chicken

Have you tried shawarma?

I’m a cooking-show junkie, and one of my favorites is Beat Bobby Flay. Recently, I watched an episode where Bobby competed against Gail Arnold, one of his early mentors who is also Steven Spielberg’s personal chef! This particular episode was particularly epic, since the celebrity judges were none other than Neil Patrick Harris (NPH!) and Ina Garten!

But back to the shawarma, I had never heard of shawarma before but my impression of it based upon things I am familiar with is that it’s a Middle Eastern/Israeli dish that’s similar to a gyro or doner kebab. Chef Arnold was doing a marinade/spice mixture using yogurt which really got my attention. I took a few notes, which I will often do while I watch shows like this, and set off to scour Pinterest for recipe ideas. I ended up finding several & putting my own spin based on what I had seen Chef Arnold do and what my flavor preferences are. 

I guess you could say we were “eating like the Spielbergs” the night we had this. Or like Iron Man, since my son informed me that he had heard of shawarma because it was mentioned by Tony Stark in the new Captain America movie. Either way, I marinated a ton of chicken & we were eating shawarma for days. I may have even eaten shawarma with a fried egg in it for breakfast one day… #putaneggonit

Stark’s Shawarma

Ingredients:

  • 12 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 C plain Greek yogurt 
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground clove
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Kosher salt & black pepper to taste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • dried chili flakes (optional)

For wraps:

  • diced cucumbers
  • diced tomatoes
  • sliced red onion
  • hummus
  • pita bread 

Instructions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine yogurt, spices, and lemon juice. Mix well.
  2. Put the chicken thighs into 2 1-gallon plastic bags, 6 in each. 
  3. Put 1C of marinade into each bag. Seal bag & shake it around, making sure to massage the marinade into all the chicken. 
  4. Marinate 1-4 hours in the refrigerator, or ideally, overnight. 
  5. Preheat oven to 425F. 
  6. Spread chicken thighs in a single layer in a shallow baking dish. Season with Kosher salt & pepper, and chili flakes, if desired. 
  7. Bake for 45 mins. For extra crispness, put on the broiler for the last 5 mins of cook time. 
  8. When cooled slightly, slice the chicken into strips. 
  9. Strips of roasted chicken can be rolled into a wrap with desired toppings, or added to a salad. I set up a shawarma bar, so that each person could add the toppings of their choice according to their own tastes. 

Lunch salad with some leftover shawarma chicken on top!

Teen-Pleasing Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings #sevendaysofsoup

Holy crap. It’s COLD in my neck of the woods!! So cold, that my teens requested canned Chicken & Dumplings for dinner the other night. They agreed on a dinner. Just so you know, that’s a very big deal. I complied because 1) when your teens agree on a dinner you must comply and 2) chicken & dumplings are freaking delicious.

Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

 

But deep down, I didn’t feel good about feeding them C&D from a can. Not because I’m any kind of anti-canned-food fanatic, obvs. But because I felt like C&D would probably be a relatively easy thing to make if I had a jumping off point.

As I guiltily stirred the canned goodness, I text my Bestie, a bonafide Southern gal, betting it was something she would know how to make. After all, she taught this Yankee how to make real Sweet Tea. Of course she did. She then text me a recipe, apologizing for it’s housewifey-ness but promised it would be delicious. I’ve made it twice in less than a month. In my crockpot. Who am I??

Bone-Warming, Teen-Pleasing, Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings

For me, this recipe makes one dinner & one lunch for me & 2 teens. 

Ingredients:

  • 4 good-sized boneless, skinless frozen chicken breasts (or the equivalent amount in tenderloins)
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 qt chicken broth or stock (I used my own homemade stock)
  • medium white onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced (optional)
  • 2 carrots, diced (optional)
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 can of 8 Grands flaky biscuits (traditional or buttermilk)
  • Kosher salt & black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Place chicken in the crock pot.
  2. Cut up the butter and put on top of the chicken.
  3. Sprinkle diced onions & veggies over top of chicken & butter.
  4. Add the soups & broth/stock. It’s going to look very moist right now. Don’t fret, the gravy will form. Stir them in a little, but don’t worry if there are still chunks of soup. As it cooks they will blend together.
  5. Sprinkle your parsley over the top and give it a stir.
  6. Cook on low/slow cook setting 4-6 hours until chicken is no longer pink.
  7. Pull out the chicken & shred it up. I was able to use 4 forks to do the job. Throw the shredded chicken back into the crockpot.
  8. Open your can of biscuits. Cut each biscuit into eighths. The first time I made this recipe & bought 2 cans of biscuits because in biscuit-form there’s no way 1 can would cut it for my kids. But once I cut up 1 can I realized that was a lot of dumplings & 1 can would suffice.
  9. Drop the dough into the crock pot and mix it in so it’s coated in the gravy. Cook 30-40 mins for doughy dumplings, an hour for firmer ones.
  10. Stir before serving. Season to taste with salt & pepper, if desired. I found that the salt level was fine & I didn’t need any more.


Lemon-Lavender Baked Chicken

Featured image taken at

Lavender by the Bay

By Susan Dobias

First recipe with my Lavender Salts! Lavender is great paired with lemon or any citrus flavors. This would also be a nice seasoning combo for a mild fish such as tilapia. This was a delicious dish accompanied by some udon noodles.

Lemon-Lavender Baked Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 3 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 3 chicken drumsticks
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • about 2 tbsp lavender salt
  • EVOO

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a lightly greased 13X9 baking pan, arrange chicken thighs & drumsticks skin-side-up.
  3. Drizzle with EVOO & lemon juice. For extra lemony flavor, cut up the squeezed lemons & place them in the dish with the chicken.
  4. Sprinkle all over with lavender salt. For extra lavendery flavor, salt under the skin as well.
  5. Bake 30-40 mins or until skin is golden & chicken juices run clear.
  6. Let chicken rest for about 5 mins before serving.

A Dark, Mysterious Dish…

My Black Garlic is finally finished with 40 days of fermenting this weekend! When it was starting to get close I started to brainstorm dishes I could make with these precious, dark, earthy bundles of deliciousness.

Black Garlic butter, Black Garlic infused sea salt, Black Garlic mayo…

You get the idea…

Black Garlic Chicken with Black Rice & Black Beans

Even though Black Garlic & Black Rice are technically Asian in origin, this recipe is actually Latin in inspiration, specifically Cuban. Call it my own weird fusion cuisine.

For the chicken:

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 pieces of chicken (I used legs & thighs)
  • 1 head of black garlic, peeled and pureed to a paste
  • 1 C orange juice
  • 1 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

Instructions:

  1. Combine garlic, OJ, salt, pepper, & spices. Whisk together to make a marinade.
  2. Spread chicken pieces in a single layer in a 13″X9″ baking dish. Pour marinade over chicken. Cover with plastic wrap & let marinate overnight.
  3. Heat oven to 450F.
  4. Roast the chicken in the lower part of the oven 45 mins-1 hr, spooning the sauce over the chicken during the last 10 mins of cook-time.

Fun Facts about Black Rice:

  • Black rice is black because of the outer coating of black bran on the grain.
  • Black rice is a “superfood” & has more antioxidants than blueberries.
  • Black Rice looks purple when it’s cooked.
  • Black Rice is also known as “tribute rice”, “longevity rice”, and my personal favorite, “forbidden rice” (Remember Lambada, the forbidden dance?) because it was reserved for the Emperors of ancient China.

I’m cooking my inaugural pot of Black Rice according to the package instructions:

  1. Place 1 C of rice in a saucepan.
  2. Add 1 3/4 C water, bring to a boil & stir.
  3. Reduce heat (to low) and simmer 35-45 mins.
  4. Remove from heat & allow to stand covered for 5 mins.
  5. Fluff with a fork & serve.

Slow-Cooked Black Beans Cuban-Style:

Dried beans take a little more prep than canned ones, but they are always much cheaper. Like double the amount for the same price. The soaking & rinsing are instructions you can use any time you are cooking dried beans. There is a quick method with boiling, but I have never had good results with it…

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bag dried black beans
  • 1/4 C sofrito
  • 1 hamhock
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 packets Sazon Goya seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 C chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Pour the dried beans into a large bowl and cover with water. Put the bowl in the fridge 8 hours or overnight to soak.
  2. Before using your soaked beans, rinse them thoroughly, and pick out anything that looks funky (pebbles etc).
  3. Put your soaked beans into a large pot and add sofrito, hammock, spices,and bay leaves. Pour the chicken stock over the beans.
  4. Bring the beans to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer the beans 2 hours, or until tender.
  5. When the beans are cooked, season with the vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Serve this dark, delicious dish with some freshly-sliced avocado (for a pop of color).

Using the pickle juice…

My recent dabbling in pickling has left me with a small surplus of pickle juice (more stuff in mason jars…) so I decided to use it to marinate some more chicken. Another use for pickle juice, I’m told is to mix it with vodka & make a Pickle Juice Martini of sorts.


Pickle Juice Chicken

Ingredients:

  • pickle juice (I used both the juice from the Dưa món and from the pickled red onions- link to post above)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Directions:

  1. Wash chicken breasts, with cold water, and pat dry.
  2. Put the chicken in a resealable container or freezer bag.
  3. Pour the pickle juice over the chicken, making sure it’s enough to cover.
  4. Cover or seal & marinate, under refrigeration for at least 8 hours.
  5. When ready to cook chicken, preheat oven to 350F.
  6. Place cutlets in glass/ceramic baking dish.
  7. Bake 30-35 mins.

The flavor of the pickle-juice marinated chicken was not dissimilar to that of chicken marinated in bottled Italian dressing (Duh, the vinegar.) but with a bit more heat. It was delicious cold on sandwiches & wraps. I think that battered & fried it would taste a lot like Chic-Fil-A .

Finding uses for those jars of whey…

I’m still trying to use up all the leftover whey from my cheesemaking adventures. Last night I decided to try it as the base of a chicken marinade. Amazing results! I was very happy with how well the flavor of the marinade got into the chicken. This cooked chicken would be a wonderful flavor in a chicken salad!


Whey Marinade with Curry, Cumin, and Turmeric

Ingredients:

  • 1 qt jar of whey
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash chicken breasts in cold water, pat dry.
  2. In a small bowl or a large measuring cup, combine the whey and spices.
  3. Place chicken in a resealable container or freezer bag.
  4. Pour marinade over chicken until covered.
  5. Marinate 12-24 hours under refrigeration.
  6. When ready to cook chicken, preheat oven to 350F.
  7. Place cutlets in glass/ceramic baking dish.
  8. Bake 30-35 mins.