Tomato-Basil Chicken and Rice

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.

Crustless Quiche with Summer Vegetables

“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

Chocolate Whipped Cream

For Kevin’s birthday this year, I made the last cake I’ll probably have time to bake for a long time.  His side of the family came over for a celebration, and I wanted to make a cake with a lighter feel.  I went with my favorite go-to chocolate cake recipe for the cake and added fresh strawberries and bananas in between the cake layers.

Fresh Strawberries and Bananas

 

And instead of frosting, I went with a chocolate whipped cream after coming across the perfect recipe on The First Year.  I also love the look of a naked cake, and tried to do something similar.  However, I made the whipped cream a bit stiff so that it would hold up longer out of the fridge and it wasn’t as easy to spread.

Makeshift Naked Cake

When you want a whipped cream that will last longer, you should also freeze the mixing bowl and whisk you’re going to use in advance.  With frosting, whipped cream, or any other recipes where texture is important and you’re adding lumpy dry goods to it, I also recommend sifting the ingredients to prevent lumps!  Here’s the delicious chocolate whipped cream recipe as adapted from The First Year:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place a metal mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the bowl from the freezer. Add the heavy cream, and sift the cocoa powder and powdered sugar into the bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for 4-5 minutes, or until stiff peaks form and the whipped cream holds its shape.  Don’t over beat!

    Sift Into Frozen Bowl
  3. Use on cakes, cupcakes, pies, hot cocoa, etc. Place leftovers in a container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Chocolate Whipped Cream

Happy Birthday, Kevin!

Happy Birthday Kevin

 

“World’s Best and Easiest” Teriyaki Chicken Wings

When you come across a recipe titled that starts with “World’s Best and Easiest”, you pay attention.  I found this recipe for Teriyaki Chicken Wings on Food.com and the title really intrigued me.  Could these be the best AND the easiest to make?  We tested them out for our housewarming party last February (yes – STILL backlogged!).  And with the Super Bowl coming up, I wanted to share the recipe with you!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 lbs chicken wings (skin on or off – it’s up to you!)
  • 1 1/4 C soy sauce
  • 1 lb dark brown sugar (you can buy a 1 pound box to make measuring a no brainer)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line two roasting pans (or cookie sheets with a lip) with nonstick foil – this will make clean-up soooo much easier.
  2. Mix sauce and sugar together. Brush on both sides of the wings.  Pour remainder of sauce over wings.

    Pour Sauce Over Brushed Wings
    Pour Sauce Over Brushed Wings

  3. Cook face down so that the”pretty” side of the wing gets good and brown for about 40 minutes and then flip over. Cook for another 15 minutes.

    Flip After 40 Minutes
    Flip After 40 Minutes

  4. Throw all the gooey sauce into the crock pot with the wings and simmer on low heat for as long as you want (at least 10 minutes).  This is step is what makes the meat fall off the bone, but you don’t have to do it to cook them through.

    “World’s Best and Easiest” Teriyaki Chicken Wings

These chicken wings really were DELICIOUS.  The meat fell right off the bone as promised, and they were deliciously sticky.  I’ll definitely be making these again – perhaps for this year’s Super Bowl!

Simple Roasted Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar

As a continuation of the belated Thanksgiving posts, I wanted to share a pretty simple recipe for acorn squash that isn’t smothered in butter.

Squashes were on sale for pennies at Sprouts a couple months ago and I had read that acorn squash tastes a lot like the butternut variety.  As much as I love butternut squash, they are an absolute nightmare to cut, so I thought I’d give acorn a try.  Most roast recipes call for butter, but I didn’t like that idea, so I came up with a simple but tasty recipe of my own.  Since then, I’ve bought several to experiment with and tweaked the recipe to something I’m really happy with!  It was a hit at this year’s Thanksgiving.  Enjoy the relatively vague but easy recipe below!

Thanksgiving Side Dish Spread
Our Thanksgiving Side Dish Spread

INGREDIENTS

  • Acorn squash
  • Grapeseed oil, melted coconut oil, or any other oil with a high flash point (about 2 TBSP should do it)
  • Brown sugar
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut your acorn squash in half from top to bottom and scoop out the seeds.  Then cut each half into 1/4″ thick slices.  I lay the flat slide down and then cut from top to bottom to create the pretty shape you see below.
  3. Toss the acorn squash slices lightly in the oil of your choice, and lay flat on a baking sheet.  I recommend lining your baking sheet with parchment or nonstick heavy duty foil to make clean-up easier.

    Sprinkle Brown Sugar, Salt, and Pepper
    Sprinkle Brown Sugar, Salt, and Pepper
  4. Sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar on each slice, and follow with a lighter sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Don’t go too heavy on the seasoning, as you’ll be doing this twice. Roast for 5-7 minutes, until the sugar has melted.

    Just til the Sugar Melts
    Just til the Sugar Melts
  5. Flip each slice over, and sprinkle that side with sugar, salt, and pepper.  Roast for another 8-12 minutes, or until the squash starts to brown and look caramelized.

    Simple Roasted Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar
    Simple Roasted Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar

It’s an easy recipe – no measurements, and all to your taste!  You can also cut your squash slices thicker if you like – you’ll just have to keep an eye on it and roast it for longer.

Enjoy!