Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chicken Parmesan

Nothing fancy here, though we do prefer to use linguine instead of spaghetti.

Chicken Parmesan

2/3 box linguine
1 20oz jar of spaghetti sauce
3 chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded to 1/4" thickness
1 cup bread crumbs
Italian seasoning
1 1/2 - 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook linguine according to package directions. When done, drain thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 400º. Add linguine to 13x9 baking dish. Mix in 2/3 of the sauce. Mix the bread crumbs and spices together. Dredge chicken breasts thru crumbs and place on top of linguine. Top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle on mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Lightly dust some italian seasoning on top of cheeses.

Bake at 400º for 30 minutes or until chicken is done. Let sit 5 minutes to cool slightly.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Roast Chicken Provençale

So, about a month or so ago I sprained my ankle. I was saving my dog from drowning (not just making that up to sound cool), and twisted my ankle on a rock on the riverbed. As we were walking back to the car, sodden and freezing, I hit a tree root at a funny angle and SNAP. I know enough about sports medicine to know that hearing a snap isn't a good thing, but I'm an idiot when it comes to my own health sometimes. So I hobbled a mile back to the car, loaded the dog up, drove home, bathed the dog, rinsed myself off, then cooked dinner (pizza). And 3 hours later, I was sobbing hysterically with pain. So, off to the ER we went and x-rays, a set of crutches and a prescription for vicodin later, I was sent home with a diagnosis of "moderate sprain". Rather than trying to hazard the stairs on crutches for the first time ever at 3am after a dose of vicodin, I spent the night on the pull-out sleeper.

Now, our oven has always squeaked, whistled and squawked when heating up and cooling off. It's 17 years old, after all. The inspector said it was a loose seal somewhere in the oven. Ok, fine.

Except the night I spent on the pull-out, I realized it was squeaking and whistling at 3am, 4am, 5am. And, loose seal or not, that's not normal.

So we got a new oven. It's a KitchenAid wall oven, 30" wide, convection, in black. It has all sorts of neat functions that I haven't tried out yet. But tonight I decided to "christen" it by roasting a chicken with veggies. Using convection, it halved the cook time outlined below (convection directions at the asterisk). And, oh, so delicious.

Roast Chicken Provençale

2 tbsp Herbes de Provance
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 7lb roasting chicken
1 small onion, quartered

1 small bag baby carrots
1 bunch celery, chopped
1 medium shallot, chopped
2 russet potatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp butter, divided

2/3 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup white wine
1 tbsp butter

Combine the first 5 ingredients into a paste. Remove neck and giblets from chicken (if necessary). Starting at the neck, loosen skin from the chicken. Rub seasoning mixture under skin. Place onion in body cavity. Truss chicken and place on roasting rack and place rack in pan.

Preheat* oven to 400. Add vegetables to bottom of the roasting pan. Add divided butter. Once oven is preheated, place chicken in oven. Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes or until a thermometer stuck in the breast reads 180.

Remove rack from pan, spoon veggies out. Heat pan over medium heat, add wine, broth and butter. Stir with a whisk until browned bits are lifted off bottom of the pan and is well combined. Pour into a fat separator and let settle.

Meanwhile, carve chicken and plate, add veggies to plate. Pour broth over chicken and veggies. Serve immediately.

* For convection, heat oven to 350 and cook 1 hour or until a thermometer reads 180.

Grilled Pork Chops with Rice Pilaf

I have the Back of the Yards Butcher's Rub from The Spice House. Goes great on chicken, pork or steaks.

Grilled Pork Chops with Rice Pilaf

3 BBQ-cut pork chops (these are thicker than your average cut)
Back of the Yards Butcher's Rub

1 tbsp butter
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 cup white rice
1/4 cup orzo
2 cups chicken broth

Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork chops liberally with rub. Grill over direct heat for 10-15 minutes or until done.

Meanwhile, heat skillet over medium heat. Add butter and melt. Add in onions and garlic and sautee until lightly browned. Add in rice and orzo. Sautee until fragarant and the white rice is translucent. Add in broth. Bring to a boil, stir, then reduce heat, cover and simmer over low for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Cajun-rubbed Grilled Salmon

Many updates today. Nothing extraordinary, but all good.

First was a grilled salmon. Now that it's so nice out, The Spouse and I are grilling fools. Salmon sounded good, grilled sounded even better, and cajun was something new.

Cajun-rubbed Grilled Salmon
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 14 oz salmon fillet (skin still attached)

Preheat grill to medium heat. Mix together spices. Rub into flesh of salmon. Place salmon directly on grill and grill over direct heat. Grill until done. Serve with fresh salad.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Blue Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Sorry for the absence. I've been cooking, but we've been so busy with work and home that it's been nothing to write home about.

In any case, tonight was the first time I decided to do something "new". I'd stumbled across a mention of a similar recipe and thought "That sounds like a tasty jumping off point". So jump off I did and it turned out really well. The actual recipe is a longer title but, oh, easy and tasty.

Blue Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Sauteed Mushrooms and Shallots in a White Wine Pan Sauce

~1 lb chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4" thin
frozen spinach
Blue cheese crumbles
salt & pepper

1 medium shallot, diced
8 oz mushrooms
1/3 cup white wine
1/3 cup chicken broth

Heat pan over medium heat. Layer spinach and blue cheese on top of pounded chicken breasts. Roll up and secure with toothpicks. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Add olive oil to pan and warm. Add chicken to pan and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm. Sautee shallots briefly in the pan. Deglace pan with chicken broth. Add white wine and mushrooms. Increase heat to medium high. Sautee until mushrooms are reduced, about 5 minutes. Add chicken back to pan, reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked thru. Plate the chicken and remove the toothpicks. Add some extra crumbles to the sauce and whisk until combined. Spoon sauce and mushrooms over chicken breasts. Serve immediately.