Thursday, January 21, 2016

Quick Eats - Cajun Chicken Fettucine


Cajun spice mix
~1 tsbp of garlic powder
~ 2 tsp of cayenne pepper
~ 2 tsp of paprika
~ 2 tsp salt
~ 1 tbsp of oregano
~ 2 tsp of thyme
~ dash of pepper flakes)

1 pound fettuccine
3 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 whole green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 whole red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1/2 large red onion, sliced
4 whole Roma tomatoes, diced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cups white wine
1 cup heavy cream
Cayenne pepper, for sprinkling
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

4 tablespoons of pan drippings and/or butter
6 tablespoons flour


Heat fat or over medium high heat. Add flour all at once whisking vigorously. When mixture thins and starts to bubble, reduce heat to low and cut back on the whisking. Cook until you smell a toasty aroma then cook 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

Pasta directions:

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain when the pasta is still al dente; do not overcook!

Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun spice (or more) over the chicken cubes. Toss around to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. Add half the chicken in a single layer; do not stir. Allow the chicken to brown on one side, about 1 minute. Flip to the other side and cook an additional minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Remove the chicken, leaving the skillet on high heat. Add the remaining butter and olive oil. When heated, add the garlic, peppers and onions. Sprinkle on the remaining Cajun spice, and add salt if needed. Cook over high heat for 1 minute, stirring gently and trying to get the vegetables as dark/black as possible. Add the tomatoes and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Remove all the vegetables from the skillet.

With the skillet still over high heat, pour in the chicken broth and wine. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour in the cream, stirring/whisking constantly. Add roux. Cook the sauce over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken. Taste and add freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, and/or salt to taste. The sauce should be spicy!

Finally, add the chicken and vegetables to the sauce, making sure to include all the juices that have drained onto the plate. Stir and cook until the mixture is bubbly and hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the drained fettuccine and toss to combine.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Baking in Bowties - Lasagna!

1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles
18 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Baking in Bowties - Bacon, veggie, and cheese quiche

Crust Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 tablespoons (about) ice water

2 tablespoons sour cream


Mix flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter; pulse until coarse meal forms.

Gradually blend in enough ice water as well as sour cream to form moist clumps.

Gather dough into ball; divide in half. Form dough into 2 balls; flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic; chill 2 hours or overnight.

Filling Ingredients:

1 cup half-and-half or milk
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
1 cup shredded Swiss or Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
1/4 onion
2.5 oz/half a bag of fresh spinach
1 crown/head of broccoli


Heat oven to 350°F. Place pie crust in 9-inch glass pie plate

In medium bowl, mix half-and-half, eggs, salt and pepper; set aside. Use a food processor to coarsely chop the broccoli, spinach, and onion. Layer bacon and vegetable mixture in crust-lined plate. Pour egg mixture over top. Sprinkle cheese on top

Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes; cut into wedges.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Japanese Curry!

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds Chicken thighs - boneless skinless
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black pepper
1 tablespoon Oil
2 large cloves Garlic grated
1/2" piece Ginger grated
2 large Onions sliced thin
2 1/2 tablespoons Curry powder Japanese brand such as S&B
3 cups Chicken stock
2 large Carrots cut into chunks
1 small Apple peeled cored and grated
2 tablespoons Chunou sauce
1 tablespoon Tomato paste
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Bay leaf
2 medium Potatoes cut into large chunks
1/2 cup Green peas
1 tablespoon Butter
1 tablespoon Flour


Clean any large bits of fat or tendon from the chicken and cut into large chunks. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and mix to distribute evenly.

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering and then add the chicken in a single layer. Let the chicken brown undisturbed (about 5 minutes). Flip the chicken and let it brown on the other side.

Turn down the heat to medium-low and transfer the chicken to a bowl using tongs, making sure to leave as much oil in the pan as possible. Add the grated garlic and ginger and fry in the oil until it's not sizzling as much and it reaches a rich caramel brown color.

Add the onions, and stir to coat with oil. Cover with a lid and let the onions steam until translucent and limp (about 10-15 minutes).

Remove the lid, turn up the heat to medium and continue frying the onion, stirring constantly until it's reduced to about 1/8 of its original volume and it forms a shiny caramel brown paste (about 20-30 minutes). If the onion starts to stick to the pan before it's fully caramelized, try scrubbing off the stuck bits with a spatula. If that doesn't work you can add just a bit of water to the areas where things are sticking and then use the spatula to scrape.

When the onions are fully caramelized, add the curry powder and saute briefly until very fragrant.

Return the chicken to the pot and then add the stock, carrots, grated apple, chunou sauce, tomato paste, salt and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the potatoes, cover and simmer until the carrots and potatoes are very tender (another 15-20 minutes).

In the meantime, make the roux by adding the butter and flour to a small saucepan over medium heat. Use a spatula to stir constantly until the bubbling subsides and the roux is a light brown color.

When the potatoes are tender, taste and adjust salt to taste. If you like your curry sweeter, you can add some honey. Finish the curry by stirring in the roux and green peas and bringing to a boil to thicken the sauce. Serve with steamed rice.