Chicken Stroganoff

There comes a moment in cooking when you realize you’re a cooking nerd. Ok, admittedly I pretty much already knew that. But making this meal last night, as I stood their whisking the warmed chicken stock into the butter and flour, I got excited. I got really excited. It was thickening perfectly. No lumps. It just all came together exactly how I wanted. After the week I had been having (and it was only Tuesday), this little task made me positively giddy. Of course, my family looked at me like I was loco for being so excited about something as mundane as a roux. What can I say? I happily concede to the fact that I’m a cooking nerd. 

Tonight, I’d like to share with you one of my favorite comfort foods. I hope it brings you as much joyfully nerdy moments as it does me.

Ingredients:

1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into thick slices or chunks
Salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
½ tsp paprika
¾cup flour (divided)
Canola oil (I used olive oil)
10 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced (save yourself some time and buy the ‘shrooms that are already sliced)
4 Tbs unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups chicken stock, warmed (I use the low sodium)
Sour cream to taste (the recipe called for 3 Tbs, but that’s just not enough for me, I used at least 1/3 cup. Add as much as you would like)
Egg noodles (I use what I have on hand, this time it was penne)

Preparation:

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Add chicken pieces to a bowl and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika; add ¼ cup of flour and toss everything to coat well.

Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and drizzle with 3-4 Tbs of your chosen oil. When the oil is hot, work in batches to sear the chicken until golden brown on all sides. As the chicken is browned, remove from pan and set aside. Don’t worry if it’s not quite cooked through, it will finish when added back to the sauce.

Once all chicken has been browned, add a touch more oil if needed and the mushrooms. Sauté until golden brown and somewhat caramelized. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to chicken.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add unsalted butter; once melted add shallots and garlic and sauté until aromatic. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup of flour, stirring it into the butter until a soft paste forms. Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking continually to avoid lumps and allow the sauce to thicken.

Add the chicken and mushrooms back to pan and simmer for 3-4 minutes, turn heat off and stir in sour cream. Serve mixed with cooked noodles.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Pinot Grigio
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves: 4-6

Total time: 45 minutes

*Derived from The Cozy Apron
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Chicken Stroganoff


Glazed Salmon

It’s been so long since my last post, and it’s not as if I stopped cooking. No, I’ve still been plugging away, cooking the majority of our dinners. And, I’ve been trying some wonderful recipes! My heart, however, just hasn’t been into blogging. Sometimes updating my blog, after everyone is quietly snuffling in their beds, can be difficult. Sometimes I just want to read. Sometimes I want to get lost in Pinterest. Sometimes I want to check in with my FB friends. Or play Hay Day. Sometimes that is the hard part of being a full-time wife and mom, as well as working outside the home full time. But, as winter sheds it’s coat (yes, we have a Cali version of winter) and spring dawns anew, we can all feel somewhat reborn. Throw aside what has been holding you down, sit outside and soak up the sun. Take a walk and marvel at what beauty springtime brings. Ride a bike and feel the warm breeze  on your face. Ahhh, to start anew. It’s a wonderful thing!

What better way to pay homage to spring than wild caught salmon? Don’t get me wrong, I can eat salmon year-round. But there is something about salmon that speaks to warmer weather.

Ingredients:

1 tsp packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 – 2 lbs skin-on salmon filet
Pepper to taste
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 recipe glaze (below)

Glaze:

3/4 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preparation:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300°. Combine brown sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. Heat oil in a 12″ oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Place salmon, flesh side down, in skillet and cook until well browned, about 1 minute. Using tongs, carefully flip salmon and cook on skin side for 1 minute.

Remove skillet from heat and evenly spoon glaze over salmon. Transfer skillet to oven and cook until fillets register 125° (for medium-rare) and are still translucent when cut into, about 7 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Grenache
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Sangiovese
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves: 4

Total time: 30 minutes

*Derived from America’s Test Kitchen

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Glazed Salmon


Creamy Tomato & Beef Noodle Casserole

I love it when a plan comes together. Or, more appropriately in this instance, I love it when a meal comes together. Especially when I walked into the kitchen at 5:00 with no idea what was going to be dinner. Not one piece of meat defrosted. Not a clue in sight. Nothing. Nada, Zip. What I did have, however, were ingredients. Ingredients that were waiting in freezer and pantry for their rightful place on the dinner table. I’d say they found it.

Ingredients:

8 oz Penne pasta
1 lb ground beef
1 cup frozen (or fresh) chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic (or 1 whole clove)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream (change it up and use prepared alfredo sauce, pesto, heavy cream)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (or mozzarella; just about any cheese you like)

Preparation:

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Preheat oven to 375.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brown beef with onion, garlic, oregano, and salt. Add tomato sauce, water, and sour cream. Stir to combine and allow sauce to bubble.

Drain pasta and return to pan, add meat and sauce mixture. Stir together. When completely mixed, add to a casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Top with cheese. Bake about 20 minutes until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly. Serve with warm French bread and salad.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Chianti
Grenache
Sangiovese

Serves 6 to 8

Total time: 30 minutes

Featured image

Creamy Tomato & Beef Noodle Casserole

*Original Serves4 Recipe


Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken with Mushroom Marsala Sauce

I came across this recipe on Eating Well.  My first thought, “Who does not like chicken wrapped in prosciutto.”  Just so we’re clear:  Wrapped.  In.  Prosciutto.  This is taking chicken thighs, which have about a million ways to be  yum, and wrapping them in prosciutto.  That’s like taking bacon and wrapping . . .  well, ANYTHING.  But saltier and tastier.  Then you’ve got the mushrooms.  Mushrooms and sauce are amazing.  And yes, of course, I made mashed potatoes.  While this dish came together in at least 45 minutes, but more like an hour, as opposed to the 35 minute “total time” suggestion from Eating Well, it was still amazing.  The hubs even commented that he didn’t realize he was coming home to a 5 Star Meal.  Today is Veterans Day, and I’m a Veteran, of course you’re getting a 5 Star meal!

Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless thighs
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
4 thin slices prosciutto (If you are not familiar with prosciutto, accept that it will quickly become the higher-power of your bacon God)
4 tsp olive oil – divided (use extra-virgin if you’d like)
1 large shallot, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbs finely chopped fresh oregano plus 1 tps, divided (ok, I don’t always have time to mess with fresh herbs, especially with the wonderful freeze-dried options, such as those available by Lighthouse)
8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms (I used 10 oz pre-sliced because that’s how it came and I’m not tossing out 2 oz of pre-sliced mushrooms)
1/2 cup Marsala or dry sherry (the best advice I can offer here, if you aren’t willing to drink it, don’t cook with it.  Look in the wine section of your grocery store.  Avoid “cooking” anything wines .  Cooking wines tend to be higher in sodium and less flavorful.)
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth (you want to go with a nice ‘meaty’ broth here.  There are so many that as you pour they look watered down.  My tip, if they look watered down, they are, and that will translate to your dish.My personal favorite is Pacific Foods – Organic)
2 tsp cornstarch

Preparation:

Sprinkle chicken thighs with 1/4 tsp pepper and wrap each thigh with a slice of prosciutto.

Heat 2 tsp olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides and cooked through, 4 – 5 minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate; wrap with foil to keep warm.

Reduce heat to medium and add remaining 2 tsp oil, shallot, and 1 tbs oregano to pan.  Cook, stirring, until shallots are beginning to brown (about 1 – 2 minutes).  Add mushrooms and cook, stirring until browned (4 – 6 minutes).  Add Marsala (sherry will work here, too) and cook about 2 minutes.

In a separate small bowl, whisk broth, cornstarch, and the remaining 1/4 tsp pepper in a small bowl or measuring cup.  Add to pan, stirring.  Return to simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened (about 4 minutes)

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Gamay
Merlot
Pinot Noir
Viognier

Serves 4

Total time: About an hour

Proscuitto-Wrapped Chicken with Mushroom Marsala Sauce

Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken with Mushroom Marsala Sauce

 *Derived from Eating Well

On Top of Old Smokey Meatballs

All covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed.  But it’s ok because I made tons!  These meatballs were so easy to make and quick.  Such wonderful flavor!  And one of things that attracts me to a recipe is the ability to really make it your own.  Change it up some. Use spicy Italian sausage for a kick. Or, add your favorite hot sauce to regular Italian sausage. Instead of Italian seasoning, how about the Mexican Blend I always use with some fresh cilantro?  Add ginger and teriyaki sauce, served over steamed rice, for an Asian flavor.  Oh, how about subbing the bread crumbs with finely ground potato chips, shredded cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce.  Tailgate anyone?  So, let everyone sneeze as much as they want, you’ve got meatballs covered!

Ingredients (Meatballs Only):

16 oz pkg premium pork Italian sausage
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375°. Mix ingredients until blended (the best way is to don some gloves and dive right in).

Shape meat mixture into 2″ meatballs and place on a baking sheet.  Either spray with nonstick spray, or as I did, line with parchment paper.

Bake meatballs 15 minutes or until done (when they reach 160°).  Serve with your favorite pasta sauce (such as my  Busy Mom’s Spaghetti and Meatball – but ignore those meatballs, just this once, and go back another time to try those!)

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Grenache
Malbec
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese

Serves 6 (with pasta & sauce)
Prep time: 15 minute; Cook time: 15 minutes

On Top of Old Smoky Meatballs

On Top of Old Smoky Meatballs

*Derived from Jimmy Dean

Tortilla and Black Bean Pie

This is a wonderful, completely filling No Meat Monday.  What makes this even better, there are so many things you can add, adjust.  The possibilities are endless! Add a touch of enchilada sauce to each layer.  Or, add a thin layer of refried beans. Can’t hang without your meat?  Go ahead, add some!  Use corn tortillas.  For an extra fresh, crisp taste, top with sour cream, shredded lettuce and diced tomato.  Don’t forget the avocado!

Ingredients:

4 10″ flour tortillas (or slightly smaller, see below)
2 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp Mexican Blend seasoning (Such as Morton & Bassett)
Coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, drained and rinsed (always check sodium levels, even “low sodium” can be quite high)
12 oz beer, or 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth (I used Corona, but any would do)
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen corn
1 jalapeño chile, minced (remove seeds and ribs for less heat) optional
4 scallions, thinly sliced, optional
2 ½ cups Mexican blend cheese

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400.  While oven heats, drain and rinse beans.   If using 10″ tortilla, grab a paring knife and trim down to fit spring form pan.  Use the bottom of the pan as a guide.  I used a slightly small tortilla because it’s what I had on hand.  Even though there was some extra space on the sides, the smaller tortillas worked just fine.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Add onion, garlic, jalapeño (if using), and Mexican blend seasoning.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (5-7 minutes).

Add beans, beer (or vegetable broth), bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium, simmer until liquid has almost evaporated (8-10 minutes).  Stir in corn and scallions (if using) and remove from heat.  Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.

Place tortilla in bottom of springform pan; layer with ¼ of bean mixture and ½ cup of cheese.  Repeat three times, using 1 cup of cheese on top layer.  Bake until heated through and cheese melts, 20-25 minutes.  Remove side of pan, sprinkle with scallions (optional).  Slice into wedges to serve.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Zinfandel

Tortilla & Black Bean Pie

Tortilla & Black Bean Pie

*Derived from Everyday Food


Lemon-Butter Chicken with Asparagus

Before I started grilling I kind of thought it was really simple.  I mean, why else would that be most men’s sole form of cooking?  I’m learning, however, how wrong I was.  I’ll give you that burgers and dogs are simple, once you get used to the grill.  And that’s the key, getting used to your grill.  Like oven and stove tops, they are all pretty unique in how they heat.  Some can take forever, such as the case with my crappy stove top, while others heat like a stove top is supposed.  I’m finding this pretty much sums it up with grills, too.  Also, finding that perfect spot to grill where the outside doesn’t get charred while leaving the inside raw.  And timing, when to turn it, when to move it, etc.  I’ve found a whole new appreciation for those that grill, and grill well.  But don’t tell them or I’ll deny it.  🙂

Ingredients:

Kosher salt
4 chicken pieces, with bone & skin, about 10-12 oz each piece
1½ lb asparagus
Olive oil
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges (for garnish – optional)

Lemon Butter:

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 Tbs finely chopped fresh Italian parsley (as a time saver sub Litehouse freeze-dried parsley)
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice (which is super simple since you just zested one)
2 garlic cloves, minced

Preparation:

In a small bowl mash the lemon butter ingredients, including ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper, until thoroughly blended.  (This can be a bit challenging as the lemon juice and butter do no naturally combine well)

Carefully lift the skin of each piece of chicken, being careful to not puncture the skin.  Spread 1 tablespoon of lemon butter around under the skin.  Lay skin back in place.

Transfer remaining lemon butter to small saucepan and melt over medium heat.  Set aside

Prepare grill for direct and indirect heat over medium (350° to 450°F).

Remove and discard the tough bottom of each asparagus.  This is done easiest by taking one and bending it gently at the bottom until it snaps at its natural point, then line the rest up and cut them at about the same location.  Drizzle asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Brush chicken with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill chicken, skin side up over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until nicely marked on the bottom, about 5 minutes.  Without turning the chicken, move it over to indirect medium heat, close the lid and continue cooking until the meat is opaque all the way to the bone, about 30 minutes.  About 5 minutes before the chicken is done, brush the tops with some of the melted lemon butter and then turn chicken over to skin side down.  Slide over to direct medium heat, close the lid, and continue cooking until the skin is brown, basting once more with the lemon butter.  Remove from the grill, cover, and let rest 3 – 5 minutes.

Grill asparagus over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until crisp tender, 6 – 8 minutes.  Turn occasionally.  Arrange asparagus on serving platter and drizzle with remaining butter.  Serve chicken warm with asparagus and garnish with lemon wedges.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Barbera
Chardonnay
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 4

Prep time: 20 minutes / Grilling time:  43 minutes

Lemon-Butter Chicken with Asparagus

*Derived from Jamie Purviance