January 29, 2016

Lemon Chicken

I almost forgot about this recipe (this is why I have a recipe blog) until I was searching for incomplete posts.  My mom told me this recipe over the phone, and this is what I jotted down.  I've provided amounts based on my best guess. Chicken dredged in flour is always better than not, and the lemon and garlic provide a simple, classic flavor.

Lemon Chicken
as told to me by my mother

salt and pepper
2 chicken breasts, pounded thin or cut in half to create two thinner pieces
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 c. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. thyme, dried
1 bay leaf
1 lemon, sliced thinly

Dredge chicken in flour, salt and pepper.  Melt butter and olive oil in a hot skillet.  Add chicken and cook until brown on all sides.  Remove chicken from pan.  Add 1 clove garlic, minced.  Sauté for 30 seconds.  Add chicken broth, thyme, and bay leaf.  Return chicken to pan and top with lemon slices. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through.

Chicken Fajitas

I've tried many marinated fajita recipes over the years, but none have made an impression. This recipe is a keeper, though, and I've made it many times. I usually don't even marinade the chicken very long and it is super tasty.

UPDATE 2/23/16: Finally made a vegetarian version and it was delicious.  I added the marinade (didn't measure - probably used half the amount of marinade) as I cooked the peppers and onions.  After they were cooked, I added one can of drained black beans.

Chicken Fajitas
from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons lime juice (half a juicy lime)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
Few dashes hot sauce, optional
8 (6-inch) flour or corn tortillas
Olive oil
2 large bell peppers, cut into thin strips (mix of any colors)
1 large yellow or sweet onion, halved and sliced thin
Coarse salt
Accompaniments: black beans, salsa, avocado, cheese, etc.

In a bowl or freezer bag, add lime juice, spices and garlic and mix together. Slice chicken thighs into thin strips (1/4- to 1/2-inch wide) and add to marinade. Let marinate for 30 minutes or up to 2 days in the fridge.

Heat oven to 250 and wrap tortillas in foil. Set on rack to warm. Prepare accompaniments of your choice.

Cook peppers, onions and chicken: Heat your largest skillet (12-inch cast iron) on the highest heat. When very hot, drizzle in some olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. When this is nearly smoking hot, add the peppers in a single layer. Wait. Try to get them a little charred underneath before you move them around. Once they’ve begun to brown, add the onions, plus some salt. Wait again for some color to develop before you move them. When peppers are nicely charred in spots and onions have softened and sweetened, scrape mixture onto a plate or bowl to clear the skillet. Heat skillet again on a very high heat with a thin slick of olive oil. Spread chicken strips in as much of a single layer as you can. Wait until they brown underneath to move them. Saute strips, regularly pausing so that they can get some color, until cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Return peppers and onions to skillet. Heat again until everything is sizzling and bring to the table.

Serve with warmed corn tortillas and other accompaniments.


When I visited Paris a few years ago, I really wanted to try madeleines. We did have some, but they were packaged in a bag, and I'm not sure how fresh they were. They were nothing to write home about. Then I happened upon a madeleine pan at TJ Maxx more recently, and for $7 thought it worth a try. I'm not sure what delicious, fresh madeleines taste like, but these cookies are delightful in an understated way. They do seem to dry out quickly, so they are best fresh.

from VS Kitchen

65g or 1/2 cup and 1 tsp of confectioners’ sugar
zest of citrus fruit (lime, orange, or lemon)
Pinch of salt
1 egg
2 tsp whole milk
65g or 1/2 cup and 1 tsp of all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp or 2g of baking powder
65g or 5 tbsp of unsalted butter, melted and cooled until room temperature
Extra confectioners’ sugar for dusting over the baked madeleines

Preheat oven to 375.

In a mixing bowl, beat the egg, milk, sugar, zest, salt to blend. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk or sift flour and baking powder. Add to the egg mixture and blend to combine.

Add in melted butter, beat until the batter is thick.

Fill madeleine molds with batter, about 3/4 full.  Makes about 10 cookies.

Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until golden brown and risen.

Let cool and transfer to wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if preferred.

Chocolate Waffles

When I've had a stressful day and want something easy to prepare for dinner, I go for chocolate waffles. I posted some chocolate waffles before, but I didn't like all the cornstarch in the recipe. This is my new and improved recipe.

Chocolate Waffles
from Alton Brown

7 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 3/4 ounces sugar, approximately 3 tablespoons
1 .5 ounces cocoa powder, approximately 1/2 cup
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 whole eggs, beaten
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
16 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
4 ounces chocolate chips, approximately 3/4 cup
butter to grease waffle iron

Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In another bowl beat together the eggs and melted butter and vanilla, and then add the buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir in the chocolate chips just until combined. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Ladle the recommended amount of waffle batter onto the center of the iron. Close the iron top and cook until the waffle is crispy on both sides and is easily removed from iron. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve.

Coconut Oatmeal Bars with Chocolate

I asked my 3-year-old what treat she wanted to make. She said something with coconut and chocolate. I couldn't think of anything, so I found this recipe. I loved the simple preparation, and the bars were yummy. I reduced the sugar content from the original (1 cup) and found it still satisfying.

Coconut Oatmeal Bars with Chocolate
from Epicurious

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar or coconut sugar
1 cup chocolate chips (semisweet)
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 tsp.vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with butter.

Toss together oats, flour, brown sugar, chips, coconut, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Beat together butter, egg, and vanilla with a fork in another bowl, then stir into oat mixture until incorporated. Spoon batter into baking pan, patting evenly.

Bake in middle of oven until set, about 25 minutes. Cool, then cut into squares.

Coconut Muffins

Coconut Muffins
from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup full fat yogurt, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, divided

Preheat oven to 375°F. Either grease 10 muffin cups with butter or coconut oil, or line them with papers.

In a small saucepan, warm the coconut oil just until it melts. It should still be on the cool side.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder and salt. Stir in 1/2 cup shredded coconut. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, coconut oil, yogurt and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients until just combined. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups then sprinkle the top with remaining 1/4 cup coconut, about 1 to 2 teaspoons on each.

Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out batter-free, about 20 minutes. Transfer muffins to a rack and let cool.

January 26, 2016

Cincinnati Chili

I grew up mostly in Cincinnati. I did not grow up on Cincinnati chili. In my teen years, my family finally tried the much-famed Cincinnati chili. My brothers fell in love. I didn't, but then when I moved away, I found I wanted some every once in a while. This recipe was excellent, but I can't say if it's a copy of Skyline Chili (one of the chain restaurants that serves it).

Cincinnati Chili
from My Husband Cooks

5 cups water
1 ¼ lbs lean ground beef
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 8 oz. tomato sauce
4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground allspice
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate, shaved
1 bay leaf

To serve:
2 c. grated sharp cheddar
1 lb. spaghetti, cooked according to package
1 medium onion chopped (optional)
1 can of kidney beans, drained (optional)

In a large pot, heat the water to a boil. Once boiling, add the ground meat and break it up a little.

Let it return to a boil and add the tomato sauce, salt, onion, garlic and Worcestershire sauce.

Let it return to a boil and add all the spices (except the bay leaf) and the chocolate. Stir.

Turn down the heat and let simmer for 30 minutes. You can skim some of the fat if you like. Let it cool for 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend the chili until most of the big pieces of onion are gone and the meat has been made loose but still identifiable.

Add bay leaf and return to the pot to the stove. Cook at a simmer for another 40 minutes. Serve over spaghetti or over a hot dog, add on desired toppings, and enjoy.

January 25, 2016

Chicken Rice Soup

Almost all the chicken I buy now is whole and directly from the farm. That means tons of chicken bones and tons of homemade chicken stock. I make a lot of chicken soup, with several variations. I recently tried this recipe though, and loved it. I think the extra flavor comes from sauteing the vegetables first instead of adding them raw to the stock.

The last time I made this soup, I had previously cut of the breasts for a previous meal. I used the remaining chicken meat and bones to start the stock. You could use all the meat from a whole chicken, but I would probably increase the amount of vegetables listed below. You can also use cooked chicken from another source, but please do not make this without homemade stock. The benefits of homemade stock are unbeatable, and so is the taste. Whenever I have chicken bones I make stock and freeze it in quarts for later use.

Chicken Rice Soup

1 onion, diced
4-5 carrots, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper
cooked rice

to make stock and chicken: 1 whole chicken, 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 rib celery
if using already made stock and chicken: 8 or so c. chicken stock and 2-3 c. shredded, cooked chicken

To cook chicken and make stock: Add one whole chicken to a large pot with roughly chopped onion, carrot, and celery. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 90 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and let cool. Remove chicken from bones and shred. Put the bones back in the pot and keep simmering, up to 24 hours.

To soup pot, add onions, carrots, and celery. Let soften, but do not brown. When almost done cooking, add garlic. Cook for 1 minute more. Add chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme, and salt and pepper. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Add shredded chicken and heat through. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a scoop of cooked rice in each bowl.