June – Garlic Lime Chicken Tacos

June – Garlic Lime Chicken Tacos

Looking for the perfect way to use up any leftover chicken from your 4th of July BBQ? This one will also get you out of a hot kitchen and put dinner on the table quickly. No leftovers? A rotisserie chicken from the store works well. You could also saute or grill a few boneless chicken breasts or thighs and give them the same treatment. Any way you choose, this is quick and easy.

Lime Garlic Chicken Tacos

Lime Garlic Chicken Tacos

The recipe is simple but toasting the tortillas directly over the gas burner on your range, or on the grill, or even on a grill pan, makes a huge difference. That toasty and roasted flavor adds something special, as does the cilantro and lime crema.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon
  • 2 limes
  • 1-2 tablespoons finely minced jalapeno
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
  • 2 avocados, peeled and pits removed, diced or sliced (sprinkle with a little lime or lemon juice to keep them from turning brown)
  • 16 cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quartered (or some jarred tomato salsa)
  • 6 cups of leftover chicken
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of neutral oil
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 6 oz of cheese (Cotija, feta, cheddar, Monterey jack, or other) shredded or crumbled
  • 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish
  • Cilantro and lime crema

See the previous post for the cilantro and lime crema.

Cilantro Lime Crema

Cilantro Lime Crema

If you don’t have any leftover chicken on hand either – saute 2 large cubed boneless chicken breasts or 5 cubed boneless thighs in the oil until cooked through. Remove the pan from the heat and proceed with the recipe.

Or, brush with oil and place the whole breasts or thighs directly on the BBQ. When cooked, remove from the heat, slice and proceed with the recipe.

Method:

  1. Prepare the lime and cilantro crema.
  2. Juice the lemon and limes, place in a small bowl with the minced garlic and jalapeno. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. Place a skillet over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot add the leftover chicken, cook until heated through.
  4. While the chicken cooks, toast the tortillas over a cooktop burner, grill top or grill pan. Use tongs to turn so you toast both sides.
  5. When the chicken is heated, toss with the lime/lemon juice mixture, salt and pepper.
  6. Stuff the tortillas with chicken, avocado, tomato, and cheese. Garnish with the crema and cilantro.

I bet the folks over at Fiesta Friday would find this useful. It’s Fiesta Friday #438, a virtual (can you believe how many things are still virtual!?) blogging party that predates Covid. Angie hosts the party and I am this weeks cohost.

Click on the Fiesta Friday link to find ideas for celebrating the 4th, decorating your home, or keeping the kids busy with crafts now that school is out.

 

January – Marinade

January – Marinade

MARINADE, that’s the only title on a slip of paper that was clipped to my mother’s refrigerator for many years. The words are now smeared by water droplets but the writing is still legible.

Marinade

Marinade

My mother has been gone for some years but I treasure these glimpses of her thoughts and life. And this is a very useful, simple recipe to keep around.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of bourbon
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • dash of dry mustard

Can be used on all meats…chicken, pork, London broil, fish. Marinate for 2 hours but not longer than 24.

This is quite a strong marinade. I wouldn’t marinate fish for longer than 30 minutes, chicken for 2 hours, thick cuts of beef and pork can take the 24 hours. But I recommend 6 hours for a thinner cut. Longer than that and the meat will turn mushy. This marinade has done wonders for steaks of questionable tenderness. Flank steak is infinitely improved by a 6-8 hour bath. The marinade has a definite Asian slant, you could use sake or brandy instead of the bourbon. My mother usually had bourbon around as my father had a large bourbon and water every night before dinner.

 

 

I marinated this flank steak for about 6 hours, then grilled it on high heat for about 4-5 minutes a side. It was delicious, juicy and tender.

January – Instant Pot Chicken and Cannellini Beans

January – Instant Pot Chicken and Cannellini Beans

Tender chicken, creamy and extremely tasty beans…what more could you ask? A perfect cold weather meal with a glass of chardonnay and a simple green salad. Even better, it’s one pot in the electric pressure cooker.

Instant Pot Chicken and Cannellini Beans

Instant Pot Chicken and Cannellini Beans

 

Ingredients: (Serves 4-6)

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 oz of chopped pancetta or bacon
  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 6 to 8 thighs)
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into half moons
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • ½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can or 2 (14-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • optional: 1 parmesan rind
  • ½ lemon, juiced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Add to Your Grocery List

Ingredient Substitution Guide

PREPARATION

  1. Season the chicken generously all over with salt and pepper. Turn on the sauté setting of a 6- to 8-quart electric pressure cooker and warm the oil. Add the pancetta and sauté until just starting to brown. Add the chicken, skin-side down, and sear until the skin is browned and releases easily from the pot, 6 to 8 minutes. (If you have more than 4 thighs, you may need to do this in two batches.) Using tongs, remove the chicken.
  2. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring constantly, until just softened, about 2 minutes. Add the red-pepper flakes and stir constantly for about 30 seconds, then add the white wine. Stir well, scraping up all the browned bits. Turn off the sauté setting.
  3. Stir in the beans, parmesan rind if using, and rosemary. Season lightly with salt and generously with pepper. Nestle the chicken thighs on top, skin-side up. Add any accumulated juices to the pot. Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes.
  4. Allow the pressure to reduce naturally for 10 minutes, then release the remaining pressure manually. Remove any woody stalks of rosemary and any remaining rind of parmesan. (I found mine had simply melted into the beans.) Squeeze in the lemon juice and fold in the parsley. Serve the beans and chicken in shallow bowls.

You may want to remove the skin on the chicken thighs before serving. It has already provided a boost of flavor to the dish and is not longer particularly attractive.

Chicken Soup – The Easy Way

Chicken Soup – The Easy Way

You can have this quick, simple and flavorful soup on the table in less than 30 minutes. Quick Braised Chicken Soup with Greens is full of flavor and nutrition but low on preparation time. There is no need to brown the chicken first, braising it in the broth adds extra flavor and a boost if you don’t have homemade broth on hand.

chicken soup

chicken soup

I used boneless chicken breasts, I think thighs would be even more flavorful and tender. That’s how I will make it next time. For this soup you don’t need to brown the chicken first, a definite time saver. Instead you braise the chicken in chicken stock, making it even more rich and delectable. Serve the soup with crusty bread, over a scoop of rice, noodles, mashed potatoes or even a package of quick cooking ramen (discard the seasoning package). Use any greens you have on hand. Kale or chard would be good, I had a package of baby spinach which only needs a minute in the hot broth. Adjust the cooking times of other greens.

The pickled peppers add a spicy note, sweet and sour. Don’t leave them out. I had a jar of cherry peppers in the pantry.

Quick Braised Chicken with Greens (4-6 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1/2 cup sliced hot pickled peppadew, cherry or pepperoncini peppers, plus 2 tablespoons of brine (more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken
  • 1-1/2 pounds (1 to 2 bunches) dark leafy greens, such as kale, chard, escarole or spinach. de-stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • For serving: crisp toast, pasta, mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower, or grains.

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt, and cook until translucent and starting to brown. Add the peppers, tomato paste, and cumin. Cook, stirring constantly, until the paste is a shade darker and starts to stick to the bottom of the pot.
  2. Add the broth, chicken, brine and pickled peppers. If using a tougher green like kale, add it at this point. Season with salt (if needed and your broth is salt free), stir, cover the pot, and cook on medium-high heat until it comes to a simmer. Then uncover and reduce the heat to low.
  3. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and the greens are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Using two forks, shred the chicken into pieces. If using baby spinach, add it at this point just to wilt.
  4. Taste and adjust with salt and/or brine.
Quick Chicken Soup

Quick Chicken Soup

Quick Chicken Soup

Quick Chicken Soup

This recipe is slightly modified from one by Ali Slagle at the New York Times.

August – Baharat Rubbed Chicken with Carrots

August – Baharat Rubbed Chicken with Carrots

Sheet Pan Chicken with Baharat

Sheet Pan Chicken with Baharat

This sheet pan (or tray pan in the other parts of the world) dinner is a one pan wonder. Crisp skinned thighs cooked with sweet carrots, onions and sliced bell pepper…all flavored with the aromatic spice mix called baharat. It’s a blend commonly used in N. Africa and the Middle East. The mix I used was purchased from the Oaktown Spice Shop, a blend of paprika, black pepper, cumin, coriander, allspice, cassia, clove, cardamom and nutmeg. Baharad is the Arabic word for spices.

If you would like to make your own, this recipe comes from the cookbook Jerusalem by Ottolenghi.

Note: Ottolenghi and Tamimi recommend using a spice grinder for this recipe “and for plenty of other occasions.” But “if you are using a mortar and pestle, you may want to get ground cardamom, as the pods will be hard to grind by hand.”

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 small cinnamon stick, coarsely chopped

½ teaspoon whole cloves

½ teaspoon ground allspice

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon cardamom seeds

½ whole nutmeg, grated

1. Place all the spices in a spice grinder or mortar and grind until a fine powder is formed. Store in an airtight container, where it will keep for 8 weeks.

Baharat Rubbed Sheet Pan Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or legs
  • 1 pound of carrots, halved (and quartered if thicker than 1 inch) see note
  • 1 medium red onion, quartered
  • 1 to 2 red or yellow bell peppers, cut into 1 inch strips
  • 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of baharat
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts, briefly toasted in a small dry skillet
  • fresh parsley, mint or cilantro – chopped
  • about 1/2 cup of labne or Greek yogurt

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Combine the olive oil, salt and baharat in a large bowl – stir to combine
  3. Add the chicken, carrots, peppers and onions to the bowl and toss to combine. I find my hands are the easiest way to coat everything
  4. Place the chicken skin side up on the sheet pan, nestle the rest of the ingredients (cut sides down as much as possible) around them.
  5. Roast for about 40 minutes until the chicken skin is very crisp and a kitchen thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 160 degrees F. You could turn the vegetables half way through but I didn’t bother.
  6. Spread the labne or yogurt onto a section of a serving dish or platter. place the chicken and vegetables on top. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and fresh herbs.

Note: If you would like to leave the carrots in larger chunks, parboil them for 5 minutes before add to the bowl. Also, other root vegetables would also be good such as small Yukon gold potatoes, parsnips, or turnips.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Baharat

Sheet Pan Chicken with Baharat

Sheet Pan Chicken with Baharat

Sheet Pan Chicken with Baharat

Sheet Pan Chicken with Baharat

Sheet Pan Chicken with Baharat

 

I am taking this easy sheet pan dinner to share with the folks at Fiesta Friday. It’s #396, hosted by Angie. Please click on the link to read other posts about cooking, crafting and meal planning. Please consider adding your own link but read the guidelines if you would like to be considered for featured post of the week.