenge to cook for. He does not eat a single vegetable or fruit – you should have seen the look on his face when he saw the chicken stir fry I made for my son’s birthday dinner! He literally picked the chicken out of the pan and noticed he had a “green thing” in the mix; he said “Oh no Kath, can you get it off my plate?” I just view it as a new cooking challenge; or maybe a challenge to get him to embrace some fruits or vegetables (he did eat some apple cranberry tart the other night). So, I had some leftover chicken breasts from the stir fry dinner and I know he likes cream and cheese sauces, so I threw together a revised version of my chicken in creamy pesto sauce. I did warn him that there were “green things” in the dish, but I promised they were not vegetables but herbs to add flavor. He accepted that and enjoyed the pasta- it may be baby steps, but it’s progress!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-3 Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 2-3 Cups Heavy cream
  • 2 TBS. Unsalted Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese- grated
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Basil – chopped
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 – 3/4 Lb. Cooked Linguine, Fettuccini (or other favorite pasta)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cut chicken into bite size pieces (I prefer thin slices) and season generously with salt and pepper. In a large saute pan, melt butter. Add chicken to pan and saute/brown until fully cooked.brown chicken Add cream and chopped basil to pan and simmer, stirring occasionally,  over medium until cream is reduced by about 50%. chicken basil cream reducingAdd cheese and stir until cheese is melted and fully incorporated. Serve over pasta* – garnish with additional basil if desired.

*If you prefer, add cooked pasta directly to the saute pan and toss until liberally coated with the sauce – this will help to further thicken the sauce.

Let’s Talk Turkey: The Basics

Herb Roasted Turkey

Herb Roasted Turkey

OK, this is kind of cheating, because this is a re-post from an earlier post entitled Turkey 101, but I find that blog viewers don’t always look at previous posts, so I thought now would be a good time for a reminder on the basics of that Thanksgiving favorite…turkey. This year I am hosting two Thanksgivings – the first entitled Friendsgiving, and, you guessed it, it will be a random gathering of friends – most of whom only know me. For this gathering I’m expecting between 14-20 people and I’ve ordered a fresh Heritage breed Bronze Broadbreast from Walnut Hill Farm in Shelby, MI I requested a large one, and the grower asked if I wanted her largest. Duh…. of course! My Tom currently weighs in at about 35 Lbs. and is expected to dress out to about 30 Lbs. Vikki (the grower) refers to it as “an impact turkey” because it is so large that it will make a definite impact when presented (I hope my platter is large enough)  He will be “processed” on Saturday, November 23 and I will pick him up at the farm that evening – only to cook him the following day. Doesn’t get any fresher than that! This is a photo of a turkey that Vikki cooked the first year they raised birds – it weighed over 40 lbs.40 Lb Turkey How awesome is that? I found this farm through Local Harvest and I’m so glad I did. I’ve purchased “fresh” Amish turkeys in the past from my favorite somewhat gourmet grocery store in the past, and they’ve always shown evidence of having been frozen (ice crystals on the inside) – to me, frozen is not fresh. The recipe that I’ve included guarantees a moist and tender bird because you add chicken stock to the roasting pan. Because I am absolutely guaranteed that my turkey is as fresh as you can get, I am not concerned about a dry turkey and will skip the chicken stock. The first year I cooked one of the turkeys we raised on our farm (many years ago when I had a farm in New Hampshire), I literally had to ladle juice out of the roasting pan because it was going to spill over. Fresh turkeys give off a lot of juice – and, yes, that is a good thing!

For those of you who may be intimidated by the task of cooking a turkey, I promise you, it is one of the easiest things to cook. Here are a couple of tips and some observations that newbies might appreciate:

Q: What size turkey should I buy?
A: Typically 1 lb. per person is the guideline. This allows everyone to have their fair share at dinner and allows for some leftovers. Notice the operative word some? I love leftovers, so I always figure at least 1.5 lbs. per person.

Q: Is there a big difference between a “fresh” turkey and a frozen turkey?

A: I will have to say that, in the past, we always special ordered a “fresh” Amish turkey from our specialty grocery store, but every year there was evidence that the turkey had been frozen (and was sometimes still partially frozen). So, if that’s the case, why not save some money and buy a frozen turkey? One reason is the amount of time required to thaw a turkey.

Q: How long does it take to thaw a turkey?
A: There are two ways to safely thaw a turkey; one way is in the refrigerator, and the other is the cold water method. NEVER thaw a turkey at room temperature. To thaw a turkey in the refrigerator, you need to allow 24 hours for every 5 lbs. of turkey. This means it can take up to 5 days to thaw a large bird. Remember, that’s valuable refrigerator space with a holiday approaching. To thaw a turkey in cold water, allow 30 minutes per lb. of turkey. Simply place the bird (in it’s original sealed package)in a bath of cold water (you can fill your sink or buy a rubbermaid container or use a large stock pot). Change the water every 30 minutes.

Q: What’s the difference between “all natural,” “free range,” “Kosher,”
“Heritage Breed,” or “injected?”

A:Well, that’s a complicated question, and one that has already been addressed on another blog which I follow : serious eats. I did purchase two (no that’s not a typo – I am roasting one turkey and smoking the other) Heritage Breed turkeys this year from our favorite pork farmers (no, pork is not a typo – they partnered with a turkey farmer this year) at Melo Farms. The heritage breeds have become quite popular (they just sound sophisticated), but our reasoning is that we know the turkeys were raised in a humane way because that’s what Melo Farms is committed to. I will have to let you know how they turn out.

Q: What is the best way to cook a turkey?

A: I have to admit that I only have experience roasting a turkey in the oven. The reason is that I just love roasted turkey so much that I haven’t wanted to give it up and possibly risk being dissatisfied. What that’s old expression…”if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”? I have, however heard wonderful things about deep fried turkeys, but that whole deep frying thing intimidates and scares me a little. This year we invested in a smoker and bought a rotisserie attachment for the grill, so we are going to try that. We practiced on a whole chicken the other night and the results were outstanding.

Q: Should I brine my turkey?

A: I am a big fan of brining. My mother never brined, nor did my Great Aunts who often hosted us for Thanksgiving, and their turkeys were always pretty good. However, I tried brining a couple of years ago after I saw a brining mix at my local specialty grocery store. I will have to say – I will never go back to unbrined. It’s tempting this year because I am convinced that our free range, humanely raised turkey is going to be superior, but I don’t want to risk it. I read a very interesting blog article (same blog as above) that suggested brining was futile, but I wasn’t convinced. However, if you want to make a more informed choice check this out: The Truth about Brining . Unfortunately, I don’t have a good brining recipe because I just buy the mix.

Q: How long does a turkey need to cook?

A: The general rule is 18-20 minutes per pound for a stuffed bird (reduce by 1-2 minutes per pound if the turkey is over 15 pounds), or 15-18 minutes per pound for an unstuffed bird (reduce by 1-2 minutes per pound if the turkey is over 15 pounds). I never trusted those little pop-up plastic things, so I always check the temperature with a reliable meat thermometer. The stuffing must be at least 165 degrees, the breast should be 170 degrees, and the thigh meat should be 180 degrees. Some will argue that the turkey will continue to cook while it rests (which is true, and you should always let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes – just enough time to make the gravy), so you can go a little lower on the internal temperatures. My response to that is that this is poultry – I don’t mess around with poultry, especially when I’m feeding it to the people I love the most in this world, my family.

Q: At what temperature should I cook my turkey?

A: I preheat my oven to 425 degrees and turn it down to 350 degrees when the turkey goes in. As you can see from the photo, this will result in a nicely browned turkey (I like it that way – good crispy skin). Sometimes I will just lay a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the top of the bird if it’s getting too brown.

Q: Is it better to stuff the bird or cook the stuffing separately?
A: I say do both. I don’t worry about bacteria in the stuffing because I check the temperature of the stuffing. I’m not the biggest stuffing fan, but everyone else in my family is, so I make a ton of stuffing. Everyone always wants the stuffing out of the bird because it is extra moist. However, you can only fit so much stuffing into those cavities, so I stuff the bird and cook the extra on the side (add extra liquid to the stuffing that goes in the oven). An important note: remove the stuffing from the bird before storing the leftover bird in the refrigerator – stuffing left in the bird is a recipe for salmonella.

Q: How often should I baste the turkey?

A: In an ideal world, one in which you had nothing else going on, you would baste every 15-20 minutes to ensure a juicy bird. However, most turkeys won’t even start to give off juices until nearly an hour of cooking. I always keep an inch of chicken stock (or turkey stock if you have it) in the bottom of my roasting pan (I have a wire rack in the roaster that keeps the turkey elevated, so it’s not sitting in broth). Some people say this results in a “steamed” turkey, but just look at the picture above and you can see that there’s nothing “steamed” about that bird. I check the liquid level about every hour (adding more if necessary) and will baste when I do that. When it gets down to the last two hours, I stop adding broth and let what’s in the pan reduce. This method results in a very moist turkey, and it allows me to cook the giblets and the neck bone alongside the turkey, which makes for great gravy.

Q: Some people suggest rinsing or cleaning the bird before cooking, what does that mean?

A: Because I used to raise my own turkeys and they were slaughtered on my farm, I am very familiar with the processing of a turkey. Not every butchering operation has the same standards of quality control that I have. I always check my turkey over for any leftover pin feathers (small little feathers that get overlooked). If you find any, use a pair of clean tweezers to pull them out. Also, I check the cavity of the bird. For most grocery store turkeys, this is where the giblets and neck will be placed. They are typically in a paper-type bag (probably a result of so many people forgetting to remove them from the cavity), and you’ll want to remove those. I usually inspect the organs and decide if I want to use them – they add great flavor to gravy – and I always cook the neck alongside my turkey. After removing the bag of goodies and the neck, I just run my hand on the inside of the cavity and make sure there’s not extra loose “stuff.” If there is, I pull that off and discard it.

Here’s my basic herb roasted  turkey recipe:

Herb Roasted Turkey

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 TBS Fresh Rosemary (or 1 1/2 TBS. dried)- chopped
  • 3 TBS Fresh Thyme (or 1 1/2 TBS. dried) – chopped
  • 3 TBS Fresh Tarragon (or 1 1/2 TBS. dried) – chopped
  • 1 TBS. ground pepper
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1  15- to 21-pound turkey, neck and giblets reserved
  • Fresh herb sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 4 cups canned low-salt chicken broth

INSTRUCTIONS:

Calculate total roasting time based on the following: 18-20 minutes per pound for a stuffed bird (reduce by 1-2 minutes per pound if the turkey is over 15 pounds), or 15-18 minutes per pound for an unstuffed bird (reduce by 1-2 minutes per pound if the turkey is over 15 pounds).

Mix first 5 ingredients in small bowl. Pat turkey dry with paper towels and place on rack set in large roasting pan. If not stuffing turkey, place herb sprigs in main cavity. If stuffing turkey, spoon stuffing into main cavity. Tie legs together loosely to hold shape of turkey. Brush turkey with oil. Rub herb mix all over turkey. Place turkey neck and giblets in roasting pan. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead if turkey is not stuffed. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before roasting.)

Position rack in lower part of oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Drizzle melted butter all over turkey. Pour 2 cups broth into pan. Put turkey in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Roast turkey 45 minutes. Remove turkey from oven and lightly cover breast and legs with foil. Baste turkey every 30-45 minutes and add more broth if level goes below 1 inch. Remove foil from turkey for the last 1 hour of roasting; add more broth to the pan if necessary. Continue roasting turkey until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 180 degrees – breast should register at 170 degrees. If turkey is stuffed, stuffing should register at 165 degrees. Transfer turkey to platter; tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes. Reserve liquid in pan for gravy.

Rigatoni with Roasted Chicken, Pancetta, Tomatoes and Arugula

Rigatoni with roasted chicken, pancetta, tomatoes and arugual

Rigatoni with Roasted Chicken, Pancetta, Tomatoes and Arugula

This is one of those pasta dishes, like most I create, that was a result of what I had on hand. I was testing out the rotisserie feature on the grill and I roasted a chicken. It was a small bird (from of the local farmers at the market), so I wasn’t sure there was enough to serve 5 of us, but I knew it would be enough if combined with pasta. The rotisserie chickens that are available in almost all grocery stores these days are great – and, obviously, super easy. I had some pancetta in the fridge, but bacon would be a perfectly fine substitute, or you could skip it all together and substitute olive oil. I love the peppery flavor arugula adds, but you could also use a bitter type green like kale, collard or turnip greens. As always, use your favorite shape of pasta or whatever you have available.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Cups Roasted Chicken – chopped or shredded into good sized strips
  • 8-10 Slices Pancetta (about 1.5 oz.) – chopped
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 1 Cup White Wine*
  • 1 Cup Chicken Stock/Broth
  • 2.5 Oz. Arugula (about 2 cups loosely packed)
  • 1 Cup Grape or Cherry Tomatoes – cut in 1/2
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Lb. Rigatoni (or favorite pasta)

* Use 2 Cups chicken stock/broth if you don’t want to use wine.

Pancetta

Roasted Chicken

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cook pasta according to directions, until al dente. Drain pasta and run under cold water until completely cooled (to stop the cooking process) and set aside. Add pancetta (or bacon) to a large saute pan and cook over medium heat until crispy.Brown pancetta Add garlic to pan and saute until fragrant and softened. Add wine and chicken stock and cook until reduced by about 50%. Add chicken and tomatoes and saute for about 2 minutes until tomatoes are softened but not falling apart. Chicken and tomatoesAdd arugula and saute for an additional minute until wilted. Add arugulaReady to add pastaAdd pasta and parmesan cheese and toss until well combined. Add cheeseServe immediately – garnish with additional parmesan cheese.

Sweet 17 Birthday for Girls

Lizzie's 17We celebrated my daughter’s 17th birthday yesterday. She and her friends typically celebrate each others birthdays with a dinner together – either at a restaurant or at home. Lizzie decided that she wanted a casual outdoor garden party dinner. Her menu choices: Hummous and Pita, Veggies and Dip (Garlic spread and Ranch Dip) Greek Salad with Grilled Chicken, Greek SaladChicken Lemon Rice Soup, Crushed Lentil Soup (for her vegetarian friends) and Fresh Berries and Key Lime Squares for dessert (she doesn’t like cake or ice cream). Her birthday flower is lavender, so I made Lavender Lemonade. Lizzies Bday drink tableI will post all of the recipes not already linked, particularly the key lime squares and the lavender lemonade – everyone loved them.

Lemon Chicken with Fettuccine

Lemon Chicken cropedFettucini with Lemon Sauce and Basil

If you love lemon, you’ll enjoy this recipe. You certainly don’t have to pair the chicken with the pasta, but it just works so well and is a great way to use the “sauce” from the chicken. I made this while we were vacationing at a cottage on Lake Michigan; the kitchen was minimally equipped, the plates were all plastic, and the lighting wasn’t very good; so, my apologies for the lack of good photos. Also, I did not have a lemon zester available, so I used a vegetable peeler to remove the zest and then chopped the strips into small pieces. (Serves 4 – with leftovers)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (Each butterflied and then cut into two thin pieces – optional)
  • 2/4 Cup Olive Oil
  •  6-8 Cloves Garlic- minced
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
  • Zest of 2 Lemons
  • Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice from 2 Lemons
  • 2-3 TBS. Dried Italian Herbs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra Lemons – thinly sliced (optional- for garnish)
  • 2 TBS. Unsalted Butter
  • 1 LB. Fettuccine or favorite pasta
  • 1 Cup Fresh Basil- chopped
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute until fragrant, but don’t allow the garlic to brown. Off the heat, add the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish. (Set the pan aside for later use). Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper and place them in the baking dish.Chicken ready for the oven Place the lemon slices (if using) on the pieces of chicken. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the pasta according to directions for pasta. Drain pasta and set aside. When the chicken is fully cooked, transfer the chicken, lemon slices (if using) and a few spoonfulls of sauce to a plate and cover tightly with foil to keep warm. Pour the sauce from the baking dish into the large saute pan, add two TBS. of butter and basil and heat briefly over medium heat. Add cooked pasta to pan and toss until well coated. Serve pasta alongside chicken and garnish with parmesan cheese.

Pasta with Sausage and Kale, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes

Pasta with Italian Sausage and Kale

Pasta with Italian Sausage and Kale

Oh how we do love pasta in my family! This recipe is another positive result of throwing together ingredients that I had available. I always keep sausage in my freezer (I buy the most delightful sausages at the local farmer’s market) and I certainly always have pasta around. The kale was the wildcard- I had made a chopped kale salad (yum!) and had leftover kale. I also had mushrooms that needed to be used, and they were a nice addition, as were the chick peas (my daughter and I both love them). I made this with regular sweet Italian sausage, but you could certainly use hot Italian sausage (or a combination of both would be great), or you could use turkey or chicken sausage. There are also such a great variety of sausage flavors available, that you could really get creative. This is a super easy fast dish to put together, great for a weeknight dinner; plus the leftovers are great for lunch.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Lb. Sausage – casing removed
  • 4-5 Cloves Fresh Garlic – finely chopped
  • 4 Cups Kale (or other dark green leafy vegetable) – thick stems removed
  • 1/4 Cup White Wine (optional – if omitting, add extra chicken stock)
  • 1/2-3/4 Cup chicken Stock (or broth)
  • 3 Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Cup Mushrooms – sliced
  • 1 Cup Chick Peas
  • 3/4 -1 Lb. Pasta (Penne, Rigatoni, or a hearty noodle of your choice)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large saute pan, cook sausage over medium heat (breaking up sausage into bite size chunks); transfer sausage to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Cook garlic in pan with remaining sausage drippings until softened and fragrant but not browned. Add mushrooms and saute until mushrooms just begin to become tender. Add kale, stock and wine. Add mushroomsCover and simmer for 10 minutes. In the meantime, add pasta to boiling water and cook according to directions – when cooked to al dente, drain and set aside. After kale and other ingredients have simmered for about 10 minutes, add tomatoes, chick peas, and cooked sausage to pan. Add chopped tomtoesAdd sausage and chick peasSimmer for another 2-3 minutes just until tomatoes start to become tender. Add pasta to pan, toss until all ingredients are well incorporated. Add pasta to panCombineServe immediately garnished with Parmesan cheese.Pasta with Italian Sausage and Kale 2

Chicken Carbonara

Chicken Carbonara

Chicken Carbonara

Friends and followers know that I have a weakness for pasta. I love traditional pasta and sauces, and I love unconventional renditions of the classics. When I abandon all concern for cholesterol and heart disease (really neither of those should even be mentioned in a food blog), my go-to is spaghetti Carbonara. Traditional Carbonara incorporates pancetta, eggs, and cheese. Most restaurants add cream to their Carbonara sauce, and, while not traditional, I’m not one to complain about such a delightful addition. I recently spent time at a great getaway cottage near Lake Michigan, and had a hankering for Carbonara. Pancetta wasn’t available in the little local grocery, so I substituted good local thick cut bacon (I wish I had stocked up on it – it was so good). I had two chicken breasts which I needed to use up, so I decided to saute them and add them to the Carbonara. As I’ve noted in the past, some of my favorite recipes are a result of just combining ingredients that I have on hand – this recipe definitely qualifies and I might have a hard time eating just plain Carbonara in the future.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Shallots- finely chopped
  • 6 Cloves Garlic- finely chopped
  • 1 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 1 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 6 oz. Proscuitto or Good Bacon – diced
  • 2 Chicken Breasts – cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese – grated
  • 1 Lb. Spaghetti, Linguine or Fettucini
  • 1/4-1/3 Cup Fresh Basil – roughly chopped (optional)
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a large (high sided) saute pan, cook  proscuitto/bacon over medium heat. Add olive oil, shallots and garlic and saute until tender. Add chicken and saute until cooked through. Browned bacon and chickenIn the meantime, cook the pasta according to directions (pasta needs to be hot – to cook the eggs in the sauce- when added, so time accordingly). In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and cream; mix in 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and basil (if using) – set aside. Mix together egg, cream, cheese and basilWhen pasta is cooked, drain and reserve about 1 cup of pasta water. Add pasta to saute panAdd pasta and pour egg and cream mixture into the pan; season with salt and pepper. Mix sauce and pastaToss pasta until all ingredients are well combined. If sauce is too thick, use some of the reserved pasta water to thin it out. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper as necessary. Garnish with remaining Parmesan and serve immediately.Chicken Carbonara

 

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata

This is a great entree to serve when hosting a larger group. It’s easy to keep warm (either on the stove or in a chafing dish) and looks great on a platter if you are going to serve buffet or family style. Of course, you can always prepare it for a casual family dinner; it’s well loved in my family. I recently served it for a friend’s birthday dinner – I didn’t realize it was one of her favorite dishes, I just know that it’s usually a winner winner when it comes to a chicken dinner. Traditional Piccata does not include artichoke hearts, but I love them, so I usually include them. I serve the Piccata with a side of pasta and marinara because that’s traditional, but I think plain pasta (particularly if it’s homemade) with a little olive oil and fresh basil is just fine because the Piccata sauce is so good. If you choose to do this, you may want to double up on the sauce ingredients. This recipe serves 4, but I almost always double it because the leftovers are always welcome.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts – trimmed, and butterflied to create two thinner pieces
  • Flour (about 3/4 cup – enough for dredging)
  • 4-6 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 1 Stick (8 TBS.) Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2+ Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock/Broth
  • 1/4 Cup Capers – drained
  • 1 Can Artichoke Hearts – Quartered (optional)
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Parsley – Chopped
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and gently pound out to desired thickness (do not pound too thin). If chicken pieces are very large, cut in half (I prefer to serve several small pieces per person). Season chicken generously with salt and pepper and dredge in flour – shaking off any excess. Heat 5 TBS. of butter and 4 TBS. of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add chicken (working in batches and adding remaining olive oil if necessary) and cook for about 2-3 minutes until browned on one side; turn chicken and cook until browned on the other side. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside. Add chicken broth, lemon juice, and capers to pan and bring to a boil – being sure to scrape any browned chicken bits from the bottom of the pan. Check flavor (adjust lemon juice to your preference) and add salt and pepper as necessary. Return chicken to pan and add artichoke hearts (if using). Through March 15 129Add remaining butter to sauce and whisk in just before serving; garnish with fresh parsley.Through March 15 151

 

Chicken Lemon Rice Soup (Avgolemono)

Chicken Lemon Rice Soup

Chicken Lemon Rice Soup

This soup is a family favorite. My son orders it every time we go to one of our local Greek restaurants, but my daughter, who has very discerning taste, is often skeptical whether it will be “the real kind.” I really should make this more often, because it’s so easy and uses ingredients that I always have on hand. You can adjust the amount of lemon that you include to suit your own taste, but we like it pretty lemony, and that’s what this recipe reflects. I also add bits of shredded chicken (often rotisserie chicken), particularly when I am serving the soup as the main part of the meal, although I think it a worthy addition, the chicken is not traditional. If you happen to be hosting your Greek mother-in-law and want to impress her, don’t add the chicken. Last night we enjoyed the soup as a starter which was followed by lamb burgers; it made for a nice weeknight meal. I didn’t take a lot of pictures because I had guests, but this recipe is really easy to follow without pictures.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup Uncooked White Rice
  • 4 Eggs
  • Juice of 3 Lemons
  • 1 Cup Shredded Chicken Meat
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Chopped Parsley (optional – garnish)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Add chicken broth to a medium stockpot and bring to a boil. Add rice, stir, and reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat until rice is al dente (about 15-18 minutes) or nearly fully cooked. In a medium sized glass or non-reactive bowl, beat 4 eggs; add lemon juice to bowl and beat until incorporated. Using a ladle, slowly add hot chicken broth to bowl of beaten eggs, whisking the entire time. Repeat this several times until the egg mixture reaches nearly the temperature as the chicken broth. This is prevents the eggs from cooking too quickly and becoming scrambled. Once the egg mixture is thoroughly heated, add it to the stockpot with the remaining chicken broth and rice. Add shredded chicken, if using. Taste for lemoniness, and add more lemon juice if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired, and serve immediately.Through March 18 017