Monday, November 27, 2006

Chicken Diablo (Honey Mustard Chicken)

This is one of my go-to recipes for company (especially picky eaters or folks who I don't know well) and for bringing to people with a new baby or sick family members. It's easy and very flavorful. Kids like it (it's fairly sweet and not too spicy) and it would be a great first dinner recipe for a child to cook. It's wonderful on potatoes or rice. I usually double the sauce to have enough to pour over the potatoes. Thanks to my mom for this recipe.

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1-2 tsp curry powder (I'll use a TBS when doubling)
1 tsp salt
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, approximately (however many you can fit in a single layer in your 9"x13" pan. Which reminds me that I'll usually use an 8"x8" pan and the above amount of sauce when making for new parents or another household of two or so).

*Preheat oven to 375.
*Mix above ingredients.
*Arrange chicken breasts in a 9"x13" pan. Pour sauce over.
*Bake, uncovered, for about an hour, turning and basting occasionally.

Classic Corn bread

I love this. It's simple, it's fast (I timed it tonight, and not rushing at all, with a fussy baby in tow, I had it mixed and ready to go by the time the oven was hot). My husband likes it with chopped jalapenos mixed in; I prefer it with butter and honey, and Mary (the 9 year old) likes it best plain. It works very well in an 8"x8" Pyrex pan, but oh, if you're lucky enough to have a cast iron cornbread pan then it will be even more beautifully crisp and golden.

This recipe came from an old Good Housekeeping cookbook, that seems to be no longer in print. I've made some adjustments. It has less sugar than the most common cornbread recipes, and uses butter instead of vegetable oil (always an improvement). It doesn't keep more than a day, but it almost never hangs around that long, anyway.

1 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal, preferably yellow
2 TBS sugar
1 tsp salt
1 TBS baking powder
1/3 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup milk
1 egg, beaten

*Heat oven to 425. Grease an 8"x8" pan or cast iron cornbread mold.
*Mix dry ingredients.
*Mix wet ingredients and pour into dry. Stir just until moistened, pour into pan.
*Bake 25 minutes (closer to 20 in cast iron).

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Buttery Noodles

Courtesy of our fabulous friends, Scott and Jean and Emma. Emma is 9, Mary's age, and we take her camping with us every Memorial Day weekend while her folks hit the wineries and drink themselves silly. Thank God that WE are responsible :). Emma contributed this dish for dinner one night-it was a big hit with our girl, and it's surprisingly comforting and yummy. Easy for children to cook, as well. Open to much enhancement, but do so at the risk of losing your child-fans.

Elbow noodles, enough for 2 or 3 people
4 TBS butter
2-3 oz light cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
a bunch of finely grated parmesan
dash of salt (and pepper, if you can sneak it by the kids).

Cook the elbow noodles in salted water and drain. Put empty pot back on burner, turn heat to medium low, add butter and melt. Add noodles and toss with butter. Add cream cheese, cut into chunks, and stir over heat until melted. Add milk and parmesan and continue to stir until melty and hot. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Chicken Stock

As mentioned before, this is from The New Best Recipe, the one cookbook I would take to a desert island. The chopping up of the chicken was a pain, and a little too graphic for my taste, and made me wish for a good butcher knife or kitchen shears. The result was worth all the effort-and really, once it's chopped, it's a very simple recipe. The technique of browning the chicken pieces makes it very flavorful.

1 TBS vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 whole chicken, breast removed, split and reserved, the rest hacked into about 2" pieces
2 Quarts boiling water
2 tsp salt
2 bay leaves

Heat oil in large dutch oven or stockpot. When it's shimmering hot, add the breast halves and saute until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Add the onion to the pot and saute until colored and softened slightly, 2-3 minutes. Remove to a large bowl.

Add half the remaining chicken pieces and saute until no longer pink, 4-5 minutes. Remove to bowl with onion. Repeat with remaining pieces. Return the onion and chicken parts (not the breasts) to the pot, reduce heat to low, cover and cook about 20 minutes.

Increase heat to high, add boiling water, chicken breasts, salt, and bay leaves. Simmer, cover, and keep simmering on low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Remove the breasts from the pot. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the breasts and shred into bite sized pieces to use for soup.

Strain the stock through a mesh strainer into a container and discard the rest of the solids. Cool in fridge until fat rises to top; skin the fat and reserve for later.

Freezes well.

Chicken Noodle Soup

I combined a couple of different recipes for this, and it was wonderfully good. It's a simple recipe, but nourishing, especially when you have a sad, sick husband in the house. It's also cheap, as the only ingredient that costs much at all is the whole chicken, and those are never very expensive. I tried to make homemade noodles for this but was not happy with the results-I didn't roll them thin enough, and was wishing I had a pasta machine to get them wafer thin. I'd use commercial frozen or dried egg noodles next time, until I figure out the right noodle recipe.

2 Quarts Chicken stock, from The New Best Recipe ideally
Breast meat from above recipe, shredded. (two chicken breasts' worth)
2 TBS reserved chicken fat from above recipe, or vegetable oil
2-4 carrots, depending on size and your love of carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4" rounds
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1-3 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 tsp dried thyme
8 oz wide egg noodles
ground black pepper

Heat chicken fat in dutch oven over medium high heat. Add vegetables and garlic (is garlic a vegetable?) and saute about 5 minutes, until softened. Stir occasionally so garlic doesn't scorch.

Add stock, chicken meat, thyme and simmer until veggies are tender.

Add noodles and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes (note: if you plan to freeze, don't add noodles now. Wait til you serve, and add at the end of your reheating time, or else they'll get way too mushy).

Add black pepper, salt (if needed) and a dash of sherry, all to taste.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Grecian Chicken

I have absolutely no idea why this is called Grecian Chicken. It's not reminiscent of anything I've eaten in Greece or at Greek restaurants in the states. Perhaps, though, it's what they eat in Greece in the winter, when it's cold and the tourists have all gone home. It's simple, aromatic, deeply flavorful. It's also frugal-use cheap wine and chicken thighs (0.88 a pound last week!); the meat will fall off the bone when it's done. Serve over brown rice or noodles. My mom made this for company when I was a child, and I still think it's a great company dish, especially since you can make it ahead and leave it alone for a few hours.


Chicken parts for six people...........chicken breasts or thighs
1 onion, sliced thin
2 cups of red wine
1 cup ketchup
1/2 c cold water
2 rounded tblsp. sugar
1 boullion cube (shaved) or one tsp. of instant boullion (recipe doesn't say beef or chicken ...
.just take your pick)
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 large bay leaf
salt to taste
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup raisins (these are very important to the taste)

prepared rice for serving

Put oil in the bottom of a dutch oven. Salt and pepper the chicken, then fry until brown. Remove
chicken from the pan and put onions in pan and cook until tender. Place chicken on top of onions.

In the meantime mix wine, ketchup, water, sugar boullion , garlic, salt and bay leaf together.

Pour almonds and raisins on top of the chicken. Pour sauce over all.

Cook, covered, 2 to 2 1/2 hours at 325 degrees OR bring to simmer on stopetop, reduce heat to
very low, and cook, covered on stove

Cook rice just before serving.

Place chicken on a platter and sauce in a gravy boat/sauce dish, etc.