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.
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)
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:
Total time: 45 minutes
*Derived from The Cozy Apron
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.
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)
3/4 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
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:
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Total time: 30 minutes
*Derived from America’s Test Kitchen
I make a lot of chicken in this house. It’s better for our bodies and the only beef The Hubs likes is steak. Pork I’m still working on (it’s usually too dry and over cooked). I can and will start incluing more fish. overall, though, that leaves us with chicken. Chicken several times a week can get sooo boring. How do you mix it up, making it interesting? By constantly being on the lookout for something different, even if it’s a little tweek here or there. While this chicken is similar to many other chicken recipes, especially using soy, this one has a secret ingredient. It’s hidden right there in the name, honey. In this instance, I used the honey at the end, to add a sort of glaze. This locked in the flavors and added a very nice, sweet finish. Served over rice, a pretty perfect meal.
2 Lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs fresh grated ginger (I use Gourmet Garden’s Ginger Paste)
2 cloves minced garlic (Pre-minced can save a few minutes in prep time)
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs butter
1/2 cup honey
Mix together soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Add chicken to a gallon zip-lock bag, pour in sauce. Allow to marinade from 30 minutes up to 2 hours.
Remove chicken from marinade, season with salt and pepper. In a sauce pan, over medium-high heat, melt butter in olive oil. Grill chicken on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes each side. The last 2-3 minutes each side, brush with honey butter mixture.
Serve with sticky rice topped with teriyaki sauce (recipe to follow).
Wine Pairing Suggestions:
Total time: 40 minutes
This stunning, refreshing drink caught my eye on Facebook, thanks to Delish. And it promised to drown my end of summertime sadness. Doesn’t tequila help with a number of sadnesses? The end of summer is certainly one of those. I don’t know about all of you, but I wasn’t ready to face the hustle and bustle of school. My work schedule hadn’t changed and the kids being in different camps at different ends of town didn’t help matters. But it was still summer. The evenings were for playing. The weekends for enjoying the pool, having friends over for BBQs. It now, alas, was all coming to end. How do I face it? How do I accept it? What’s that? Have some tequila? Absolutely!
1 c. ice
1 1/2 oz tequila (come on, you can add some more. You know you want to. I won’t judge, promise)
4 oz orange or grapefruit juice (I used orange)
1/2 oz grenadine
Maraschino cherry or mandarin, for garnish (I didn’t do garnish, still tasted amazing)
Fill glass with ice, tequila, and juice. Add grenadine. Add garnish, if desired.
Total time: 5 minutes
This recipe was not a hit with the family. D doesn’t like meat. Berto doesn’t like cheese. The Hubs doesn’t like ground meat or cheddar cheese. Sigh. This meal, to me, was wonderful! I do believe, though, it had less to do with the actual meal than with the fact this dish is true comfort food and it’s been over 100 degrees here in Cali. Maybe dinner would have been more successful had I just served ice cream. Hmmm, things to ponder . . .
1 Lb ground beef (I Texas Longhorn beef from the farmer’s market and it cooked up similar to ground turkey, but still had a wonderful beef flavor)
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 cups milk
2 cups whole grain elbow macaroni (or whatever you have on hand, I used penne)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I can see any number of types of cheese being used and it being wonderful)
1 1/2 Tbs cornstarch
3 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
Heat a large skillet to meidum high and brown meat. Once cooked, drain any fat that remains.
While meat browns, mix together seasonings in a small bowl. When drained, return meat to skillet and add seasonings, stirring to combine. Pour in hot water, milk, and pasta. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until pasta is cooked.
Stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes until sauce thickens.
Serve immediately with melty garlic bread and a crisp salad.
Wine Pairing Suggestions (because no matter the dish, we always need wine)
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Total time: 25 minutes
My husband and daughter love sushi. Toyo Sushi is our local haunt where D always orders the salmon nigiri and The Hubs gets the Grace roll. They know us so well that, when I’m ordering and I leave something out, they ask me about it. My son and I, however, aren’t wild about sushi. For me it’s a texture thing. For my son, it’s probably that his sister enjoys it so much. I have found one dish, though, that Berto loves; the grilled beef short ribs. He enjoys them so much that on a recent trip to the market, where the butcher had them on display, I bought several pounds. I almost skipped all the way home with excitement! They were perfect! The only thing left was to find the right recipe. Thanks to Food.com, I did just that and the ribs were a huge hit at our Labor Day BBQ. Oh, and if I forgot to mention how ridiculously easy they are to make, let me say it now. Crazy easy! These were so tasty, so good, our friends were convinced we had ordered in, until I showed them the evidence of my cooking.
3 Lbs beef short ribs (Flanken style or Korean style)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup soy sauce (I always opt or low sodium)
2 Tbs sesame oil
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced (I used 1 cup diced white onion that I had from a previous meal)
4 cloves of garlic, minced (while nothing beats fresh garlic, Spice Island makes an amazing substitute of a jarred minced garlic)
In a gallon ziplock bag (or whatever you like to marinate in) combine the sugar, water, soy sauce, sesame oil, onion, and garlic. Dissolve the sugar as much as possible, though it will likely not completly dissolve.
Completely submerge the ribs and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight. Keep in mind, the longer you marinate the better the flavor of the meat.
On medium heat, grill the ribs 5-7 minutes on each side. Open your mind to all serving options, over rice, on skewers, with traditional BBQ sides. The options are endless!
Wine Pairing Suggestions:
Serves 10 small portions
Total time: about 40 minutes