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Deceptively Delicious Chicken Cannelloni

Steve gets off work earlier than me and he came over the other night be help with garbage, then he challenged himself to make this dish from Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious. He was in a bit of a hurry and didn’t read the direction for cauliflower puree closely enough. He didn’t steam the veg first and ended up having a difficult time pureeing it in the blender. In his defense, its not well laid out in the book. You have to go back and forth between pages for directions on how to steam, and then directions on how to purée, which is a little cumbersome if you haven’t made purées before. Anyway, when I got home I tried microwaving the puree but gave up because I couldn’t really tell if it was doing anything. We went on with the recipe as directed and it turned out pretty well I think. In the first couple of bites I could taste the cauliflower but got used to it. It may have been because it wasn’t cooked first, I’m not sure. Other than that, it’s a pretty basic dish but once Miss M. finally starts eating foods that are mixed together, I will give it a try again. (Sorry about posting such a mess of a dish but we nearly forgot to take a pic.)

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Chicken Cannelloni

8 whole wheat lasagna sheets ( 4×4 or 3×6 inches)

cooking spray

1 lb chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

3/4 cup cauliflower puree

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups jarred tomato sauce

1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese

Ahead of time: cut the cauliflower into bite sized pieces and steam for about 10 minutes. Whir in a blender or food processor for about a minute or two, with a teaspoon or two of water, until smooth.

Boil and salt the water for the lasagna sheets. Cook, drain and then place the lasagna in a bowl of cool water.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix the chicken, ricotta, cauliflower puree, parmesan, garlic powder, and salt until the chicken is well coated.

Place 1 lasagna sheet on the cutting board. On the edge closest to you, spread out 1/4 cup of the filling so that it covers 1/3 of the sheet. With your fingertips, roll the lasagna into a tube (lift the edge of the pasta with the filling and roll). Transfer seam-side down to the baking sheet. Pour the sauce around the cannelloni but not on top. Sprinkle with mozzarella and bake, uncovered, 25-30 minutes.

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One-Pan Chicken with Herbs + Garlic

Oh man, I have totally neglected this blog for the last couple of weeks! I’ve been so busy at work, and we haven’t been making a ton of new recipes. There are a couple that I haven’t posted yet including this one.

Here’s another recipe from the long weekend. Chicken thighs were on sale so I used a family pack of those instead of a whole chicken, used baby potatoes, and finally some dried herbs instead of fresh. OMG it was so good! The rendered chicken fat and the oil combined with the wine and broth to make a glorious sauce in the bottom of the pan, plus the chicken skin stayed super crispy and delicious! The potatoes soaked up all the flavors and were perfectly tender. This recipe is so simple that it’s perfect for any night of the week. This one is going into regular rotation once the weather cools down again. Very comforting.

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One-Pan Chicken in White Wine with Herbs and Garlic

Feeds 4 people

  • 1 large free-range chicken cut into 8 pieces
  • 700gm new potatoes, cleaned
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine or juice
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup finely chopped herbs (rosemary, parsley, thyme and sage)
  • 3T olive oil
  •  salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • sliced lemon (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200°C and place the chicken pieces and potatoes (and lemons if you are using) in a large deep sided roasting pan. Mix the wine or juice, stock, mustard, garlic and herbs and pour over the chicken. Drizzle over the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Roast uncovered for an hour, or until cooked through.

Source: www.drizzleanddip.com 

“Mall” Chinese Chicken

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had some coated chicken leftover from the sweet and sour chicken I made on the weekend. The next day I tried another recipe that I was hoping would be the one I could tweak to create a copycat of Shanghai 360’s sweet and sour chicken. This one is close. Again, I added 2 tsp of sriracha and 1/8 tsp of five spice powder and I actually think it still needs more hot sauce. I am going to give this one another try so I’ll let you know in a few weeks how it turns out. In the meantime, this is an easy recipe. I like that you don’t need to deep fry and baking it in the oven kept the coating from coming off. Good stuff!

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Mall Chicken

INGREDIENTS

1/3 C honey
1/4 C ketchup
3 T soy sauce
2 T apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
2 T brown sugar
1 T minced garlic
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, or a mix, cut into 1″ pieces
+ kosher salt
1/4 C cornstarch
1 T oil
2 T sesame seeds, for topping
+ cooked white rice, for serving (optional)

1 Heat the oven to 375°F.
2 Whisk the honey, ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and garlic in a bowl until smooth.
3 Place the chicken in another bowl, season with a little salt, and dust with the cornstarch, tossing to coat and shaking off the excess.
4 Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, sear the chicken, forming a light crust. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish.
5 Pour the sauce over the chicken and toss to coat. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is bubbling and thick, about 20 minutes. Scatter with sesame seeds.

Source: http://www.luckypeach.com

Sweet-n-Sour Chicken + Cantonese Noodles

I’m still on this sweet and sour chicken kick, trying to find a recipe that can match the dish at my favourite fast food place. I actually tried two different recipes this past weekend and this was the first. It’s based on a recipe for Peking Pork Chops but I added a bit of sriracha and five spice powder to add some spicy warmth. I used two chicken breasts instead of pork chops and found that too be a bit too much for the amount of sauce and coating. I had to make a second batch of coating while cooking the chicken the batches. The sauce thickened up on it’s own so I didn’t add the slurry. The coating started to fall of the chicken and get soggy so I probably should have deep fried it instead of shallow frying in about an inch of oil. With all that being said, it was still really good. Not the same as the mall chicken but still a very tasty dish. The Cantonese noodle recipe is very simple and very good. I couldn’t stop enhaling the stuff! I’ll keep playing around with the sweet and sour recipes but the noodle recipe is a definite keeper. 🙂

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Sweet and Sour Pork Chops

For marinating the pork chops (or in my case, the chicken):

1 1/2 lb. thinly sliced pork chops, cut in half
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
pinch of five spice powder (optional)

For the sweet and sour sauce:

2 tablespoons ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar (can substitute balsamic vinegar)
2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup water

To finish the pork chops:

Oil, for frying, plus 1 tablespoon
3 tablespoons ice water
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallion

Marinate the pork chops in a mixture of shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and five spice powder (if using). Set aside for at least an hour or overnight. Make the sauce by combining ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, hoisin, maple syrup, sesame oil, and 1/2 cup water. Set aside.

When you’re ready to cook, fill a medium deep pot about halfway with oil. Heat the oil to 375 degrees. In a separate bowl, combine 3 tablespoons ice water, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Pour over the marinated pork chops and mix until coated.

Carefully drop a few pork chops at a time into the heated oil and fry in batches for about 3 minutes each batch. Drain on paper towels.

Cantonese Noodles

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
2 scallions
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce (I used just regular soy sauce)
½ teaspoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
½ tablespoon shaoxing wine (I used sherry)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
8 ozs fresh thin Hong Kong Style Egg Noodles (for pan-frying, not to be mistaken for “wonton noodles”) or 3 small bundles of dried Hong Kong Style Egg Noodles for pan-frying
3 tablespoons oil

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Rinse the bean sprouts in cold water and drain. Julienne the scallions. Mix the soy sauces, sesame oil, salt, sugar, wine and white pepper into a small bowl and set aside.

Boil the noodles. Fresh noodles should be boiled for about 1 minute. For dried noodles, boil for 2-3 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain very well.

Heat the wok to high and add a tablespoon of oil to coat the wok. Spread the noodles in a thin, even layer on the wok and tilt the wok in a circular motion to distribute the oil and crisp the bottom layer of the noodles evenly. It should take about 3-5 minutes for the first side.

Flip the noodles over and add another tablespoon of oil around the perimeter of the wok and let the other side crisp up. Don’t stress if you can’t turn the noodles over in one shot, The goal here is just to get an even, light crispiness and to dry out the noodles during this cooking stage. In our pictures for this post, we used a large non-stick pan, which also works nicely. Set aside these noodles on a plate.

Heat the wok over high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil and all of the white parts of the scallion to the pan and cook for about 15 seconds. Next, add the noodles to the wok and toss them well, breaking up the noodles so they’re not all in one big clump. Add the soy sauce mixture and toss continuously (don’t stop!) for a couple minutes using a pair of chopsticks or a set of tongs. Keep the heat on high.

After the noodles are uniformly golden brown, add the bean sprouts and toss. Add the rest of the scallions and toss the mixture again for another 1 to 2 minutes until you see the bean sprouts just starting to turn transparent. You want the sprouts to be cooked but still crunchy. Be careful not to overcook them or they will become limp and soggy. High heat is a key requirement for this dish.

Plate and serve! (Serves 2)

Quick Chicken and Mushroom Chowder

I’ve been busy with my job hunting and preparing for Valentine’s Day so I haven’t posted much as of late. I did a couple of cute desserts that I’ll post later, but in the meantime here’s a lovely  soup to warm your soul this winter. We definitely need it here in Ottawa after the record breaking snowfall we received yesterday. 47 centimetres! (18 1/2 inches) The soup was inspired by DamnDelicious.com. Their site was down so I used just the ingredients as listed on Pinterest, with some tweaks to suit my tastes. I fried up 4 slices of bacon to render the grease and use the meat as a garnish. I also added a couple of potatoes. It turned out wonderfully! My guy Steve is a mushroom fanatic and his favourite soups are chowders so he wolfed this down. It’s also super simple and quick to make, especially if you have leftovers from a Sunday roast chicken. You could also use leftover turkey from a holiday celebration, or use precooked like I did. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. 🙂

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Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Soup

Ingredients

4 slices of bacon
1 large package of precooked chicken breast or approx 2 cups of chopped rotisserie chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (I used a can of mushrooms)
1 onion, diced
2 handfuls of thinly sliced carrots (like the packaged kind for coleslaw)
2 stalks celery, diced

2 potatoes, diced
2-3 pinches or so of dried thyme
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock (1 litre low sodium prepackaged chicken stock)
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup half and half, or more, as needed*
1 tsp dried parsley leaves
2 or 3 pinches of dried rosemary

Instructions

Cook the bacon to your liking in a large pot or dutch oven or medium heat. Remove from pot and crumble. Pour off all but one tablespoon of the bacon fat. Add butter, garlic, mushrooms, onion, carrots and celery to the fat in the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in thyme until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Whisk in chicken stock, bay leaf and chicken thighs, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes.Whisk together 2 Tbsp flour and 2 Tbsp of the half and half to make a slurry. Stir in remaining half and half into soup until heated through, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil and add the slurry to thicken the soup. If the soup is too thick, add more half and half as needed until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley and rosemary, if desired.

Notes: *Half and half is equal parts of whole milk and cream. For 1 cup half and half, you can substitute 3/4 cup whole milk + 1/4 cup heavy cream or 2/3 cup skim or low-fat milk + 1/3 cup heavy cream.

Lighter Sweet and Sour Chicken

I am obsessed with this Sweet and Sour Chicken dish from the mall food court of all things! Shanghai 360 is fairly new to Ottawa. I think the first one opened at Bayshore or the Rideau Centre this past year when both malls got major overhauls. The chain is also in other Ontario cities I believe. But their sweet and sour chicken is like none other. It’s more sweet than sour with a sticky, red sauce which has a hint of warm spice to it. I have no idea what’s in it and I don’t care. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t lose any weight this summer! Heehee! It got even worse through December when I found myself at the mall quite a lot for Christmas shopping, so it was my excuse to have this once or even twice a week. I’ve been trying to restrain myself as of late, but I had it again last week and it’s totally worth the calories. It’s my mission this winter to try to recreate the dish at home. In an attempt to eat a little healthier, I started with this one from the latest issue of Cooking Light. Not even close. It’s a good dish but not exactly gourmet – something to put together on a busy weeknight. I’ll keep trying so stay tuned.

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Steve threw some steamed broccoli on top because he’s not a fan of pineapple.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Ingredients:

2 large egg whites
4 tsp of cornstarch, divided
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 Tbsp ketchup
1/4 cup water
3 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
3 green onions cut into 1 inch pieces
3/8 tsp kosher salt

Preparation:

1. Combine eggs whites and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken to the bowl; toss to coast.

2. Combine remaining 1 teaspoon cornstarch, ketchup, and the next 4 ingredients (through to soy sauce) in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.

3. Heat a large skillet non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pineapple, ginger, and onions to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer bell pepper to a plate.

4. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in pan. Add chicken mixture to pan, allowing any excess egg white mixture to drip back into bowl. Stir-fry 6 minutes or under chicken is browned and done.

5.  Add ketchup mixture and bell pepper mixture to the pan. Bring to a simmer; simmer one minute or until slightly thickened. Sprinkle with salt; serve immediately.

Serves 4. Calories: 324.

Vietnamese Chicken Bowl

After all that holiday indulging we thought we’d end the weekend on a healthier note with an Asian inspired dish. Both Steve and I love Vietnamese food, especially the noodle bowls, but he has yet to find a restaurant that lives up to his favourite place in Montreal. (Apparently everything really is better in Montreal ;)) We had the idea Sunday night to try making the dish at home. This recipe is from Ricardo Magazine and if you’re already a fan of Asian cuisine you probably have most of the ingredients on hand. The only thing we had trouble finding was lemongrass. I substituted with the zest of the lemon and found the final chicken had a touch too much lemon flavour for my liking so the next time I will add half and see how that turns out. If you plan ahead for the marinade, this recipe is quite quick and easy. Steve actually did the cooking this time and he did an amazing job! I couldn’t stop inhaling this stuff! And it’s satisfying without leaving you feeling bloated and icky. I’m definitely trying this one again.

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Vietnamese Style Grilled Chicken Bowl

Nuoc Cham Sauce
5 ml (1 tsp) sambal oelek
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
10 ml (2 tsp) sugar
Juice of 2 limes
60 m l (1/4 cup) fish sauce (nuoc mam)
30 ml (2 tbsp) water

Chicken
2 stalks lemongrass or grated zest of 1 lemon
15 ml (1 tbsp) peanut or canola oil
5 ml (1 tsp) toasted sesame oil
125 ml (1/2 cup) chicken broth
8 skinless and boneless chicken thighs

Garnishes
200 g (7 oz) rice vermicelli, soaked in boiling water and drained
1/2 iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
1/2 unpeeled English cucumber, cut into thin strips
125 ml (1/2 cup) toasted salted peanuts, chopped

PREPARATION
Nuoc Cham Sauce
In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients. Set aside.

Chicken
Cut the stalks of lemongrass into small pieces and finely chop in a food processor.
Add the peanut oil, sesame oil, broth and half the nuoc cham sauce. Mix thoroughly.
Pour the marinade into a glass dish or sealable plastic bag. Add the chicken. Cover the dish with plastic wrap or seal the bag and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. When in a hurry, marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Preheat the grill, setting the burners to medium-high. Oil the grate.
Grill the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. On a work surface, slice the chicken and set aside.

Garnishes
Divide the noodles, lettuce and cucumber into bowls. Add the chicken and sprinkle with the peanuts. Drizzle with the remaining nuoc-cham sauce.

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