Braised Chicken with Shallots

Can we take care of a bit of business before we dive into this dish here? The Washington Post is once again holding the DCTweeps contest. They’ve spruced up the rules, added new categories and thrown in wildcard voting – but they still have a “Favorite Foodie” category, and I’m still nominated! Would you guys take a moment and go vote for me? It’s nearly the last category (so annoying, I know) but along the way you can vote for great folks like Borderstan (Fave Local Blogger), Andy Carvin (Fave Social Media Geek) and Allison Sosna (Fave Activist). I’ll be forever thankful – I’ll even make a weird or difficult recipe for you and do the dirty research to see if it’s worth it! (Maybe. If you want me to make something ridiculous from the Alinea cookbook well, no. I won’t do that.)

Okay, now back to our regularly scheduled recipe.

Remember when I butchered that chicken back in March? Well, I walked away from the class with two whole chickens, broken down, bits and all. It was still chilly and I’d just bought my dutch oven and was itching to use it. In case you didn’t know: chicken + dutch oven = braising. At least in my house it does.

A quick Google search brought me to this Martha Stewart recipe, which I have to say is a nice jumping off point for braising chicken. It has all the important elements – white wine, mustard and a good sear on the meat before you get started. Here’s the good news: the chicken comes out so tender, nearly fall off the bone tender. And the shallots, translucent with each layer delicately separated, take on a whole new texture and flavor, almost candied!  Continue reading

Brown Bag Challenge: Grilled Chicken Sandwich With Pepper Jack and Chipotle Lime Mayo

I met Cara and Phoebe of Big Girls Small Kitchen fame over brunch with Mrs. Wheelbarrow about a month ago now, and their energy was infectious. Meeting the people behind the blogs you love can be awkward, do I gush and say how much I love the blog? Will they be in real life how they write on their blog? All I can say is, these are the kind of gals you want as your friends – savvy, smart and hilarious.

So, when they asked me to participate in the Small Kitchen College Brown Bag Challenge I was very excited! There are all kinds of fun giveaways from BuiltNY (the folks who make all those fun lunch bags and wine carriers) and chats all week. But, first the food!

The challenge is all about making it fun and easy to take your lunch to work. I like my lunch to be the most filling meal of my day. I’m not too hungry in the morning so I eat light and am usually starving by lunch which also needs to fuel my evening work out. My go-to healthy lunch is a salad, but I decided to branch out and try a sandwich for today instead.

A grilled chicken sandwich seemed like a pretty boring move, but I zhuzhed it up with a “fancy” deli roll from the grocery store (shmeared with butter and grilled, too, of course), melted pepper jack cheese and some smokey spicy chipotle lime mayo.

My dining companion who taste tested the sandwich wanted a bag of Lays potato chips to go with it, but I opted for a cherry tomato, avocado and red onion salad dressed in a citrus vinaigrette. That recipe will come tomorrow though!

Something to consider: make sure you get a particularly plump chicken breast if you like your lunches large and in charge – or double up and do two chicken breasts. We definitely wanted more chicken on our sandwiches (whimpy breasts) to balance out all that bread from the fancy rolls.

I’m happy to say that while I thought this was a great sandwich, my taste tester, a boy, also thought it would make a filling meal. Who says you can’t eat well for lunch?!


More Details on the Small Kitchen College Brown Bag Challenge:

Wednesday, July 13th from 12pm – 1pm, BGSK be hosting a live twitter chat with The Daily Meal, using hash tag #brownbag.

So, you can also  win BuiltNY prizes on Facebook and Twitter, @BGSKCollege,  by posting a photo of your brown bag lunch. Items up for grabs include: Gourmet Getaway Lunch Totes, Water Bottle Tote, Six Pack Tote, Market Tote, Spicy Relish Lunch Tote, and Wine Bottle Tote.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich With Chipotle Lime Mayo

  • 1 thick chicken breast (or 2 small breasts)
  • 1tsp olive oil
  • 1-2 slices of pepper jack cheese
  • 3 thin slices off a small red onion
  • 3 pieces of crisp lettuce
  • 1 kaiser roll
  • Butter
  • 1/4c mayo
  • 1tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1tsp adobo sauce (from the chipotles in adobo sauce you’ll find in the Hispanic foods aisle at the grocery store)
  • Salt/Pepper

I did this meal entirely on a gas grill, which certainly made things easy, but you can achieve the same results with a pan and your broiler.

Before you head to the grill:

  • Halve your deli roll and shmear each side with a healthy portion of butter.
  • Slice your onion, tear off some lettuce and grab your cheese.
  • Combine mayo, lime juice, adobo sauce and salt/pepper in a bowl. Mix thoroughly & taste. Add more adobo, salt or pepper to taste.
  • Rub down your chicken breast with the olive oil, salt and pepper.

Get the grill nice and hot, say, 400F.  Place chicken on the grill and close the top. After 7-10 minutes, turn the breast. While you have the grill still open, throw the bun, butter side down, on the upper portion of the grill so it’s not directly on the flame.

Check on your chicken after another 7-10 minutes…lookin’ all pretty with those grill marks?! Time to take your bun off the grill. now, using your tongs and a sharp knife, cut the breast in half lengthwise. This is your chance to make sure it’s cooked all the way through…no pink! Place your pepper jack cheese on top of each half of the chicken and close the grill again. Mmmm…melty, spicy cheese!

Since you’re taking this for lunch you’re going to want things in separate baggies or containers. One for each:

  • chipotle lime mayo
  • grilled chicken with melted cheese, lettuce and onion
  • bun

When you get to work all you have to do is shmear on the mayo and assemble your sandwich. Maybe heat up the chicken in your office microwave if you’re feeling fancy. 

Tune back in tomorrow for the side salad recipe to complete your lunch!

Now if you’re looking at that can of chipotles in adobo sauce and wondering what to do with the rest of it…just make albondigas for dinner! They are great re-heated…for lunch even! :)

How To: Butcher a Chicken

You know. You can barely even call this butchering. It’s…baby butchering. Butchering light. Diet butchering. Cutting up a chicken into all its various parts and bits is easy. Too easy for this girl, who set a New Year’s Resolution to learn how to butcher.

I said I would start small…learn how to properly break down a chicken. So that’s where I started.

Whole chicken. Didn't stay like that for long.

Remember my friend Ian? He took pictures of those Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies. Yes, well, I roped him into coming to my chicken class at Hill’s Kitchen. He hovered around me as I learned to pop bones out of joints and cut through cartilage.

The drama of the first cut!

I had to explain to the class that Ian was there just to take pics of me and my probably hackish looking bird when all was said and done. Awkward.

We used a small-ish knife throughout the whole process but mostly just our hands. A lot of popping of joints and what nots – like I said. Plenty of fingering around looking for that dip…in the…joint…where the oyster…oyster? wtf is an oyster? is.

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Faux Gumbo

I know NOLA, Southern people, ya’ll. It’s not gumbo. There’s no roux. I’m sorry. It’s another Weight Watchers recipe.

God…I need to bake something. With a lot of butter in it. Soon. Or something with caramel. Salted caramel. Like brownies. Drizzled with smooth, salted caramel. Sprinkled with the tiniest bits of flaky, white…*drool*

Sorry! Sorry! I’m back. Faux gumbo. Even The BF liked this one…he has no clue what he’s eating really. I just make this stuff, it happens to be healthy and he’s happy at the end of the night. So if you aren’t a stickler for completely authentic gumbo, you probably won’t mind this. If you are a stickler, like I am about my Mexican food, then, carry on! Act like you never saw this post.

Maybe we’ll just call it Chicken, Shrimp and Kielbasa with Rice in Tomatoes. How about that? :)


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Cilantro Garlic Yogurt Sauce & Grilled Chicken

Finally, folks! Here is the first in a series of long-awaited Beach Trip Cooking Posts! Oh yayer! I know you’re as excited as I am!

Before we left for Rehoboth Beach, DE (over a week ago now) I had grandiose plans for laying out a menu for each day, shopping ahead of time, marinating meats over night, bringing an ice-pack bag for delicate foods or spices from my own cupboard.

Yeah none of that happened. Work was crazy, The BF moving in cause mental havoc I couldn’t overcome and I was just tired. We left for the beach on a Wednesday and I’d had a friend staying with me until the Sunday before. It was just. Too. Much.

Fast forward to Wednesday, the day we were set to leave. Of course the day before you’re supposed to be out on vacation it’s like the whole world voms in your Outlook Inbox! So in between meetings, prepping documents and taking phone calls I hopped on Epicurious with a vague idea of what I’d like to cook. This, our first recipe in the beach installment, was born of me wanting to marinate chicken in a greek yogurt sauce.

If you’re anything like The BF you are totally weirded out by the idea of a) marinating in dairy and b) grilling dairy. Well, I wasn’t and so off we went. (Ever heard of buttermilk chicken? Yeah.) I didn’t want a predictable tzatziki, and the abundance of cilantro at the markets has really inspired me lately…so when I found this recipe I was done looking.

It was easy enough to pull together, and very refreshing. As a marinade…eh…it’s a toss up. I’m not sure the meat gained too much from marinating it in the sauce except for an occasional note of charred cilantro, but it was a nice thought. What it was good for was dipping the grilled-to-perfection chicken in after the fact!

If you are using the sauce as a marinade, like we did, be sure to reserve about 3/4 cup for dipping the chicken or veggies later! This leaves you enough sauce to marinade up to four thick chicken breasts. I went for boneless, skinless.


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Chicken with Tomatoes and Rice

Well. Everyone cooks a bootleg dinner every now and then, right? A dish that is born of laziness, missing a few trips to the grocery store and limited  resources in the cupboard. Yep. Last week I had THAT night.

I had leftover brown rice, a can of diced tomatoes, a frozen chicken breast…and a can of V8. God  help me now…I hope this isn’t the post that, like, a chef I really admire ends up reading.

What I really want you to get from this post…this recipe…is that you can ALWAYS make SOMETHING tasty for dinner, you just need to get creative. :)


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Chicken Enchiladas

I feel like Bubba Gump but instead of shrimp, it’s chicken. As many of you will recall, I roasted a chicken not too long ago and it’s been feeding me the way I imagine bison used to feed whole tribes back in the day…for a very, very long time.

So this was the second installment of chicken dishes I made. The BF had swooped into town at the last minute on a very cheap ticket (hat tip, American Airlines, thank you!) and true to form I experimented with a recipe and made him eat it.

Okay. Imma say this now…I love Tyler Florence, I really do. But I’m half Mexican-American and I’m from Arizona and I know my Mexican food and I’m weirdly obsessed about it being JUST RIGHT. The way those BBQ guys are on Pitmasters are on TLC.

So…nice try, Tyler?! I was encouraged by the comments…everyone proclaiming that these were so delicious and yummy. And they’re good. I mean, they’re not bad. They just aren’t my Valle Luna. So once I got over that I really enjoyed them.

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Roasted Chicken and Cream Biscuits

Once I got through my chicken…uh…issues…I got on with the roasting and biscuit-ing. This was my first time roasting a chicken (I know, who am I!?) and it was SO much easier than I ever thought. I gave myself a little kick in the butt after reading The Kitchn’s Home Hacks: How To Roast A Chicken post. Of course, no meal is complete without carbs so I also decided to try The Kitchn’s Home Hacks: Cream Biscuits to go with my bird.

I don’t have any edits to these delicious recipes…I do have plenty of ideas though!

When it comes to the chicken, you’re basically roasting veggies along with the bird so throw in whatever you like.  Shred the left over meat and make pot pies, enchiladas, soup or empanadas! Add in some bell peppers, pearl onions, maybe even some asparagus?

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Valentine’s Day Dinner

It’s Valentine’s day this weekend! Whether you’re celebrating your supremely sexy, single self…or you have a significant other, I think cooking a special meal every now and then is important!

I made this dinner for myself last night actually…and quite by mistake. I needed protein (lots of working out with all this snowed-in business) so chicken was a must. I love brussel sprouts (more on that in another post later this week) and had a whole bag on hand. I had to move corn meal out of the way while I was trying to get sugar for a blueberry cake (again, more on that later) and saw a recipe on the side of the bag for polenta and thought, “Hey! I’ve never made polenta before!” And so my meal was born.

This is an easy meal to put together (trust me!), but looks and tastes delish!


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