Friday, December 19, 2014

Pasta with Chicken Meatballs

Raise your hand if you miss natural light? ::raises hand:: My photos are nothing special in the spring and summer, but once I lose the natural light all bets are off. And it makes me so sad because I know people choose recipes in part because of the drool-inducing photos. So, my apologies, but you'll have to trust me that this was incredible.

On our flight home from California SP and I both watched cooking shows on the plane. During an episode of Giada's show she made Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs. It looked so delicious I knew I had to make it as soon as we got home.

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I made a few modifications, subbing campagnelle for the orecchiette since I had a box in the pantry. Really, any small shape will do. I also used diced tomatoes because I'm weird and don't like loose tomato skin. Because I used canned tomatoes, I measured out the liquid in the can and then topped it off with chicken broth.

This was truly outstanding, with light, tender meatballs and a delicious sauce made even better by the addition of fresh, melty, gooey mozzarella cheese. The recipe made enough food to feed an army, which was good because we were all fighting over the leftovers.

Pasta with Chicken Meatballs
Slightly adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

1 pound small cut pasta, such as orecchiette, campagnelle, penne, etc.
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon ketchup
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground chicken
1/4 cup olive oil
chicken stock (amount will vary, see directions)
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, juice reserved
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or more Pecorino
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, ketchup, cheese, and the salt and pepper. Add the chicken and gently stir to combine. With wet hands (this is key, otherwise the chicken will just stick to you rather than form into meatballs), roll the chicken into mini meatballs. Make them as big or as small as you want. You'll need to wet your hands often so keep a bowl of water nearby.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook without moving until brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the meatballs over and brown the other side, about 2 minutes longer.

Add the juice from the tomatoes to a large measuring cup. Add enough chicken stock to make 1 1/2 cups total. Add the chicken stock, tomato juice and tomatoes to the skillet. Bring to a boil. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Add the pasta to the skillet. Add the Parmesan and toss, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Add the mozzarella cheese and chopped basil. Gently toss to combine. Serve immediately.
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chinese Green Beans with Pork

I think of my friend MaryEllen as the queen of stir fries. Pretty much any Asian stir fry on this blog came from her. This recipe for Chinese Green Beans with Pork is based on her recipe, but modified a bit based on what I had in my pantry and fridge.


This was a great way to use up 2 lone pork chops I found in the freezer. Green beans have been hit or miss for us this year but this was a good batch. Simple, tasty, and quick - my idea of a great weeknight dinner.



Chinese Green Beans with Pork
Modified from Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations

1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 pork chops cut into very small pieces
1 lb washed and trimmed green beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons oyster or hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 heaping teaspoon chili garlic sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons Shaohsing rice wine
1 small bunch scallions, sliced thin
white rice or spaghetti/angel hair, cooked, for serving

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the sesame oil then add the pork and sauté for 3-5 minutes until the meat is mostly cooked. Add the green beans and garlic and sauté 1 minute. Combine the stock, cornstarch, oyster or hoisin sauce, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, pepper and grated ginger, then add to the skillet. Bring to a boil. Continue cooking over high heat for 7-9 minutes longer, stirring frequently, until beans are slightly tender but still have some crispiness to them.

Stir in the scallions and rice vinegar, and cook one minute longer. Serve over cooked rice or noodles.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Indonesian Ginger Chicken

I've mentioned before that SP has taken over cooking Sunday dinner. He's been on an Ina Garten kick lately and was very excited to make her Indonesian Ginger Chicken.



This was some seriously awesome chicken. Incredibly flavorful from the marinade and really easy to cook. He used two cut-up chickens from the grocery store and we noticed that the white meat wasn't nearly as flavorful as the dark meat. You could really taste the marinade in the dark meat pieces. As much as I love white meat, I think this would be best with legs and thighs rather than whole chickens.

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He served the chicken with herb basmati rice and roasted carrots. At my recommendation, he boiled the marinade to thicken it into a gravy to serve over the chicken. That was a big hit as well.

Indonesian Ginger Chicken
From Ina Garten

1 cup honey
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup minced garlic (8 to 12 cloves)
1/2 cup peeled and grated fresh ginger
6lbs total bone-in chicken legs and thighs

Cook the honey, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger in a small saucepan over low heat until the honey is melted. Arrange the chicken pieces in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan, skin side down. Pour on the sauce. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the baking pan, still covered with the foil, in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, turn the chicken pieces skin side up, and raise the temperature to 375 degrees. Continue baking for 30 minutes or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh and the sauce is a rich, dark brown.

If you want, remove the chicken pieces to a serving platter and cover with foil. Strain the sauce from the baking dish through a sieve and add to a small pot. Boil the sauce until it thickens slightly. Serve as gravy to spoon over the chicken.
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Friday, December 12, 2014

Hawaiian Pork Sliders

I decided to make these Hawaiian Pork Sliders after my friend Amy posted a photo of them on Instagram. They looked so good I could almost taste them.



I have such a hard time photographing sandwiches. I wonder how the pros do it? I should pay more attention when I see sandwiches or burgers in my feedly. Anyway, despite the less than stellar pictures, these were great. Very simple to throw together and took no time to cook. I served these on King's Hawaiian rolls but we honestly couldn't taste the rolls so next time I'll go with traditional sliders rolls instead. Or maybe I'll make them into regular burgers rather than sliders.

Hawaiian Pork Sliders
As seen on Very Culinary

1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1/2 cup minced scallions
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
sprinkle of salt and pepper
8 pineapple rings
1/2 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
mayonnaise
8 King’s Hawaiian or regular slider rolls

In a large bowl, using your hands, mix the pork, scallions, ground ginger, salt and pepper until just combined. Don’t over mix! Gently form 8 equal patties, with a slight indentation in the middle (this helps keep the burgers from bulging in the middle.)

Preheat your grill for medium-high. Coat the grates with oil or nonstick cooking spray. Place the pork patties on the hot grill and lightly coat tops with barbecue sauce. Cover the grill and cook for about 5 minutes. Flip the burgers and coat with more barbecue sauce.

After you’ve flipped the burgers, place the pineapple rings down on the grill. Cook the burgers for another 4-5 minutes, until cooked through. Cook the pineapple rings for about 3 minutes, or until you have nice grill marks on one side. Flip the pineapple and grill another 1-2 minutes. Remove the pineapple and burgers from the grill and let them rest 5 minutes.

While the meat is resting, toast the rolls on the hot grill until the edges brown nicely, about 1-2 minutes.

Spread more barbecue sauce and some mayo on the rolls, add the burger patty and a pineapple ring, then the other roll. Serve immediately.
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Monday, December 08, 2014

Skillet Chicken Saltimbocca Spaghetti

I've done it again. I'm sorry that I disappeared for a few weeks. This whole blogging thing has become a lot more complicated these days. We're just so busy. And the lack of natural light, coupled with a waning desire to be in the kitchen, isn't exactly conducive to blogging.

I wish my photo of this Skillet Chicken Saltimbocca Spaghetti was better because this is one outstanding meal. Go look at Elly's photo to see it in all its drool-inducing glory.



We all thought this was outstanding. Baby Girl isn't a huge fan of capers, but otherwise this was right up her alley. I can't wait to make it again.

Skillet Chicken Saltimbocca Spaghetti
As seen on Elly Says Opa!

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
8 large fresh sages leaves, plus 3 Tbsp. minced sage
1 lb. boneless/skinless chicken breast, cut into pieces
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons flour
1 cup dry white wine
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
12 oz. dried spaghetti, broken in half
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest + 2-3 tablespoons juice

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp (about 5 minutes). During the last 30 seconds or so, add the sage leaves and cook until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the prosciutto and sage to a paper-towel lined plate.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then place in the hot skillet. Cook until browned and just shy of cooked through. Remove the chicken and keep warm.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Stir in the onion and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the minced sage, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the flour and cook for one minute before whisking in the wine. Simmer until reduced by half, about 1-2 minutes.

Slowly whisk in the broth and water. and then stir in the pasta. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook at a vigorous simmer, stirring often with tongs, until pasta is tender and sauce has thickened (about 12 minutes).

Add the chicken and cook just a minute longer, until completely cooked and warmed through. Stir in the capers, butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the pasta with the crispy prosciutto and sage.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Collard Greens

I love collard greens but the last time I tried to make them they were inedible. So. Much. Salt. I vowed to try again for our Southern night redo. This time I pretty much eliminated the salt from the recipe and I nailed it!


These were perfect with fried chicken, mac and cheese and cornbread. It takes some time to prep the collard greens but since you have to boil the water for an hour that's the perfect time to get it done. These were just as good as the ones we get from our favorite BBQ spot - a little spicy and so flavorful.

Collard Greens
Modified from Paula Deen

1 smoked ham hock
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
a few dashes Tabasco sauce
1 large bunch collard greens
1 tablespoon butter

In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add the ham hock, seasoned salt, black pepper, garlic powder and hot sauce. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 hour.

While the water is boiling, wash the collard greens thoroughly. Remove the stems that run down the center by holding the leaf in one hand and stripping the leaf down with your other hand. The tender young leaves in the heart of the collards don't need to be stripped.

Once all the leaves have been washed and dried, stack 6 to 8 leaves on top of one another, roll them up, and slice into 1/2 to 1-inch thick slices.

After the water cooks for an hour, put the greens in the pot and add the butter. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed. If you want, you can remove the ham hock, allow to cool and pick the meat off the bone. Add the meat to the collard greens and stir to combine before serving.
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Monday, November 24, 2014

Honey Hush Cornbread

I've been searching for a good cornbread recipe and I think I finally found it. This Honey Hush Cornbread is pretty amazing and so easy to make. Baby Girl helped me mix this one up before our Southern dinner with friends.


This is a sweet cornbread, which I happen to like. I even added a bit of sugar to make a crust on top, just like our favorite Southern restaurant. The flavors are so, so good. You definitely want to eat this warm/hot.


Honey Hush Cornbread
Dinosaur BBQ

vegetable shortening or butter
1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons honey
sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 inch baking pan with shortening or butter. Put the pan in the oven to heat while you're mixing up the cornbread.

Combine the cornmeal, sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In another medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and melted butter.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir, just until everything is moistened.

Take the hot pan from the oven and pour in the batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove the cornbread from the oven and brush the top with honey and dust with sugar. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan before cutting into squares. Serve warm/hot.

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