Chicken with Apples, Pears and Camembert Mashed Potatoes

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Guys, this is a good one. First, whoever thought of putting triple cream cheese in mashed potatoes is a genius. Why I’ve never done this before is really beyond me, since I’ve eaten my weight in Brie many a time. But somehow this is the first time it has crossed my palate, and I’m a happy camper about it.

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Top this mashed potato dreaminess with a really awesome chicken dish, topped with warm pear and apple and you’ve got a killer meal. The fruit adds such a nice warmth and sweetness to the savory in the chicken and potatoes. It’s a Rachael Ray recipe and I’ll definitely be making this again.

TW’s Tips

  • I had some Brie that I substituted for the Camembert — worked great. Really any triple cream cheese will work.
  • Of course the chicken always takes longer to cook than these recipes say. Give it some extra time to make sure it’s cooked through.
  • Serve with a green vegetable — I picked asparagus.

Enjoy!

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Chicken with Apples, Pears and Camembert Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds small yellow-fleshed potatoes, such as yukon gold, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 gala, honey crisp or golden delicious apple, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 bosc pear, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 pinches nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel plus 1 tablespoon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4- 1/3 cup milk or half-and-half
  • 1/3 pound ripe camembert cheese, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 10 – 12 chives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

Directions

In a deep pot, add the potatoes and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, salt the water and cook the potatoes until tender, 15 minutes. Drain.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper; add to the skillet and cook, turning once, until golden, 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate; cover with foil to keep warm.

In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apple, pear and nutmeg; season with salt. Stir in the lemon juice for 3 minutes, then stir in the honey for 1 minute.
Mash the potatoes with the milk and cheese; season with salt and pepper. Slice the chicken breasts on an angle, arrange alongside the potatoes and top with the fruit. In a small bowl, combine the chives, thyme and lemon peel; sprinkle over the chicken and potatoes.

Chicken in an Herb Garden

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This was a really interesting recipe — I’ve never made anything like this dish, and it was really, really excellent. First, you pound out the chicken super thin and roll them up into what are basically raw chicken cigars secured with toothpicks. Then you poach them in white wine vinegar — something I’d never even thought of before. But it gives the chicken a really interesting note of acid. Then, you let the chicken sit overnight in a bath of olive oil and delicious fresh herbs, so the herbs infuse both the oil and the chicken. Pretty creative.

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The chicken is meant to be served at room temp which is important especially given that cold olive oil isn’t very delicious. This would also be a really great dish to eat in hot weather so you don’t have to heat up the kitchen.

TW’s Tips

  • There’s a fine art to pounding the chicken thin enough without making it fall apart at the edges. Layer between sheets of plastic wrap and pound carefully with a meat mallet.
  • Pick your favorite combo of herbs. Highly recommend sage and rosemary.
  • Don’t breathe in the vinegar while it’s cooking — not fun.
  • Crusty bread is the perfect accompaniment so you can sop up all the delicious, infused olive oil.
  • If eating leftovers, take out of the fridge and let sit for about 30 minutes before eating to come to room temp.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (2 lbs) pounded 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, basil, thyme, rosemary, thyme, sage and mint

Directions

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Tightly roll them up lengthwise and secure with toothpicks at 1-inch intervals.

In a large saucepan, combine the vinegar, 3/4 cup of water and a pinch of salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the chicken and cook over low heat until just white throughout, 10 to 
12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a work surface and let cool slightly. Discard the toothpicks. Slice the chicken crosswise into 1-inch-thick rounds.

In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil with the mixed herbs and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken, turning to coat evenly in the herb oil. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature and serve with crusty bread.

Chicken Goulash with Biscuit Dumplings

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Big. Fan.

So I’ve been cooking from Food & Wine’s list of 20 “best recipes” published for its 35-year anniversary, and it does not disappoint. This Chicken Goulash with Biscuit Dumplings is killer. It’s simple and delicious, and has great flavor from the paprika and caraway seeds. And who doesn’t love a biscuit?

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Not to mention the leftovers are amazing. This is one of those dishes I would eat for every meal for a week — it’s that good. And it’s a perfect curl-up-on-the-sofa-it’s-December meal. Because, you know, it is.

TW’s Tips

  • I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of the thighs
  • Make sure you buy the right kind of paprika. The generic kind in your pantry is NOT this kind. Hungarian is spicy and flavorful and truly makes this dish.
  • Don’t worry about cooking the chicken through when you brown it. The purpose is to get a sear on it, and it cooks through when you add it back in.
  • I wasn’t very good at the three-tablespoon guidance on the biscuits when I tried it by eye — try using a 1/4 cup as a guide, but don’t fill it the whole way (1/4 cup = 4 tablespoons)
  • Follow the rules on unsalted butter — I’ve learned the hard way that salted butter can take over a dish

Enjoy!

Chicken Goulash with Biscuit Dumplings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons hot Hungarian paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425°. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust lightly with flour. In a deep ovenproof skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the olive oil. Add the chicken and cook over high heat, turning once, until browned on both sides, 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the 1 1/2 cups of flour with the baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Pulse in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk 1/2 cup of the stock with 1/2 cup of the sour cream and drizzle over the dry ingredients; pulse until a dough forms.

Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet. Stir in the paprika and caraway and cook for 30 seconds. Add the remaining 2 cups of chicken stock and 1/2 cup of sour cream and stir until smooth. Add the thyme and bring to a boil.

Scoop twelve 3-tablespoon-size mounds of biscuit dough over the chicken. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the biscuits are cooked. Turn on the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes, until the biscuits are golden. Serve the goulash in bowls, spooning the biscuits on top.

Grilled Chicken with Corn and Black Bean Salsa

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This is a great summer-y meal I made this week — and it’s super easy too. I’ve revisited my “Simply Delicioso” cookbook by Ingrid Hoffman lately, and this recipe is taken from that. Most of her stuff has a Latin flair and this dish definitely has that, and it’s delicious/delicioso if I don’t say so myself. The chicken is coated in a sweet/spicy rub with brown sugar, cayenne pepper and allspice, and the corn/black bean salsa alongside is awesome and fresh. One of the best things — this is awesome cold and straight out of the fridge, so leftovers are super easy and perfect for a hot day when you don’t want to eat something hot.

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I was a little frustrated I couldn’t find jicama at my grocery store since I’ve definitely seen it there before, so I had to omit that in the salad. It would add a nice crunch I think.

TW’s Tips

  • I had a little issue when I discovered I didn’t have allspice. Oops. Quick Google search revealed I should mix nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. Done. It was pretty clove-y so I’d tone that part down next time.
  • Next time I’d add a bit more heat to the rub with more cayenne.
  • Instead of cutting up plum tomatoes I used cherry tomatoes and halved them.
  • Recommend using fresh corn. I cooked it in the pasta water after that was done cooking since it was already at a boil.
  • Double the salsa recipe like I did and use half of it to make a pasta salad alongside. Just add a bit more lemon juice and olive oil.
  • Serve with a veggie alongside.
  • For leftovers, I just ended up cutting up the chicken and asparagus and threw everything into the pasta salad. Awesome leftovers.

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Ingredients

For the Salsa:

  • 1½ c. fresh or frozen corn kernels (from about 1 ear of corn)
  • Fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 c. peeled and chopped jicama (about 8 oz.)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 2 scallions, light green and white parts only, finely chopped
  • ¼ c. finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Chicken:

  • 1/4 c. light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. ground allspice
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder (or 3 garlic cloves, finely minced)
  • Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves trimmed of excess fat, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1½ c. canola or vegetable oil

Directions

To make the salsa, fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the corn kernels and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until tender. Strain and set aside to cool. Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together in a large bowl. Add the corn, beans, jicama, tomatoes, scallions, parsley, and some salt and pepper. Toss to combine, cover with plastic wrap and set aside or refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

To make the chicken, preheat the grill to high heat. Combine the brown sugar, allspice, garlic powder (or fresh garlic), some salt and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Place 1 chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap and, using a flat meat mallet or rolling pin, pound until it is 1/2-inch thick. Repeat with the other 3 breasts. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and rub them with vegetable oil. Sprinkle both sides with the spice rub and rub it into the meat. Grill the chicken until each side is marked with grill marks and the chicken is cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes total. Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest on a serving platter for 5 minutes. Serve with the salsa.

Rosemary Chicken Breasts, Brown Butter and Balsamic Ravioli, Warm Spinach Salad with Pancetta and Sweet Vinaigrette

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This was a winner! Balsamic vinegar was a theme throughout this Rachael Ray recipe, which was fine with me. The chicken was super flavorful and the fresh ravioli alongside in a simple sauce was the perfect accompaniment. All in all, pretty simple and really delicious.

TW’s Tips

  • Cooking chicken breasts is not my favorite, but these turned out great despite not thinning them out a little with a meat mallet. I turned them several times and got a great sear on the chicken without drying them out.
  • The salad was a little salty so take it easy with the seasoning.
  • Pick a yummy ravioli in the fresh food case–I got a good one from a local Italian shop.
  • Don’t cook the ravioli for long — if anything, undercook, as it will cook more once you mix everything together.

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Ingredients

Chicken

  • 4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast, 6 to 8 ounces each
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, eyeball it, just enough to coat chicken lightly
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 stems rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped, about 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and coarse black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, cracked away from skin with a whack against the flat of your knife

Ravioli

  • 1 package, 12 to 16 ounces, fresh ravioli, any flavor filling
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 handfuls grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, a couple of handfuls

Spinach Salad

  • 6 slices pancetta, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, eyeball it
  • 1 bunch, about 10 ounces flat-leaf spinach
  • Salt and pepper

Directions
Coat chicken in balsamic vinegar, then olive oil. Season chicken with rosemary, salt and pepper and let stand 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for ravioli. Salt water and drop ravioli in water. Cook 8 minutes or until raviolis expand, float to top of water, and are al dente.

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken breasts and cracked garlic to the pan. Cook chicken 12 minutes, or until juices run clear, turning occasionally. The balsamic vinegar will produce a deep brown, sweet finish on the chicken as it cooks.

When the chicken is 2 or 3 minutes away from done, heat a second skillet over medium low to medium heat. To the second skillet, add butter to the pan and let it begin to brown.

Remove chicken from the first skillet and transfer to a warm platter. In a skillet over medium high heat and add the pancetta. Brown the pancetta bits, about 2 or 3 minutes, then transfer to paper towels to drain and return pan to heat, reducing heat to medium. Add oil and shallots to the pan and let the shallots saute 2 minutes.

When the butter for the ravioli has browned, add cooked ravioli to the pan and turn in butter to heat through. Add balsamic vinegar to the ravioli and cook a minute or 2 longer to reduce the vinegar and glaze the ravioli. The vinegar will become thick and syrup like. Add cheese, parsley, salt and pepper to the pasta and remove the pan from the heat.

To the sauteed shallots for the spinach salad, add sugar and cook sugar with shallots 1 minute. Add vinegar to the pan, scraping up pan drippings. Add spinach to the dressing and turn to wilt and coat it evenly in sweet vinaigrette. Add crisp pancetta to the salad.

Serve chicken along side ravioli and spinach salad, all on the same dinner plate.

 

Italian Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups

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With the summer-like weather in New York today, this is the perfect recipe for the moment. If you need something to eat and you don’t want to heat up your kitchen — bingo. This is delicious and satisfying–it’s an awesome pasta salad with meat plus crunch from almonds and salty capers, all in a lettuce bowl. I love that the recipe calls for red and yellow pepper — I’m a huge fan of these over green. You get great flavor but it’s sweeter and less harsh than green peppers. This is a perfect meal for a picnic in the park or to take to the beach. Cool and refreshing!

TW’s Tips

  • If you don’t feel like dirtying a blender, put the dressing in a Tupperware and shake it up to blend it.
  • Per above, don’t substitute green peppers. Worth it to pay a bit extra for the yellow, orange or red variety.
  • I cut the Parmesan into thick slices versus grating it, for more flavor.

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked chicken, shredded by hand (top tip: use a rotisserie chicken for ease and flavor!)
  • 1/2 slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 lb farfalle pasta, freshly cooked
  • 1/2 cup (about 1 pepper) red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup (about 1 pepper) yellow pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups Red Wine Vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • 12 butter lettuce or belgian endive leaves, washed (about 2 heads)
  • Shaved parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Directions

Cook pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain, set aside, and allow to cool. In a large mixing bowl, toss together chicken, almonds, peppers, onion, parsley, and capers. Stir in pasta and enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate salad until you are ready to serve. Then, place 1 lettuce cup on a small plate and fill with chicken salad. Drizzle with additional vinaigrette, if desired, garnish with shaved parmesan, and serve.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil

Directions

Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. Gradually add the oil while blending and blend until emulsified. Be sure to stir the mixture prior to using!

Chicken and Coconut Paella

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It sounds a little weird, yes. But this is one of the rare favorites I keep coming back to. Staying on my Tyler Florence kick: Chicken and Coconut Paella. What’s great about this dish: one pot to wash. Rice that’s a little crispy and crunchy and caramelized. Great Thai flavors from coconut milk and mint and coriander (freshly ground, makes a difference). Lemony watercress/pea salad on the side. Prep beforehand and bake it while you’re entertaining guests. Done!

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TW’s Tips

  • I honest to God could not find a package of bone-in chicken thighs at the grocery store (and they had literally every other option for chicken in America), so I bought two combo packets of leg/thigh and a couple of breasts and called it a day. Worked just fine, i.e., don’t obsess about the chicken part.
  • Use coriander seeds instead of ground coriander if you can. It’s fresher and better. Compare it to ground pepper and freshly ground pepper. I make my case.
  • I find that this needs a bit more liquid than the recipe calls for. I added an extra cup or so of coconut milk, and it could take even more.
  • I looooove mint in this dish, but if you’re not a big fan, try flat leaf parsley instead.

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Chicken and Coconut Paella

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely minced
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (TW: add extra)

Pea Salad

  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed in a colander under cool water
  • Small handful of fresh mint leaves
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Mint leaves, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400F. Coarsely crack the coriander seeds. Season the thighs well with salt and pepper and sprinkle all over with the cracked coriander. Heat a 3-count of olive oil in a large, deep, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Lay the chicken thighs in the pan, skin side down, and give them a good sear for 3 to 4 minutes to develop a nice crust. Turn and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on the other side to brown the meat. Take the chicken out of the pan.

Hit the pan with another tablespoon of olive oil and turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion, ginger, and bay leaf and cook, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion is soft but not brown. Now you’ve got all this great flavor going on in the bottom of the pan –chicken drippings, ginger, onion, and bay. Add the rice and season with salt and pepper. Stir for a minute of two until the grains are well coated with the oil. Stir in the lemon zest. Now add the broth and coconut milk and bring that to a simmer. Tuck in the chicken thighs, put the whole thing in the oven, and bake, uncovered, until the rice is tender and bound by a creamy sauce and the chicken is entirely cooked through, about 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.

When the chicken is done, put the peas, mint, and watercress into a bowl. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper and give it a good toss. Taste for seasoning. To serve, take a big spoon and scoop out some rice and chicken onto each of 4 plates. Garnish each plate with the pea salad.

Chicken and Egg Soup with Orzo, Spinach and Dill

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It’s getting to be soup weather in New York — complete with a rainy Nor’easter. This soup has some nice bright flavors from the lemon and dill, and it cooks up in 30 minutes — the perfect comfort food on a chilly night. I’ve never made soup with egg in it before — it adds a nice creaminess without cream or milk — just make sure you whip it thoroughly before stirring it in. Quick, easy and the leftovers are delish!

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TW’s Tips

  • The recipe calls for pastina, which you could probably find at a specialty Italian grocer. I opted for orzo, but you could also use Israeli couscous or any small pasta.
  • I used shredded roasted chicken and threw it in at the end to heat through, instead of putting the whole chicken on the bone in the pot.
  • Serve with pita or flat bread.

Chicken and Egg Soup with Orzo, Spinach and Dill

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 (2 1/2-to-3-pound) rotisserie chicken (on the bone)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup pastina (small pasta) or orzo
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups baby spinach or other baby greens
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • Crumbled feta cheese, for garnish (optional)

Directions
Heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot over high heat. Add the onion, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken, the broth, 4 cups water and the juice of 1 lemon; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, add the pastina/orzo and simmer until the pasta is cooked and the soup thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken; when cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the bone and shred into bite-size pieces.

Remove the soup from the heat. Whisk the juice of the remaining lemon with the whole eggs and yolks in a medium bowl until frothy. Gradually whisk a ladleful of the hot soup into the egg mixture, then stir the warm egg mixture into the soup and return to medium-low heat. Cook until creamy, about 1 minute. Stir in the shredded chicken, spinach and dill, and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls; garnish with feta, if desired.

Roasted Chicken With Moroccan Spices, Cheesy Orzo and Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots and Walnuts

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If you’re craving a home-cooked meal, this one will hit the spot. It’s homey and comforting, but with an interesting twist — Moroccan spices on the chicken, with a little sweetness and a little spice, classic green beans but with shallots and walnuts to dress it up, and the orzo is pasta transformed into pure homey, cheesy goodness.

The chicken and green beans are recipes courtesy of Tyler Florence, and the orzo is Rachael Ray. This delicious orzo is a recipe I’ve been coming back to again and again. And if you know how I cook, that’s unusual. I love trying new recipes, so it’s not often that I’ll choose to revisit something I’ve tried. But this orzo is just too good. It’s easy, quick and the end result is creamy and delicious — with great garlic and onion flavor and the tanginess of fresh Parmigiano. I admit this is best fresh off the stove, but it doesn’t stop me from eating the leftovers, either. It’s the perfect go-to side for whatever meal you’re cooking.

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The green beans are pretty amazing too. They’re fresh and crisp, with some acidity from the lemon juice, great savory flavor from the mild shallots and crunchy nuttiness from the walnuts. Plus the finish of the fresh parsley…this is one of those vegetable dishes I could eat for a main course. It’s that good.

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And don’t forget the chicken. I love a great roasted chicken — it makes your house smell delicious, it’s warm and comforting, and the leftovers are fantastic. This one uses some great spices and you will love it.

TW’s Tips

  • Make sure you have a coffee or spice grinder for the chicken spices — otherwise, use already ground spices. It won’t be as potent and flavorful, but grinding spices otherwise is impossible.
  • Eat the chicken skin. Trust me.
  • Don’t overcook the beans. Test them with a sharp knife or fork and keep them nice and crisp.

Roasted Chicken With Moroccan Spices

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, about 3-4 pounds
  • 1 cinnamon stick, chopped in pieces
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse chicken with cool water, inside and out – then pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the cinnamon stick, cloves, cayenne, cumin, fennel, coriander and paprika in a dry skillet over low heat and toast for a minute – just to release the fragrant oils – shake pan so spices don’t scorch. In a clean coffee grinder, grind the toasted spices together with the sea salt and brown sugar.

Massage the chicken skin with the spice rub, making sure you don’t miss any spots.
Season the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Stuff the lemon halves, cilantro and garlic into the cavity of the chicken. Place the chicken into a roasting pan, fitted with a rack, and fold the wing tips under the chicken and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Drizzle oil all over chicken. If you have the time, let the chicken sit for 30 minutes to really let the flavors meld into the chicken.

Roast the chicken for one hour, then check with an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh – if it reads 160 degrees F, then it’s done! Take the chicken out of the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before carving – so the juices can settle back into the meat. Squeeze the lemon halves that have cooked inside the chicken over the meat for added wow.

Cheesy Orzo

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cans (14 ounces) chicken or vegetable broth or stock
  • 2 cups orzo pasta (enriched rice may be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano or Romano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat a 8 inch pot with a tight fitting cover over moderate heat. Add oil, onion and garlic and saute for 2 or 3 minutes. Add broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in orzo and return broth to a boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until liquid is absorbed and pasta tender. Remove lid and stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. You favorite fresh herbs may also be stirred into the orzo or rice to strengthen the flavor even more.

Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots and Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 1 pound green beans — trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots — sliced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 dash sea salt
  • 1 dash freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley — chopped

Directions

Bring a pot of water to boil, blanch the green beans for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Put a skillet over medium heat and add oil. Saute shallots for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften and get some color. Add the walnuts and cook for 3 more minutes, tossing frequently.

Add the green beans, season with salt and pepper. Toss together and add lemon juice and parsley.

Chicken and Mushroom Reuben

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I am a HUGE sandwich fan. I love sandwiches. I’ll eat them at any meal — breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s a delicious meal between two pieces of bread — the possibilities are endless! This sandwich is pretty cool — it’s a spin on a reuben that uses chicken and mushrooms instead of the traditional corned beef filling. (It’s a Rachael Ray recipe.) The traditional Thousand Island dressing is homemade and ratcheted up with some fresh dill and parsley, and my favorite part is the portobellos cooked with sage until they’re dark and fragrant. But really, everything about this sandwich is good. It uses an unusual bread, which I love. The sauerkraut mixed with onion is awesome. And the gruyere melted on top — yum. There are so many flavors going on! Kim and I ate this for a girls TV night, and we just wanted to keep eating and eating even though we were stuffed. Now that’s a sign of a successful meal.

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TW’s Tips

  • I used jarred sauerkraut, but they also make it in little refrigerated packets if you can find them. Be prepared, it doesn’t smell good, but once you cook it, it’s delish.
  • I used a good Gruyere and it adds a little something that deli Swiss just doesn’t achieve.
  • The mushroom mixture doesn’t make a ton — I would add another 1/4-1/2 pound of mushrooms based on how my portions turned out. I had a ton of chicken and sauerkraut and not a lot of shrooms.
  • This definitely makes more than four sandwiches. I’d say at least 6-8 (if you increase the mushrooms).
  • I was also craving salt and vinegar chips with this one, in addition to the pickles.

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Chicken and Mushroom Reuben

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), divided
  • 1/2 pound baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 package sauerkraut (1 pound), rinsed and drained
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved (6 ounces each half)
  • McCormick brand Montreal Steak Seasoning or other grill seasoning blend
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons dill relish
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped, or1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 8 slices marble rye, rye, or pumpernickel bread
  • 8 slices Gruyère cheese or deli Swiss cheese
  • 4 large deli pickles
  • 1 bunch radishes, halved and salted

Directions

In a small skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat, add the mushrooms and raise the heat a bit. Cook the mushrooms for 8-10 minutes, until tender and dark. Add the sage midway through the cooking time. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper after they’re dark and tender, as salt slows the browning by drawing out liquids.

Meanwhile, in a second small skillet over medium heat, melt another tablespoon of butter. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook until tender, 10-12 minutes. Stir in the sauerkraut, warm through and turn off the heat.

While the onion cooks, heat a cast iron pan or griddle to medium-high heat. Season the chicken liberally with Montreal Steak Seasoning. Add the EVOO to the pan or griddle and cook the chicken, turning once, for 12 minutes, or until done. Remove from the heat and wipe down the skillet or griddle and lower the heat to medium-low. Slice the chicken into thin slices on an angle.

While the chicken cooks, stir the sour cream, relish and ketchup together in a small bowl and season with the fresh herbs.

Lightly butter one side of the slices of bread with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Build the sandwiches with buttered sides facing out, in this order: dressing, cheese, mushrooms, sliced chicken, sauerkraut with onions, cheese and ending with the dressing to set in place. Grill the sandwiches for about 3 minutes on each side. Serve with the pickles and salted radishes.