Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Easy Chicken a L'Orange

I'm often drawn to long, elaborate recipes (my idea of a good time), but not this day. I think I was curious to see if I could make a tasty dinner without using my knife and cutting board. And I have to say, while it didn't knock my socks off, it was good. Solid. I probably wouldn't make it if the Queen of England was coming over. Then again, she hasn't been returning my calls lately (thank god, my curtsy is way rusty).

Yield: 4 servings

3 skin-on bone-in chicken breast halves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
4 tablespoons honey

1.      Preheat oven to 375º F.
2.      Liberally salt and pepper the chicken breast halves. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat and sear the chicken, skin side only, until brown and beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes.
3.      Meanwhile, make the orange glaze: In a small saucepan, heat the orange juice concentrate, honey, and salt and pepper, to taste, over medium heat, and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
4.      Brush each piece of chicken with the glaze. Turn the chicken skin side up; glaze again and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until the internal temperature reaches 160 to 170º F., brushing on more glaze halfway through, about 15 minutes total. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes on a cutting board. Remove the chicken breast from the bone and slice the meat on the bias. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and serve.

from Melissa d'Arabian
browning the chicken
orange juice concentrate, honey, salt and pepper
orange glaze
glazing the chicken
glazing on the other side
baked/glazed again and ready


Monday, February 27, 2012

Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli

I already posted another (very basic) roasted broccoli recipe over a year ago, but this one has more seasoning and it was so yummy - definitely worth posting. The simple addition of garlic, lemon, pine nuts and parmesan transformed an already good dish into something great. I served this for company, along with stuffed shells with feta and herbs and it was a very comforting plate that was well received by almost everyone (my six-year-old being the lone holdout). Apparently she only likes plain, steamed broccoli (which is good for workday me, but boring for weekend me). At least she's not in freaky eater territory (when you start putting tartar sauce on jello, clearly something has gone terribly wrong in your life).

Yield: 6 servings

4 to 5 pounds broccoli
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
6 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)

1.      Preheat oven to 425º F.
2.      Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets.
3.      Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then toss the garlic with the broccoli. Roast for another 5 to 10 minutes, until broccoli is crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.
4.      Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, parmesan, and basil. Serve hot.

barely adapted from Ina Garten
drizzling broccoli florets with olive oil
sliced garlic
lemon zest
adding the garlic
adding lemon zest
pine nuts, lemon juice and parmesan added too

I didn't add the basil (because I used it all in the
stuffed shells
and ran out). But I didn't miss it
(I guess because I visited it regularly in my shells).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Stuffed Shells with Feta and Herbs

Maybe it's a little strange to put feta cheese in stuffed shells, but trust me, it works. It adds a very nice tang to the mellow ricotta cheese. And the homemade sauce and herbs add a nice freshness. Plus it's great for serving to mixed company. And by mixed, I mean kids and adults (we've been having co-ed dinners at my house for years now - it's getting so it's practically normal).

Yield: 6-8 servings

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large sweet onion (such as Vidalia), finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 (28 oz.) cans crushed Italian plum tomatoes, with juices
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped fresh basil

2 (15 oz.) containers ricotta cheese
14 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (plus optional basil sprigs for garnish)
2 bunches fresh chives, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs

1 (12 oz.) package jumbo pasta shells

1.      Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden. Add garlic, crushed red pepper and oregano and sauté for 1 minute. Add tomatoes. Simmer until sauce is reduced to 5 cups, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and mix in basil. (Best if prepared 1 day ahead; cover and chill.)
2.      Combine ricotta, 1 1/3 cups of the feta, basil, chives and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in eggs.
3.      Cook shells in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse with cold water until cool. Drain thoroughly.
4.      Preheat oven 350° F.
5.      Spread 3/4 cup sauce over bottom of each of two 13- x 9-inch glass baking dishes. Fill all the shells and divide between dishes. Top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining feta. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before baking.)
6.      Bake shells until heated through, about 30 minutes. Garnish with basil sprigs if desired.

adapted from Bon Appétit, March 1993
adding red pepper flakes to the cooked onions
garlic and oregano mixed in too
mixing in the crushed tomatoes
basil leaves
sauce reduced; mixing in the chopped basil
sauce ready
feta cheese
all the filling ingredients
filling mixed
cooked pasta shells draining
sauce spread on the bottom of the pan

I decided at the last minute to get out the old thunderstick
(the immersion blender) and zhush the sauce. This step isn't
necessary unless you have a six-year-old who flatly rejects
anything once she makes out a piece of onion.
filling a shell
stuffed shells

I probably should have spread them out more. In the
end I didn't need two 13" x 9" dishes. My second dish was
smaller. I also wasn't sure whether I wanted them face up or down,
so I made this dish face up and the smaller one face down.
the smaller, face down dish
spooning sauce over the top
sprinkling with feta
ready to bake
I think face down probably does look nicer. But it doesn't really matter.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Baked Sausage Meatballs with Spinach

I thought this recipe was interesting because the meatballs are rolled in bread crumbs and then baked in mini muffin tins. They do come out looking like mini meat muffins, but I've got nothing against those (why some of my best friends are mini meat muffins). I also liked the idea of sneaking some spinach in there. You don't really taste it much, which is good for people who like meat and don't get enough leafy greens (and by people, I'm talking about my kid). She and her friends happily scarfed these up and asked for more. Booyah.

Yield: 20 meatballs (4 to 5 servings)

1/2 pound ground sausage
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
5 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
1 whole egg
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs, divided

1.      Preheat oven to 400º F.
2.      In a large mixing bowl, combine the sausage, pork, beef, spinach, cheese, egg, basil, parsley, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs. Using your hands, mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Use immediately or place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
3.      Place the remaining 1/4 cup of bread crumbs into a small bowl. Using a scale, weigh meatballs into 1.5 oz. portions and place on a sheet pan. Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds, roll in the bread crumbs and place the meatballs in individual, miniature muffin tin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

slightly adapted from Baked Meatballs by Alton Brown
sausage, pork and beef

I used mild sweet Italian sausage. I also doubled the
recipe, since most meat is sold in 1 pound packages.
You can make this with any variety/ratio of meat you want.
I think sausage can be kind of overpowering, so I
mixed it with pork and beef for a milder flavor.
all the ingredients in a bowl
my little future food blogger getting into the action
(She probably thinks it's normal to take photos of your food.)
separated into meat globs
rolled into a ball and rolling in breadcrumbs

All I had on hand was Italian panko. It worked well enough,
but I would probably stick with regular Italian breadcrumbs
next time. The panko has a nice crunch, but didn't get as
golden and "well done" on top as I would have liked.
in the mini muffin tins
baked sausage meatballs with spinach
(a.k.a. mini meat muffins)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Colcannon (Mashed Potatoes with Cabbage)

I had some cabbage leftover from the black bean tacos with feta & cabbage I made recently. Which is awesome by the way. Seriously, you should forget about these potatoes and go make that right now. Which means I should just stop right here. But for all you potato enthusiasts out there, I'll continue. So I went ahead and did something I commonly do when I don't want to strain my brain to use up an ingredient. I mixed it into mashed potatoes. Boom...bag empty. It was good. The same way mashed potatoes with almost anything is good. So if you like cabbage and you like mashed potatoes...

(Mashed Potatoes with Cabbage)
Yield: 2 servings

1 1/4 pounds (about 2 large) russet (baking) potatoes
3 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1/2 cup milk, scalded
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits and softened
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.      Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks. In a saucepan cover the potatoes with salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender.
2.      While the potatoes are simmering, in a steamer set over boiling water steam the cabbage for 5 minutes, or until tender.
3.      Drain the potatoes in a colander, force them through a ricer or the medium disk of a food mill into a bowl, and stir in the milk, butter, cabbage, and salt and pepper to taste.

from Gourmet, April 1993
chopping potatoes
cooking potatoes
raw cabbage

I used cole slaw mix that comes in a bag
already shredded, so mine has carrots too.
ricing the potatoes
adding the scalded milk
adding the butter and cabbage/carrots