Tomato-Basil Chicken and Rice

14 Oct

Tomatoes this past summer were SO delicious!  One great thing about the Indian summer we had this year (and seemingly every year in LA lately) is the bounty of sweet tomatoes it’s brought us.

Gorgeous Summer Tomatoes

I saw this recipe on Kitchn a few weeks ago and was looking forward to giving it a whirl.  Instead of regular tomatoes, I used baby tomatoes since they are firmer and sweeter.  Here’s the recipe!

DIRECTIONS:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup baby tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 cups long-grain brown rice
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed chopped fresh basil leaves

INGREDIENTS:

  • Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil or cooking spray.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and sauté for 1 minute more. Stir in the tomatoes, rice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

    Tomato Rice Mixture

  • Transfer the rice mixture to the prepared baking dish. Pour the broth evenly over the rice. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides and place them skin-side up on the rice.
  • Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake 1 hour. Uncover and bake until the rice absorbs all of the liquid and the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear, 30 to 40 minutes more.

    Bubbling Out of the Oven

NOTE: Kitchn says that leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  While this is true from a food spoilage standpoint, I would argue that this recipe is best eaten the day you make it.  The rice will be fine, but the chicken skin will not stay crispy in the fridge and we ended up just pulling it off when we ate the leftovers.

Tomato Basil Chicken and Rice

I served this dish up with a bit of broccolini roasted at 400°F for 15 minutes, adding a sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper and sea salt and a squeeze of lemon once out of the oven.

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Ina Garten’s Mustard Roasted Chicken

9 Oct

I’ve been seeing Ina Garten’s Mustard Roasted Chicken recipe floating around the internet for ages now, and I finally got around to giving it a try.  The original recipe calls for white wine for part of the marinade, and with no egg involved, I couldn’t see how the bread crumb coating would stick to the chicken.  Since I haven’t been drinking lately and Kevin isn’t much of a white wine drinker, I also didn’t want to buy a bottle of white wine just for this recipe either.  Luckily, I came across Alexandra’s Kitchen’s rendition of the recipe and really liked the fact that it used buttermilk in the marinade which would also tenderize the chicken.  I had also just bought a small carton of buttermilk to use in some breakfast muffins (recipes forthcoming!), so the timing was perfect.

Here’s the recipe from Alexandra’s Kitchen:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on thighs and 4 bone-in, skin-on drumsticks
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Small handful fresh thyme leaves (if the strands are soft, no need to strip the leaves)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs (she uses fresh breadcrumbs; I used store-bought plain breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and place oven rack in the middle of the oven. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard and buttermilk. Place the chicken in a large bowl and pour the mustard-buttermilk mixture overtop. Toss to coat.
  2. Place the garlic, thyme strands (stems, if they are soft, and all), lemon zest, 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt (use 1.5 tsp if you are sensitive to salt), and 1 teaspoon pepper (or a few large cracks on the grinder) in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until the garlic is finely minced.

    Thyme, Lemon Zest, Garlic, Salt, Pepper

  3. Add the breadcrumbs and olive oil, and pulse a few times to moisten the breadcrumbs. Pour the mixture into a wide, shallow bowl or onto a large plate — something with sides is best.*

    Bread Crumb Coating

  4. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (for easy clean-up — this is not necessary, but I like using parchment.) Dip each piece of chicken skin-side down only into the crumb mixture, pressing gently to make the crumbs adhere. Place the chicken on the sheet pan crumb-side up. After one or two pieces have been dipped, the crumb mixture might not adhere to the chicken as well. Just use your hands to press the remaining crumbs onto the chicken pieces.

    Probably Could’ve Used Another 5 Minutes in the Oven to Brown Some More…

  5. Bake the chicken for 40 minutes. Check on the chicken. If necessary cook another five minutes or until the crumbs are browned. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

*NOTE:  The recipe makes way more bread crumb coating than you’ll need in my opinion.  I divided the bread crumb mixture in half and froze it for a later date.  What was left was plenty to coat the 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks.

The buttermilk and mustard really made a wonderful thick coating on the chicken for the crumb mixture to stick to, and the buttermilk did a great job of tenderizing the chicken too.  I was worried that the amount of mustard used was going to overpower the chicken, but it really didn’t.  I loved this recipe and look forward to using the other half of my bread crumb mixture on another batch of chicken!

Ina Garten’s Mustard Roasted Chicken

Since we had quite a bit of thyme left over, I whipped up one of my favorite sides to go with the chicken- Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower.  YUM!

Crustless Quiche with Summer Vegetables

1 Oct

“Quiche” is such a fancy word.  Every time I see them in bakeries, I always think about how much work it’d be to make one.  However, once you remove the crust factor from the equation, the steps are far less daunting!  This crustless quiche has been THE recipe of summer 2017 for me.  I’ve made it a dozen times to date, and it never gets old.  It’s low-carb, as healthy as you want to make it, and holds up really well as leftovers.  It’s a filling breakfast that you can just pop any leftovers in the microwave, top with a bit of avocado, and enjoy.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
  • 3 to 4 cups chopped vegetables*
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or other cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Melt the butter in a cast iron or ovenproof skillet over medium heat. (If your skillet isn’t ovenproof, transfer everything to a deep dish pie plate to bake it.) Add the onion slices and sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over them. Cook the onions until they are golden-brown and starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes.

    Spread the Onions Evenly

  3. Remove the pan from the heat and spread the onions evenly across the bottom. Spread the vegetables evenly over the onions. The dish or pan should look fairly full.

    Layer with Vegetables

  4. In a bowl, use a fork to beat the eggs lightly with the milk, cheese, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, just enough to break up the yolks and whites. This is a savory custard mixture. Pour the custard over the vegetables and onions and enjoy watching it fill in all the open spaces.

    Add Cheesy Egg Mixture

  5. Transfer the quiche to the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Once the surface is lightly brown all the way across, it’s fully cooked. Let the quiche cool for about 20 minutes, then slice into wedges.

    Hot Out of the Oven!

*NOTE:  For hardier vegetables — like broccoli, cauliflower, or winter squash — steam or cook them before adding them to the quiche to ensure they’ll be fully cooked. For tomatoes, zucchini, spinach, or any other quick-cooking vegetable, just use them fresh.  My favorite combination (and also what I used in these photos) so far has been zucchini, dry-packed sun dried tomatoes, and steamed broccoli.

Also, if you HATE scrubbing burnt egg and cheese out of a cast iron skillet, you can also make make this in an 8×8 Pyrex baking dish.  I would even recommend lining it with nonstick foil to make clean up impossibly easy.  Just use a frying pan to cook the onions prior to tossing them in the Pyrex. Your servings will be more like rectangles if you use a Pyrex, like the photo below:

Crustless Quiche with Summer Vegetables

Chipotle Chilaquiles

27 Sep

Continuing the festivities during Kevin’s birthday celebration weekend, I wanted to make some sort of Mexican breakfast (his favorite).  If we are ever out to brunch and chilaquiles are on a menu, it’s a given that he will order it.  I wanted to make a different kind of chilaquiles dish to mix it up from what you’d find in a restaurant and came across this Rick Bayless recipe on Food and Wine Magazine.  I was drawn to the idea of a smoky chipotle chilaquiles dish, and I still had some chipotle chiles in the freezer from a previous recipe!

INGREDIENTS:

  1. In a blender, combine the tomatoes with their reserved 1/2 cup of liquid and the chipotles; blend until almost smooth.

    Pureed!

  2. In a very large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Add two-thirds of the onion and cook over moderately high heat until browned around the edges, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the tomato puree and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the stock and boil the sauce over moderately high heat until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and remove from the heat.
  3. Gently stir the tortilla chips into the sauce, making sure they are well coated. Top with the remaining onion, the shredded chicken, cheese, and a fried egg and 1/4 avocado per serving. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve immediately.

    Chipotle Chilaquiles

NOTE: The recipe makes 4 servings and can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Reheat the chipotle-tomato sauce before proceeding.

*I decided to make my own baked tortilla chips instead of using store-bought chips or deep-frying.  I highly recommend baking tortillas to make chips vs anything else, since you can slightly over-bake them to dry them out a bit more.  That way, they won’t get too soggy in the chilaquiles sauce!  I used a Food Network recipe and baked for 2 minutes longer than recommended.

Baked Tortilla Chips

**I highly recommend keeping a batch of shredded chicken on hand for any occasion.  You can easily thaw and use it in salads, sandwiches, enchiladas (recipe forthcoming!), and of course, chipotle chilaquiles.  The Kitchn’s instructions for making shredded chicken in a slow cooker is my favorite – it’s easy and you don’t lose any of the nutrients by boiling the chicken, nor moisture by using the oven.  I strain the fat out of the stock after and use it for other things too!

Banana Bread

25 Sep

In my quest this past spring to find a breakfast bread that wasn’t overloaded with sugar but still tasty, I gave a number of different recipes a try.  The third recipe I tried out (from AllRecipes.com) for Banana Bread was hands down my favorite.  Because the banana content is so high, you don’t have to worry about moisture and you don’t need as much added sugar as other breads do.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C butter (1 stick)
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 C mashed overripe bananas (about 3 bananas)*
  • 1/2 C chopped walnuts (optional)

*NOTE:  If you don’t have over-ripened bananas, you can ripen them to your liking in the oven.  Put them in the oven at 250°F for 15-25 minutes (depending on how unripe they were to begin with).  The low heat accelerates the ripening, turning them sweet and almost pudding-like.  However, beware the peel will turn an unappetizing black color, and the bananas may leak a little!

On-Demand Overripe Bananas

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Since the bread is SO moist, it won’t stay fresh for very long.  I would give it three days tops outside of the fridge, and maybe 4-5 days in.  With that, I prefer to split these into 6″ x 3″ x 2″ mini loaf pans (this recipe will make enough for 3), wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze the loaves I’m not going to eat immediately.  The loaf at that size will easily thaw over night.  Just adjust the cook time to about 40 minutes, but start checking for doneness around 30 minutes.  Enjoy!