Thai Curry Chicken Skewers

 

Hi all– It was a wacky wonderful weekend.  Family pulled in from Ojai, San Francisco and Wisconsin to celebrate John & Laurel, about to get married!!  A Bachelorette Party and two festive showers–it couldn’t have been sweeter.

Now it’s back to real life.  And here’s an straight forward everyday dinner to throw on the grill.  Mix the marinade, drop in the chicken and skewer it up when you’re ready to grill.  A little spicy, and so flavorful.

THAI CURRY CHICKEN SKEWERS
2 to 3  pounds chicken boneless chicken breast
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tab. brown sugar
2 tab. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tab. curry powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tab. Thai sweet chili sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
garnish: lime wedges & chopped cilantro

Cut the chicken breasts in to chunks.  Set aside.

In a gallon zip loc bag, add in the other ingredients– soy sauce, brown sugar, oil, garlic, curry powder, ginger, Thai sweet chili sauce and salt.  Squeeze the bag until they all is thoroughly mixed and then drop in the chicken.

Marinate the chicken in the sauce, for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge.

Thread the chicken onto 3 or 4 skewers and grill the chicken on a bar-b- que until the it’s charred around the edges and cooked through.

Move the chicken to a platter and sprinkle on the chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Here’s a simple summer supper on the coffee table (Angel baseball on the tv).

Lemon Pepper Chicken

Hello there–  There are a few reasons I love this chicken:
#1. It’s delectable.
#2. It’s pretty on your plate with steamed broccoli and a chunk of crusty bread.
#3. I can put it on the table in about 30 minutes.
#4. Luckily, I had all the ingredients in the kitchen (no trip to the market)
#5. I get to pass the recipe on to you…

LEMON PEPPER CHICKEN
2 medium chicken breasts
2 tab. olive oil
garlic salt
freshly ground pepper
1 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
dash of red pepper
2 tab. lemon juice (1 small lemon)
1/3 cup red onion, chopped fine
lemon slices for garnish

Filet the chicken breasts slicing them horizontally to make 4 flat servings.  Liberally sprinkle both sides with garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and then drop in the chicken.  Cook on high heat just 2 or 3 minutes on each side until the chicken is well browned.  Remove from the skillet and set aside.

In a container with a tight fitting lid,  shake together the chicken broth, garlic, red pepper, lemon juice and cornstarch until it is well blended.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In the skillet, saute the red onion a couple minutes until it turns tender (add a splash of oil if the pan seems dry).  Then pour in the chicken broth mixture and stir 3 or 4 minutes until it thickens.

Nestle the chicken back into the sauce (or put them both in a baking dish if your skillet is not oven proof)– and cook the chicken 15 to 20  minutes, until the chicken is tender,  in a 350 degree oven.

While that’s cooking, slice your remaining lemon and brown it in the pan juices in the skillet for a couple minutes.

When the chicken comes out of the oven, serve it up on a platter, grind on a bit more black pepper and add the lemon slices as garnish.  Serve any extra sauce on the side.   Delish!

Parmesan Mushroom Chicken

 

Hello to you — Here’s dinner a few nights ago.  Being of the mind that you can’t have too many chicken for dinner recipes handy, here’s a good one to add to your list.

We had it with roasted small golden potatoes chunked up, and the chicken and potatoes can can cook together in the oven, while you finish the sauce, set the table, change the laundry, make a salad, check on the kids, do that quick phone call…  As many multitasking things as you can fit into 20 minutes!!

It’s a yummy, practical, family friendly meal.  I think you’d like it!

PARMESAN MUSHROOM CHICKEN
2 tab. olive oil
4 chicken thighs, skin removed*
Garlic salt
freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz. sliced brown mushrooms
1 tsp. dried basil
1 cup chicken broth
2 tab. cornstarch
1/2 cup parmesan romano
2 tab. fresh basil or marjoram, chopped**
Basil or marjoram for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet.  Liberally sprinkle the chicken thighs with garlic salt and freshly ground pepper.  Drop them in the hot oil to brown– about 3 minutes on each side.

Remove the chicken from the skillet and put them in a baking dish.  Put them in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes until they are cooked through.

While they are cooking, make the sauce.  In the same skillet, saute the sliced mushrooms and garlic in the pan juices in the skillet for just a couple minutes.  Remove them and set them aside.

Then in the skillet bring the chicken broth to a boil.  In a container with a tight fitting lid shake together the cornstarch and about 1/4 cup water until it is thoroughly blended.  Pour it into the boiling broth and stir until it thickens into a creamy sauce.  Lower the heat and stir in the parmesan and fresh chopped basil.

When the chicken is done in the oven nestle the pieces back in the skillet of sauce and leave it on a low simmer for 2 or 3 minutes to mix the flavors.

Then move the chicken to a platter, top with the mushrooms and a little sauce (serve the rest of the sauce on the side).  Garnish with basil leaves.

*You can leave the skin on if you prefer.
** I used marjoram because it grows like a weed in our side yard.

 

Sweet Thai Chicken

 


Hey there– It’s been a week.  I’ve been on jury duty in Santa Ana– about an hour commute during traffic times.  I have to say, I’ve had jury duty so many times over the years and never been picked to be on the jury!  So spending the days in the courtroom was fascinating, learned so mucy–and working with the other diverse jurors from all over the county was just great.

So in honor of jury duty– and long days out, here’s a quick flavorful dinner, ready in about 25 minutes.  Add a bright salad.  Done.

SWEET THAI CHICKEN
1 cup brown (or white) rice
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in chunks
3 tab. olive oil
1 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tab. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 cloves garlic, minced
3 to 5 tsp. Thai Sweet Chili Sauce*
garnish: sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, cilantro

Put the rice on to cook according to the directions on your package.  I did plain brown rice– about 20 minutes simmered with 2+ cups of water and 1/2 tsp. salt.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Put in the pieces of chicken and saute, stirring now and then until they are cooked through and slightly browned, about 4 or 5 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, in a container with a tight fitting lid, shake together the water, soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, garlic and sweet chili sauce.  Pour the mixture in with the chicken and stir for about 2 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Serve the rice and chicken on a platter, and garnish with sesame seeds, chopped peanuts and cilantro.
(My pictures are just half a recipe, since it’s just Larry and me).

*You can use more of less Chili sauce, depending on the hear you like.  Add Sriracha sauce if you want to kick it up.

Maple Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

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Hello all–  I’m up in San Francisco, spending some stormy days with the new grand-girl Lois, while her mom is off to work.  It’s been quiet and cozy in the house.  Today we baked a birthday cake (actually Lois mostly just looked on from her little chair!).  So this has nothing to do with maple chicken– just wanted you to know how much fun I’m having!!

The Maple Chicken with Sweet Potatoes came out of the kitchen last week– made it for a friend who is having shoulder surgery next week, after a bad fall.  Praying she comes through this all strong and back on the run.  Love her so.

The coating is sweet and peppery, makes the chicken bright and tasty– with those smoshey sweet potatoes, a good winter evening meal.

MAPLE CHICKEN WITH SWEET POTATOES

Sweet potatoes:
2 large-ish sweet potatoes
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tab. butter
2 tab. olive oil
2 to 3 tab. steak seasoning (such as Montreal)
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 green onions, sliced to small bits

Pierce the skin of the sweet potatoes and set them on a baking dish lined with foil (for easier clean up). Put them in a 350 degree oven fro 50 to 60 minutes, until the sweet potatoes feel tender when poked with a fork.

Let them cool for a bit, then peel off the skin.  Put the sweet potato flesh in to a mixing bowl along the the milk, salt and vanilla.  Beat it all with an electric mixer until it’s smooth and fluffy. (You can reheat these easily in the microwave when the chicken’s done).

Slice the chicken breasts horizontally to cut each of them into two thinner cutlets.  Coat the chicken with a sprinkling of the the steak seasoning.  Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet.  Cook the chicken cutlets 3 to 4 minutes on each side on medium high heat– unitl they are nicely browned and cooked through.

Take the chicken from the pan and add the maple syrup to the chicken drippings.  Let it all simmer on low for 2 minutes to thicken the sauce.  Return the chicken to the pan to coat the pieces in sauce.

On a platter heap the sweet potatoes next to the chicken cutlets.  Scrape the extra sauce from the pan onto the chicken and then sprinkle the green onion slices over the chicken.  Enjoy!

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Golden Chicken Tortellini Soup

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Hello all–  Tucked in the house tonight.  It’s been raining–again!!  Do I keep talking about the rain??  Well, after years of drought, we’re just all soaking it up here!  My yard is so happy!

And here’s a good chilly weather supper– just add a sturdy loaf of bread and a bright green salad.  Warming, savory, noodle-y soup.

GOLDEN CHICKEN TORTELLINI SOUP
2 tab. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups carrots, peeled & sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. dried thyme (or 1 tab. fresh thyme leaves)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
12 oz. cheese tortellini (about 3 cups dried)
1/3 cup cream (or half & half)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 cup baby spinach leaves, stems removed, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot.  Stir in the onions until they have wilted.  Add the carrots and garlic and cook 2 minutes more.

Cut each chicken breast in 3 or 4 pieces and add it to the pot along with the chicken broth, thyme, salt and pepper .  Let it simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove the chicken to a cutting board and cut to small bite size pieces.

Put the cut chicken and the tortellini into the pot and simmer according to the directions on the tortellini package (my tortellini from Trader Joe’s said to cook it 15-17 minutes).

Turn the heat to the lowest setting and stir in the cream, bell pepper and spinach.  Let it simmer a couple more minutes to heat through and it’s ready to serve!

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Chicken & Sweet Potato Curry

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Hello all–  Up in San Francisco with our kids and new little Lois (did I mention baby Lois??!!) and it’s chilly and rainy!  Love the actual weather up here.  So if you are managing to have a real fall where you live and want something warming and flavorful on your dinner table, you might try this pretty plateful.  Just a little spice (although if you are not a spice wimp like me, you can heat it up with more ginger and cayenne!) and a little sweetness from the sweet potatoes.  It’s a rainy day, cozy in the house kind of meal.  I hope you try it…

CHICKEN & SWEET POTATO CURRY
1 large sweet potato
4 chicken thighs*
3 tab. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cumin
a couple shakes of cayenne pepper
1 tsp. curry powder
2 tab. tomato paste
1 tab. cornstarch
1/2 cup water
garnish: yogurt, cilantro

 

Pierce the skin of the sweet potato a couple times with a fork (to avoid microwave explosions!).  Then pop it in the microwave for 6 or 7 minutes until it’s tender.  Cut it in half horizontally and set aside to cool.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and then drop in the chicken thighs.  Cook about 5 minutes on each side until the chicken is nicely browned.  Take it out of the pan.

If the pan looks dry, add a bit more oil.  Then drop in the onions and cook 3 or 4 minutes until the onion begins to brown.  Add in the garlic and cook a minute longer.  Then stir in the chicken broth, ginger, cumin, cayenne pepper, curry powder and tomato paste.  Blend it all up in the pan, set the chicken into the mixture and put on a lid.  Let the chicken cook at a low simmer for 10 minutes.

While that’s happening, peel the sweet potato skin off and cut it up into smallish chunks.

Raise the heat on the chicken to a rolling simmer.  In a container with a closed lit, shake together the cornstarch and water until it’s completely blended.  Stir the cornstarch mixture into the sauce around the chicken until the sauce thickens– just 2 or 3 minutes.  Drop in the chunks of sweet potato and simmer on low a couple minutes more.

Serve the curry over a bed of rice and garnish with yogurt and cilantro.  Spicy good!

*I used boneless chicken thighs, because they were on sale at our market.

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Lemon Rosemary Baked Chicken

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Hey there– Dinner time.  When our kids were growing up, it was everyone in their place, sitting around the table, talking through the day–the one time in the day we were all together.  Now it’s just Larry and me.  Sometimes we just grab a plate and sit in the kitchen, sometimes pull up to the coffee table and watch tv.  But it’s still a time to connect.

And the best connects are with friends who come in and sit down to the table with us.  Last week it was with Esther, an amazing young woman we’ve gotten to know.  Heard her heartwarming story of an encounter with a young shepherd boy on her trip to India for a cousin’s wedding.  Talked about her future plans…  It was more about the conversation than the food.

But- we did eat!  And dinner was centered around this Lemon Rosemary Chicken.  Easy to pop in the oven so you have time to pull up a salad and a pot of rice. It’s savory and fresh tasting.  I think you’ll like it– and I hope it comes with good talk around your table…

LEMON ROSEMARY BAKED CHICKEN
6 chicken thighs
2 tab. live oil
2 lemons
3 tab. honey
2 tab. olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 sprigs of rosemary
6 sprigs of thyme (optional)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
garnish:  a little more rosemary/thyme

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Brown the chicken thighs in the skillet, cooking on medium high heat for 3 minutes on each side.

Cut one lemon in half and juice half of one lemon.  Slice the remain 1 1/2 lemons into thin slices.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, olive oil and garlic.

Then spray a baking dish with cooking spray.  On the bottom of the dish lay out half of the lemon slices. Top them with the browned chicken thighs and spoon the pan juices over the chicken and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.  Then layer on top the remaining lemon slices and the rosemary and thyme sprigs.  Finally spoon the honey/lemon juice mixture over the top of the chicken.

Pop the baking dish into a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.  Then lay the chicken out on a serving dish, top with the juices from the baking dish and the lemons, plus a couple fresh sprigs of rosemary.

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Kale Salad with Chicken, Peaches and Pecans

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Hello there– We’re enjoying the last hot summer days with salads like this flavorful bowlful.  We liked it so much I made it again when our kids came down this past weekend.  Add a sturdy loaf one whole grain bread and some iced tea.  Set it all out on the backyard table and you’ve got lunch.

KALE SALAD WITH CHICKEN, PEACHES & PECANS

1/2 cup farro, cooked*
4 cups kale, chopped fine**
1 chicken breast, cooked & cubed
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
1 ripe peach, pitted and cut to chunks
1/3 cup goat cheese crumbles

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tab. thick Balsamic vinegar
1 tab. honey
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Layer all the salad ingredients into an ample bowl.  Shake the dressing ingredients together in a container with a tight fitting lit until it’s well blended.  Pour on the dressing.  Done.

*The package of farro I bought said simmer in water for 10 minutes– then I rinse it with cold water to cool it for the salad.
**I like the packaged kale from Trader Joes– nice and tender

P.S. The good thing about this salad is that it’s sturdy enough to pour on the dressing and set it into the fridge for a a while while you get everything else on the table and it won’t get soggy.  That’s helpful.  Enjoy!

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Citrus Chili Chicken

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Hello all– It’s been been fun to sit down to dinner this week.  My sis, Luanne and her husband are staying with us for a couple weeks, on their summer home from Kosovo.  Mostly we’ve been cooking together and working on a couple sewing projects and watching a whole lot of the Olympics.

So here was dinner a couple nights back.  Citrus flavor with a bit of spice glazing the chicken, and toasty roasted potatoes rounding out the plate.  Add a bright salad and a couple congenial houseguests.  Just great.

CITRUS CHILI CHICKEN
12 red potatoes, cut into wedges
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. garlic salt
6 chicken thighs
1 lime
1 orange
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
25 good olives
1 cup chicken broth
1 tab. cornstarch

Cut the potatoes into wedges.  Put them in a glass bowl with an inch of water and cook for 5 minutes in the microwave.  Drain the water from the potatoes and spread them on a baking sheet.  Drizzle on the olive oil and sprinkle the garlic salt over the top.

Remove the skin from the chicken thighs (You can leave it on if you don’t mind the fat).  Set them in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Juice the lime and pour the juice over the chicken thighs.

Grate the peel from the orange and save.  Juice the orange and then in a mixing bowl stir together the orange juice, orange peel, smoked paprika, chili powder and salt.  Pour the mixture over the chicken.

Pop the chicken in the baking dish and the baking sheet of potatoes into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Take out the chicken and baste the chicken with the juices in the baking dish.  Cook the potatoes and chicken 20 minutes more.

When they are done, lift the chicken thighs  and potatoes onto a platter.  Sprinkle the olives over the top. Cover to keep warm.

Pour the juices from the chicken baking dish into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.  In a container with a tight fitting lid shake together the chopped cilantro, chicken broth and cornstarch until it is all well blended.  Pour into the sauce pan with the juice and stir until the sauce thickens.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve it up warm with a crispy salad and a chunk of sturdy bread.  Enjoy!

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Parmesan Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes

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Hello there– Well, my crop is in!  A friend at school gave be a mini cherry tomato plant and I slapped it in a big pot and set it outside the kitchen door where I would remember to water it every day.  And guess what!  It really took off!  Larry propped up it’s spreading branches and it’s loaded with these tiny cheery tomatoes, bright and sweet.

PARMESAN CHICKEN WITH ROASTED TOMATOES
2 cups cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
garlic salt & freshly ground pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tab. flour
3 tab. grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp.freshly ground pepper
2 tab. olive oil
fresh basil (cut to shreds) or marjoram leaves for garnish*

Here’s my tomato crop–hardly a bountiful harvest, but I love picking those little things!!
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In a mixing bowl stir together the tomatoes and 3 tab. olive oil.  Liberally sprinkle it all with garlic salt and freshly ground pepper and spread the mixture onto a baking sheet– scrape all the extra olive oil out of the bowl to cover the tomatoes.

Put them in a 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the size of your tomatoes) until the skins burst and they are sweet and juicy.

While the tomatoes are roasting, slice the chicken breasts horizontally into 2 or 3 thin filets each.  In a shallow bowl mix the flour, parmesan, tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.  Heat the 2 tab. olive oil in a skillet.  Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture and set it into the hot skillet.  Cook 3 or 4 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through.

Set the chicken on a platter and pour over the roasted tomatoes. Sprinkle on fresh basil or marjoram leaves to garnish.  Eat it hot with a crisp summer salad and a chunk of sturdy bread.  Quick and fresh for a summer’s supper.

*I used marjoram just because it grown like a weed in our side yard–basil would be great too!

P.S. the photos are just half a recipe– enough for my Larry and me.

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Strawberry Chicken Salad with Honey Balsamic Dressing

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Hi friends– I don’t know if you’ve watched the cross country weather news this week, but we are roasting here in Southern California!!  Today it was 105 degrees in our little town!  And being the frugal (cheap!) people that we are, we have our air conditioning on a plan that cuts off on super energy use days to save money on our monthly bill.  Ugh.

When dinner time rolled around, I sure did not want to spend a whole lot of time in a hot kitchen– so here’s dinner. A sweet berry salad with chicken and a chunk of sour dough bread on the side.  Just about right on a hot night.

The good news– only 90 degrees predicted for tomorrow!!!

STRAWBERRY CHICKEN SALAD WITH HONEY BALSAMIC DRESSING

salad:
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tab. olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
4 cups glad greens*
8 oz. strawberries, cut into bites (about 1 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
1 oz. feta, crumbled

dressing:
3 tab. olive oil
1 tab. white balsamic vinegar**
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat the 2 tab. olive oil in a skillet. Cut the chicken horizontally to make 2 or 3 filets.  Then drop it into the hot oil.  Salt and pepper the chicken liberally and cook about 3 minutes on each side until it’s nicely browned. Remove from the pan to cool.  Then slice into thin strips.

Layer the salad greens, strawberries, chicken on 2 dinner plates.  Then sprinkle the walnuts and feta over the top.

To make the dressing put the 3 tab. olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, honey, thyme and salt & pepper into a container with a tight fitting lid and shake it until the dressing is thoroughly blended.  When your ready to serve it up, pour the dressing over the salads and set them on the table!

*I use red leaf lettuce. Spinach would be great or any other favorite lettuce.
**Or whatever vinegar you have in the cupboard.

 

Thai Peanut Chicken

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Hey all– Did you grow up on a regimen of lunchtime peanut butter sandwiches? They were pretty standard around our busy house for us 4 little kids.  (thanks Mom) I think that must be why I pretty much love an recipe involving peanuts, peanut butter, peanut sauce…  So when I saw a version of this recipe, I knew I wanted to give it a try.  And I wasn’t disappointed–so rich and peanutty with a just little spice!

THAI PEANUT CHICKEN
2 chicken breasts (no bones,no skin)
3 tab. olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 tab. Thai sweet chili sauce*
2 tab. soy sauce
2 tab. peanut butter
1 tsp. ground ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup peanuts
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped fine

Cut the chicken breasts horizontally the flat way, to produce 4 chicken fillets.  Heat the oil in skillet and then add in the chicken breasts.  Salt and pepper them a bit and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side until they are nicely browned and cooked through. Remove them from the pan.

Into that same skillet, mix in the Thai sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, peanut butter, ginger and garlic.  Stir it together on low heat.  Add in the water and bring it to a low simmer.  Stir in the peanuts and cilantro.  Then add the chicken back to the skillet to warm it and coat it with sauce.

Serve the chicken on a platter with brown rice (that’s what I did tonight), white rice, any whole grain or rice noodles…
We added a quick spinach, peach & pecan salad on the side.  Dinner!

*The recipe I worked from called for about five times that much Thai sweet chili sauce, so adjust it to your own heat preferences!!

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Creamy Lemon Parmesan Chicken

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Hey there– Sunday lunch.  More often than not, it’s cobbled together quickly after church or grabbing something out with friends.  But last week it was a real sit down meal– this creamy lemon parmesan chicken.  My Grandma Rose, of Sunday chicken dinner fame, would have been proud.

The sauce is bright from the lemon and salty from the parmesan– just right over the mound of pasta on the side.  The chicken, hot and tender.  We’ll be having this again for Sunday lunch…

CREAMY LEMON PAREMSAN CHICKEN

Chicken:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tab. flour
3 tab. parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Sauce:
2 tab. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup whole milk (or half & half)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp. cornstarch (optional)
4 tab. lemon juice

Garnish: thyme leaves*  & lemon slices

Cut the chicken breasts horizontally to have 2 thin fillets.  The mix together the flour, 3 tab. parmesan, salt and pepper in a flat dish.  Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet.  Dredge the chicken on both sides in the flour mixture and set it into the hot oil.  Cook on both sides about 3 or 4 minutes until it’s nicely browned and the chicken is cooked through.  Set onto a warm plate.

In the same pan add the garlic to the chicken drippings.  (Add another tablespoon of oil, if the pan is dry).  Cook for a minute and then add in the chicken stock and milk.  Bring that to a low simmer for 2 minutes.  Then stir in the parmesan.

In a small container with a tight fitting led shake together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water.  Shake it until the cornstarch and water are thoroughly blended and then stir it into the simmering sauce until it thickens.  Finally, stir in the lemon juice.

Set the chick onto a platter with rice or pasta or a whole grain.  Pour the sauce over the chicken and garnish with thyme leaves and lemon slices.  Hope you enjoy it!!

*The recipe I worked from called for Italian parsley as a garnish, but I have thyme in the side yard and like it with lemon.  You could use any favorite herb…

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Ginger Apricot Chicken

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Hello dear friends– I think we all know the hardest part of fixing dinner is deciding what to try to summon up with the ingredients on hand– in our fridge there’s always chicken breasts lurking and jam and soy sauce…  and happily I had one little nub of ginger in the drawer. So we ended up with this chicken on the table– It’s sweet and savory with just little bite of ginger.  I think you’ll like it…

And can I say, I love that this dish is so easy? Ten minutes to get it into the oven and then it just bakes itself.  Gives you enough time to check your phone, get a drink, set the table and rustle up a salad or some broccoli and a sturdy loaf bread.  That’s it –dinner!

GINGER APRICOT CHICKEN
1/2 cup apricot jam
2 tab. soy sauce
2 tab. minced ginger*
2 shakes cayenne pepper*
2 tab. cider vinegar
2 large chicken breasts, filleted
1 tab. cornstarch (optional)

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In a saucepan, combine the jam, soy sauce, ginger and pepper.  Heat until the jam is melted.  Then stir in the cider vinegar.

Cut the chicken breasts horizontally to produce 4 thin fillets.  Dip the chicken into the warm jam sauce.  And set it into a baking dish.  Pour the rest of the sauce over the chicken.

Bake the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven, basting the chicken with the sauce a couple times while it bakes.  When done, remove the chicken to a platter and pour the sauce from the baking dish over the chicken.**  Bon Apetit!

*If you like your meals nice and spicy you can, of course, up the ginger and cayenne (me, I’m a spice whimp, so this little amount is just fine.)
**If you want the sauce to be thicker, pour the sauce rom the baking dish into a small sauce pan and set it to simmering.  In a container with a tightly fitting lid, shake together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water.  When it’s thoroughly blended, stir it into the simmering sauce for a minute or two until  it thickens.  The pour it over the chicken on the serving platter.

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Sweet Potato, Avocado Chicken Salad

IMG_5790Hello all– On the tail end of a fine longish weekend.  Kids started rolling in on Tuesday and were all here by Saturday for their cousin Bradley and Amanda’s wedding.  I’m pretty sure you know, there’s nothing a mom loves more than having those kids at arm’s length.

I’ll be remembering an all family shoe shopping trip, a fancy dinner out at the Tavern, hamburgers on the grill & a Michael Pollen documentary, good girl-talks, driving down to the beach for a frozen banana,  Laurel’s photo shoots and wedding dances with the grand-girls!

And on Saturday, we sat down to a colorful salad lunch– just enough to fill us up before we  headed down to the wedding– grilled chicken, avocado, sweet potato and sweet pomegranate seeds– with a tarragon dressing.  Add a chunk of sturdy bread– easy lunch!

SWEET POTATO, AVOCADO CHICKEN SALAD
4 cups green leaf lettuce
1 chicken breast, grilled and cut to pieces
1 sweet potato, roasted, peeled, cut into bits
1 avocado, cut in small chunks
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup feta, crumbled

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tab. tarragon vinegar
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tsp. honey

Layer the greens, sweet potato, avocado, chicken pomegranate and feta on a large platter.  In a container with a tight fitting lid, shake together the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and honey until it’s thoroughly blended.  Pour it on and eat!

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Pre-wedding family photo (Maryann!!) overlooking the marina in Dana Point.

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Down to Balboa Island for Balboa Bars & Frozen bananas– almost feels like summer’s here…  So thankful for time with our kids.

 

Coq au Vin

IMG_3467Hello there–  Some people like to ski down steep mountain slopes and others like to skydive or run marathons… But my preferred form of adrenaline rush is rustling up a meal on a Saturday  and spending the evening with old comfortable friends,  talking late around the table.  What could be better than that?

That’s what we did last Saturday night.  Often those kinds of evenings are over simple bowls of soup or a pizza.  But this time I wanted to do something more.  So I settled on this coq au vin– starting with Ina Garten’s recipe and adding bits and pieces of recipes I could google up.  It was a fun project and was fine to share with friends.  I think you’d like it too.

COQ AU VIN
4 slices thick bacon, cut to bits
3 boneless chicken breasts
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine dry red wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup frozen pearl onions
1 tab. cornstarch
5 thyme sprigs
4 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 tab. butter

IMG_3479In a large skillet, cook the pieces of bacon until they are browned and crispy.  Remove them from the pan.  Leave about 2 tab. of bacon fat in the pan.

Cut the chicken breasts horizontally to make thinner filets.  Season them well with a good amount of salt & pepper.  Cook them in the hot skillet with the bacon fat, working in 2 bathes so you don’t crowd the pan.  Remove them to a baking dish.

In the skillet, saute the carrot pieces for 3 or 4 minutes.  Add in the chopped onion and cook until the onion just starts to brown.  Add in the minced garlic and cook a ;minute more.

Pour the wine and chicken broth over the carrots and onions and bring to a strong simmer for 10 minutes.  In a container with a tight fitting lid, shake together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water.  Stir it into the simmering liquid in the skillet until it thickens.

Pour the sauce over the chicken in the baking dish and cover it with foil.  Put it into the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

While that is cooking sauce the sliced mushrooms in the butter.

When the chicken comes out of the oven, Sift the chicken pieces onto a pretty platter, mix he reserved bacon and cooked mushrooms into the sauce and pour it over the chicken.  Serve it up nice and hot. Viola!

IMG_3483P.S. Part of the fun for me was setting it all out on new dishes!  I have had a large William Sonoma Gifts card in the drawer for 2 years unspent.  I do need a bundt pan, but would go there and couldn’t imagine paying $50 for a bundt pan!!  I know. I’m a cheap-skate.  So I just hung on to the card.  But recently I found a luscious set of Hanukkah dishes there, beautifully crazed, blue bordered with little stars of David tucked in the design–on super after Hanukkah markdown.  I couldn’t resist– so happily thankful for the beauty they lend to our table.

Maple Dijon Chicken (3 ingredients!)

IMG_1765Hi busy friends– It’s that crazy time of year when things get a little bit out of control. But I found a chicken recipe that couldn’t be easier and tastes like it took a whole lot more effort!  Just 3 ingredients you might just have on hand, (plus a little salt & pepper), pop it in the oven and bake it for 30 minutes.  Think of all the multitasking you could do while it’s cooking– make a salad, do those phone calls, wrap a few packages, fold a load of laundry, write up your Christmas list…

We had this chicken with a plate of roasted potatoes (actually leftover from dinner with friends a couple nights ago) and a quick salad.  Dinner in a hurry.  That’s just what I need about now.

MAPLE DIJON CHICKEN
4 chicken thighs*
1/4 cup seedy Dijon mustard
1/4 cup maple syrup
salt & freshly ground pepper

IMG_1766Put the chicken thighs in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Salt and pepper the chicken liberally.  Stir together the mustard and maple syrup and spread it over the chicken.

Pop it into the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  I did pull it out about half way through to baste the chicken with the sauce that was puddling in the bottom of the dish.  Add bonus: it smells delish while it’s cooking!

P.S.  The recipe I worked from also added oil, but I think there’s enough fat in the chicken– And they left the skins on the chicken thighs, but I pulled them off before cooking.  I’m sure it’s just fine either way…

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* I just made half of recipe in these pictures– enough for Larry and me.

Peanut Sweet Potato Chicken Stew

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Hello all-  I have a new favorite soup.  Love this savory bowl of stew– right up there with steamy pozole or a spicy cup of chili.  It has some of my favorite flavors all simmered up together– sweet potato, curry powder and surprisingly peanut butter!  –with just enough red pepper to give is a little bit.

The recipe I worked from said it was a stew from west Africa.  It’s just different and so delicious.  I’m imaging a tableful of friends over to try it out on a chilly evening soon.

PEANUT SWEET POTATO CHICKEN STEW
1 medium sweet potato
4 cups chopped cooked chicken (1 roasted chicken)*
1 cup peanut butter
2 14oz. cans petit cut tomatoes with garlic
1 tab. curry powder
1/4 tsp. red pepper**
6 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
chopped cilantro for garnish

Cut the sweet potato into large chunks, and cook them in the microwave 8 to 10 minutes, until they are tender, but firm.

Then in a soup pot, mix the chicken, peanut butter, tomatoes, curry powder, red pepper and chicken broth.  Bring it to a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

When you are ready to eat, shake the cornstarch along with 1/2 cup water in a container with a tight fitting lid until it’s thoroughly blended.  Stir it into the simmering soup and stir about 3 or4 minutes until it thickens.

Serve it up hot garnished with peanuts and cilantro.

*You can cook up your own chicken, but I am happy to pick up one all cooked for me at the market.
**I thought this was plenty of spice, you can add more to taste if you like a real kick.

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White Chicken Chili with Garbanzos & Cannellini Beans

IMG_3617Hi there– Soup’s here!!  After weeks, of crazy hot weather this fall, it’s finally cooled down!   I wore sweaters to school every day this week.  And switched over to my cozy winter pajamas.  We haven’t touched the air conditioning.  And soup!  Glorious soup!

I made a ample pot of this stuff and took soup lunches to school with me all week.  And it was delish–  all those chewy beans along with the tender chicken and slightly spicy broth.  So glad to be back to wonderful warming soup days!

WHITE CHICKEN CHILI WITH GARBANZOS & CANNELLINI BEANS
1 serrano chile
1 medium onion, cut to bits
2 tab. olive oil
4 cups chicken stock, divided
2 tab. flour
1 tsp. adobo sauce
1 chipotle chili, seeds removed, minced fine**
2 15 oz. cans cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tab. cumin
1 tsp. dried basil
1 roasted chicken, boned and cut to nice bites
2 11 oz. cans white corn kernels, drained & rinsed
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
1 7 oz. can salsa verde*
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup half & half (or whole milk)
3 tab. cornstarch
1 lime, juiced
salt to taste
garnish: sour cream, avocado, corn kernels (saved from the recipe), cilantro

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil.  Then toss in the cut up onion and the Serrano chile, cut lengthwise and the seeds removed.  Cook 4 or 5 minutes until the onion starts to brown.
Remove the Serrano and discard (unless you like your soup way spicier than I do!)

Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock, adobo sauce, minced chipotle chili and 1 can of the cannellini beans that have been drained and rinsed.  With a stick blender whirl it all into a thick paste.  Or remove the mixture to a blender and blend it all up together and return to the pot.

To that mixture, add the rest of the chicken stock, garlic and basil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Then put in the chicken, corn, the 2nd can of cannellini beans, garbanzo beans and salsa verde.  Simmer on low for 10 minutes more.

Jus before serving, shake together the half & half and the cornstarch in a container with a tight fitting lid until it is all blended.  Stir it into the simmering soup for a few minutes, until it thickens a bit.  Then add in the lime juice and cilantro.  Simmer just a minute more.

Serve it up hot and garnish with sour cream, avocado and a sprinkle of cilantro and reserved corn kernels.  I hope you like it as much as we did!

*I like the Hedrez salsa verde.
**You can more chipotle, if you love more heat.

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