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Archive for March, 2009

Shredded chicken stew

This is another slow cooker recipe. Man, that thing sure is handy.

Chicken thigh preparation:

Cut into large cubes.. it doesn’t need to be perfect because you will be shredding them anyway. Rub adobo seasoning all over.

Stew base (goes directly into crock pot):

  • Onions (cut them into thick pieces)
  • Potatoes (cut into quarters
  • Minced garlic
  • Olive oil
  • A large can of diced tomatoes (I like the chunky kind)
  • Chicken broth (you want to thin it out a bit)
  • Oregano
  • Cumin
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Chili powder
  • A touch of cayenne pepper
  • A couple dashes of hot sauce (optional)
  • A tablespoon of butter
  • Lemon juice

Add in the chicken thighs, cover w/ lid and set on LOW overnight. In the morning, remove all the yummy chicken pieces and shred them. Just take 2 forks and since the chicken has been slow cooking for hours, it should come apart fairly easily. This isn’t a difficult process, it just takes time. A long time, depending on how many pieces of chicken you have. I now have a new appreciation for places that serve shredded chicken.

Put the chicken back into the crockpot and set it on warm (if you have that feature). At this point, I cut a red bell pepper into thick slivers and placed it into the crockpot. This is the last thing I put in to cook because I wanted to maintain some of the bell pepper’s crispiness. Let this cook for 5 more hours.

Serve over rice. Or perhaps garnish it with some sour cream & cilantro. This would also be good with some broken tortilla chips, like tortilla soup w/ shredded chicken. And it’d probably be good topped w/ some melted cheese.

$ breakdown:

  • $2 can of tomatoes
  • $5 pack of chicken thighs
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Chicken & Potatoes!

Basically everything is either oven or pan roasted. Easy 🙂

A note on the chicken — I used chicken thighs for this recipe. I used to love dark meat but recently grew tired of it and have been buying more chicken breasts but I had a pack of boneless & skinless thighs in the freezer and decided to do something with it.

Chicken marinade (SUPER simple)

  • Garlic salt
  • Oregano

Rub on both sides.

Start pre-heating your oven @ 350 degrees. On a hot pan, heat some olive oil & immediately put in the chicken. Let that cook on high for about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, start prepping your vegetables.

Veggies

  • Asparagus (cut into 3)
  • Mushrooms
  • Shallots
  • Onions
  • Garlic

A note on the potatoes – I cut them into little discs. I placed them on a cookie sheet wrapped with foil and then salt&peppered them before roasting them in the oven. Be sure to do all of this before you start cooking the chicken. Potatoes tend to need more time to cook, especially if the cut is not very thin.

Flip the chicken onto the other side and pour a BIT of white wine into the pan. Let the wine reduce and then REMOVE the chicken pieces onto another cookie sheet and put in oven, where they will finish cooking.

Using the same pan, deglaze it with some white wine. FYI – deglazing is when you use some sort of liquid to remove all the good meat bits from a pan. At this point, add some minced garlic and then add all your prepped vegetables.

Let EVERY thing ocok for about 15-20 minutes. In the meantime, you can make a sauce! I have some leftover picada (still, I know!!!!) so I decided to make a sauce with it.

Start with your basic roux (butter/olive oil and flour) and then add the picada. Add some milk or cream. If you add too much liquid, add more flour to thicken it up. Make sure this is all on low heat. You do not want to burn the flour!

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$ breakdown:

  • $3 for a 5 or 10 lb bag of potatoes
  • $3-5 for asparagus
  • $2 for mushrooms
  • $6 for a pack of chicken thighs

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Pasta with chicken marsala

This is a dish that Christina introduced me to and I fell in LOVE with it. It’s actually a recipe by Giada de Laurentis. I’ve made it so many times that I can probably cook it with my eyes closed. Of course, it’s gone through a bunch of transformations and it’s different every time I make it.

Word of note, the sauce is actually creamy.. it’s not your traditional marsala sauce. I like it beter this way, actually.

Marsala sauce:

  • Butter
  • 1 container of marscapone cheese
  • Marsala wine to taste
  • Dijon mustard to taste
  • Salt & pepper

Added to the sauce are the following ingredients:

  • Minced garlic
  • Diced onions and shallots
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Chicken breast (rubbed with salt & pepper and cooked & then cubed prior to its addition to the sauce)

Very simple but still very gourmet & tasty!

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Mussels in red sauce

I was at Whole Foods a while ago and I had absolutely no idea what to cook for dinner. Lo and behold–a bag of mussels for $6! In addition to that, I picked up a can of diced tomatoes, some fresh parsley and a baguette.

Red sauce:

  • Can of diced tomatoes
  • Chicken broth
  • White wine
  • Diced garlic
  • Brown sugar
  • Picada (I still have some leftover!)
  • Butter
  • Parsley

Of course, this all went into the slow cooker to cook for a few hours. Just be sure to set it on low. Put the mussels in the last 5-10 minutes.

Serve with baguette slices.

The brown sugar helps to reduce the acidity from the tomato sauce. Although I basically used the same base for my seafood stew, the sweetness definitely set this dish apart.

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BBQ ribs

BBQ baby back ribs are my specialty. I haven’t made them in a long time but my friend had a craving for it and I told him I’d bbq him some TASTY ribs. I usually cook ribs in an oven or on a grill but I think I’m going to start using my slowcooker now, after the proven success of last night’s dinner.

I made two kinds of ribs–pork baby back in a bbq sauce and pork spare ribs with a dry rub. The ribs in the sauce went into the slow cooker and the dry rub went into the oven.

Dry rub recipe:

  • Garlic salt
  • Brown sugar
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • A bit of cayenne pepper
  • Pepper
  • Oregano
  • Red pepper flakes

You really have to trust your sense of taste on this one. I added more of the garlic salt than the other ingredients. Anyway, massage the spare ribs (we got 1 lb) with olive oil first and then add the dry-rub. I let this sit while the oven pre-heated. Place into an oven at 275 degrees and let it cook for hours, seriously. I think I placed this in at 6 pm and took it out at 10:30 pm. I would have preferred to have it cook all day at a lower temperature but I started early into the evening and we wanted to eat at a reasonable time (we ended up eating after 11 pm–typical).

BTW, I traditionally make baby back ribs with a barbecue sauce (which is store-bought.. but I should probably start making my own).

Baby back ribs recipe:

  • 1 slab of baby back ribs
  • 1 bottle of barbecue sauce (I prefer something sweet and tangy)
  • A shot of whiskey (I used Jameson)
  • Butter
  • Whole garlic cloves

I massaged the baby back ribs with the dry rub, even though I probably shouldn’t have. Oh well.. flavor is good! I put some butter and the garlic cloves into the slow cooker first. Then the ribs go in and *absolutely important* they MUST be smothered completely in the bbq sauce; add the shot of whiskey last and then place the lid on top and leave it for a few hours. I had to set my slowcooker to high because of time constraints. This cooked from 7 pm to 10 pm. I would recommend starting this in the morning on low and cooking it all day.

Because of the slow cooking, the ribs (both of them!) were SO tender and literally falling off the bone. OH so good.

I served this with pan-roasted potatoes dressed simply in salt, pepper & olive oil (which I then placed into the oven to continue roasting) and grilled corn. BTW, “grilling” the corn = roasting in oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

For dessert, I served oven-roasted halved pears & warm strawberries sprinkled with cinnamon sugar & brown sugar and honey.

Unfortunately, no pictures. 😦

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