Monday, March 24, 2008

Fried Chicken

I somehow managed to sprain my big toe. Don't ask... I have no idea.

As such, tonight was the perfect night for some comfort food. Fried chicken was perfect - I had a new recipe I really wanted to try, and my husband is our master deep fryer, so I wouldn't have to be on my feet for too long. We both agreed that the coating needed to be a little thicker, but overall, this was the best fried chicken we'd ever eaten. It was crispy, juicy, flavorful, and had just the right amount of kick. We paired it with some homemade french fries.

Note - this was originally a wing recipe, which we adapted slightly, in cooking time only, for fried chicken.

Recipe from

Pat’s Spicy Fried Chicken (Wings)
Recipe from Gina & Pat Neely

1 tablespoon seasoning salt
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon lemon-pepper


2 eggs
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 whole chicken wings, cut in 1/2 at the joint (or chicken legs)
2 cups flour


In a small bowl whisk together seasoning salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, cayenne pepper, poultry seasoning, and lemon pepper. Reserve any remaining rub.

Rinse chicken in cold water and place into a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle the chicken evenly with the seasoning and lightly rub in, and let them marinate, covered and chilled, for 1 hour.

Whisk eggs, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and cayenne pepper into a medium size mixing bowl. Reserve. Put the flour into a shallow dish or pie plate.

In a large deep-fryer or large Dutch oven heat oil to 350 degrees F on a deep-fat thermometer.

Dredge chicken into the egg mixture then into the flour. Place chicken into the hot oil and cook for 13-14 minutes (8-10 for wings), turning occasionally, until cooked through and golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined sheet tray. Make sure oil returns to temperature before adding the next batch. Sprinkle the chicken with the reserved seasoning while piping hot.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Chicken Cacciatore

I'm not completely sure why "hunter's style" chicken means a chicken sauteed with tomatoes, peppers, and onions, but apparently it does. Regardless, chicken cacciatore is a wonderful, hearty dish that's full of flavor, but still surprisingly light.

Last night I wanted to experiment with a new recipe. I looked around online and and decided to combine a few recipes I thought looked decent. What I came up with ended up being a combination of recipes by Giada de Laurentiis, Rachael Ray, and Tyler Florence (but mostly Giada). A lot of recipes suggest serving the sauce on a bed of pasta, but I prefer to forget the pasta and serve it with some crusty bread or some garlic mashed potatoes. Enjoy!

Chicken Cacciatore
Serves 4
Total Cook & Prep time - 35 min

4-6 pieces bone-in chicken (I like using legs & thighs)

salt & pepper, for seasoning

3 TBSP olive oil

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup chicken stock
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup Italian Dressing
1 ½ tsp dried oregano leaves
Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
Dash red pepper flakes

Season chicken liberally with salt & pepper.

In a medium skillet with high sides, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

To a large pot or dutch oven, add the tomatoes, oregano, garlic, Italian Dressing, chicken stock, and veggies and stir until combined. Bring the chicken back to the pan and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 30 min.

Transfer chicken to a plate and spoon the sauce over the chicken to serve.

*NOTE – this will make enough sauce to freeze about ½ for later use*

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mexican Lasagna

I've been on a search lately for yummy-sounding recipes that can be made quickly. Unfortunately, this has lead me to Rachael Ray for inspiration. Say what you will about her, but I do appreciate her concept of the 30-minute meal. So, I'm determined to use any recipe I find of hers as concept-only and will do my own take on it.

I came across her recipe for "Mexican Lasagna" and decided to experiment with it. Below is the original recipe, with my changes noted.

Mexican Lasagna
Recipe by Rachael Ray, adapted
Serves 4-6

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground chicken breast, available in the packaged meats case (I used cubed chicken breast)
2 tablespoons chili powder (I omitted and used a pack of Taco seasoning)
2 teaspoons ground cumin (also omitted in lieu of Taco seasoning
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained (I used about 1/2 of a can)
1 cup medium heat taco sauce or 1 (14-oz) can stewed or fire roasted tomatoes (I used diced tomatoes with chiles, drained)
1 cup frozen corn kernels (I omitted)
8 (8 inch) spinach flour tortillas, available on dairy aisle of market
2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar or shredded pepper jack
2 scallions, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - twice around the pan. Add chicken and season with chili powder, cumin, and red onion. Brown the meat, 5 minutes. Add taco sauce or stewed or fire roasted tomatoes. Add black beans and corn. Heat the mixture through, 2 to 3 minutes then season with salt, to your taste (I kept these separate and just made taco meat - I put the beans and tomatoes in little bowls to the side).

Coat a shallow baking dish with remaining extra-virgin olive oil, about 1 tablespoon oil. Cut the tortillas in half or quarters to make them easy to layer with. Build lasagna in layers of meat and beans, then tortillas, then cheese. Repeat: meat, tortilla, cheese again. (I layered tortilla, taco meat, tomatoes, beans, onion, & cheese). Bake lasagna 12 to 15 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly. Top with the scallions and serve.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It's St. Patrick's Day. Rather than going out to a local pub to celebrate Saint Patrick's death by drinking Bud Light colored with loads of green food coloring, I stayed home and made a traditional Guinness Stew and drank a pint. Guinness stew can be found in any county in Ireland, and every family has their own recipe. Traditionally, the stew is comprised of lamb or beef with root vegetables and braised in Guinness stout. Below is my take on the Irish favorite.

You can change it up if you'd like using different meats and your favorite root veggies - I'm sure you could even make it vegetarian by taking out the beef and substituting vegetable stock for beef stock. Be creative and adapt this recipe to your tastes, just whatever you do, don't forget the Guinness.

Guinness Stew

2 TBSP olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 lb stew meat, cut into small cubes
1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped (use bigger chunks)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme (generous pinch)
1 tsp dried Rosemary (generous pinch)
2-3 tsp flour
1 cup beef stock, plus more for final cooking (~ ½ cup)
1 cup Guinness, plus more for final cooking (~ ½ cup)
1 TBSP chopped parsley
3-4 carrots, sliced
2-3 large potatoes, cut into big chunks
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 tsp Kitchen Bouquet (optional)

*Start at least 1 day before you plan to eat this*

Heat a large stock pot and add the oil. Add meat and brown it on all sides.

Add onion and cook until onions are translucent, about 3 min.

Reduce heat to low and add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, and flour. Stir until smooth.

Add the beef stock and Guinness; simmer. Stir until the stew thickens a bit.

Add the remaining ingredients and bay leaves. Simmer on low for at least 2 hours.

Cool and place in refrigerator.

On the day you plan to eat it, take out of fridge and simmer on low for at least 2 hours. Add about ½ cup more each of beef stock and Guinness. If the broth is too thin, feel free to add a cornstarch/water slurry to thicken it up. Salt & pepper to taste.

Remove bay leaves just before serving.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Best Chicken You'll Ever Eat

I think the title of this post says it all. Not only is it amazingly delicious, it's easy to make.

Photo from

Garlic Cream Chicken

Recipe from, adapted
*Serves 4*
Prep Time – 5 min
Cook Time – 50

3 whole heads garlic
2 lbs chicken breasts
salt & freshly ground pepper
3 TBSP salted butter
3 TBSP olive oil
1 cup white wine (I use about 2/3 cup)
2 TBSP flour
1 cup heavy cream (I usually use fat free half & half)

Drop garlic cloves into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain and peal. Set aside.

Season chicken liberally with salt & pepper.

Heat the butter and oil n a large deep pan over medium heat.

Sauté chicken until nicely browned (~5 min per side). Chicken does not have to be fully cooked at this point.

Transfer chicken to a place. Add all cloves to the pan, lower heat to medium, and sauté for 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add wine and bring to a boil. (Smell pan). Scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Return chicken to the pot. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove chicken to a platter and cover with foil. Make sure alcohol has burned off (smell will be obvious that alcohol is gone)

Add cream and boil for about 3 minutes.

Pour sauce over chicken and serve. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Meet Kitty

Meet one of my cats. Apparently she occasionally enjoys a nice glass of Chardonnay.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Fun with Balsamic Vinegar

Because I'm lazy, and because this post is probably buried by now, I'm simply going to link my post from the first time I made this. It's delicious, and very simple.

Braised Chicken with Onions, Garlic, & Balsamic Vinegar


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Venetian Mac & Cheese

I'm apparently on a Giada kick lately. Can you blame me, though? This macaroni & cheese is so rich & creamy - you'll love it. Don't use substitutes for the milk & cream, though. The texture won't be right if you do.

Venetian Mac & Cheese
From Giada de Laurentiis - Every Day Pasta
Serves 4-6

Butter for pan
12 oz egg noodles, uncooked
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 tsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups shredded Fontina cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 TBSP chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease pan or casserole dish.

Coook noodles to al dente. Drain & set aside.

Whisk cream, milk, flour, salt & pepper in a large bowl. Blend in 1 cup fontina, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup Mozzarella, and parsley. Add noodles & toss to coat. Blend remaining dry cheeses together.

Transfer to baking dish and cover with the rest of the cheeses.

Bake for about 15 minutes. (This wasn't enough baking time - I think I ended up baking for bout 25).

Let stand 10 min before serving. She's serious about this - the sauce will be very runny when you take it out of the oven, but it will thicken a lot upon standing.

*The original recipe called for peas and pancetta. I omitted them due to preference, but I'm sure they would be a good addition if you liked them*