Tag Archives: Adobo

Easy Delicious Chicken Salad

I have a full time job and a pretty active social life and I tend to play just as hard as I work. Sometimes it’s hard to fit everything and everyone into my schedule. I am a list maker and a calendar keeper; it’s the only way I am able to keep organized. For as long as I can remember there has been a calendar on my desk at home and at work and if you had an appointment or activity it needed to be on the calendar or it wasn’t going to happen.

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We had book club after work and the group was doing a potluck. I had taken out some chicken to make at some point during the week and just didn’t get to it; so in the morning; before work; I chopped, seasoned and cooked the chicken as there would not be time after work to cook and let the chicken cool before book club. I planned on making chicken salad wraps or finger sandwiches whatever I can put together pretty quickly. Not only is this is very easy with very few ingredients; I usually have everything on hand AND it is THE best chicken salad I have ever had. Bonus is the chicken is already seasoned and SO delicious that sometimes I just leave some chicken pieces in the fridge and everyone; mostly my guys; find it very hard to not grab a piece; I will admit on a few occasions where I couldn’t get to making the salad for a couple of days and when I finally do have a few minutes, there isn’t any chicken left.

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This chicken is so yummy that you can also just add it to a tossed or Caesar salad, or to an Alfredo or even a marinara sauce as the protein.

I don’t use specific amounts when I make the chicken, I adjust all the ingredients to how much chicken I have on hand – don’t let that discourage you from trying this.

Boneless skinless Chicken breast or tenders – I took tenders out thinking they were breasts – label label label
Adobo seasoning – generously over both sides of chicken
Fresh cracked black pepper as liked
Garlic powder a dusting is fine
Olive Oil for the pan
Mayo just enough to your taste – add a little at a time, you can always add more, you can’t take any out if you add too much
1 stick Celery chopped medium to small pieces
Chives or Scallions to taste

Cut chicken into small pieces, season chicken with Adobo, pepper and garlic powder. Heat skillet; add olive oil and pieces, do not touch chicken until it browns and releases from the pan on its own. Turn and do the same, make sure the chicken is cook through but not over cooked.

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Let cool and shred with your fingers. Place into a bowl and add mayo, chopped celery stir till combined and sprinkle chives on top.  It tastes even better the next day!!!

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Enjoy!!!

Recipe: Donna Clark – Cooking at Clark Towers

Chicken & Dumplings

I totally intended on trying another recipe in my slow cooker this last week but every night seemed to have something going on so I didn’t have time to prep and I am really not interested in making and cleaning a mess so early in the am. So instead I made chicken & dumplings on the stove top. It is definitely a warm comfort meal and pretty easy to make.  The batter for the dumplings is pretty simple and they cook themselves to perfection sitting on the top of the yummy broth. Homemade if you have it on hand.

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By using one pot to brown the chicken and made the stew it can’t help but being delicious, there is SO much flavor sticking to the bottom of the pot.

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I do use a lot of chicken broth both homemade, which I refer to as liquid gold, and pre-boxed which is great when I forget to take mine out of the freezer.

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I am not a fan of mushy peas so I only use frozen ones and by throwing those in last works out really well.

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The dumpling dough is really easy to make; it will be slightly thicker than pancake mix.

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The size of your dumplings depends on the size of the dollop you place on top of the stew. Be mindful they will expand.

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If you can hold off, it tastes a lot better if you can let it sit and let all the flavors meld.

Season chicken liberally with salt, pepper and adobo; add oil to a heavy duty pot, such as a Dutch oven. Cook chicken letting each side get nice and brown and remove to a plate until cool enough to shred.  Add celery, carrots and onions to hot pot, if too dry add more oil. Saute until onions are soft but not browned. Add flour and cook another minute; add chicken broth and simmer until veggies are cooked through. At the last minute add peas. Whisk all dumpling ingredients and add by spoonful. Cover and let the dumplings steam for about 15-20 minutes. Let meld and enjoy!!!

Stew

1-2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast cut into chunks

Kosher Salt

Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Adobo seasoning

Olive Oil

2 ribs celery diced

3 carrots diced

1-2 onions diced

3 tbs flour

Chicken Broth

Handful of peas

Dumplings

Whisk all ingredients

¾ Cup Flour

1 ¾ tsp Baking Powder

½ tsp Salt

½ Cup Milk

Eggplant Parmesan – that will convert you

All through high school I worked at a local Pizza place, there were a few items that I swore that I would never try; they looked and smelled WAY too funky for me.  Here is yet another example of never say never.  Feta cheese came in a metal vat filled with what I believe was oil or a vinegar maybe.  We had to take a chunk out at a time and crumble it; the smell was horrid. Another was breaded eggplant, it just looked and felt wrong on all levels and then there was the dreaded anchovy the smell and look was just plain rancid; we used to flip to see who had to make the anchovy pizza when someone ordered it.

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Now as an adult I love feta cheese, it adds so much tart briny flavor to anything you put it on.  I love adding it to pasta salad it makes it pop. I still would not order an anchovy pizza but I do appreciate a true Caesar salad made with them and I understand why and when they are needed; I even have a can of them in my pantry as I write this.  The recipe I am going to share now for Eggplant Parmesan has completely changed my mind about the veggie and I am now open to and have used eggplant so much so, that I am thinking of planting it in next year’s garden. With age comes wisdom – or as I explain it; you have to try new food as you get older your taste buds change.

I have also used the sauce for a quick pasta sauce during the week; it has a great taste and a little kick. My mother and a friend were here visiting the last few weeks and I made this; they both loved it and wanted the recipe. My mom even said and I quote “I thought mine was really good but this one I want the recipe” I hope she is reading this and smiling…

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Sauce

2 tbs. good olive oil

2 medium onions, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic minced

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 ½ tsp sugar

2 28-ounce cans whole San Marzano plum tomatoes

Kosher salt

Eggplant

2 medium eggplants sliced ½ inch thick rounds

½ cup flour

Kosher salt

Fresh cracked black pepper

3 large eggs

1½ tbs milk

2 cups Italian style breadcrumbs

1½ tsp dried oregano

1½ tsp thyme

Vegetable oil for frying – about 1 inch in the pan you are using

12-16 ounces fresh mozzarella thinly sliced

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups sliced provolone

Slice the eggplant and sprinkle both sides with kosher salt and let sit while you make the sauce.  Place on paper towels on a sheet pan.

In a large skillet add the olive oil heat over medium. Add the onions saute for 1-2 minutes; add the garlic and season with salt and pepper and the red pepper flakes.  Saute till the onion are translucent about 6-7 minutes.  Add the sugar and tomatoes, while you are pouring them out of the can squeeze to break them up a bit. Reduce heat to medium low and cook stirring occasionally about 15-20 minutes.

Rinse the eggplant under water and dry off thoroughly with some paper towels. The reason we do this step draws out some of the liquid and removes some of the bitterness.

Get out 3 pie plates or whatever you use when you batter and fry.  Flour goes in one, eggs and milk in another and the third combine the breadcrumbs, oregano and thyme.  Make sure to salt and pepper each pie plate. Dredge each eggplant round in the flour, shake off excess. Dip in the egg mixture and then the breadcrumbs, coating both sides. Lay each round on a baking sheet in a single layer.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke lightly (between 380’ and 400’) Use tongs to add and flip the eggplant, making sure to each piece is golden brown, I like them a little extra crispy so they are not mushy.  Transfer to a sheet pan covered with paper towels.  Repeat until all pieces are fried.

Preheat oven to 350’ using an 11 x 13 baking dish

Spoon some sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Layer eggplant over sauce slightly overlapping, top with some mozzarella and the some provolone; repeat with remaining sauce, eggplant and cheeses.  Press the layers firmly into the dish. Bake until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly. About 35-40 minutes.

Surf & Turf and Asparagus Risotto

My daughters last dinner at home before heading back to Japan was simple, delicious, expensive but worth every penny!  She wanted lobster since she cannot get a Maine lobster in Japan and since we are true New Englander’s that is the only kind of lobster we like. Trust me I have tried lobster in the Caribbean on several occasions from Cancun to Anegada and several places in between.  The only reason we keep trying it, is people rave about it at this location or this restaurant on this island etc.  So when we mention that we are from New England and we really only like Maine Lobsters they try very hard to build up what they experienced and that we just HAVE to try it.  So on a few occasions we bend and order it; YUP there is still nothing like cold water New England Maine lobster.

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Cancun Surf & Turf 2013

 

Anegada Lobster 2012

Anegada Lobster 2012

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Steak is also something my daughter doesn’t really have a chance to enjoy being in so far from home.  So for this meal we bought our most favorite cut of meat Delmonico Ribeye.  Added a little Adobo, fresh cracked black pepper and a little kosher salt and that is all you need; oh and cook it to medium rare and then it just melts in your mouth.  My mouth is watering right now!

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Lobster is very easy to make, generally one per person is fine.  Fill your largest pot with salted water cover and once it comes to a rolling boil add a lobster or two at the most, cover, set a timer for 12 minutes.  Remove from the pot and place on a platter or baking sheet with side, they are messy so if you have as a nice a husband as mine he will get all the meat out of the shells for you.  The mess stays on the tray and you can just toss; take the trash out of the house immediately or better yet make and eat this alfresco.

 

Risotto though time consuming is worth the extra effort.  I added asparagus to this one because we all love it except for my son but he doesn’t mind it as much in this form.

Risotto 

1 ½ Cup Arborio Rice

1 Quart Chicken Stock

½ Cup White Wine

1 medium shallot or small onion chopped finely

3 Tbs unsalted butter

1 Tbs Olive Oil

¼ Cup grated Parmesan Reggiano

1 Tbs chopped Parsley

Kosher Salt to taste

Bunch of Asparagus trimmed and cut into bite size pieces – boil in a little water just till tender but still crisp; remove to ice bath to stop the cooking process.

Heat the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock just stays hot.

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and 1 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the chopped shallot or onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until it is slightly translucent.

Add the rice and stir briskly with a wooden spoon so that the grains are coated with the oil and melted butter. Sauté for another minute or so; until there is a slightly nutty aroma. Don’t let the rice turn brown.

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Add the wine and cooking while stirring, until the liquid is fully absorbed. Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process.

Note: It’s important to stir constantly, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed, to prevent scorching, and add the next ladle as soon as the rice is almost dry.

The rice will take on a creamy consistency as it begins to release its natural starches. Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, for 20-30 minutes or until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, without being crunchy. If you run out of stock and the risotto still isn’t done, you can finish the cooking using hot water. Just add the water as you did with the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring while it’s absorbed.

Stir in the remaining 2 Tbs butter, the parmesan cheese and the parsley, and season to taste with kosher salt.

Risotto turns glutinous if held for too long; you should serve it right away. A properly cooked risotto should form a soft, creamy mound on a dinner plate.

Pantry Staples

I have been asked several times to make listing of pantry staples.  There are definite items that if on hand; you can create an meal and app or a yummy snack.

I am going to show you a picture of 1 of my shelves in my pantry – If it was organized better I might share the whole thing with you but – it is not at the moment so trust me you don’t want to see it. – Don’t judge me!

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I have a favorite grocery store that I do look at their flyer when it comes and if the staples I use are on sale; I tend to buy several to keep on hand.  We always have a wide variety of cheeses; Hard, Soft, Sharp, Mild, Stinky – we will try anything once, we did find a yummy soft cheese called Port Salut if you see it, buy it! It is mild in flavor but really yummy!

Pasta: Spaghetti, Elbow, Lasagna, Fettuchini, Orzo and Egg Noodles or your favorite shape-You can make just about anything with pasta.

Rice: several kinds of rice are great to have on hand, My favorites are Arborio, Jasmine and a brown rice.  I also keep boxes of rice pilaf just in case. Instead of water use stock to cook the rice – it adds SO much flavor!

Canned Goods: Beans, Refried Beans, Pinto, Black Beans, Cannellini, Kidney, Rotel, Spaghetti Sauce, Tomato Sauce, San Marzano seeded Plum Tomatoes, Tomato Paste in a tube – Best invention ever!!!  Trying to use up a whole small can of tomato paste before it went bad was a pain.  You can make an awesome chili (see below)

Stocks: Chicken, Beef and Veggie stock are always in my pantry, even though I do make and freeze homemade stock; I go through SO much of it I have to keep it on hand.

Oils & Vinegars: Canola Oil, Extra Virigin Olive Oil (find one you like the taste of and stick to it) Soy Sauce, Vinegars there are so many and I swear if you have space for them, buy several different kinds to have on hand, Apple Cider, Red Wine, White, Rice Wine are used in so many recipes.  I also love having Capers on hand; all you need a a couple of lemons and some boneless chicken and voila chicken picata YUM!

Spices & Herbs: Kosher Salt, Black Pepper Corns, you also need table salt and pepper, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes. My all time favorite go to seasoning is Adobo – I use it on Steak, Chicken, Eggs, Fish, Tuna just about anything I can. It’s pretty funny that we discovered it when vacationing on St Lucia many years ago. My favorite herbs are Basil, Thyme, Sage, Rosemary and Chives I prefer fresh but I use dried as well and always have them on hand.  I also use Parsley and Oregano For tomato based sauces.

There are staples everyone uses, Mayo’s Ketchups, Pickles, several kinds of mustards; spicey brown, grainy, dijon I use them all, they make amazing sauces for chicken and pork.

The list is endless but if you can keep a few of the above on hand, you will have a great start to any meal!

4 Bean Chili

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground turkey

1 pound ground sweet Italian sausage

1 Green Bell Pepper diced

1 Large Onion diced

3 ribs Celery chopped

2 28 oz cans san marzano plum tomatoes seeded

2 cans Rotel

Ground Cumin

Chili Powder

1 can Pinto Beans drained and rinsed

1 can Black Beans drained and rinsed

1 can Kidney Beans drained and rinsed

1 large can of your favorite beans – mine is Bush’s original

1 package chili seasoning mix

In a skillet brown all meats and set aside

add some olive oil to a large pot; heat over medium heat; add onion, green pepper and celery; saute briefly. Stir in tomatoes (I tend to crush the tomatoes or cook them well enough to breakdown) and rotel, Add cumin and chili powder to taste and cook for about 6-10 minutes or until veggies are tender.  Add the Beans, browned meat and chili seasoning.  Partially cover and let simmer for 4 hours.  Serve with Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream and Chives or Green Onions.

My family love this chili so much they actually eat it along side cheese omelets in the morning!  It also freezes well!!!

Enjoy!!!

Viking Stove – Bedazzled

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Before

During

During – My adorable husband

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After

Everything needs a little freshening up after a decade of hard work; we have been in our home that we built for 10 years now.  Thankfully it was built by a very detail oriented hardworking perfectionist; my husband; so the quality of material and attention to details that we put into our home has stood the test of time.  I lovingly say that the home was built with his sweat, our blood (I helped where I could) and my tears!  We personally freshen up by vacationing in the Caribbean if not every year definitely every other year.

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Over time homes need a new coat of paint, maybe some re-arranging or updating.  A few rooms recently received a fresh coat of paint; I am in the process of re-designing my daughter’s room from what she picked out when she was 12 to an adult bedroom. Here is a small glimpse of what I have done so far a long way to go but it’s a start.

My Viking stove which I can safely say with good authority has done probably the most work in our home without a lot of attention; other than regualr cleaning I did just have to replace the igniter’s in both ovens; but so far that is it.  I first fell in love with my stove when I saw it in a magazine over 20 years ago. I ripped it out of the magazine and started a file folder of must haves.  Another idea I saw in a magazine 10 years while we were designing/building. Unfortunately I didnt rip it out which I kick myself for; it took me 10 years to get it built but it was totally worth the wait.  If you look at the above photo of my daughters room the bookcase is actually a doorway to a fairly large storage area.  I LOVE it my husband did an awesome job.

When we decided to build; it was actually always the plan when we bought our first home; it just took a lot longer than, at least I anticipated.  I had 2 stipulations to building.  We build a kitchen around my stove and we don’t end up in divorce court. My words verbatim “if I can’t have my stove, I don’t want the house” I fought long and hard and I can honestly share with you; it could have gone either way on both counts!

For those of you who have built their own homes and had a “budget” I use that term loosely; I have yet to meet ANYONE who has come in on or below their “budget” When it comes time to purchase appliances; there is not a lot of money left.  My husband begged me to not buy the Viking, he tried everything in his power to back out of this stipulation, offering to buy me two stoves and put then next to each other; leaving space for it to come later.  I being so damn stubborn put my foot down; needless to say he will concede today that it was a great decision.

While sitting here writing about my Viking it reminds me of the character that was in love with his typewriter played by Greg Kinnear in You’ve Got Mail LOL – I have issues.

Most people when they come over LOVE my kitchen area and of course my Viking; I have had a few people ask if I actually cook like that; trust me I do!  Just this weekend our good friends who spent the weekend with us asked if I used all 6 burners. Yes I do!  A lot of people want to cook on my stove; come on over – since starting my cooking class; many people have now cooked on my Viking.

Probably my most often cooked and family favorite meal is a Roaster Chicken with mashed potatoes, steamed carrots, frozen peas, butternut squash and pan gravy!  My mouth is watering right now!  Here is how I prepare most all of my birds for the oven.

I use kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper and Adobo inside and out – liberally!  I never stuff any of my birds; Turkey or Chicken with dressing.  I always use onions and apples sliced up and placed inside the carcass.  It makes for awesome tasting gravy.  I also take the water from the veggies I cooked and add it to the pan drippings to help make the gravy – I swear by it!