Friday, October 31, 2014

Pickle Juice Brined Baked Chicken

So, last night I was inspired by some posts that have been going around about brining chicken in pickle juice. At first I was mildly disgusted with the idea, but then I gave it more thought. A brine is just a very salty liquid that breaks down the proteins and hydrates the meat. Pickle juice is a brine. I decided to take a risk. It might be awful or it might not be. The only way to know for sure is to find out. Since I had just eaten the last pickle for lunch I had this jar of pickle juice to try out.

Now, I meant to take pictures of the process, but I really didn't think it would turn out very well... and I had to charge my phone, so I didn't take any pictures. I should have because this chicken was delicious.

Recipe:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts.
1 jar of pickles, pickles removed.
1/2 onion, diced
2 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

Place chicken breasts in a zip top bag with the pickle juice and brine for at least 30 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Remove chicken from brine, rinse and pat dry.
Drizzle olive oil on chicken, then add salt and pepper to taste.
Place chicken in an oven safe pan on top of the diced onion and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the chicken over and bake an additional 15 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees.

Of course this is the basic no frills recipe, like this is a basic no photo post. The chicken was tender and moist with only the slight hint of pickle. I made my own BBQ sauce to dip and it was delicious.

edit: the bbq sauce is 1/4 cup of ketchup, 1/8 cup mustard, 2 TBS Worcestershire sauce, 2 TBS hot sauce, and 1 TBS brown sugar. I only make enough for myself because the husband doesn't like BBQ sauce.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Honey-Mustard baked chicken, Lemon-Pepper corn, Pasta with Tomato wine and mushroom sauce.

Lots of goodies cooked for supper the other night. Sometimes I can surprise myself.

First up lets talk about honey-mustard baked chicken. I love honey mustard. I put a spin on plain honey mustard dipping sauce for this recipe by adding poultry seasoning to it. I figured since I'm cooking chicken anyway, might as well try and use this stuff up.

I mixed 2 1/2 tablespoons honey, 2 1/2 tablespoons mustard, a teaspoon of poultry seasoning, and about a teaspoon of hot sauce together.

Then I washed and dried my thawed boneless, skinless chicken breasts and gave them a coat of salt and pepper.

I diced up half of an onion to make a bed for the chicken to sit on while it cooked and pre-heated my oven to 350 degrees.

Spoon about half of the honey mustard mixture over the chicken and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take the chicken out and turn them over. Coat the other side of the breasts with the honey mustard mixture and bake for 15 more minutes or until the internal temp is 165 degrees.


Next up is lemon-pepper corn. I discovered how good lemon-pepper seasoning was on corn entirely by accident. In the before times, in the longlongago, I was in college at Auburn University. Hanging out with some friends doing the cook out thing, someone had made corn on the cob. I grabbed some salt and what I thought was pepper to season my corn. But it wasn't just pepper. It was lemon pepper. That tart bit of acid with the buttery richness of the corn was just perfection. Now when I want to fancy up a can of corn, I just add some lemon pepper or make my own like I did tonight.
Just add a couple of slices of lemon and a lot of pepper to a can of corn and you have lemon-pepper corn. It's a really good side dish to go with the baked chicken.

And finally, my tomato wine and mushroom sauce. We have some friends that have gotten into wine making as a hobby. Like a serious hobby. Like entering national wine competitions and winning medals hobby. One year, to play with the chemistry, they made a wine out of some tomatoes and gave us a couple of bottles. Now we get the wine by the case and have to come up with more things to cook with the wine.

For the tomato wine and mushroom sauce, I started with a basic wine sauce recipe. Saute an onion, add wine and stock, simmer until reduced.
I took the other half of the onion I used for the chicken and diced it. I removed the stems from an 8 oz pkg of portobello mushrooms, and then sliced the caps.
 I melted 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium pan then added my onion and mushrooms. Stir to coat the mushrooms with the butter then reduce the heat to medium low so the mushrooms and onions can start to caramelize. 




















When the mushrooms are dark, deglaze the pan with a cup of tomato wine, then stir in a cup of chicken broth. Turn the heat up until the liquid starts to boil, then reduce the heat so that the mixture can simmer.



You want to reduce the volume of liquid by about half. Once the sauce is reduced you can serve it as is or if you want to thicken it, add in a cornstarch slurry. To make the slurry, add about a tablespoon of cornstarch to a small bowl, then add some of the hot liquid from your sauce. You want to add enough to make a thick paste that is about the same consistence as glue. Now, stir your slurry back into your sauce. If it gets too thick, you can thin it back out by adding some of the starchy cooking liquid from the pasta, or more chicken stock if you have that handy.





















Cook and drain your pasta, then plate everything up.

Recipes:

Honey Mustard Chicken
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 heaping Tbs yellow mustard
2 heaping Tbs honey
1 tsp poultry seasoning
½ tsp or more to taste hot sauce
½ onion - diced
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350℉
In a bowl, mix the honey, mustard, poultry seasoning, and hot sauce. Dice onion.
Wash and dry the chicken, add salt and pepper to taste.
Put onions in the bottom of a 9 inch oven safe skillet. Place chicken breasts on top of onion. Spoon honey mustard mixture over the breasts and bake for 30 minutes. Turn chicken breasts over, spoon remaining honey mustard mixture over top and bake an additional 15 minutes or until internal temp reaches 165℉

Tomato Wine and Mushroom Sauce
1 - 8 oz package portobello mushrooms
½ onion diced
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup tomato wine (or dry white wine)
1 cup chicken stock
1 Tablespoon corn starch

In a 10 inch skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add diced onions and mushrooms. Stir to coat, then reduce heat and cook mushroom onion mixture for about 15 minutes on low heat until mushrooms are brown and onions are starting to caramelize. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of tomato wine, scraping to get up any browned bits, then add 1 cup of chicken stock. Turn up the heat until the liquid comes to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.
Make a slurry with the cornstarch and enough of the cooking liquid to get a thin paste. Stir the slurry into the cooking liquid and continue to stir until thickened. Remove from heat and serve over cooked pasta.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tomato Wine Bloody Mary Beef Stew


Ingredients:

2 1/2 to 3 pound boneless chuck roast trimmed and cut into roughly 1 inch cubes, according to your taste.
I prefer a whole boneless chuck roast instead of the already cut up supermarket “stew meat”. It doesn’t take much time to cut up your own and the results will just be better. A good chuck roast will have ribbons of fat running through it (marbling) that will cook out and make the meat super tender.
2 medium yellow onions
2 - 4 stalks of celery
2 - 6 cloves of garlic (to taste, I like a lot of garlic)
2 green bell pepper
1- 32 oz bottle of Bloody Mary Mix
A good bloody Mary mix will have all the other seasoning you will need for a nice tasty stew. You want to look for a good blend of tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, and hot sauce. For this recipe, I used Tabasco brand but you can use whichever mix you prefer, or make your own.








1 - 12 oz bottle tomato wine (You can substitute 2 cups dry white wine or 2 cups beef stock)
1 - 2 cups of flour
S&P to taste
about 2 TBS oil (any type of oil will work), enough to coat the bottom of the dutch oven + more as needed

Equipment:
5 ½ quart dutch oven
Tongs for turning the meat
Cutting board and chef’s knife
Bowl to flour the meat


Prepwork:
  1. Cut the onions into eighths. Cut the celery, and carrots into thumb sized pieces. You want the veg to be nice and chunky so they will hold up to the long cooking time.
  2. Smash and peel your garlic cloves and give them a rough chop if you want. You can leave them whole if you would prefer to take them out later.
  3. Cut up the bell pepper. I have to cut the bell pepper up into pretty big chunks because my husband doesn’t like to eat them. They need to be pretty big so he can pick them out. 

  4. Trim off any huge fat chunks and cut the roast into roughly 1 inch cubes. Toss the beef chunks into a deep mixing bowl. Salt and pepper the meat, then add the flour and toss well to coat.

Time to cook:


  1. Put the dutch oven on the stove top over a medium high heat and add your oil. Once the oil gets hot and starts to ripple, start adding your veg. 
  2. Throw in the onions, celery and carrots. If the onion starts turning brown, your heat is too high. Give them a stir and let them cook until the onion starts turning clear.  Take the veggies out of the dutch oven and add more oil if needed.
  3. Add the meat in batches (It took me about four batches). You don’t want to crowd the bottom of the pan because if you do the meat won’t get a good sear.  You don’t have to worry about cooking the meat chunks all the way through but you want a good sear on a least one side of the meat. Put the meat in and let it sit for a minute or two, give it a stir and then take it out. If your pan starts getting smoky, turn down the heat. Don’t worry about the stuff sticking to the bottom of the pan. That is an important ingredient that will add a lot of flavor to the stew.
  4. Once all of the meat is seared and removed from the dutch oven, take your bottle of tomato wine and deglaze the pan. Pour in the wine and start working up all those brown bits and incorporating them into the wine.
  5. Add all the meat and veg back to the dutch oven and pour in the bloody Mary mix. Give it a stir to mix everything together and let the stew come to a boil. Once you get a boil started, reduce heat to med low, and simmer uncovered for a couple of hours. After a couple of hours, check a meat chunk. If you can easily pull a chunk apart with a fork, then the stew is done.





Tomato Wine  Bloody Mary Beef Stew
Ingredients:
3 lbs boneless chuck roast trimmed and cut into roughly 1 inch cubes, according to your taste.
I prefer a whole boneless chuck roast instead of the already cut up supermarket “stew meat”. It doesn’t take much time to cut up your own and the results will just be better. A good chuck roast will have ribbons of fat running through it (marbling) that will cook out and make the meat super tender.
2 medium yellow onions
2 - 4 stalks of celery
2 - 6 cloves of garlic (to taste, I like a lot of garlic)
2 green bell pepper
1- 32 oz bottle of Bloody Mary Mix
A good bloody mary mix will have all the other seasoning you will need for a nice tasty stew. You want to look for a good blend of tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, and hot sauce. For this recipe, I used Tabasco brand but you can use whichever mix you prefer, or make your own.
1 - 12 oz bottle tomato wine
1 - 2 cups of flour
S&P to taste
about 2 TBS oil (any type of oil will work), enough to coat the bottom of the dutch oven + more as needed

Equipment:
5 ½ quart dutch oven
Tongs for turning the meat
Cutting Board and Chef’s knife
Bowl to flour the meat

Prepwork:
  1. Cut the onions into eighths. Cut the celery, and carrots into thumb sized pieces. You want the veg to be nice and chunky so they will hold up to the long cooking time.
  2. Smash and peel your garlic cloves and give them a rough chop if you want. You can leave them whole if you would prefer to take them out later.
  3. Cut up the bell pepper. I have to cut the bell pepper up into pretty big chunks because my husband doesn’t like to eat them. They need to be pretty big so he can pick them out.
  4. Trim off the huge fat chunks and cut the roast into roughly 1 inch cubes. Toss the beef chunks into a deep mixing bowl. Salt and pepper the meat, then add the flour and toss well to coat.

Time to cook:
  1. Put the dutch oven on the stove top over a medium high heat and add your oil. Once the oil gets hot and starts to ripple, start adding your veg.
  2. Throw in the onions, celery and carrots. If the onion starts turning brown, your heat is too high. Give them a stir and let them cook until the onion starts turning clear.  Take the veggies out of the dutch oven and add more oil if needed.
  3. Add the meat in batches (It took me about four batches). You don’t want to crowd the bottom of the pan because if you do the meat won’t get a good sear.  You don’t have to worry about cooking the meat chunks all the way through but you want a good sear on a least one side of the meat. Put the meat in and let it sit for a minute or two, give it a stir and then take it out. If your pan starts getting smoky, turn down the heat. Don’t worry about the stuff sticking to the bottom of the pan. That is an important ingredient that will add a lot of flavor to the stew.
  4. Once all of the meat is seared and removed from the dutch oven, take your bottle of tomato wine and deglaze the pan. Pour in the wine and start working up all those brown bits and incorporating them into the wine.
  5. Add all the meat and veg to the dutch oven and pour in the bloody mary mix. Give it a stir to mix everything together and let the stew come to a boil. Once you get a boil started, reduce heat to med low, and cook uncovered for a couple of hours. After a couple of hours, check a meat chunk. If you can easily pull a chunk apart with a fork, then the stew is done.




Friday, October 10, 2014

Chicken Kind of Garam Masala

For supper the other night I decided to put a spin on Chicken Garam Masala.
I started off with one boneless skinless chicken breast cut into bite sized chunks, a tablespoon of garam masala, 1 medium white onion diced, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a splash (about a tsp) of apple cider vinegar, and some salt and pepper, mixed it all up in a bowl and let it marinate for a couple of hours.

I cranked up the heat on my skillet then I dropped the chicken and onions into the hot pan, stirring constantly to keep it from burning. Once the onions started to turn clear, I added 1/4 red wine (I used a 2011 Norton from Cavender Creek Vineyards ) and a can of diced tomatoes.



 Then I threw in a palmful of oregano, just because.

 For my noodles, I decided ramen would be the way to go so I brought some water to a boil

 Threw in 4 packs of ramen noodles and cooked them for 3 minutes (per package instructions).

 When the noodles were cooked, I tossed them in with the sauce.

 And here is the finished product. OMG it was so good, although I probably should only have cooked two ramen packets. 

RECIPE
Chicken kind of Garam Masala
1 boneless skinless chicken breast - diced
1 medium white or yellow onion - diced
1 TBS garam masala
2 TBS olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
4 packs (should have only used two) of ramen noodles - spice packet discarded

  1. In a bowl, mix chicken, onion, garam masala, oil, vinegar and salt and pepper. Let marinate for 30 minutes to a couple of hours.
  2. Bring a skillet to medium high heat, then add the chicken onion mixture.
  3. sautee until the onions start to turn clear then add 1/4 red wine and one can of diced tomatoes. 
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered 45 mins.
  5. Cook ramen noodles according to package directions
  6. Mix noodles and sauce together in skillet
  7. serve



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tomato Wine Red Beans and Rice with Sausage

A while ago, a friend of ours from Georgia made some tomato wine. After he had it bottled up he didn't know what to do with it. He knows that my husband and I are foodies. So he challenged us to come up with recipes for his tomato wine.


(sorry theres no pictures to go with this, these were made before my phone had a camera : / )

Tomato Wine Red Beans and Rice with Sausage
Ingredients:
2 bottles of tomato wine (substitute one box of vegetable stock)
2 cups of water as needed to cover beans
1 1lb pkg red beans
1 1lb pkg Conecuh Sausage
2 yellow onions quartered
2 bell peppers quartered, seeds, stems, and ribs removed.
4 celery stalks with tops
4 or 5 cloves of garlic, minced (to taste)
a couple of TBS olive oil
a couple of pinches of salt and pepper (to taste)
1 can diced tomatoes
Equipment:
1 large bowl with a lid
5.5 quart dutch oven
Cutting board and chef’s knife
microplane or box grater
Prepwork/Time to cook:
The day before, put the beans in a large bowl and fill with water. Cover and put aside until ready to cook.
Put enough oil in the dutch oven to just cover the bottom of the pan (about 2 Tablespoons)
Heat the oil in the dutch oven over medium heat. As you cut up the veggies, drop em in the dutch oven and give em a stir.
Cut the onions into chunks. You will be cooking for a while and you want them to hold up.
Cut the four sides off the bell pepper and remove the ribs.
Clean and roughly chop the celery and celery tops. You want the celery to relatively small because it takes so long to cook.
Wash and grate the carrots into a bowl then dump them in the dutch oven.
Use the microplane or box grater and grate the garlic into the pot.
Take ¼ of the link of sausage and remove the casing and dice then add to the pot. Take the rest of the sausage and slice them into approximately thumb sized pieces.
Let this mixture cook a little bit, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to turn clear.
Once the onions turn clear, drain and rinse the beans, removing anything that doesn’t look like it belongs. Add the soaked beans to the veggies then add the 2 bottles of tomato wine plus enough water to cover the beans. *If you aren’t using wine, you can substitute broth or water, as long as the beans are covered.
Give the whole thing a stir then turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. When the pot comes to a boil, partially cover the dutch oven and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Cook the beans  stirring occasionally for about an hour, then add the sausage  and can of  diced tomatoes.
Continue to cook until the beans are soft, adding water as necessary until the beans are tender.
Serve with white rice

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Super easy one skillet supper

So I was feeling particularly lazy the other day and didn't really feel like cooking, but I knew that we would have to eat eventually. I noticed that we had a good bit of tortilla chip crumbs left in the bottom of the last bag we had and it gave me an idea. A quick check of the pantry and I came up with this tasty dish.

First, I browned up 1 pound of hamburger meat and then drained the fat.


Next I opened up a can of corn and dropped that in my hot pan gave it a quick stir and then let it sit on medium heat to get some caramelization going on those kernels.



Then I dumped in a can of navy beans, 
  a can of diced tomatoes, 
 1/4 cup of taco seasoning (because yeah we buy our taco seasoning in bulk)

 dumped the hamburger back in, 

 added about 3/4 to a cup of water (more or less depending on how much liquid you want)

 Let it all come to a boil, the reduced the heat down so the mixture could simmer.

 Chopped up some pickled jalapeño peppers

 and threw them in the pot

 After everything simmered for about 15 minutes, I served it up in a bowl with some shredded cheddar and the tortilla crumbs.


Recipe
Ingredients:
1 lb hamburger
1 can corn
1 can navy beans
1 can petit diced tomatoes
1/4 cup taco seasoning
3/4 cup water
1 diced pickled jalapeno
shredded cheddar cheese
crushed tortilla chips

Brown the hamburger in a large skillet.
Drain the hamburger
Add corn and sauté about 3 minutes until it starts to turn brown
when the corn is lightly caramelized, add beans, tomatoes, taco seasoning, water, and pickled jalapeño
bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes
Serve with cheese and tortilla chips