Tag Archives: Chicken

Chicken & Radicchio Pasta Salad

Post # 200.

Amazing–it feels like just yesterday that I decided to make an apple pie (well, two–I’ve never been the type to do things by halves) and then blog it!  But, 200 posts later, I’m still loving the blogging world!

I also added a new page to the blog today–called “Top 100”.  It’s a list from the New York Times naming the top 100 novels from 1923–present.  I’ve started using it as an inspiration when I want to combine what I’m reading by chance (read: books I choose based on their titles and covers alone) with something that will definitely enrich my selection and hopefully make me a little smarter, too.  And nerdier?  Definitely.  So check it out and let me know if you’ve read any of them, and which ones you think I should tackle next.

In last week’s CSA box we received a head of radicchio, which I had never tried before.  When I googled it and discovered that is it very bitter, I got a little nervous.  I am frankly just not a fan of bitter greens, so I knew I’d have to cook this to make it palatable.

And of course I was also hoping to somehow make it beyond palatable into something more delicious.  I adapted this pasta salad recipe from Food & Wine’s Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes, from Laura Pensiero’s Hudson Valley Mediterranean.  Her mantra is:

Eat healthy, enjoy food, live well, and never sacrifice flavor.

Now that is a mantra I can get behind.

Chicken & Radicchio Pasta Salad Printable Recipe Card

  • 8 oz dry whole-wheat pasta (I used macaroni)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small head radicchio, shredded (for a shredding tutorial, go here)
  • 12 oz chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 C frozen peas
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/2 t dried garlic)
  • 1 1/2 t mustard (I used Trader Joe’s Hot and Sweet Mustard–mmm)
  • 1/2 C chicken broth
  • 1/4 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente.  Drain and place in a large bowl–this is where the entire salad is going to end up, so make sure there’s enough room.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet, and saute the onion until translucent and beginning to brown.  Add the radicchio and saute for a few more minutes until it cooks down, but not until it’s totally limp.  Add the onions and radicchio to the pasta bowl, and mix.  Now is a good time to add the frozen peas, too–the hot pasta will defrost ’em.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the (now empty) skillet.  Cook the garlic until fragrant (30 seconds or so), and add the chicken, saute until golden brown and cooked through.  Add the mustard and chicken broth, and cook until the broth reduces volume by half.  Lastly, pour in the Parmesan cheese and stir until it melts and forms a nice, thick sauce.

Add the chicken mixture to the macaroni bowl.  Mix.  Taste.  Be surprised that the radicchio, though bitter, isn’t bad.  Taste again.  Salt and pepper to taste, toss it one more time, and steal one more taste.

Yum.  Serve either warm, at room temperature, or cool.  It is totes up to you.

I really enjoyed this pasta dish–definitely an entrée and not a side, and full of different textures.  The radicchio was still bitter, but not overwhelming.  I had this for lunch today with half of a grilled zucchini and a roasted beet: vegetable city.

For people who don’t need to use up their CSA veggies and don’t like bitter greens, you can make this recipe with spinach or Swiss chard, too.  But if you can, give radicchio a chance (because it’s always good to add some variety in your diet!).

Speaking of CSA boxes, say hello to week seven:

And say hello to radicchio number two–guess I’ll have to find another cooked radicchio recipe for this week, too.  Any suggestions?

11 Comments

Filed under Entrees, Salads

Grilled Tandoori Chicken Skewers

Tests are over–and I floated about in the pool for an hour today, finishing up Mansfield Park and Range of Motion and I was, well, torn about how I felt about my latest Jane Austen read.  I’m interested to hear what you think.

I think reading Jane Austen perfectly exemplifies the dichotomy under which I live my daily life.  On one hand, I love reading a romance novel just as much, or perhaps more, than the next girl–especially if it’s well written.  I will gladly indulge in any period film involving a horse and carriage and Mother bustling around in multiple brown skirts and aprons marrying off all their gorgeous daughters to rich, sexy men to save their family’s fortune.  If it’s raining outside and I am drinking vast quantities of tea, wrapped in a blanket with my cat, all the better.  I just love that feeling.

It’s sad, I know.  I think it might be too late for me.

But at the same time, I despise the horrid and privileged men and especially the stringent, sexist, oppressive atmosphere these poor women are forced to live in.  Seriously, Mansfield Park?  Fanny Price is not able to participate in putting on a play in the privacy of her own home with her family because it is too morally corrupt?  And that she judges all the other people around her and rarely expresses any true emotion other than that which is acceptable by the society in which she was raised is supposed to make me like her?  Ugh.

And then the book ends with her marrying her one true love–perfect, except that it’s her cousin!  Her first cousin, that she was brought up alongside!  The genetics alone horrify me.

I know, I know, I have to respect the times in which it was written–and I’m not saying Jane Austen wasn’t a great writer.  I’m just…you know.  What do you think?

Anyway, on to our meal for tonight–grilled tandoori chicken kabobs.  This is one of my favorite chicken recipes I’ve had in a long time, but I do have to warn you: it’s hot!  So beware if you still actually have some of your taste buds remaining.  Feel free to get rid of the cayenne all together if you need to.

Grilled Tandoori Chicken Kabobs (adapted from Real Grilling by Jamie Purviance, serves 4) Grilled Tandoori Chicken Skewers Printable Card

  • 3 chicken breasts (about 6 oz each)
  • 1 C plain yogurt
  • 1 T each ground ginger, paprika, and vegetable oil
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 t each salt and ground curry powder
  • 1 t ground turmeric
  • 1/2 t ground cayenne pepper

I halved the marinade recipe and used two small chicken breasts to make two servings.

Combine the yogurt, spices, and vegetable oil in a bowl.

Cube the chicken into roughly equal pieces, about a 1″ each.  Place the chicken in the marinade, and make sure it covers all the chicken.  Tightly wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Either soak wooden skewers for 10 minutes before using, or use metal ones.  Slide the chicken onto the skewers, placing them next to each other, but not too tightly.  Grill the skewers over direct medium heat on the grill for about 10 minutes, turning once.

We also grilled zucchini and green onions.  For the green onions, cut off the root tip and a few inches of the hollow tops on the opposite end.  Spray with olive oil or canola oil, and dust with salt and black pepper.  Grill over direct heat for about two minutes on each side–if you can finagle this, the white part should be cooked over higher heat than the green side.  If you can’t, it’s okay.  I’ll still like you.

I was a huge fan of the grilled green onion–I left most of the green tops, and they basically turned into onion chips at the skinny ends.  The whiter ends were soft and sweet.  Oh, yes.

The tandoori chicken?  Spicy, hot, tender, moist, charred–everything I love most about grilled food.  Even Fritz, who hates food that is too hot, loved it.

He actually said he wanted to eat this chicken every night for the rest of his life…but I’m not sure he really means it. 

Oh–I also got featured on a fellow blogger’s site (not a food blogger, though).  Visit Arianna Belle’s blog on Organized Interiors to check it out!

Last but not least, I’ve been playing with my new (old) lens from the garage sale–I’m in love with it and now I want to buy lots more lenses.  Uh oh.  Hello Henry!

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Filed under Entrees

Thai Noodles with Bok Choy

Today started off horrid and rainy, as usual.  Bummer.

But it ended up being a great day!  I treated probably the most adorable child you have ever seen (he had cerebral palsy) with a few of my friends for my case studies week, and it was such a great experience.  He was so motivated, and we got to watch him feed himself yogurt at home for the first time (and show his mom!).  Even though it would have been incredibly frustrating to probably any other seven-year-old (he only managed to eat about a tablespoon of it, with the rest all over his face, arms, leg, chair, floor…etc), he was able to push through his physical limitations and be super excited anytime a drop of it actually made it inside his mouth.

It was very inspiring, to say the least.  A nice reminder that I probably should not get so annoyed just because it’s been raining nonstop for the past few weeks.  At least I can not only feed myself dinner, but plan it, go shopping for it, and make it all by myself.

So here’s a lovely dinner for all of you people to make.  Just remember to be grateful for every bite you take on your own, okay?

It’s a deal.

Thai Noodles with Bok Choy (adapted from Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast
Asia)

  • 1 lb wide dried rice noodles
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 lb chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 lb bok choy, rinsed and sliced lengthwise into thin spears
  • 1 T miso paste
  • 1 1/2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T Thai fish sauce
  • 2 T cider or rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 C mild broth (I used 1/2 C chicken broth with 1 C added water)
  • 1 T cornstarch, dissolved in 3 T water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

This is a great dish, and despite the rather long ingredient list, it’s very quick and easy to make.  Because the cooking moves fast, have the ingredients all prepared and ready to be tossed into the pot at a moment’s notice.  Start by soaking the dried noodles in warm water for 15 minutes, then drain them.

Heat a wok (I use a flat-bottomed GreenPan wok, which I love) and add 1 T of the vegetable oil.  When it is hot, add half the rice noodles and fry for 2 minutes, pressing them against the hot sides of the wok.  Once finished, divide them among the plates (this recipe serves four).  Add a second T of olive oil, and fry the second batch of noodles, dividing them on to the plates when finished.

Toss in the last T of vegetable oil, and when hot, add the minced garlic and saute for a few seconds, then add the chicken.  Cook until the meat has all changed color.

Add the bok choy, pressing the leaves against the sides of the hot pan until they turn bright green and wilt.  Admire.

Lastly, add the miso, vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, and broth.  Stir it around until the sauce begins to combine, then add the cornstarch and water mixture.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for a few minutes until the sauce is thickened and the bok choy is tender–it should only take about five minutes.

Divide the bok choy and chicken among the plates, and ladle extra gravy over the top.

Serious yum.  This can be served with a hot chile-vinegar on the side to heat things up a bit, if you like (which I obviously do).

This dinner is really satisfying, and for once, not too fishy.  Actually, not fishy at all–just “deliciously Asian”, as Fritz says.  Definitely an Southeast Asian comfort food that I am certain we will be making again.

And for those of you scared of Thai food, Fritz isn’t a huge fan of strong Thai flavors, but he really loved this dinner.  He ate a giant bowl of leftovers in the car while driving on the way to see Thor the day after.  Which is kind of scary, if you think about it.  Noodles aren’t really the most portable of foods for those of us planning on eating while driving (which you should never do, of course).

I don’t have class until eleven tomorrow!  Is that something to be grateful for, or what?

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Filed under Entrees

Strawberry Spinach Salad

I’m trying to learn not to be a salad hater.

But it’s difficult.  I just don’t like salads.  They are boring.  I hate lettuce bones (the spines in iceberg lettuce).  Salad dressing with a creamy base completely grosses me out–especially Waldorf dressing (sorry, Tharrie!).

But–they are so good for you!  And all the bloggers I read love salads.  And they are trendy! 

I want to be trendy.  I want to bring salad to school with my dressing in a separate container so the leaves don’t wilt.  That’s cool.

So here’s my first (incredibly successful) attempt.  A classmate of mine reminded me how amazing salads can be when you combine baby spinach leaves and strawberries.  With a few other additions, this salad became my dinner.  It did not last long. 

Even Fritz felt full afterwards (and there was not a single lettuce bone in sight!).

Strawberry Spinach Salad

  • 2 (giant) handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • 4 strawberries, sliced vertically
  • 1-2 corn tortillas, baked until browned and crispy (really! seriously!)
  • 1/8 C raw walnuts
  • 1/2 grilled chicken breast, sliced into strips
  • balsamic dressing

Step one: make your husband grill the chicken for you or alternate step one: finally learn how to use the gas grill on your own (you are a doctoral student, for God’s sake!).  I went with the former–thanks, Fritz!

However, do put the chicken inside a freezer bag and pound it out flat with a saucepan first–that makes it grill faster so it’s nice and juicy by the time it’s cooked.  Dried out chicken will simply not do when I’m trying to learn to like a salad.  Season with salt and pepper and grill it up beautifully.

Assemble the salad–spinach, strawberries, and walnuts.  Crush up the tortilla and sprinkle over the top. 

I’m not kidding when I say that was the best-tasting crunchy texture ever.  I surprised myself with that idea, but I had some going stale from the open-faced tacos we had a few nights ago.  They stayed crunchy throughout the whole salad, and when browned, were so nutty and delicious that I kept asking Fritz if he could believe how good it all was.

Top with the grilled chicken, of course.  There is a man in the house, after all, and he just doesn’t feel complete without some sort of animal protein.

 Drizzle some balsamic right over the top.

Yum.

So good!  I ate the whole bowl (even scraped up the remainders).  That is a salad first for me.  A salad as a meal?  That was big enough–and I still didn’t get sick of it?  I can’t wait to have more tomorrow.

What are your best salad combos?  I need inspiration!

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Filed under Side Dishes

Sausage and Egg Muffins

Ah-mazing news, my friends.

When Fritz and I did our taxes for this year (okay, when Fritz did our taxes this year), we got a surprisingly large refund. 

That would be money coming in that we didn’t budget for–a surplus!

Considering gas prices, it’d probably be wise to set it aside.  However, that’s no fun, and Fritz suggested that we make a large purchase.

A fun large purchase:

A camera!!

I’ve been lusting after digital SLRs since I started blogging, and I’ve felt rather limited in my blogging abilities by our point-and-shoot digital camera.  I think I’ve pretty much exploited it’s abilities to the max.  My beautiful sisters and some equally gorgeous girlfriends that are into photography all have DSLRs that take the most perfect, focused, striking photographs with a real-live depth of field, and other cool photography things that I know absolutely nothing about.

So in the name of surplus, and hobbies, and learning how to navigate the manual world of grown-up photography, I’ve been exploring the world of Nikon and Canon and all their lesser-known counterparts.

And I need your help.

But before we talk about that, let’s talk about sausage, eggs, and muffins.  Better yet, all three of those rolled into one quick-‘n’-easy breakfast. 

I borrowed this recipe from one of those lovely girls I was talking about earlier, Cait, and while in between drooling over those lovely DSLR photos I was also talking about, I managed to put together this recipe.  It’s almost exactly the same as hers, with a few modifications.

Sausage and Egg Muffins (Cait’s post here)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cook the sausage fully (if you bought sausage links, just pull off the casings and use it as ground sausage) over medium heat.  If you used my recipe for chicken breakfast sausage, here’s the instructions.

Crack the eggs into a medium-sized bowl and add the diced onion, peppers, and sausage.  Whisk until light and fluffy.  Add salt and pepper now if you like, or later so you can taste it and see how much you want.

 

Spray a mini-muffin pan (or a large muffin pan–or both!) with canola oil.  Fill the muffin cups to the top with the egg mixture.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven, about ten minutes for the mini-muffins, and 15-20 for the regular sized ones.  Check every few minutes, because there is nothing worse than dry eggs.

I mean, there are a few things that may rank a little worse than dry eggs, but not much.  I really don’t like ’em.

Between the veggies and the sausage, though, these turned out to be nicely moist eggs.  Muchly preferred by yours truly.

Not to mention fun to stack in pyramid shapes before eating!

Besides being cute as a button, I love that these eggs are highly transportable.  The mini ones were my favorite, but that might just be because I can’t resist anything that is a diminutive version of something else.  That especially includes muffins.

 

Also, as a side note, I thought you might like to know that I almost accidentally submitted this post with the blog title “Sausage and Eff Muggins“.

Kinda has a nice ring to it.

But wait!  Before you go, what kind of camera or lenses do you or your friends and family use?  Do you love it?  Hate it?  Canon?  Nikon?

Help!

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Filed under Breakfast

Chicken Breakfast Sausage

Guten Morgen!

My next door neighbor growing up was an older German lady, and she taught me and my sisters simple phrases that we could impress our friends and family with when we went over to her house.  I don’t remember much, since I was young, but I do remember how her house was hung all over with heavy braided ropes of garlic and she was always cooking.  And to my six year-old self, it smelled weird.

Now I’d probably be there all the time, eating authentic German meals and trying to beg any recipes out of her that I could.  And I’d like to think that my nose has grown more sophisticated–what smelled weird would now smell absolutely delicious.

Anyway, this post has nothing to do with Deutschland.  Just a nice memory I thought I’d share.

This morning I woke up early (which is now weirdly normal for this previously late sleeper) and thought to myself, “I would like…some sausage.”  Not something I usually think upon opening my eyes at 7:00 in the morning–but with some free time and a meat grinder available, my next thought was “why not?”.  So this chicken breakfast sausage came to be.

Chicken Breakfast Sausage (original recipe here)

  • 1 lb ground chicken (I used one pound of chicken breast, still slightly frozen, to grind)
  • 1 t ground dried sage
  • 1/2 t ground dried thyme
  • 1/4 t ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 t allspice
  • 1/4 t ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4-1/2 t dried garlic (or one garlic clove, minced)
  • 1/2 T maple syrup
  • 2 T olive oil

First, grind the meat–if you have that option.  One nice thing about grinding your own meat is that you know exactly what’s in it.  You can buy ground chicken at the grocery store, but you have no idea how much skin or fat is in it.  Another reason to grind meat is the price–I bought frozen chicken breasts at $1.88/lb, which costs less than buying ground chicken.  Lastly, it’s not as inconvenient as you think–it’s quicker than running out to the store, and it’s best to grind meat that is cold or partially frozen, so having to defrost the meat first before you grind it is not a big deal–just go halfway!

But if all that doesn’t convince you, then it’s okay to just buy already ground meat at the store.  I’ll still like you.

Grind the meat according to the instructions of your meat grinder (mine’s a KitchenAid attachment, thanks to Mom and Dad).

Put it in a small bowl and add all the spices, syrup, and oil.  Mix, but don’t go too hard or your ground meat will turn into mush.  Just combine everything evenly.

Depending on what you are using it for, you can form the meat into patties or just use it as is.  I was making a recipe (you’ll see it later) that calls for only 1/2 lb of sausage, so I shaped the remainder into patties on wax paper, wrapped it in a big ziploc, and froze it for later. 

I’m really into the freezing extra for later thing right now–it’s so exciting later in the week when you remember you have it and all you have to do is defrost.  It doesn’t take any more time or effort to make extra in the first place, but it does make life so much easier when it’s time for dinner and you don’t feel like cooking.

To cook the sausage, spray a little oil into the pan first, either canola or olive oil.  The sausage itself is so low-fat that you need a little extra to keep it from sticking (this is more true for the patties than for the ground sausage).  For patties, cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes on either side, and try to only flip it once to prevent breaking.  For the ground sausage, just cook until the pink is gone.

We were so thrilled with this recipe.  Sometimes the “at-home” and healthy version doesn’t satisfy food cravings, but this really tasted just like a savory chicken breakfast sausage you’d buy at the store.  Perfect for having with eggs, and I’m looking forward to grinding up a giant batch and taking it camping with us this summer.

Plus, do-it-yourself food is so satisfying!  Why buy it when you can make it at home just as easily?

Here’s a little preview of what I used the sausage for:

Henry has been using the cloud cover today to do some serious bird scouting.  He hasn’t left his post in over an hour, and he hasn’t become any less diligent–he does this adorable mumbly mew in the back of his throat when he gets excited a bird is coming near his window.  Quite entertaining.

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Filed under Breakfast

Thai Chicken Soup (Crock Pot)

Every once in a while, there comes a moment that is vastly important to the continued success and happiness of our marriage.  That time has come.

I needed to make Fritz a giant slab of meat for dinner so the past few weeks of beans, vegetarian meals, large varieties of grains, lentils, and vegetables he can’t name can fade into the background.  So there is a roast beef in the oven.

It’s actually a nice gift to myself as well.  I found the roast on sale (half off!–and not because it was old, don’t worry) and the fun part about making a meal like this is that once it’s cooked, there are leftovers that offer me innumerable opportunities for creative and quick dinners (beef tacos! sandwiches! stir fry! soup!).

So I’ll tell you tomorrow all about how to make a roast beef.  Until then, here’s a recipe for a seriously beautiful Thai chicken soup that I made this week.  It’s not as hearty as the soups I usually make, but it has a much more delicate flavor that will leave you begging for seconds.

Thai Chicken Soup (adapted from this website)

  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cubed into bite-size pieces (I used cooked chicken leftover from a roasted chicken, but uncooked is okay too!)
  • 2 cans chicken broth (32 oz–I used about 25 oz of broth I made from the roast, then made up for the difference in water)
  • 2 C carrots, sliced on the diagonal
  • 1/2 lg onion, diced
  • 1 T grated ginger root
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T lemongrass, minced
  • sprinkle red pepper flakes
  • 1 can light unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1-2 T Thai curry paste
  • peanuts and lime for garnishing (optional)

Combine the first eight ingredients (up to and including red pepper flakes) into a crockpot and turn on low.  Then go to class/work/bed.

When you return from whatever errand you chose, add the coconut milk, bell pepper, and curry paste and stir.  Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then serve.  Top with peanuts and lime juice if you like.

Putting the bell pepper in for only fifteen minutes was a stroke of genius that I wish I could take credit for.  It gives the soup a crunch and a fresh taste that is incredibly refreshing, especially for a soup that was made in the crockpot.

The next day we were down to one bowl of leftover soup, and we both wanted it.  I added 2 C of leftover cooked brown rice and a bit of water, and it made two bowls of a heartier version of this soup.  I love when I can combine two leftovers and clean out the fridge in such a delicious way!

Anyway, I can smell the roast browning away, so I should probably go check on it.  Come back tomorrow to see how it went.

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Filed under Soups/Stews