Tag Archives: Chicken

Fat Nestled Between Fat, Fat, Cheese, and Fat

I once knew a girl… we’ll call her… Laura. Yeah, Laura. Every once in awhile, Laura would get an insatiable craving for fried chicken. One day after high school she drove half an hour to the closest KFC and ate fried chicken all by herself because no one else wanted to join her. One time last winter she went to Popeye’s and ran the 8 blocks home because it was freezing outside and she didn’t want her chicken to get cold.

I know. She’s gross. Gross Laura.

When Laura saw this, she was neither intrigued nor tempted to visit a KFC to try it out. I believe her first reaction was to gag, then look away, then look back in utter disgusted fascination. WHO IS EATING THIS MESS DISGUISED AS A MEAL?! 32 grams of fat. 1380 mg of sodium. 540 calories. Somewhere Jamie Oliver is crying himself to sleep.

Sam Sifton’s review for the Times is perfect, and Eater’s creepster coverage of Sam Sifton eating the monstrosity is even better.

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Italian 101

A lot of times, all I want for dinner is something simple, something that will take me 20 minutes and minimal ingredients, and something that will fill me up and leave me happy. So here is a simple tomato sauce recipe that takes almost zero effort and can be used in everything from lasagna to chicken parm. And if you’re cooking for one, you can make the full batch and freeze what you don’t use for the next time you want something quick and easy. Way better than takeout and way more satisfying than a jar of Prego.

On the menu:
Parmesan chicken with tomato sauce over pasta

Sauce:
Makes 3 cups
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, 1/4 chopped and 1/4 chiffonade for garnish
1 tsp red pepper flakes
28 oz crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Add olive oil, minced garlic, chopped onion, and chopped basil to a cold pot. Turn the heat to medium and stir until the ingredients in the pot are fragrant, about 10 minutes. Once the aromatics are fragrant, add the tomatoes and turn the heat down to low. Cook the sauce for around 5 minutes, taste, and add salt to taste. Let sauce simmer for another 15 minutes.

Chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 egg
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp olive oil

Pound chicken breasts so that they are each around 1 inch thick. Mix together panko bread crumbs and grated parmesan. Dredge chicken in flour, shake off excess. Dredge in egg, and then in parmesan/panko mixture. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add chicken and cook on each side over medium heat, for around 8 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

Make pasta according to directions on the box. Plate pasta and chicken and pour sauce over the top. Grate more parmesan over the top and add chiffonade basil.

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And they call it buona notte…

One of the reasons I love to cook is because I love to eat. And so does my family. The main topic of conversation at breakfast is what’s for lunch, and by the time two o’clock in the afternoon rolls around, all we can talk about is where we’ll go for dinner. So when my mother suggested that I cook the family dinner this weekend, I was flattered and nervous all at once. Let’s just say no one holds back their true feelings when it comes to the quality of a meal.

It was in this vein that I chose an Italian classic, crossed my fingers, closed my eyes, and hoped for the best.

On the menu:
Chicken cacciatore
Roasted broccoli with lemon
Serves 4

Chicken:
1 whole chicken, cut into roughly 12 pieces
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup lemon juice (or the juice from one lemon)
3 sprigs rosemary
1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like your chicken with a kick)
1 cup dried mixed mushrooms (porcini, oyster, shiitake)*
3 cups dry white wine (2 cups to soak mushrooms**, 1 cup for cooking chicken)
1 cup water
3 cups chopped tomatoes with juice

*Your local grocery store should have dried mushrooms in prepackaged pouches
**Half an hour before you start cooking, put the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour 2 cups of white wine over them to soak, soften, and marinate the mushrooms. Before you add the mushrooms as directed below, drain them and discard the used wine

Preheat oven to 350. Toss the chicken in a bowl with salt, pepper, garlic, and a little of the olive oil.
Put the rest of the olive oil in a large skillet and heat until very hot (the oil HAS to be hot to crisp the skin of the chicken). Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and garlic to the pan, and sear for 3-4 minutes on each side (if the garlic starts to burn, place it on top of the chicken).
Pour the lemon juice over the chicken and add the rosemary, turning down the heat to medium.
Add the red pepper and the remaining cup of white wine to deglaze the skillet.
Once the wine has reduced by half (around 10 minutes), add the marinated mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes.
Remove the chicken and set aside. Taste the mushrooms and add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes with juice and the 1 cup of water. Taste again and season with salt and pepper.
Turn heat down to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste again and season with salt and pepper.
Return chicken to skillet and simmer for 15 minutes.
Put whole skillet in oven and bake for another 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked throught. If your chicken pieces are huge, they may need a couple extra minutes in the oven.

Broccoli:
1 large head of broccoli
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice (or the juice from one lemon)
salt and pepper

Turn oven to 450. Cut broccoli into individual stalks. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet so there is space between the stalks. Bake at 450 for 5 minutes. Remove broccoli, toss with lemon juice and a liberal amount of fresh ground pepper. Return to baking sheet and bake for another 8 minutes.

Here are pictures of Wednesday’s carrot cake. WOW this came out well. The cake is dense and spicy, with the perfect complement of smooth, cheesy frosting. The decoration was a total flop, so I’m pretending that it never happened and giving you a picture of the inside instead. Way prettier, I promise.

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Use Whatcha Got

As a single gal, I find cooking for just one is occasionally a challenge. I can usually adjust a recipe to make one serving (or two, leaving me with leftovers or leaving me having to unbutton my suddenly-tight pants) but then I have random ingredients in my fridge that I either must use before they spoil, or throw out. I usually end up eating the same dinner three days in a row, or a variation on the meal (risotto with mushrooms and asparagus, pasta with mushrooms and asparagus, and omelet with mushrooms and… you get it).

So tonight I found myself with heavy cream, capers, and chicken stock. The thought of eating that trout again was appealing to my tongue but not so much my waistline. The answer? Chicken Piccata.

Okay, so it’s not “healthy.” But it tasted damn good.

Any food stylist will tell you that my pasta is all wrong, there’s too much sauce in the picture, the plate’s not clean, the capers are haphazard… but don’t you just want to dig right in?? That equals success in my book.

On the menu: Chicken piccata
Serves 2

2 chicken breasts, pounded to around 1/2 thick (mine is thicker, but it’ll cook faster and be crispier if you pound it thinner)
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp lemon juice (or the juice from 1/2 of a lemon)
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream (half and half would work, too OR you can leave this out altogether if you choose)
1/2 cup chicken stock
4 Tbsp capers
salt and pepper to taste

[Put water on to boil for pasta] Melt butter with olive oil in skillet. Season chicken breasts liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Dredge breasts in flour, shaking off excess. Once butter is completely melted, add chicken to the skillet. Cook chicken on medium/high heat for around 6-7 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside. Add the white wine to the same skillet and reduce heat to medium (this is to de-glaze the pan). Scrape all the beautiful brown bits from the bottom of the pan and let the wine reduce down a bit. Once the liquid has reduced by 1/4, add chicken stock, lemon juice, and heavy cream, stirring until all liquids are combined. [If you start cooking your angel hair now in the boiling water, it should time out to be finished once the sauce is ready] Let the sauce reduce for another 5 minutes and then add the capers. Now it’s time to taste! If your sauce needs more salt (mine needed a healthy pinch) now is the time to add it. Mix well. Plate your chicken and pasta, and then pour the sauce over the whole plate.

As you can see… I like sauce. To me, life without sauce is like the beach without sand. The ocean without fish. A boat with no sail!

Can you tell I need a vacation?

Saucy chicken will have to be my escape for now.

*I also want to note that if you ever try this or any recipe I share and you have a question or a concern or an outrage (I mean… I hope not but I’m not perfect. Close. But not quite.) please let me know! Leave a comment or send me an e-mail. I’d love to know how it all turned out in your own kitchens.

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