Creamy Garlic Chicken

I think I have finally found something I am passionate about. I mean truly passionate about. I love playing golf, I love gardening, I love traveling and exploring; but what gets me really excited is food. It only took me around 20 years to figure out that I get super excited about the experience of and being around food. I mean it has not always been this way trust me but I definitely can see that I have become more excited at the prospect of getting into a restaurant that is impossible to get in, finding a hidden gem by accident and staying for hours,  seeing/meeting a famous chef or even a chef that came in second on Chopped; yeah that really happened.
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My daughter wanted to go to a restaurant the runner up was cooking at in Washington DC; so we were in the city and went for lunch, I mentioned to our waiter we were here only because my daughter saw him on chopped. He said he was cooking out back and then proceeded to tell him without our knowledge. A chef was coming towards us; came to our table and chatted with us, more like me, my daughter was chef shocked and could barely speak. Same thing happened when she came face to face with Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian on a flight from Japan to the US.
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Last year my daughter and I went to a taping of a radio show featuring ex iron chef Mario Batali, this week I am dragging 9 of my foodie family and friends to a fundraising dinner and I paid extra for my ticket for a meet and greet with Iron Chef Alex Guarnascelli.  I am currently waiting “patiently” to see if my name is pulled to make a reservation to the Lost Kitchen in Freedom ME; which is only taking names via 3×5 index cards mailed in for reservations.  Also a couple of years ago my husband and I along with another couple made a reservation to a restaurant in Montreal Canada that had a 4 month waiting list; which by the way is a 4 hour drive from us. Not to mention I am heading into my fourth year of writing a weekly food blog. I think you get the gist now!

I love that I am sharing my passion with my husband and kids and that they are just as much a foodie as I am. Having dinner together at the table every night together IS important! What my husband said about this dish “knocked it out of the park”

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced or chopped up like I did
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken broth
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
1 cup chopped spinach
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

season chicken with salt and pepper, in a large skillet cook the chicken until cooked through and browned on each side, remove chicken and set aside.
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Add the garlic for and cook for 30 seconds, do not let it brown. add the chicken stock and using a wooden spoon get all the browned bits up off the pan, cook for about 3-4 minutes to almost half of the stock is gone.
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Add the heavy cream, seasoning, cheese and whisk over high heat till it thickens. Add the spinach and tomatoes and bring to a simmer until the spinach wilts.  Add the chicken to the sauce.
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serve over pasta if you want – I served it over linguine and it re-heated beautifully the next day!

Macros – chicken and sauce only
484 Calories 57 g Protein 34 g 23 g Fat 9 g Carbs

Garlic & Herb Compound Butter

By now you should know if you are cooking or just eating for Thanksgiving. I have hosted Thanksgiving at my home for at least the last 13 years straight. We have been as few as 7 to as many as 23. Over the years I have only changed a few things to try to make it easier on me and in return on everyone that comes for dinner.
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I used to make one large bird, now I search for anything 10 lb and under. I feel with even cooking two smaller birds at the same time not only does it take less time in the oven, I find they are much juicier. I use the same roasting pan and they fit perfectly side by side. I can also give away a carcass for someone else to enjoy turkey soup at their house.

I also enlist whoever is around Wednesday night to help peel and dice all the vegetables place them in their pots with water and store them in the cold storage area off the garage till we need them on the stove. This year I ordered fresh rolls, I usually make them but I was my local store and there was a sign up sheet for fresh made rolls from a local bakery and I stood in line long enough; plus it was super easy to just sign my name.  KP would this be considered an impulse buy?  She loves shopping with me and always chuckles at my impulse register buys. They put things by the registers for a reason hmmm!
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This weekend is for finishing up my table center piece, I make new place cards every year so I need to finish those up.

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Before

 

 

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After

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I will toast my ciabatta bread for my sausage stuffing well actually dressing; I don’t stuff my birds. I put apples and onions in mine. And I’ve also made a garlic herb compound butter to cover my turkey’s before putting them in the oven YUM!
img_4732I do have to confess, I was just going to make herb butter, but I double checked with my daughter; should I add garlic? She was like YES we are garlic – she is right we are a little on the obsessed side of garlic so if you are not you don’t HAVE to add it.

Garlic Herb Butter

4 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2-3 small bunches of fresh Sage
5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
Chop them all up fine
3 cloves minced garlic
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You can use just a bowl and elbow grease or bring out your food processor. Cut the butter in pieces add to the bowl of the processor, add the fresh chopped herbs and a little salt and the minced garlic. Pulse till blended.

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It smells amazing – I can’t wait to use it

Now comes a kind of tricky part, placing the butter in the saran wrap so you can roll it into a log. By moving the wrap back and forth it will eventually with a little coercing become a log I promise.  It takes a couple of hours to get to its full flavor and set up. Store it in your fridge till you are ready to prep your bird. Gently loosen the skin of the breast meat on your bird and spread the butter under the skin and all over the skin. 

Happy Healthy Thanksgiving to all of you and thanks for supporting me week after week!

Easy Homemade Ramen Noodle Bowl

For those of you who know how a traditional ramen bowl is made the title might scare you away from trying or even reading this post but I hope you can bring yourself to keep going and I promise you that the recipe alone is worth the couple of minutes it will take you to listen to my little spiel and be rewarded with not only a delicious broth bowl of noodles, it was so easy I will be making it again very soon!

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So my husband has been on a “we need to find a noodle restaurant” kick of late. I’m fairly certain he hasn’t done any research on the subject, and I know I haven’t but I am not opposed to making a noodle bowl. However making a traditional ramen bowl can take many days to make the perfect broth and while I have done it once, yeah only once. I am kind of a instant gratification kind of person and while I have made my fair share of crazy long tedious recipes. They are usually a one and done kind of thing for me. I can appreciate why there are such recipes out there, and again I might even try them, but I much prefer to eat what I am making sometime that day.

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This is also a great way to use up some of those packages of ramen noodles that have been lying around in the pantry, or at least my pantry; minus the salt packet that is included with them of course. But the noodles are wonderful, easy to use and oh so cheap to buy.

 

Dinner for two

2 chicken breasts boneless skinless or whatever kind you have on hand
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Olive Oil or 1 Tbs unsalted butter for browning the chicken

2 tsp sesame oil or vegetable oil
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
3 tsp fresh garlic, minced
3 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs mirin
4 cups chicken stock
1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms or ½ cup fresh

2 large eggs
½ cup scallions, sliced
2 – 3 oz packs dried ramen noodles

Chicken – preheat your oven to 375’ F. season generously both sides of the breast with salt and pepper. Either melt your butter over medium heat or if you are using oil; once hot place chicken skin (unless using skinless) and leave for 3-4 minutes or until it releases from the pan and is nice and browned. Cook on the other side for the same 3-4 minutes and then transfer to the oven to finish cooking through.

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Broth – heat the sesame oil in a large pot over medium heat, until shimmering. Add the garlic and ginger cooking till soft; without burning. Add the soy sauce, mirin and stir to combine. Cook for another minute or so. Add the stock, cover and bring to a boil. Remove the lid and let it simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. If using dried mushrooms add them now and gently simmer for another 10 minutes. Check for seasonings and add salt to taste.

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Eggs – soft-boiled eggs start with leaving them in the fridge and in a medium sized pot put enough water to cover the eggs; noting that you can reuse the water for the noodles in a bit. Once the water is boiling gently drop the eggs in and boil for 7 minutes, removing to a ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Once you can touch the eggs gentle peel and slice in half

Noodles – in the same pot you used to cook the eggs drop the noodles a boil just till soft; 2-3 minutes. Drain set aside.

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Assembling the bowls – slice the chicken into thin strips. Slice scallions. Divide the noodles and broth between two bowls, place chicken slices and eggs on top of the noodles and sprinkle with fresh scallions.

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Pan-Seared Swordfish Steak w/mixed peppercorn butter

I was recently called out for not having any fish recipes; mentioned were two fish that yes I have never blogged about; one being salmon and I am just not a fan. If anyone wants to share their favorite salmon recipe, I might consider trying it but I make NO promises. I think it is a little too fishy tasting for me. The other fish mentioned was swordfish and I will admit I do make this for my guys as they both love it. I don’t / didn’t really have a “recipe” for it. My husband said to treat it like a steak so I always put my steak standard kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper with a little Adobo seasoning that I just can’t do without. They have never complained that it is the same all the time.

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roasted beet and marcona almond salad on fresh garden greens with a light lemon mustard vinaigrette

I will admit that we love most all seafood but we definitely don’t eat it enough. I have great intention of eating it at least once a week, but I am going to bow out by saying we don’t have a fish market anywhere close, but that is a pretty lame excuse even for me. While I do love fresh fish my local market at least has the white fish I like flash frozen and I do always have some in the freezer and it thaws super quick; though I would prefer fresh.

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So to appease my good friend SF I made swordfish steaks just a little different this time and I thought I would share it with not only him but with all of you.

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Mixed-Peppercorn Butter

1/2 stick of butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mixed peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4  1-inch thick swordfish fillets

Mash together the first 5 ingredients and season with a little kosher salt.

Heat your skillet over medium high heat with the olive oil. Sprinkle swordfish on both sides with Kosher salt and mixed peppercorns. Place in skillet and cook till browned one first side; 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook for another 3-4 minutes till done.

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Transfer swordfish to plates and add the seasoned butter to the same skillet. Cook over medium heat, scrapping up any browned bits, until melted and bubbling. Pour butter sauce over swordfish and serve.

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this was way easier than crushing my own!

Sweet and Spicy Apple Butter Chipotle Chicken Thighs

Yes I still have some apple butter in my fridge! A few weeks ago I made something sweet; apple butter bars; that I hope some of you might have tried making as they were moist, flavorful and delicious!

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When I was looking up recipes to use up the apple butter I hadn’t even considered going the savory route till I found a recipe for chicken thighs and it also asked for 10 cloves of garlic; nothing can go wrong with 10 cloves of garlic. I used to be strictly a boneless skinless chicken breast; now my go to chicken is bone in skin on chicken thighs. They are so versatile, very forgiving and pretty inexpensive. They can stand up to cooking for longer times than chicken breasts, which can dry out if you are distracted or just plain over cook.them. If you are worried about the extra fat being that the skin is still on, you can cook the chicken; get all the flavor from the skin and remove it before you eat it.

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With a little planning you could make this a weeknight dinner. Don’t stop reading here just yet. The only reasons I say a little planning is; you’ll want to marinate the chicken for at least 3 hours. So you could make the marinade and place the chicken in it overnight you won’t be disappointed.

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Sweet and Spicy Apple Butter Chipotle Chicken Thighs

8 chicken thighs
3-5 Chipotles adobo sauce, chopped (use your discretion with the heat tolerance)
1 medium yellow onion, rough chopped
10 Garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup worcestershire sauce
¾ cup apple butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Mince the garlic, chop the chipotles, and rough chop the onion.
Combine the garlic, chipotles, onion, worcestershire and apple butter in a ziploc bag.
Put the chicken in the bag and squish it around so the chicken is completely covered.
Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, OK overnight

Preheat oven to 425’
Line a 9×13 dish with foil, spray it with nonstick spray.
Place the thighs skin side up and cover them with the marinade
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the internal temp is 165’ F
Allow chicken to rest for 5-6 minutes for best results

 

Recipe adapted from http://asouthernfairytale.com/2010/

 

Beef Brisket

Last weekend was not only Valentine’s day and a long weekend for me (I had president’s day off) it was ridiculously cold here in NH we got to 20+ below 0 degrees Fahrenheit; that is freaking cold! It was breaking all kinds of records here as coldest day of the year in the last I don’t know

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brisket au jus w/melted provolone – delicious

I figured having my favorite go to comfort food; a roasted chicken cooking in the oven was a must have. My grocery shopping list also had some new things that I have been wanting to try making, what a better time than a long weekend. I had picked up the ingredients for a cheese souffle and a chocolate souffle; that’s a lot of eggs.

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A couple of years ago we were out with some friends and they ordered nachos for the table that had BBQ brisket on them and ever since I have wanted to make a beef brisket. So that was also on my list; which at the time when I was forking over the money for a 13lb beef brisket at $5.99 a pound. You can do the math; I was more than a little hesitant but bit the bullet and brought it home.

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It ended up being a brilliant purchase. Remember when I mentioned “coldest day of the year” above. Our heater died on Sunday, well we actually think it went out Saturday night but we didn’t realize it until very early on Sunday morning. My husband did a great job figuring out what the fault codes meant and what we needed to fix it but it was Sunday AND a Holiday on Monday. Long story short; we found the part Monday and he installed it Monday night. SO to help the few space heaters sporadically throughout the house on Sunday I cooked my roaster chicken without the exhaust fan on so it would help keep us warm and Monday that 13lb brisket needed 8 hours in a 300’ oven. Perfect!!!! I felt a lot better about spending that big chunk of change on one piece of meat and it was delicious. I would do it all over again, but I hope it isn’t needed to keep us warm.

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So what do you do with that much meat? First meal was basically a french dip sandwich with the au jus. Sliced brisket on a grinder roll smothered with melted cheese and a side of the cooking liquid. The guys had it for lunch a couple of days during the week and I made the BBQ Brisket nachos as well as slices served alongside some mashed potatoes. The last few pieces I sliced and made it into a soup.

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Beef Brisket

prep time 10 minutes
24-48 hours marinade
6-8 hours cooking

13 pound beef brisket
3 cans beef consomme
2 cups low sodium soy sauce
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
5 cloves chopped garlic

Combine 2-5 of the ingredients in a large roasting pan, a disposable one works out well. Place the brisket in the marinade, fat side up. Cover tightly with foil and place in the refrigerator for 24 to 38 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 300′

Cook the brisket; covered until fork tender, about 40 minutes per pound. Mine took 8 hours. Transfer to a cutting board, best if you place your cutting board in a rimmed sheet pan. slice against the grain. You can store the sliced meat in the cooking liquid. Serve immediately.

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Make sure to remove as much fat as you can. You can use a fat separator as I did or if you place it in the fridge it will solidify and is very easy to discard.

 

recipe adapted by Cooking at Clark Towers from Ree Drummond

 

Garlic and Herb Crusted Standing Rib Roast

I realize I am still technically on vacation, we just arrived on St Thomas where we will be boarding our plane tomorrow night. I also apologize for the delay in posting this; our last night in the BVI we did not have WIFI and this is the first I have had to sit and relax a second. Never been a fan of travel days. It’s always a hurry up and wait. I will stop complaining since I am very fortunate to be on vacation.

I thought you might like to see a few cool pictures I took this past week

I just asked my husband if he wanted to stay in an order room service; a big juicy cheese burger. I am craving beef which is why I am sharing this recipe with you’ my mouth is already watering.

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This past Christmas was going to be a very small one just the four of us. Usually we have a full house so this year was completely foreign to all of us. Not in a bad way; it was actually pretty nice. We stayed in pj’s all day some of us even stayed in them for dinner.

Because there were so few of us, I definitely splurged on Christmas dinner. Another funny thing about this Christmas was I didn’t really have a plan of attack. When hosting a large crowd I tend to make lists, timelines and many kinds of dishes to have on hand. We tend to host not only dinner but sometimes lunches, breakfast for the entire weekend. This year I didn’t really have a plan, so the day before Christmas eve I asked my daughter to call the butchers and order a standing rib roast for us. When she went to pick it up, he mentioned that she was very lucky she called when she did; she go the last one and several people had called after her phew dodged that bullet.

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We had the butcher remove the bones for us, and they tied it which I didn’t really want but they asked her if we would like to make it easier for us. I was cool with the removing of the bones and normally would have been fine with tying but I wanted to make this one very herbaceous, yeah that’s a $2 word and no I didn’t spell it right; my daughter will get a chuckle out of this.

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For more intense flavor if you can salt and pepper the roast a day before you want to cook it you should. Salt and Pepper liberally cover and place in the fridge over night. Make sure you have some kitchen twine on hand just in case you need it. This is also a good time to invest in a good quality meat thermometer, essential for such an expensive cut of meat. Even though I owned a thermometer; mine failed me and I threw it away. I will be purchasing a new quality one very soon!

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Rule of thumb is 1 rib should feed 2 people, we ordered 3 ribs because we like leftovers.

1 standing beef rib roast
4 cloves of garlic –  make into a paste
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary – 2 leaves removed and finely chopped
8 sprigs of fresh thyme – 4 leaved removed and finely chopped
2-3 tbs olive oil
1 ½ cup red wine
½ cup beef stock
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

If you didn’t salt and pepper the day before, season the beef all over.

Let the roast sit out for 1 hour prior to roasting. preheat oven to 450’F

In a medium bowl add garlic, chopped herbs and 2-3 tbs olive oil to form a paste. Coat roast and ribs with the herb oil mixture. season with a little more fresh cracked black pepper. depending on how large your roast is you will need to tie up the roast to hold it in shape using kitchen twine.

in a roasting pan, place the rack of ribs with the ends pointing up. Place a remaining sprigs of rosemary and thyme on top of the rack. Place roast, fat side up inside the rack of ribs so they act as a roasting rack. Pour the wine and beef stock into the bottom of the pan.

Place in the bottom half of the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350’ and continue to cook for another 1 ½ hours to 2. You want the internal temperature of the roast to be 125’F for medium-rare. You should plan on basting the roast every 30 minutes or so. If the pan starts to get fry add a little more stock or water.

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Remove to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 30 minutes, if you can wait longer an hour is not a bad thing. Separate the ribs and thinly slice the roast. Serve with the pan juices or make a nice gravy.