A throw-together chicken salad

Faced with hunger, laziness at the end of a long workday, and the start of warm-weather don’t want anything heavy to eat feeling, I was foraging in the refrigerator. I discovered that I had just enough of the dark chicken meat that I had cooked in the Instant Pot to make something like chicken salad, but a bit different.

Add to the shredded dark meat a drizzle of garlic-infused olive oil , a drizzle of  baklouti green chili fused oil, just a few drops of honey-ginger white balsamic vinegar, and some cilantro. Add some diced radishes for crunch. Toss and eat.

(I will admit to cheating on the cilantro: I used Dorot frozen cilantro instead of fresh since I didn’t go to the store to get fresh. It’s not a good looking as fresh, but the flavor is good. (Cilantro and celery are major frustrations for me in cooking for one; I always end up composting a bunch of it.)

…and no, I don’t have any affiliation with Dorot Gardens except that I like the quality and the convenience of having the herbs in the freezer.

—Ô¿Ô—

…..

Best roasted chicken thighs

brown crispy skin on chicken thighs

From Bon Appetite–mine looked just as lovely.

It’s a grey, chilly, snowy day here.  That makes it a perfect day to have the aroma of chicken roasting wafting through the house.  Since I’m cooking for one and don’t particularly care for white meat (though chicken breast if better than turkey), I usually choose to cook thighs, drumsticks, or whole leg quarters.

While it’s not something that really takes a recipe, the “Perfect Cast Iron Skillet Chicken” from Bon Appetit seems to be about as foolproof (or idiot-proof) as you can get: it’s quick, easily adjusted to suit one person, requires no brining or other preparation, and it gets you one of the best parts of roasted chicken.  The skin comes out really crispy. (Even if you doing LCHF or even ketogenic diet it’s suitable.   Yes,  I do eat the skin; I’m not worried about the fat–besides most of it’s rendered out.)

Since we’re between T-day and Christmas, and I should be able to find turkey thighs in the grocery store, I think I might try this method on one of those since that is the part of the turkey that I like best; well, I do like the even-darker drumstick, but I can’t see those browning as nicely as the thigh.

Just the thing for a day when you need something warm, cosy, and homemade for supper.  It smells good enough to get the cat to pay attention!

A son gôut!

 —Ô¿Ô—

Rotisserie chicken

Yes, I do mean exactly what you think I mean: one that I tote home from my local Harris Teeter supermarket, not one that I’ve cooked at home.  On Sundays, the rotisserie chickens are on special–$4.99. I can’t buy a whole chicken for that price so I’ve learned the times when the freshly roasted ones come out, and I go pick up one that hasn’t been sitting on the heated carousel for hours. That’s one thing to check before you buy. I like to lurk while they are actually being put out.

Even getting one that is freshly packed still has its problems–chickens have both dark and white meat. Unfortunately, the two don’t cook the same, but they are both on the same bird. The first serving of breast meat off that bird is okay–not really my favorite. The second is not so okay if you don’t particularly like white meat. But such a bargain!

I usually don’t buy whole chickens. I buy leg quarters. Occasionally when I’m really busy and don’t want to cook I succumb to the lure of the whole rotisserie chicken. My quandary is always how to make use of the second serving of white meat. Reheated it’s dry and tastes reheated. Made into soup, it is still dry and even less flavorful that it was on the fresh bird.

Inspiration struck the other evening when I was making mujadara in the Instant Pot. When I pulled the bowl out it was steaming hot. I was planning it as a side to the chicken. Instead, I sliced the breast into bite-size pieces and stirred it into the mujadara. That was enough to warm the chicken but not enough heat to overcook it. That turned out to be the best second serving of white meat that I’ve had in a long time.

I’m sure I can do that same thing with other dishes–or with soup–just add right before eating instead of cooking it more.

 

A one-dish oven meal

It’s time to do the weekly (at least I try to make it weekly) troll through the fridge to see what is left from last week, to use for the first two or so meals this week. There’s some kohlrabi, radichio, fresee, lettucepart of a rutabaga, a head of radicchio, and there’s part of a bag of frozen butternut squash in the freezer that should be used as well since it’s already open. There are also two boneless, skinless chicken thighs and two black pepper and onion sausages.

The chilly, drippy, damp and grey weather calls for something warm and colorful. This weather has left me feeling like I really want quality time with the cat and a good book, so I’m thinking oven type meal. It can’t be a stew–already did that quite recently. So a roasted supper seems like a good idea–and something with lots of flavor!

I’ve been wanting to try roasted radicchio, butternut squash is good roasted too–and that certainly would be cheerful and colorful. Although I usually use bone-in chicken thighs for roasting, a little perusing of recipes from The Kitchn I found a suggestion for roasting the boneless, skinless ones as well.

  • A little further browsing suggested 425ºF.for about 20 minutes for the thighs.
  •  From Bon Appetit for roasted radicchio suggested 450ºF for 12 minutes for a head cut into six wedges–I think I’ll cut mine a little thicker
  • For the butternut squash, a recipe from Food & Wine suggested 425ºF for about 40 minutes for 1-inch dice of raw squash. The frozen squash is par-cooked, so I think the 20 minutes should work for that. Since this is frozen, I’m not expecting it to brown in the oven–it will be too wet, but better than dealing with way too much squash. It should still taste good.

Ò¿Ó

It was a pretty good result for a trial run with just whatever was in the fridge, and went into the oven all in one baking dish.  It’s a combination that will likely even happen as a planned meal in the future.

The chicken thighs didn’t brown much but were tasty; however, I definitely my chicken thighs bone-in and skin-on–especially if you salt and air dry the skin so that it gets crispy and brown. I may have to give bone-in a bit of a head start on cooking, then add the other stuff.

The butternut squash did as expected–cooked fine but didn’t brown. Again, still tasted good and it was great with the radicchio.

I didn’t get part of the core with the radicchio, so my wedge fell apart–oh well, a learning experience. But roasted radicchio is now right up there with grilled or roasted cabbage. The edges a little brown and almost charred, but tender (though still some texture. The bitterness of this against the sweetness of the squash was great. That’s a combination I’ll come back to again.

It wasn’t particularly photogenic since the radicchio fell apart as I removed it from the baking dish to my plate and the chicken wasn’t browned, but it was a very tasty meal with some good taste contrasts.

20170329_1811381.jpg

 A son gôut!

Ò¿Ó

.

 

Always Hungry? Mediterranean Chicken

And the weight loss is back on track, and meals still really tasty. From the Always Hungry? today I picked the Mediterranean Chicken recipe to try. The recipe struck me as  lacking oomph that I needed today, but a meal plan is a meal plan. This was, at least, a one-pot meal, and easy.

Refrigerator tidying was in progress at the same time as I started preparing the chicken. Some of the things that I found lurking in the back of the fridge ended up in the  Mediterranean chicken–though I played with it a bit, the final dish contained all the ingredients called for in the recipe–well, except one. That recipe called for putting green beans in near the end of the cooking time. I didn’t do that. Just didn’t trip my trigger, and since I made the whole four servings I’ll need to reheat and that wouldn’t work well with the green beans. (The haricots verts that I had in the fridge turned into a side that has always been a favorite: room temperature with sweet marjoram infused olive oil, and a sprinkle of Maldon salt–keeping with the spirit of the meal plan.)

The basic recipe is simple: chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces, sautéed with onion, then simmered with canned tomatoes with garlic, olives–salt and pepper, of course. The recipe called for kalamata olives–not what I had so I used a mix of green (that had been marinated in garlic and red pepper flakes), and oil-cured black olives to make up the 3/4 cup called for in the recipe. I was surprised that there were no herbs called for here–but I remedied that!

Ingredients

NOTE: The pickled garlic cloves were from tidying the fridge and I thought the bit of tartness would be nice since the tomatoes were very sweet smelling. The garlic cloves and the green olives both had hot red pepper flakes, so I didn’t need to add. If I were doing this without these, I’d likely add about 5 or 6 cloves of garlic sliced thin, a dash of red pepper flakes, and a splash of vinegar–likely white wine.

  • 1 pound of skinless, boneless  chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup of pitted oil-cured black olives and green olives, halved
  • 1-1/2 cups of chopped onions (I cheated and used frozen ones)
  • a 28-ounce can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, hand-crushed into the pan,  the thick juice added as well
  • 1/2 cup of pickled garlic cloves, sliced
  • one 14-ounce can of garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried Turkish oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (olives were salty)
  • 1/3 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 3  tablespoons olive oil
  • feta cheese for garnish

Preparation

  • In a large skillet or brasier  heat the olive oil
  • Sauté the onion until translucent, add the sliced garlic a continue to sauté until fragrant
  • Add the chicken, salt, and olives a sauté until the chicken is opaque
  • Add the tomatoes, black pepper, and garbanzo beans
  • Simmer uncovered for about 35 minutes until the sauce thickens nicely
  • Garnish with feta cheese and serve with vegetable or salad

Ò¿Ó

In my tidying of kitchen and fridge, there were a small handful of cherry and grape tomatoes on the counter, so I pitched those in as well. I think that my modifications were in keeping with the spirit of the meal plan–even though the green beans migrated to a side dish. Those were a nice contrast to the dish–and now I can put part of it into the freezer for later use. This nice spicy, garlicky combination of chicken, tomatoes, and garbanzos would have been lovely accompanied by a glass of red wine, but–that will come later; meanwhile, I’m eating healthy, tasty food and losing weight.

Ò¿Ó

.