Braised Chicken Tacos

I’m in a taco phase right now… Anything I can stuff into a tortilla, I want to devour. Lately I’ve made a multitude of breakfast tacos, fish tacos, and then these braised chicken tacos. If I could eat tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner I would… well, I guess nothing is stopping me from doing that, other than the fact that I want to make every recipe known to man, and that includes recipes that aren’t tacos… but seriously, tacos are the best. Maybe I’ve told you this story, but when I was a kid, my brother Jeremy was not a taco fan. Whereas I would be ecstatic when I heard it was taco night, he would moan and groan and complain about tacos being boring and not filling. He said they were the Mexican equivalent of sandwiches… which I guess he also found boring. Weirdo! Luckily he has now changed his tune, otherwise I might have to disown him.

Onto the tacos… these are so simple, spicy and flavorful. They are a perfect and quick weeknight meal, which as you know are my favorite! Served alongside some rice and beans, you’ll have a complete (and filling) meal that no one should consider boring.

Braised chicken tacos

Braised Chicken Tacos

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

1 large bone-on, skin-on chicken breast (about 1 lb)

1 cup chicken broth

1 12-15 oz can tomato sauce (mine was 15 oz)

2 Tbsp cumin

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp chipotle chile powder

Kosher salt, to taste

12 corn tortillas

For topping:

Cilantro

Scallions, thinly sliced

Radishes, thinly sliced

Avocado slices

Cojita cheese (optional)

Lime wedges

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a heavy pot, preferably a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add onions, jalapenos, and a sprinkle of salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions and jalapenos are browned and have started to soften.  Add chicken broth, and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium.

2. Add the chicken breast to the pot, skin side down. Cook for 5 minutes, so that the fat has a chance to render.

3. Add the tomato sauce, cumin and chili powders and stir to combine. Flip the chicken over, and place the lid on to cover. Reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes, flip chicken over and cook another 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

4. Remove the chicken breast, and shred the meat. Add the shredded meat back to the pot, and throw away the bone and skin. Season with salt to taste.

5. Heat up the tortillas- to heat mine, I place a stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. When heated, add as many tortillas as can fit (my 12-inch skillet can hold 3). When the first side is starting to brown and puff up, I flip and brown the other side.

6. To serve, top the warm tortillas with the braised chicken and sauce, cilantro, radish slices, scallions, avocado, cojita cheese (if using) and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve alongside rice and beans.

Source: heatherchristo.com

Sausage Cacciatore

So Ron’s birthday went wonderfully 🙂 We had these bacon, egg and grilled cheese sandwiches for breakfast, which were really awesome!! For lunch I made chicken quesadillas, and then for dinner Ron requested the three cheese, rosemary and pepperoni pizza, and we ordered some buffalo wings as well. For dessert I made these chocolate chip cookie dough brownies in lieu of cake. He decided all he wanted to do all day was sit on the couch and watch Top Gear, so that’s what he did. I fully support people doing exactly what they want on their birthdays. Want a big party? Awesome! Want to be a super-lazy couch potato? Equally awesome!!

Anyways… this Sausage Cacciatore is a great Monday night meal (unless you are doing Meatless Monday- then it definitely doesn’t qualify). Its pretty easy- saute some sausage and vegetables, cook up some pasta, toss it together, and you’re done! The portion sizes are generous, and the flavors are great! I just love the combination of peppers and mushrooms!!

Sausage Cacciatore

Sausage Cacciatore

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3 links sweet Italian sausage

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, sliced

1 red pepper, sliced

1 green pepper, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced

2 (14-oz) cans diced tomatoes

1 cup beef or chicken stock

1/2 tsp marjoram or oregano

1/4 tsp thyme

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper, to taste

1 tsp sugar

3/4 lb (12 oz) pasta (I used rotini, but you could use any kind of similar shape such as medium shells, or penne)

Parmesan cheese (for topping)

Directions:

1. Place a large skillet over medium heat, add sausage links and brown on all sides. Remove from pan to a cutting board.

2. Add the olive oil to the skillet, and add the onions, peppers, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften. Slice the Italian sausage into 1/4-inch slices, and add back to the skillet. Add the tomatoes (with their juices), stock, herbs, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover the pan, and let simmer 20-30 minutes., until the sausage and vegetables are cooked though, and the flavors have had a chance to meld together.

3. While the sausage mixture is simmering, place a pot of water on the stove to boil, and cook pasta according to package instructions.

4. When the sausage mixture is done, season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix with pasta if desired, or serve over the top. Top with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Source: Lauren’s Latest

Gently Cooked Chicken Breasts with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

Gently Cooked Chicken with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

 

A few years ago, in The New York Times dining section, there was an article all about how to cook chicken breasts in a way that would make them non-boring. Now, I know it’s not the popular opinion, but I actually favor the taste of chicken breast over chicken thighs and legs. I guess I’d have to say I prefer milder meat in general, and so the stronger flavor of dark meat can be off-putting to me sometimes. I was excited about this article, because, while I cook a lot of recipes with chicken breasts, these promised to appeal to even the non-white meat chicken lover. My plan was to try them all (which I have yet to accomplish), and this is the first one I decided to try, and have made several times since. This dish is a winner! It’s pretty simple- just make a flavorful chicken broth, gently cook your chicken in it. Blend together your garlic-chile-ginger sauce. Assemble your dinner with your chicken, veggies, herbs and sauces topping some rice, and you are good to go! The garlic-chile-ginger sauce is fantastic! I love this stuff, and find myself adding more and more to my dish… but beware, eating a lot of it can cause the garlic to radiate from your pores the next day. I may or may not know this from experience. It’s worth it though!

Gently Cooked Chicken with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

Gently Cooked Chicken Breasts with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 oz each)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 5-inch long piece ginger root, peeled

8 large garlic cloves

4 jalapeno peppers

1 quart (4 cups) chicken broth

3 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp dark brown sugar

2 tsp fish sauce

2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice, more to taste

Cooked rice, for serving

Sesame oil, for drizzling

1 bunch roughly chopped basil, for serving

1 bunch roughly chopped cilantro, for serving

1 bunch thinly sliced scallions, for serving

1 European cucumber, thinly sliced, for serving

Directions:

1. Cut each chicken breast in quarters, lengthwise and crosswise. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Take peeled ginger root, and thinly slice about an inch of it. Add to a large pot or dutch oven. Coarsely chop the rest and put into a blender. Thinly slice 2 garlic cloves and add to the pot. Coarsely chop the rest of the garlic, and add to the blender. Thinly slice 2 of the jalapeno peppers, and add to the pot. Halve the remaining jalapenos, remove the seeds, coarsely chop, and add to the blender.

3. Add the chicken broth to the pot with the ginger, garlic and jalapeno and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken pieces, bring back to a simmer, cover the pot, and turn off the heat. Let sit for 10 minutes. Check for doneness, and if not cooked through after sitting for 10 minutes, bring back to a simmer, turn off the heat once more, and let sit for a couple minutes more. When done, transfer to a cutting board and thinly slice. Strain the broth if desired.

4. Add the soy sauce and sugar to a small bowl, and stir together to combine, and to dissolve the sugar.

5. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and 1/4 cup of the broth in which you cooked the chicken, to the blender. Blend until smooth. If necessary, add a little more broth. Taste. and season with salt and more lime juice to taste.

6. To serve: ladle cooked rice into a bowl. Top with the sliced chicken, a few tablespoons of broth, a drizzle of the soy sauce-sugar mixture, and a little bit of sesame oil. Top with desired amounts of herbs, cucumber slices, and scallions. Serve the garlic-chile-ginger sauce on the side, along with more sweet soy sauce and sesame oil if desired.

Source: The New York Times Dining Section, January 2010

Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet

Who is ready for the 4th of July? My plans include going to a cookout at my parent’s house, eating some ribs, celebrating my dad’s birthday (belatedly), and not much else… which is just the way I want it! I do think fireworks can be fun to see, and are really pretty, but I hate fighting the crowds that come with going to a fireworks show. I am just not that into being in large crowds of people. It can be so overwhelming, and then the traffic afterward can be such a nightmare. I’m sure I’ll be able to hear my fair share of fireworks being set off throughout the day, and maybe even be able to see some small displays from my yard. I think that’ll be enough for me this year!

This meal has nothing at all to do with the 4th of July, but you should still make it! I love meals that can be made in just one pot or skillet. Seriously… the less dishes I have to wash, the better. Washing dishes is probably my least favorite chore, and sometimes it seems like they are never ending. I get through one stack of dishes, only to then cook another meal, and have another stack to wash. Maybe someday I’ll be able to get a robot to help me around the kitchen, and clean up my messes. This pasta is worth washing a couple dishes for though. The smoked sausage and spicy tomatoes give it so much flavor, and I love the pop of freshness and color from the baby spinach. Even Ron will eat spinach when it’s mixed into a pasta dish like this 🙂

Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet

Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

12 oz smoked turkey or chicken sausage, sliced

2 large shallots, or 1 small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups chicken broth

10 oz Rotel (or canned tomatoes with green chiles)

1/2 cup half and half

8 oz pasta (rotini, penne, or other similar sized pasta)

4 cups baby spinach

Parmesan cheese, for topping

Directions:

1. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Add sausage and shallots (or onions), and saute for about 5 minutes, just until starting to curl and brown. Add garlic, and saute about 30 seconds.

2. Add chicken broth, Rotel, half and half and pepper. Increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add pasta and stir to combine. Place lid on skillet, and simmer for 10-12 minutes (or more depending on pasta), until pasta is cooked to your liking.  (The mixture may look curdled when you remove the lid, but stir it around a bit and it’ll come together, so don’t worry!!) Add baby spinach, stir to combine, and cook another minute until the spinach is wilted. Top with Parmesan cheese, when serving.

Source: Iowa Girl Eats

Sauteed Cajun Shrimp

Happy happy Friday! I’m always excited for the weekend… I’m especially excited about not having to set my alarm at night, and being able to stay up late and read or watch “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” if I want to… two things that are on my agenda for the weekend. My best friend is also coming over tomorrow for another installation of our Horror D’ouevres, and I’m really excited for that too 🙂 Can you believe that this weekend also signals the end of June? I certainly can’t! This week also brings the 4th of July, and while I don’t have any plans to watch fireworks, I’m still looking forward to the holiday, and a day off of work. As a kid, we always used to go visit my family out in Missouri for a week in the summer, and we were always there for the 4th. The laws there are not as strict regarding fireworks there as there are in Connecticut, and so it was always our tradition to buy a bunch of fireworks, and take turns setting them off in my Grandparent’s backyard. It was so much fun to actually set off our own fireworks, rather than just watch them…. although a good fireworks show can be fun as well.

This recipe comes from one of my favorite series of cookbooks, the Everyday Food series. The magazine (which unfortunately is now defunct), was one of my favorite food magazines, and I am still mourning the loss of it. The recipes were simple, but excellent, and were perfect for quick and delicious weeknight meals, which are the type of meal I am most drawn to, as that is the type of meal I cook most frequently. This meal fits the bill perfectly. Just a few ingredients,  super quick and simple, but still so flavorful, and not boring at all. I used turkey kielbasa in this dish to make it healthier, but I think that andouille sausage (pork, turkey or chicken) would be even tastier, if you can find it.

Sauteed Cajun Shrimp

Sauteed Cajun Shrimp

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 can (14.5 oz) low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup long-grain white rice

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 red bell peppers, ribs and seeds removed, sliced lengthwise into thin strips

8 oz precooked andouille or kielbasa sausage (I used turkey kielbasa), halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced crosswise

1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Directions:

1. Heat 1 1/2 tsp of oil in a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook about 3-5 minutes, until softened, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken broth, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the rice, season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

2. Meanwhile, place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add remaining 1 1/2 tsp of oil. Add the bell peppers, and cook about 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are crisp-tender. Add the sausage and shrimp, and cook about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp is cooked through, and the sausage is heated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Serve shrimp and sausage mixture over the rice.

Source: Everyday Food: Light

Enchilada Lasagna

Enchilada Lasagna

Are you guys ready for another variation on enchiladas? I know it’s only been a few weeks since I posted an enchilada recipe, but I just love the flavors of enchiladas so much that I never tire of them, and wouldn’t mind making a new variation every week! I’ve actually made this particular variation several times, and like all of the other Alton Brown recipes I’ve tried, it does not disappoint. This is similar in flavor to the red chile enchiladas, containing the chicken, cheese, and red chile sauce (although this one uses chipotles instead of guajillo chiles), but it is a quicker variation as everything is layered, rather than rolled up. I think the traditional rolled enchiladas make for a prettier presentation, but the flavor of these is just as good, and so on those nights where you have a little bit less energy, this is perfect! If you cut this lasagna as soon as you take it out of the oven, you’re slices will be pretty messy, so I suggest waiting for it to cool down a bit so that it slices more neatly. If you can’t wait though, I don’t blame you! It’ll still taste just as good.

Enchilada Lasagna

Enchilada Lasagna

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

For sauce:

2 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded, diced (or 2 canned chipotle chiles, diced)

3 large garlic cloves, minced

2 1/2 tsp chili powder

1 1/2 tsp cumin

2 cups chicken broth

3 cups tomato sauce

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

For filling:

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced

1 1/2 cups onion, diced

Pinch kosher salt

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 tsp dried oregano

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas (Cut 3 of them in half)

3 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese

Nonstick cooking spray

Directions:

1. To make sauce: combine the chipotle chiles, garlic, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add vegetable oil. Add chicken, and saute for 7-9 minutes, until cooked through. Remove chicken to a dish, and add onion and a pinch of salt to the skillet. Lower heat to medium-low and cook for 4-6 minutes until starting to soften. Add the garlic and oregano, and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until the onions are softened. Add the chicken to the onions, and remove from the heat.

4. To assemble: Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spead 1/2-cup sauce in the bottom of the dish. Dip 3 tortillas, and 2 of the halves in the enchilada sauce, and lay in the baking dish to cover the bottom. Add half the chicken mixture in an even layer, and 1 cup of the cheese. Repeat with next 4 tortillas (3 whole and 1 cut in half) dipped in sauce, remaining chicken, and 1 cup of cheese. Top with remaining tortillas dipped in sauce. Pour remaining sauce over the top, and top with remaining cheese.

4. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, and bake for 10 more minutes, until cheese and sauce are bubbling.

Source: Alton Brown

Gulf Coast-Style White Rice Pilaf

Gulf Coast-Style White Rice Pilaf

I served this rice pilaf on the side of the red chile enchiladas and it went perfectly. Usually I just cook rice very plainly because it is something I don’t have to follow a recipe for and  sometimes I really like simplicity, but I wanted something more exciting to go alongside the enchiladas. This was still a very simple recipe with just a few more steps than basic white rice, but it was so much more flavorful. I loved the garlickyness of it as garlic is one of my favorite flavors, and while I really love tomato-based Mexican rice, this was a nice alternative to accompany a Mexican-themed meal.

Gulf Coast-Style White Rice Pilaf

Gulf Coast-Style White Rice Pilaf

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

1 1/2 tbsps vegetable or olive oil

1 1/2 cups white rice

1 small white onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1 3/4 cup chicken broth

Salt

3 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped (for garnish)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and put rack in center position.

2. Add oil, rice and onion to a medium oven-proof saucepan, over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the rice turns to a milky-white color. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add chicken broth and 1 tsp salt. Stir to combine, and bring to a boil.

3. Place into the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and add chopped parsley.

Source: Mexican Everyday