Roasted Chicken and Fennel with Garlic, Lemon, Capers, Rosemary and Thyme

I first made this recipe in 2014, and wrote “Yum-Oh!!!” on the side. (Yes, I was in a Rachael Ray phase for a while.) The original recipe is from Eden Grinshpan from Everyday Food. I made a version of it for supper a couple of nights ago, doubling the marinade and adding veggies that were at the use ’em or lose ’em stage. The marinade is super flavorful and very easy. It made a great supper with Corn Pudding, but roasting potatoes with the chicken and veggies would be good, too.

Ingredients

4 Tbsp of crushed garlic*
2 Tbsp capers, drained
1 Tbsp of dried Thyme
1 tsp of dried Rosemary leaves
1 whole lemon with peel, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of lemon juice

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs 3-4 cut into thinner cutlets
2 fennel bulbs, each cut into 8 wedges  (easier to eat that way), plus any greens growing out of the top.
4 stalks of asparagus, cut into bite-sized segments
4 carrots, scrubbed, but not peeled, cut into bite sized pieces

Mix all marinade ingredients. Pour a little into a 10×13 baking dish, and lay chicken down. Add fennel and asparagus, and drizzle all well with the marinade.  Toss lightly in the marinade.  It would probably be smart to let it sit for a bit, but I just popped everything  into a preheated 375 degree oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes. It’s delicious and the whole lemon slices are ridiculously tasty!

I think you could use just about any sturdy vegetable you have on hand. The original recipe also called for 1/2 cup Kalamata Olives, which I didn’t have, but which would probably be pretty good.

*I buy a bag of peeled garlic from Costco and puree them in the food processor with just a little olive oil. Scoop the puree into gallon ziplock bags, and smooth it into thin flat layers before putting them in the freezer. Then just break off chunks whenever you need garlic.  Be careful not to make the layers too thick or they won’t break easily!

Thai Green Curry with Eggplant, Peppers and chicken

Made this for Kumy’s birthday last week while we were away from home. We had kind of limited supplies, but I’d brought a couple of Tbsp of Thai Green Curry Paste, which made it crazy easy. We were all starved and this was the perfect dish!

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Eggplant, not peeled – cut into 1″ cubes
1 green pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small onion, cut into fat slivers
1 carrot, julienned
1 lb. chicken tenders, cut into small bite-sized pieces
2 Tbsp Mae Ploy Green Curry Paste
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce (optional – I didn’t have any and it was still good)
juice from 1/2 lime
pinch red pepper flakes (totally optional – the paste is already very spicy)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup Thai Basil Leaves, julienned (optional – I didn’t have any and still good)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet until it’s quite hot. Add eggplant and cook, flipping the eggplant to sear it. Cook for 5 minutes or so, then add the onion, peppers and carrot and saute for another 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is transparent and the peppers are softened. Add the chicken and continue cooking 3-4 more minutes.

Shift veggies to the edges, and add a little more oil, and the green curry paste. Cook the green curry paste for a couple of minutes and add 1/2 cup water, the juice of 1/2 a lime and the salt and red pepper flakes. Stir everything together well and add the coconut milk. Cook for just another 30 seconds to warm the coconut milk and serve over rice.

Would probably be great with chopped peanuts, too.

Update:  Last night Maya and the gals made amazing vegan egg rolls, which Samir fried.  Since we had a lot of folks home for supper,  I made this dish without chicken, and realized it really doesn’t need the red pepper flakes!  Taylor made Sherry Trifle, so it was fine dining all around.

Chicken and Herbed Biscuit Potpie

Made another great recipe from Ree Drummond’s blog last night. The original recipe calls for beef, but I had chicken meat and stock from a Costco roasted chicken. To make it with beef, just use shredded or diced cooked beef for the chicken, and beef stock instead of chicken. I also added mushrooms. This makes a big casserole of food. If cooking for a smaller group – you could halve this.

Ingredients for Pot Pie Filling:

3 Tbsp butter
1/2 onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced (about 4 inches if you cut across the whole top of the stalk)
3 large carrots, scrubbed and thinly sliced
2-3 cups mushrooms, halved
3 cloves garlic, mashed
6 Tbsp flour
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (about 1 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper)
3 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3 cups frozen peas
4 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces

Melt butter in a stock pot. Toss in onions, and saute for a couple of minutes. Then add celery, carrots and garlic and saute a couple of more minutes. Finally stir in mushrooms, cover pan and cook on medium low heat for about 10 minutes.

Add the flour, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for a few minutes. Stir in chicken stock and cook to thicken for a few minutes. Add the heavy whipping cream and bring just to a boil. Immediately add the parsley, peas and chicken meat and stir to coat everything. Turn off heat. Pour the filling into a 9×13 pan.

While filling is cooking make the Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits:

Ingedients:

2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried parsley
8 Tbsp cold butter, cut up (1 stick)
3/4 cup buttermilk

Add all dry ingredients to a food processor and pulse until they are well blended. Add the butter and pulse about 10 times until the butter and flour mixture is blended and a little crumbly. Add the buttermilk and pulse 10 times or so, until it clumps together on one side. It will be quite sticky.

Scoop out ice cream scoops of the biscuit and carefully arrange them on the filling. You just want to be sure that every serving has a nice biscuit on top of it.

Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven when the biscuits are starting to brown nicely, and brush the tops with butter.

Delish!!

Chicken Pilau Biryani

Everyone has a dish that is their knock out dish, and Pilau Biryani is mine.  I’ve made it for graduations, parties and most recently for a wedding.  (5 catering trays worth!)  It’s a fairly simple dish, but so ridiculously tasty.  I use a spice mix called Shan Pilau Biryani mix, which is available online or in Indian grocery stores.

This makes a really nice big batch, but leftovers never last at our house.  I do make the recipe a little differently than on the box, but it’s still pretty close.  If you decide to make a half box, try to make sure you get roughly half of the big spices as well. It is also traditional to leave big spices like cardamom, cloves, black peppers , pieces of cinnamon etc. in the dish that you simply pick out while you are eating.

1 box Shan Pilau Biryani Mix
2 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 Tbsp crushed Garlic
1 1/2  Tbsp crushed fresh Ginger
1 – 2 small glasses of water
1/2 cup plain yogurt, stirred well plus more for serving
3 1/2 cups basmati rice
6 1/2  cups of water
1 Tbsp kosher salt
3-4 large onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup olive oil

In  large pot, mix the chicken, spice mix, garlic, ginger and water.  Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer until chicken is cooked and soft.  (Probably about an hour.)  You want to end up with about 2 cups of liquid gravy (in addition to the chicken of course) so if you end up with much more, just cook it a little longer.  If you have less, add more water during cooking.

Remove from heat.  (If you want to pour it into a catering tray and freeze it at this point, you can.)

Stir the yogurt well and pour it over the chicken mixture evenly.

Cook the rice with the 1 Tbsp salt until just about done, and layer it on top of the chicken and gravy. It is important to make sure the rice isn’t overcooked and too soft, since the moisture in the gravy will add moisture to the rice.

If you get a red powder packet in the biryani mix, sprinkle it on top of the rice for nice bits of yellow color. Sometimes it’s not in the box – which is a bummer, but not a fatal flaw.

Fry the thinly sliced onions in olive oil, stirring frequently until they are dark golden brown and caramelized. This does take quite a while. Keep the onions and the oil they were fried in – you will use it all in the dish.  (I often start the onions before I even start the chicken to save time.  You can also cook the onions and then freeze them, and heat them just before you assemble the dish.)  For the wedding this summer, I fried two big bags of onions from Costco.  I think you could smell onions frying from two blocks away!

Ladle the fried onions and the oil on top of the rice, and cover with foil.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  (If you start with a frozen base, you’ll need to either cook it longer or you’ll want to thaw the base for a couple of hours.)

Remove from the oven and gently mix up the chicken and rice portion with a big spoon or saucer , and serve on a big platter. Serve with plain yogurt or a simple raita (spiced yogurt and vegetables.)

For a vegan version, substitute 3 cans of washed garbanzo beans, one cup of shelled pistachios, and 1 cup of frozen peas for the meat.  Add the peas until the very last minute or they get mushy.  (I sometimes just put the peas on top of the mixture in the tray since it all gets mixed up anyway.  That way they stay nice and green, but still absorb plenty of flavor.)

 

Florentine Chicken & Spinach Casserole

Served this amazing casserole for Christmas Dinner, along with a salad dressed with Ina Garten’s Green Goddess Dressing. It was posted by Bryan0320 on allrecipes, and although in a 1970s throwback with a can of cream of mushroom soup, it deserves every one of the 4.5 stars it got from over 3000 reviews!  I know I’ll make this recipe often.  (Returning after making it a couple of times and simplifying the process a bit.)

Of course I made a few changes as noted below.

Ingredients

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup butter
1 Tbsp garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 can cream of mushroom soup (10.75 oz.)
4 tsp Italian seasoning, or:
1 tsp Basil
1 tsp Marjoram
1 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Rosemary
1/2 tsp Thyme
pinch Garlic Powder
1/2 cup half & half
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
16 oz. fresh baby spinach
1/3 cup dried shiitake mushrooms, broken into 1/2 inch pieces (Could just use a package of fresh mushrooms chopped, too.)
1/3 cup sherry (optional if you are using fresh mushrooms.)
6 slices of bacon, diced
2-3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, or mozzarella

Bake boneless thighs on a baking sheet at 350 for 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Turn oven heat up to 400 degrees.

At the same time, in a little pan bring sherry and 1/2 cup water to the boil. Add the shiitake mushrooms, and turn down to a simmer for 10-15 minutes until the mushrooms are softened.

In a large pot, fry the bacon until nicely browned. Remove all but a Tbsp of the bacon drippings. Add the spinach and saute until completely wilted. It may take several batches to wilt a whole pound, but just keep adding and  cooking. You can add a little water to keep the pan from burning.  Push the spinach to the edges, and add the butter, garlic, lemon juice, cream of mushroom soup, Italian seasoning and mushrooms. Bring to a simmer. Stir spinach from edges into sauce.  Remove from heat and add half & half and Parmesan cheese.

In a 9×12 baking dish, lay half the spinach/cheese mixture in an even layer. Lay the chicken thighs on top. Pour remaining sauce over the top with Mexican Cheese (or Mozzarella) and bake 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted and lightly browned.

 

Camp Chicken Noodle Soup

Just back from Niobrara and while we were there, I made chicken noodle soup that was so easy and so good – just with what I had on hand. Chicken thighs have  enough fat and flavor to make chicken broth unnecessary, and while we were in a cabin, this would be great for camping, too.  See my notes below to prep this recipe for camping.

1 onion, cut up
2 carrots, cut up
2 stalks celery, cut up
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 bay leaves
pinch of ground cloves
2 tsp dried parsley
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (mine were frozen in a lump, from Costco)
7-8 cups water
1 package noodles

Saute onion, carrots and celery in olive oil. Add spices and stir in. Add chicken and water. Cook 20 minutes.

If chicken is frozen, just cook it in a lump and after 10 minutes or so, you should be able to start pulling it apart. Fish out the bigger pieces, and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Return to pot. Finish cooking. Add noodles and cook for another 8-10 minutes until noodles are done.

To prep this for camping: cut up veggies and bag them with oil and spices. Bring frozen chicken and noodles in their bag. The frozen chicken helps keep the veggies cool.  A really satisfying supper.

Chicken Fried Rice for a Crowd

Maya and the gals were all at our house a year or so ago, and so were Sammy and Taylor when I suddenly realized it was supper time! Maya’s friend Madeline loves stir-fried rice and often makes it, so I thought I’d give it a go.

Once you understand the mechanics of it: use cold rice, cook meat, then veggies, then sauce, then add everything back together again, you can use whatever you have on hand. I like it with lots of veggies and meat so I add a lot. It’s pretty easy and it’s delicious – anyway, the gals and our family demolished it!

3 cups rice
5 7/8 cup water
2 tsp salt

Make rice and spread out on a tray or any dish that will fit in your freezer. The rice needs to be cooled down.

olive oil
3 eggs

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (thighs and/or breast)
6 Tbsp soy sauce, divided
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Sambal Oelek (a great hot sauce – or you could use Sriracha, or Tabasco)
8 cloves of garlic, crushed, or 1 tsp garlic powder

1 cup diced carrots
1 1/2 cup peas
1 1/2 cup diced onion
1 cup bell pepper

Heat a Tbsp of oil in a wok or large, wide skillet. Scramble eggs with a few drops of soy sauce. Remove and cut into chunks.

Mix chicken with 1 Tbsp of the soy sauce, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Fry the meat, stirring frequently until it looks cooked. Remove from the heat.

Add another Tbsp oil to the pan. Dump in carrots and onions and saute for a few minutes. Add peas and bell peppers and saute for a minute more. Push veggies to the outer edges.

Mix garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, chicken broth and Sambal Oelek in a bowl and pour into the middle of the veggies. Cook for a few minutes.

Add eggs and chicken back in. Stir veggies, sauce and meat together until everything is nice and saucy.

Add rice back in and cook,stirring to toss the rice with the meat and veggies. Check seasonings, and add red pepper and soy sauce as needed.