Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Peruvian Roasted Chicken- You've got this!

I have to admit, that when I set out to start this recipe, I was a little afraid of the idea of spatchcocking a chicken. Do you know what that means? You remove the backbone and break the breastbone, so that you can make the chicken as flat as possible. I was intimidated, but let me tell you something- it was a breeze!

This dinner was a big hit and much easier than I expected!

First, start by mixing up your rub.
In a small bowl, garlic, salt, garam masala, cumin, oregano and fresh pepper and lemon zest. 
Now, add your oil and lemon juice and combine until you have a smooth paste.
Now it's time to Spatchcock your chicken. Grab your poultry shears, or a very sharp pair of scissors.
*Note: I am just now understanding the blessings of owning a pair of poultry shears. It makes your life so much easier and you will use them more than you think you will!*

Start with your chicken breast-side down. I like starting with the tail closest to me, so that I can use it to guide my cuts.
*Notice that I have a plastic cutting board on top of my big wooden board. This is just to prevent contaminating my big wooden board that is more work to clean!*

Take your shears and cut along both sides of the backbone, cutting through the ribs as you go. You've got this! Discard of backbone, or save to make chicken stock if you are really going for it.

Now, flip the chicken over and spread it flat. Using your palms, press down on the breastbone of the chicken until you hear it crack. This will allow for the chicken to lay as flat as possible.

See? That wasn't that hard! Now, carefully separate the skin from the breast and thigh areas of the chicken. Without tearing the skin, spread the rub beneath the skin covering all meat well.

Next, place your onion slices, lime slices and lemon slices in your skillet. Toss lightly with olive oil. Place chicken breast side up in the skillet and brush with olive oil.
Place into 400F oven and baste every 15 minutes for about an hour. The chicken is done when the juices run clear and the internal temperature has reached 165F.

While the chicken is roasting, you can make your green sauce.

Add all ingredients, except mayonnaise, into your food processor and blend. Add Mayonnaise and pulse until smooth.
Slice chicken and drizzle with green sauce.

Serve and Enjoy!

Click HERE for my Peruvian Roasted Chicken Recipe!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Noodles

A few nights ago, Austin and I invited my sweet in-laws over for dinner. I wanted to make something easy and comforting, but also special.

Hey Mamas, you sick of being stuck inside with energetic, bored kiddos during all this weather? This is the dinner for you! Growing up in the kitchen with my Mama, I will always believe in the importance of getting your children in the kitchen every once in a while. This is a great opportunity for them to get involved in cooking with you! They get to be a little messy and have fun, all while helping make your family's dinner!

This is my Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Noodles!
Several years ago, one of my amazing second Mamas, Sarah Gessler, taught me how to make pasta- something that sounds rather intimidating upfront. Here's the thing, y'all. Its really pretty easy. Sarah of course can make outrageously amazing things, but I stick to the simple recipes. You don't need a pasta machine or any special equipment for this recipe.

Start by making your pasta dough. In a large mixing bowl, sift your flour. This is IMPORTANT! I always want to skip the sifting, but you really actually need to do it in this recipe. Do you want to bite into a noodle and have dry flour burst into your mouth? Me either. Sift. The. Flour.

Now, with your hands or a spatula, make a well in the middle of the flour. Into the well, crack your eggs and add oil and salt.

Using a fork, beat the eggs, oil and salt within the well. Slowly and gradually, begin to bring in flour and combine with the wet ingredients until dough is thick enough that it can no longer be mixed with a fork. *Remember- during this mixing process, the goal is to keep the dough in one large piece, not a lot of little pieces mixed in the flour. This is why it is important to add a little flour at a time!
Once the dough mixture gets thick, go ahead and coat your hands with flour and begin to mix the remaining flour into the dough with your hands. Remember, the goal is one ball of dough, not a million little pieces, so I use the method of folding and pressing the remaining flour into the dough.


  Once you have incorporated all of your flour, go ahead and flour your work surface and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is very firm. You will know it is ready when you press your finger into it and it immediately pops back out.
Once you are done kneading, place your mixing bowl over your dough and let sit for about 15-20 minutes.
While the dough is resting, get started chopping your veggies. Once veggies are chopped, add to 2 tbsp. butter in a hot pan and sauté until veggies are translucent.
Once the veggies are tender, add your raw chicken.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover with 10 cups of chicken broth. As you know, I love "Better than Bouillon," but you can use any stock you like. Bring to a boil and then cover. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
Once your chicken has cooked through, remove with tongs to a cutting board. With two forks, pull the chicken into small strips and return to broth. Return to a simmer.
Now it's time to roll out your noodles! (You can actually start this while your chicken is cooking).
First, on your flour board, cut your ball of dough in half. Put half in a plastic bag and store in the fridge for later. This will last for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Next, put other half onto your floured board and cut in half again. Press down your first quarter to make a flat surface to begin rolling out.
Coat your rolling pin in flour and begin to roll thin. When you feel like you have stretched your pasta to its limits and it begins to fold and ripple, flip it over and roll again. You want to get your pasta as thin as possible. Once you have rolled it thin, slice in 1/4" strips to mock linguine.
Once you have cut into strips, slice horizontally into four segments to make shorter noodles. I only do this because I don't like a long noodle in soup. You can slice them however you like!
During this process, continue to pile your noodles up onto a plate, making sure that they are coated with plenty of flour so that they don't begin to stick together.
It is finally time to add your noodles!
Bring the broth back up to boil and slowly add the noodles a few at a time, scattering them over the broth and stirring immediately after. This is to prevent clumping.

Once you have added all the noodles, let the soup simmer until noodles are soft.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Beef & Vegetable Stir Fry

When I was a little girl, my Mama used to make this Beef & Veggie Stir Fry for me all the time. It was the dinner I always begged for. It had been years since I have made this until this week and it brought back all of those wonderful memories! Now I'd like to share it with you!

One of my least favorite things about beef stir fry is that the beef always tends to be so tough. So, this time I went to the grocery store and made sure to chat with the butcher about a new option. He led me to a package of sirloin tip side steak, thin sliced. Y'all, it was perfect! This is definitely what I will be using from now on. Go ahead and slice up your beef and place it in a gallon ziplock bag.

In a small bowl, combine 3 tbsp. soy sauce and 3 tbsp. cornstarch. Pour this mixture over your beef and toss it to coat every piece. Place in the fridge to chill.
Now, grab a medium-sized bowl and we are going to make our sauce! Combine remaining soy sauce, sherry, sugar and red wine vinegar. Mix until sugar dissolves and set aside.
For our last prep step before we start cooking, let's slice up all of our veggies! I use broccoli, bell peppers and sugar snaps, but you can throw anything you would like in there!
Okay, time to cook! In a large non-stick skillet, heat your vegetable oil. Add in your red chili flakes and cook until black. Add in your beef and saute over high heat until cooked through. You will notice that it will start to thicken from all the cornstarch!

Remove your beef from the pan and add in your scallions and ground ginger. Toast those for about 2 minutes, then pour in your sauce. Stir until toasted ginger is incorporated evenly, leaving no clumps.
Add your beef and veggies to the pan and toss to coat everything with that delicious sauce.
Saute until veggies are tender, but still have a little bit of crunch. Add peanuts and serve with brown rice or cauliflower rice!
Enjoy! Click HERE for my Beef & Veggie Stir Fry recipe!


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Shakshuka Dinner Delight

Tonight I cried. Over meatballs.

 I cried over coconut curry chicken meatballs that I have made before perfectly, but for some reason, tonight, they turned out like something all of us would rather not discuss.

So I cried. As I pulled the disasters out of the oven, the frustration grew. Then, while stirring my cauliflower around in the food processor to re-situate it, I accidentally hit the pulse button and pulsed half of my wooden spoon into the cauliflower rice. At that very moment, my husband happened to walk in the door, and suddenly it all culminated and the crying began.

After a few loving (verrrrry patient) minutes on his part, he insisted I pull myself together and sweetly offered to take me out for dinner. But here lies the problem! I have committed myself to you! And to this! So we decided to go BACK to the grocery store together and figure out a new idea for dinner. And a wonderful idea we had.

Shakshuka. I fell in love with this recipe and Austin insists that we have it for breakfast again tomorrow!

So to begin, grab your cast iron skillet, and heat 3-4 tbsp. of olive oil. Next, dice your onion, garlic and red bell pepper. Saute until soft, and then add all of your spices.

Now, typically, Shakshuka does not have meat, however, my husband needs a little protein so I added ground sirloin. Try to use the leanest ground beef you can find so that you don't have to drain. Saute until beef is fully browned.
Once the meat is fully browned, add your whole tomatoes with juice.
 Once I have added them, I take a fork and knife and just roughly chop them in the skillet. Medium sized pieces are good. Then, add a small can of diced tomatoes with juice to fill it out. Add 8 oz. crumbled feta.  Bring to a simmer and let everything thicken a bit.
Once you have brought everything to a simmer, carefully crack six eggs on top of the tomato sauce and place into a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes.
Once the whites of the eggs have set, remove the skillet from the oven and immediately crack the runny yolks before they harden.
This Shakshuka is typically served with Challah bread, but I prefer it with my homemade "Jean Penney" bread. For those of you who know Jean Penney, you get it. You get that, because I call it "Jean Penney Bread," that it is, of course, the best bread on earth. For those of you who don't know Jean Penney, be patient. She and her fabulous family will appear in this blog often. But for now, know that anything that has Mrs. Jean's name on it is gold and you should automatically save it in your archives. This is a secret that she taught me a few years ago while I was catering a party at her house.
In the bread section at our local Publix, there is a small refrigerator with homemade pizza dough balls. Grab the whole grain one. If you have a pizza stone, wonderful! If not, just use a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle a little bit of cornmeal and then just place the ball on so that it doesn't stick. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle it with whatever makes you happy. Salt and parmesan make me happy. Let the dough ball rise and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes! You will literally fall over it is so divine! The photo posted is half the loaf because we ate the other half before I could take a photo.
To get my Shakshuka Recipe click HERE!