Monday, January 26, 2009

Chicken Riggies

I had never heard of chicken riggies until I was watching Rachael Ray a few weeks ago. Apparently they're a huge thing in upstate New York, and different areas each have their own take on the dish. From what I gather, "riggies" means rigatoni; so, what all of the versions have in common is that they're a similar chicken rigatoni dish. While the Rachael Ray version didn't sound that great to me, I decided to browse the internet and find some other versions and see what I could do to tweak it to make it my own.

I can't say how authentic it is, but we both really liked it. It reminded both of us a bit of a spicy chicken cacciatore with pasta. We hope you enjoy it, too!

Excuse the bad photo, please!

Chicken Riggies
Serves 4

Prep Time - 10 min

Cook Time - 25 min

1 lb rigatoni
3 TBSP olive oil
3 TBSP butter
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 shallots, diced
2 chicken breast halves, cubed
salt and pepper to taste
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 Poblano pepper, chopped
1 (28 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained slightly
3 TBSP dry sherry
3/4 - 1 cup heavy cream

Cook pasta to al dente. Drain & set aside.

Melt butter & heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots and saute until almost soft, then add peppers and chicken, season with salt and pepper. Saute for 8-10 minutes, or until chicken is almost cooked through.

Reduce heat to low and add tomato sauce and sherry and simmer about 10 minutes. Stir in cream and simmer for 10 minutes more. Toss all with hot, cooked pasta and serve.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chicken Fried Steak

I've wanted to make Chicken Fried Steak since I watched the Bobby Flay vs. Paul Deen Chicken Fried Steak Throwdown on Food Network. I'm not positive I've ever had it before, but I really like the Chicken Fried Chicken at Rock Bottom Brewery, and I figured steak would be even better. So, after browsing a bunch of recipes, and taking a lot of suggestions from Alton Brown and Bobby Flay, I came up with this creation.

Chicken Fried Steak
Serves 2

Prep Time - 30 minutes

Cook Time - 30 mn

2 cube steaks, tenderized
lots of black pepper
seasoning salt
2/3 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Pound meat with a meat mallet until each is approximately 1/4 inch thick. Season meat liberally on both sides with seasoning salt & pepper. Place flour into a shallow dish or pie plate. Place eggs into another shallow dish. Dredge the meat on both sides in the flour, followed by the egg and finally in the flour again. Place the meat onto a plate and allow it to sit about 10 minutes before cooking.

Coat the bottom of a medium skillet with oil and set to medium-high heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the meat. Cook each piece on both sides until golden brown, or approximately 4 minutes per side. Place the steaks on a wire rack on a cookie sheet and place in the oven.

Using the same skillet, add at least 1 TBSP oil to the bottom. Whisk in 3 TBSP of the flour to make a roux. Add the chicken broth and deglaze the pan. Whisk until the gravy comes to a boil and begins to thicken. Add the milk and whisk until the gravy coats the back of a spoon, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste, with more black pepper, and salt if necessary. Serve the gravy over the steaks.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Today is a cold, snowy day in Minnesota, so making a spicy enchilada casserole seemed perfect. If you have read my previous enchilada entries, you'll know that we're exceptionally partial to my original enchilada recipe. However, sometimes I like to change things up - a bit for variety, but mostly to affirm that I do, in fact, like my enchilada recipe the best.

This was great and I'd definitely make it again when I'm in the mood for something not quite as heavy as the aforementioned recipe. Feel free to experiment with quantities and ingredients - I made this one based on our tastes and what I had in the house. I didn't really measure, so my quantities listed are just estimates.

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Serves 4

Prep Time - 15 min

Cook Time - 1 hr

1 medium red onion, chopped
1-2 jalapeno or serrano peppers, diced
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 cups diced/cubed chicken (I used leftover rotisserie)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
vegetable oil
1 (19 oz) can enchilada sauce
Tortillas (I used 4 burrito-sized)
2 cups shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Add veggies. Season with salt & pepper and saute for about 5 minutes, or until onions start to soften. Add chicken and cumin. Stir, and saute for about another 3 minutes.

Place a thin layer of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish or pan (I used one that fit one tortilla perfectly). Cover the bottom of the dish with tortillas. Add a layer of chicken & vegies. Add a layer of shredded cheese. Add about 1/3 of the remaining enchilada sauce. Repeat the layering process until the enchilada sauce is used up. Top with cheese, cover, and bake about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 more minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Beef Stew

Those of you who have been reading my blog for any length of time know that I'm on a quest to find the best beef stew. In fact, I've been on that quest since my first trip to Ireland in the summer of 2004 when I had the most delicious Guinness Stew at a tiny little roadside pub in the Wicklow Mountains. While I've made some great stews during my replication attempts, nothing really did the trick. So, I decided to try my hand at a regular old beef stew.

I wish I could tell you that this is an old family recipe, passed down from generation to generation. Unfortunately, I can't. It's a Paula Deen recipe. My family doesn't have a stew recipe - in fact, I don't remember ever eating stew growing up. Who would've thought - the family that serves practically everything with gravy doesn't make stew? I have a hunch this will become ours.

Beef Stew
Recipe by Paula Deen, adapted

Serves 6
Prep Time - 5-10 minutes

Cook Time - 2 hrs, 15 min

1 1/2 - 2 lbs stew meat
1-2 TBSP vegetable oil
2 cups beef broth
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, sliced
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp paprika
dash allspice
2 ribs celery, diced
baby carrots

Heat oil in a dutch oven or stock pot. Brown the meat. Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, and allspice. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours.

Remove bay leaves. Add celery, carrots, and potatoes. Cover and cook about 30-40 minutes or until veggies are tender.

If stew is too dry, add more broth. For a thicker gravy, combine 1/4 cup cold water with 2 TBSP cornstarch and add to boiling stew. Cook until the gravy gets to your desired thickness. Serve with thick bread.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Parmesan Encrusted Chicken with Onion Chive Sauce

I can't believe I've never blogged this recipe before. This chicken is one of the very first things I learned to make when I started cooking two or three years ago. I've tweaked the recipe to my liking over the years and I think I've perfected it. It's super simple, and I think you'll love it.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Onion & Chive Cream Sauce

Recipe from KraftFoods, adapted

Serves 2

Prep Time - 10 min

Cook Time - 15 min

1 generous cup chicken broth
1/3 cup bread crumbs
2 TBSP Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 egg, beaten
2 chicken breasts, pounded thin
2 tsp oil
1/2 cup Cream Cheese with Chive & Onion

mix bread crumbs and Parmesan on plate. Rinse chicken with cold water; gently shake off excess. Dip chicken in egg and then in crumb mixture, turning to evenly coat both sides of each breast. Discard any remaining crumb mixture.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add chicken; cook 5 to 6 min. on each side or until done (165°F).

Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, add broth and cream cheese to skillet; bring just to boil, whisking constantly. Cook 3 min. or until thickened, stirring frequently; spoon over chicken. Serve with rice, egg noodles, or mashed potatoes and a green veggie.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Braised Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes

I'm always searching for new ways to make potatoes, and when I saw this recipe on FoodNetwork, I knew I had to make it straight away. On Saturday, I decided to make steaks for dinner, and knew these potatoes would be the perfect accompaniment.

I could go on and on about how great my steak was (and believe me, it was), but I won't. Instead, I'm going to tell you that you need to make these potatoes.

Yukon Gold Potatoes - Jacques Pepin Style
Recipe by Jacques Pepin, via FoodNetwork
Serves 2-3

Prep Time - 5 min

Cook Time - 20 min

1 lb baby Yukon Gold Potatoes
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 cup chicken stock (not broth)
1-2 TBSP butter

Place the potatoes in a skillet (roughly to fit all the potatoes) and season them with salt & pepper. Add chicken stock to the pan, until chicken stock is about 1/2 the way up the potatoes. Add the butter. Cover the skillet and cook on medium to medium-high heat until they are almost tender, about 8 minutes.

Remove the lid and allow the stock to evaporate, about another 5 minutes. Once the stock has evaporated, press down on each potato with a ladle or large spoon, creating a small crack in each. Do not mash. Cook for a couple of minutes, and then flip. Allow them to brown on both sides, about another 5 minutes. Re-season with salt & pepper if necessary.

Serve with sour cream, preferably with sour cream with chives, to dip.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Raspberry Streusel Muffins

I'd been thinking about making something with the raspberries I have in my freezer for quite a while now. Finally, I decided today was the day, and I decided on making some raspberry streusel muffins. I wish I had an interesting story to tell about them, but I don't. They're just really pretty, and really good. The streusel topping gives it that little something extra that most raspberry muffins are missing.

Raspberry Streusel Muffins
Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens, adapted

Makes 12 muffins

1 3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
3/4 cup fresh raspberries
Streusel topping, recipe below

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and prepare muffin tins.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the middle and set aside.

In another bowl, combine egg, milk, and oil. Add egg all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. The batter will be a bit lumpy.

Fold in the raspberries.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, about 2/3 full. Top with the streusel topping. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden. Cool in the muffin tins on a wire rack for about 5 minutes before removing.

Streusel Topping
In a small bowl, combine 3 TBSP flour, 3 TBSP packed brown sugar, an 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Cut in 2 TBSP butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone. Best wishes for 2009.