Tag Archives: chicken

Easy jambalaya

This is a cheaters jambalya, but it’s delicious. Why do I think I should get extra points for making it the “right” way, when this is really just as delicious? Anyway, the basic difference between this recipe and the “real” recipe, is that I am preparing a few different components, stirring them all together and calling them jambalaya…as opposed to undertaking that difficult task of attempting to throw a lot of things in a pot, say a prayer and hope that they all come out right. Subtle difference, but any Cajun would call me on it.

The real key here is that you can use leftover chicken. I roasted one and had some light and dark meat leftover. Also had some turkey sausage leftover from making Rabia’s Delight, which was scrumptious. Add some Gulf shrimp that I had stashed in the freezer, some bell peppers I had in the fridge for dipping in hummus, a can of chopped tomatoes and some rice, and you have jambalaya!

In addition to being a cheater’s version, I don’t have a “recipe.” This is definitely more of a wing it recipe. But here’s a general guide….

  1. Brown thinly sliced sausage in a little olive oil. If using pork sausage (which is really fatty), I would drain it on a paper towel-lined plate after browning and remove some oil before continuing. With turkey sausage, once browned at the edges, throw in half a chopped onion, half a chopped green bell pepper, half a chopped red or yellow bell pepper, 3 toes chopped garlic, some chopped celery (if you already have it),  a liberal sprinkling of thyme (maybe 2 tsp) and a pinch of cayenne (~1/4 tsp). Saute until very soft, but not too browned.
  2. Drain a small can of chopped tomatoes, reserving juice. While veggies cook, get your rice started. Cook according to packaged instructions, but substitute water for reserved tomato water and low sodium chicken broth. Add a bay leaf and cook until tender.
  3. Once veggies are soft, add chopped tomatoes and a little chicken broth (~1/4 cup). Turn to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.
  4. While simmering veggies, shred your chicken and peel your shrimp. Once the rice is cooked, spread out on a pan to cool a bit- this keeps it from getting mushy. Once cool, stir your chicken and shrimp into your veggie mixture and cook on medium for 2-3 min, until shrimp are pink. Stir in rice and season to taste with salt, pepper, or your favorite Cajun seasoning.
  5. Serve with hotsauce!

Random goodness

Here are some random meals we’ve had (somewhat) recently that I really liked and don’t want to forget….

Leftover pot roast on egg noodles: Pretty self-explanatory, no? When my mom visited, she bought me my beloved crock pot and made an introductory pot roast for me. I popped about 1/2 of it in the freezer and resuscitated it 2 months later for a delicious dinner.

A scrumptious salad: Arugula with chopped cherries, Marcona almonds, grated Parrano cheese and balsamic vinaigrette

Pollo Rico! This is one of my favorite local spots. 1/2 a delicious roasted chicken, Mexican rice, GREAT beans, 1/2 a roasted onion, corn tortillas, fire-roasted tomato salsa and creamy jalapeno salsa…all for about $7. Seriously?

Veggie curry: This is now my go-to pantry/freezer/leftover dish. Yum. Basically onions, garlic, ginger and chickpeas + any veggies I have around, all simmered in a sauce of diced tomatoes, curry, coriander and turmeric. Served with a raita made of shredded cucs, garlic, yogurt and a pinch of salt. Super easy. Super healthy. Super supper

Cobb salad: Your basic composed salad. Romaine + bacon + hard boiled egg + tomatoes + feta + avocado + light, lemony vinaigrette

Birthday dinner

Well, the birthday dinner was a big success. The table was covered with candles, bright colors and little toys. I hung old pics (mostly Polaroids) from the chandelier and got these great balloons that say “Happy Dumb Birthday.”

It all started off with my spicy acorn squash soup, topped with some crispy caramelized shallots:

You can see the carrot cake in the foreground, but here’s a better picture of its insane deliciousness:

In between those scrumptious bookends, I serves roasted asparagus (I should add that recipe) and this Tuscan chicken dish I made up a million years ago. Basically, you serve chicken cutlets with crisped prosciutto and a mushroom Madeira sauce on creamed spinach.  I came up with it when I was on that Devil Atkins diet. It was a keeper, though. Here’s a pic…

Good lunch!

This lunch reminds me so much of the time I really started cooking. It’s one of those “oh dear God, what is in my fridge” sort of meals. Basically, I took a look in my fridge and saw the following:

  • Too-salty, pre-marinated grilled lemon herb chicken breast
  • Greek yogurt
  • Mint
  • Watermelon
  • Arugula
  • Feta
  • Whole-wheat pita
  • Leftover roasted veggies
  • Cucumber
  • Etc.

I wanted to use the chicken, but it really is too dang salty. I figured if I chopped it up and mixed it with some Greek yogurt, that would balance out the flavors. To zest it up and add some veggies, I grated a cucumber and crushed a garlic clove into the yogurt. Now I had a yummy Greek chicken salad to fill my pita with…and it wasn’t too salty! Add a sliced tomato from my squirrel-infested garden, and we are good to go!

I made a quick watermelon salad with the arugula, feta, watermelon and a quick red wine vinaigrette. Yum!

Roasted chicken (Pan-roasted)

I have 3 basic chicken recipes I regularly lean on. 1) This pan-roasted chicken recipe, which is great for smaller portions; 2) A butterflied crispy-skin whole chicken; and 3) A whole-roasted traditional roasted chicken.

They all serve different purposes and have different strengths. I’m starting with the pan roasted, which is fast and easy, produces crisp skin and juicy meat, and makes a great pan sauce.

1/2  Cup table salt

Chicken pieces- Any combination, but no more than 8 pieces

2  teaspoons veggie oil

  1. Combine table salt and 2 qts water in a large container or pot. Add chicken pieces and brine (in fridge) for 30-60 minutes. Drain chicken, rinse and set out to dry. You can do this several hours in advance and leave to air dry in fridge. Pat dry and season on both sides with pepper.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat oil in large (must hold all pieces) and oven-proof pan over high heat. Once VERY hot (it will smoke), add chicken pieces skin-side down. Cook skin-side down for 5-6 minutes until dark golden. Flip pieces and brown other side for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Turn chicken again to skin-side down and transfer to over. Cook until breasts register 160 degrees (~10 min) and dark meat registers 175 degrees (~ 12 minutes).
  4. Remove from oven, set chicken on a foil-tented plate (with a lip) and let it settle for 15 min. While chicken rests, you can make the pan sauce.

Bread salad (for roasted chicken)

This is really 2 different recipes- pan roasted chicken and bread salad. I’m starting with the bread salad and will post the chicken separately. You can use a different chicken recipe if you like (maybe whole roasted) or just top the bread salad with a store-bought chicken. It will be hard for it not to be delicious.

Bread salad

This bread salad is adapted from the de-licious Zuni Cafe in San Fran. I added artichoke hearts and tomatoes. The artichoke hearts did not improve the salad, but adding sliced tomatoes around the platter did. So do it.

8-10 oz leftover peasant-style bread (ciabatta, boule, etc- not sourdough), crusts cut off and torn into 2 inch pieces

6  Tablespoons mild EVOO

2  Tablespoons vinegar (sherry, red wine, champagne, but NOT balsamic)

1  Tablespoon red or yellow raisins, plumped in in 1 T vinegar and 2 T warm water

3  Tablespoons toasted pinenuts

3  Toes of garlic, slivered

1/4  Cup thinly sliced scallions

1/4  Cup chicken broth

Bunch of arugula- enough to cover the serving platter

Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Preheat broiler. Toss bread chunks in 2 Tablespoons olive oil, season with a little salt & pepper. Broil briefly, shaking or stirring once to distribute. You just want them to crisp up a bit

2.  Combine remaining olive oil, vinegar and S&P to taste. Toss bread pieces with 1/2 of vinaigrette in a wide bowl. Saute garlic and scallions in EVOO until soft, but not brown. Add to bowl with bread, along with pinenuts and drained raisins.

At this point, I have 2 different versions of step 3, depending on if you cooked your own chicken or bought it.

3a.  If you cooked your own chicken, it should be resting at this point. Keep the oven on- somewhere between 375 and 450. Add chicken broth to pan or broiler and cook over heat, scrapping up fond. Reduce to ~3 Tablespoons.  Toss reduced stock with bread salad and put on baking sheet or in pan, cook in oven for 10-12 minutes until warm and crisped again.

3b. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss bread salad with chicken juices (from bought chicken container) and place on baking sheet. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until warm and crisped again

4. While bread salad cooks, prepare salad and carve chicken. Toss greens with remaining vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place on a platter, covering all surfaces. Carve chicken into pieces.

5. Remove bread from oven and arrange on greens. Arrange chicken pieces on top of bread salad and serve.