Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lovey Dovey Breakfast

Oh my, where did February go? Just because the month of LOVE is behind us, we shouldn't miss the opportunity to tell the ones special in our lives how much we love them. I've found my voice in the kitchen, it's become my way to tell my friends how much they mean to me.
And more importantly I cook for Jim as a way to show him how much I absolutely adore him. I will forever be thankful that God has given me the love of my life.

Ever heard of egg in a hole? Well this is my lovey-dovey version I made for Jim.

Start with eggs (or egg beaters).

And I seasoned with salt and pepper.

Then whisk with a fork.

Next, I cut/tore a heart from the center of a piece of bread.


You could spray with Pam, but I decided to melt a little butter (x-tra special for my man!)

Get the toast going in the pan.

Then I poured the seasoned eggs in the heart shaped hole in the bread.

I even reserved the heart cut outs, tossed in the eggs and threw in the frying pan.

For added flavor I sprinkled a pinch of garlic salt over the toasting bread.

Flip over and toast on the other side...and voila! Nothing says "I love you" like lovey dovey egg in a hole. ha ha!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Santa Fe Chicken

I'm a big Oprah fan, so when I saw her talk about this Santa Fe Chicken on one of her shows I knew I had to give it a try. I don't know about you, but I really enjoy making chicken for dinner in all sorts of ways. Tonight for instance I had spicy asian chicken that was TO DIE FOR (that post coming later, promise.)

For Oprah's Santa Fe Chicken you need the following:

Juice of 3 limes
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
6 cloves garlic , minced
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup white wine
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

Mock Sour Cream or low-fat sour cream
1 lime, sliced into 6 thin slices
6 scallion firecrackers (see Tips below)
1/4 cup fresh salsa or Papaya Salsa

The marinade in this dish is what gives the chicken such a smooth flavor. Although it is ideal if the meat can soak in the marinade for at least an hour before cooking to absorb the intricate flavors of the marinade, if you don't have time, don't be discouraged, because the chicken will still be flavorful. If you are really planning ahead, you can soak the meat in the marinade for up to two days.

It's not practical to keep fresh limes and lemons on hand when I can keep ReaLime and ReaLemon in the fridge to call upon when I need it. If I was making a "special" meal I would probably splurge for the real deal.

I tested this recipe on Jim by marinading the chicken overnight and then cooking them in the oven the day I was leaving for a work trip. I put the cooked chicken breast in the fridge with a note of ideas on how to eat them.

Okay, back to this marinade!

1/4 cup "less sodium" soy sauce.

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil. I'm combing everything in a bowl here.

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder. I used chipotle chile pepper for added KICK!

No reason to include this photo (or the first one) but I was cooking and looked down and liked the way my colorful measuring spoons lay on top of each other.

Whole coriander.

Freshly ground. I need 1 1/2 teaspoons.

GARLIC! Recipe calls for 6 cloves. Woo Hoo!

Fresh cilantro.

Add 1/4 cup white wine to your mixing bowl.

Now Whisk!

I put the boneless skinless chicken breasts in a zip top bag then added the marinade.

To be on the safe side, I put the zip top bag in a small shallow dish before putting in the fridge. (Eww, can you imagine marinade and raw chicken juice spilling in the fridge? Well yes I can since it has happened to me before. Trust me, be on the safe side and throw your marinading chicken in a bowl or dish first!)

When the chicken has absorbed all the flavors of the marinade, broil the chicken under a medium flame for 8 to 10 minutes. My chicken took longer to cook through.

Basting with the juices helps keep the chicken moist. This definitely doesn't photograph well, you will have to trust me on this one.

Oprah's recipe suggest transferring the chicken to a platter and slice it at an angle. Then garnish each piece with a little of the pan juice, a dollop of sour cream, slice of lime and a scallion firecracker as well as a dollop of salsa.

What is a Scallion Firecracker?

The scallion "firecracker" is a lively garnish that gets its name from the way the leaves of the onion curl away from the body of the onion, creating a "firecracker" appearance. Cut 2 inches off the green leafy side of the scallion. Trim the roots at the white bulbous end. Then cut three slits about 1/2-inch down through the white, bulbous end. Fill a bowl with ice water and drop in the freshly cut scallions.

It is never too much trouble to cook extra chicken breasts. They hold the flavor of the marinade and are wonderful for chicken salad or sandwiches for work or school. I cooked three for Jim and then put in the fridge for a quick and easy meal when I'm out of town.

This was a really good marinade, but it had a lot of ingredients (too manyin my opinion.) I thought the lime flavor was too prominent, so would use less lime next time. This would be great served over rice or shredded and placed in a soft taco or on a crispy chalupa. Yum!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

101 Ways to Cook Chicken

Chicken is the meat of choice at my house. It can be cooked so many different ways and although it will take me a very long time to post 101 ways to cook chicken, I'm going to give you two very good marinade recipes this week to add to your arsenal.

This recipe is inspired by a PW recipe that she calls Ranch Style Chicken. My version is slightly different because I left off the bacon and added a jalapeno cheese on top just before serving.

You will need the following:
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (duh), salt and pepper, crushed red peppers, smoked paprika, honey and dijon mustard. Not shown, but used: cheese, olive oil and I served this with rice cooked in beef broth.

After I defrosted the chicken breasts, I put them in a zip top bag and began adding the marinade.

To begin, add 1/2 cup Dijon or country/grainy mustard to the zip top bag.

1/2 cup honey.

1/4 teaspoon Smoked Paprika.

Just a pinch of hot red pepper flakes.

And 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

Add the juice of half a lemon.

Mix, mix, mix...

Then I let this sit in a mixing bowl and put in fridge for a while. I fixed this in the morning and let it sit all day, then cooked at dinner time.

When it's time to make dinner, grab the olive oil or grapeseed oil (whatever is you want to saute with) and some cheese!

Add a tablespoon or two to your saucepan and get it hot over medium heat.

Using tongs, transfer the marinated chicken to your saucepan.

Let it get nice and brown on both sides.

PW used sharp cheddar cheese. I thought this jalapeno white cheddar would be really good melted on top of the chicken so I sliced it up thick and placed on top of our chicken breasts and put in the oven under the broiler for the cheese to get gooey and melty all over the chicken.

Meanwhile I made two servings of rice. Instant rice.

But I "fancied" it up by using beef broth instead of water for added flavor.

As you can see, the cheese didn't melt like I envisioned, but it did brown and soften a bit. Next time I would grate the cheese on top of the chicken and then put under the broiler.

This turned out to be a really nice balanced meal. The marinade added lots of great flavor and kept the chicken really moist while it cooked on the stove. Stay tuned, I have another chicken marinade to post later this week - Santa Fe Chicken by Oprah!