Creamy Pesto Chicken

July 8th, 2017

Creamy Pesto Chicken

I hope everyone had a bountiful 4th of July celebration.  We had our usual large family get together at the lake with lots of food and wine and fireworks.  Before getting to this wonderful chicken recipe I would like to share some of the highlights of our fun.

4th of July food

Of course there was lots of food.  Here is a typical meal prepared by many hands including our son and daughter-in-law.

4th of July wine tasting

Our annual wine tasting is always a hit.  The wine is supplied by one of the other Davids in our family.  This year he chose Malbecs for the red wine blind tasting.  Known for their plump dark fruit and smoky flavor, Malbecs offer a good alternative to the more expensive Cabernet Sauvignons.  The 4 top place winners were 2013 Burgess Cellars (Napa Valley), 2013 Rewen Estate (Argentina), 2013 Eighty-Four (Napa Valley) and 2014 La Bete Noire (France).

4th of July Porch

On another rainy afternoon, our blind white wine tasting involved Albariño wines.  Most Albariño wines come from the Atlantic Coast of Spain.  Eric Asimov describes them as consistently pleasant, refreshing and resolutely dry with a citrus flavor.  Our top four were a 2016 Senorio de Sobral (Spain), 2015 Pazo Senorans (Spain), 2016 Eighty-Four (Napa Valley) and a 2015 Valminor (Spain).  The Valminor is a great value at $10.77 a bottle.

4th of July Juice tasting

Of course the kids had their own juice and soda tasting.  There was no consistent winner but one total loser.  That would be guava juice.

4th of July jump

But most of the fun was in the water. We love this special holiday.

 

Creamy Pesti Chicken

But back to this wonderful creamy pesto chicken recipe.  My basil is thriving and Kristen brought me some from her garden.  I used the huge bunch she brought me to make pesto.  This was what we had for dinner last night after everyone had gone home.  We needed something light and this recipe from the blog Diethood was perfect.  You can find the recipe here.

Margarita-Braised Chicken Thighs

June 22nd, 2017

Margarita-Braised Chicken Thighs

We have a weight loss contest going on in our household.  David and one of our New Year’s Eve gang friends, Barbara, have challenged each other to lose 15 pounds.  The first one to do so will get a monetary reward.  They both have been struggling since January 1st with a weigh-in each Monday.  They are both getting close.  It is down to just a few pounds each.  But they have decided to extend the contest to 20 pounds lost.  Needless to say, I have been challenged to put healthy low-fat food on the table.

Margarita-Glazed Chicken Thighs

Cooking Light came to the rescue with this Margarita-Braised Chicken Thighs recipe.  The spiced flour coating made the thighs crispy.  The tequila sauce, onions and tropical fruit added juiciness to the oven braised dish.  It was a real winner.  It was also quick and easy.  I served it with farro and broccolini.

Margarita-Glazed Chicken Thighs

We had this for dinner last night.  It may have done the trick, because David’s weigh-in this morning indicated 4 pounds to go to reach the 20 pound goal.  I hope no one gives Barbara this recipe.

MARGARITA-BRAISED CHICKEN THIGHS ( Cooking Light )

1/2 cup flour
1 Tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cooking Spray
1 cup thinly sliced onion (about 1 medium)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup tropical dried fruit (I used a combination of cranberries and pineapple)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup tequila
1 lime, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Combine first 3 ingredients in a small baking dish.  Sprinkle chicken with salt; dredge chicken in flour mixture.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.  Transfer chicken to a baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Add onion to pan; cook 3 minutes.  Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute.

Combine fruit, juice, and tequila in a microwave-safe dish, and microwave at high 2 minutes.  Pour fruit mixture into pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Cook 1 minute.  Pour onion mixture over chicken; top with lime slices.  Bake at 400 degrees F. for 20 minutes or until chicken is done.  Yield: 4 servings.  350 Calories.

Printable Recipe

Florida Events

March 2nd, 2017

NSB Dinner

We have been very busy in our rental house in New Smyrna Beach.  As it turns out, we have had lots of get togethers with friends and family.  High School friends were here at the same time that we were.  We hosted a dinner for ten before we all headed to town (within walking distance) for music and dancing.  It felt like being in high school again accept for my aching back the next morning.  I planned a very simple dinner for the crowd.  Everything can be done ahead of time, except the rice.  We had my friend Barbara’s Chicken Poppy Seed Casserole, two do ahead salads; Corn, celery and roasted red pepper salad and 3 bean salad, Zatarain’s Caribbean Rice mix, and Ina Garten’s Chocolate Chunk Blondies.

NSB Peanuts

Flagler Avenue is a happening place with numerous restaurants and music venues.

Pizza, vegie and sausage

On another occasion we drove to Sanford to have dinner with David’s Finnish relatives.  It is a long story, but in brief, David’s Mother grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Her parents had immigrated there from Finland.  David had very little contact with the extended family until a few years ago when our friend Ruth brought him together with his cousin Don.  The family now spend time in Florida.  It means a lot to David to have this connection.

We were treated to delicious pizzas cooked on the grill by grill master Jon.  The above pizza has sausage, bacon and roasted vegies.

Pizza, Barbecued ChickenThis is Jon’s speciality pizza.  It is a Barbecued Chicken Pizza with red onions, goat cheese and cilantro. It was fun watching him maneuver the pizzas around with his giant pizza peel.

Finnish FamilyWe enjoyed our evening spending time with wonderful family and friends.

Bread Board 2

 

On another matter, I am happy to say that my friend Penny, of the blog Enjoying the Simple Things, has started an Etsy Shop selling her Artisan made European French Style Bread Boards.  She and her husband are making these beautiful boards and the workmanship and quality are outstanding.  They also sell for a lot less than others I have seen online.  Here is the link to her Etsy Shop.

Also there are links above for the rice and Chocolate Chunk Blondies.  Here is the recipe for the Chicken Poppy Seed Casserole.

BARBARA’S CHICKEN POPPY SEED CASSEROLE

6 Chicken Breasts – Cooked and Cubed
8 oz. Crushed Ritz Crackers
1 1/2 sticks Butter
1 1/2 Tablespoon Poppy Seeds
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
8 oz. Sour Cream

Melt butter and mix with crackers and poppy seeds.  In another bowl, mix soup and sour cream.  Add chicken to this.

Line greased 9×13 inch dish with 1/2 of the cracker mixture.  Pour chicken mixture over and top with remaining crackers.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

Printable Recipe

Chicken Kofta with Pomegranate Rice

February 12th, 2017

Chicken Kofta with Pomegranate Rice

We are now officially Florida residents for the next 6 weeks.  The rental house is small, but the kitchen is updated and very functional.

NSB Kitchen

I am always seeking out new recipes.  From a stack of magazines in the cottage, I found this recipe for Chicken Kofta with Pomegranate Rice in an issue of Real Simple.  When I travel to rental houses, I prefer to bring herbs and spices. The basket you see next to the refrigerator holds all of my favorites from home. These Middle Eastern ground chicken patties call for cumin and cinnamon; a great flavor combination.

Chicken Kofta with Pomagranate Rice

The chicken is served with yellow rice with pomegranate seeds, cooling cucumber slices and a lemon infused yogurt sauce.  We enjoyed this on the backyard patio.  The ocean is just two blocks away.

NSB 1

We love this small beach community.

CHICKEN KOFTA WITH POMEGRANATE RICE ( Real Simple Magazine )

2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 lb. ground chicken
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp.extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
4 cups cooked yellow rice
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup sliced English cucumbers

Stir together the yogurt and salt.  Combine the chicken, cumin, cinnamon, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the yogurt mixture in a medium bow.  Shape into 8 (3-inch long) oval patties.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium.  Cook the patties, turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through, about 12 minutes.

Stir the water and lemon juice into the remaining yogurt mixture.  Toss together the rice and pomegranate seeds.  Sere the patties with rice; top with the yogurt sauce and cucumber.

Printable Recipe

Jamaican Chicken Soup for the Dark Days of Winter

January 6th, 2017

Jamacian Chicken Soup

The weather is frightful.  The skies are grey.  But the light still burns in our homes and on our hearths. We have put away the trappings of the holidays and are hunkering down for the long dark days of Winter. Warming soups and bread fresh from the oven are my preferred ways to fight the winter doldrums. And a great soup to brighten your days is this Jamaican inspired recipe.Jamacian Chicken Soup

With the bright additions of curry and allspice, this chicken, black bean and black-eyed pea soup hits all the right notes.  I added Himalayan red rice to the mix because I had it in my pantry.  I found it while cleaning out dated foodstuff.  Sometimes impulse buys get shoved into corners.   Himalayan Red Rice is grown in Nepal and has a red hued bran.  It is colorful for pilafs.

Jamacian Chicken Stew

We have a snow storm predicted for the mountains this weekend so I am happy to have a pot of soup and homemade Rosemary Olive Oil Bread stashed away.  Cooking is a good way to survive anything nature throws at you.

JAMAICAN CHICKEN SOUP

1 lb. boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup red wine
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen black-eyed peas, thawed
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I used Himalayan Red Rice)

Heat oil in a dutch oven.  Add chicken pieces and saute until browned.  Remove chicken and set aside.  Add onion to casserole and cook until transparent.  Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  Add all of the spices and cook over low heat for about 1 minute.  Add wine and reduce slightly.  Return chicken to casserole and add the remaining ingredients.  Cover pot.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to low and cook for at least 30 minutes.  Garnish with parsley or cilantro if desired.

Printable Recipe

 

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.