Teriyaki Chicken Wings

I spent a wonderful weekend visiting my daughter in Naples….Florida that is, not Italy, but just as nice cuz it was more about being with her than anything else!  Yes, I miss my little girl, now the big girl so busy with her life that a few days of being with her are much cherished!  When I arrived, she had it planned that Friday night dinner was to be chicken wings and a salad!

 Now there are lots of recipes for chicken wings and I’m not boasting the winning chicken wing recipe but rather a very easy method that is versatile and great tasting.  We used a teriyaki sauce on the wings; per her request as she doesn’t like spicy food.  But any favorite sauce can be used to coat these wings and I have served them in a variety of sauces from mild to spicy and from Asian to Caribbean!  The traditional Buffalo Wing sauce is basically cayenne hot sauce and butter…yum!

 We made a green bean salad, her request as well, combining lightly steamed fresh green beans, chopped hard-boiled eggs, diced tomato and garbanzo beans with a light vinaigrette and tomato bruschetta.  Sharing this with a bottle of wine, some laughs and Friday night with the girls was fun!  Thank you Gina and Alison!

Teriyaki Chicken Wings

4 lbs of chicken wings, drumette and wing separated or not, your preference and quantity depending on your servings

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Dried seasonings… your choice; oregano, herbs de Provence, cayenne pepper or smoky paprika – adjust seasonings to what type of sauce you plan to use

Olive oil

Teriyaki Sauce, an exceptionally good purchased sauce or make your own (see below)

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cover a large baking sheet with foil and place on a rack.  Combine wings with oil and seasonings and mix well.  Place wings on rack spacing evenly to avoid crowding.  Bake for 45 minutes, turn over and continue to bake and additional 15 minutes.  Immediately place the roasted wings into a large bowl and pour over the sauce.  Gently mix the wings and sauce together and serve hot!

Teriyaki Sauce

1 cup Tamari or Soy Sauce

1/4 cup fresh minced ginger

1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro

8 cloves minced garlic

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup toasted sesame oil

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup lime juice

1/2 cup lemon juice

Blend all ingredients until well combined.  Source:  Whole Foods Market Cookbook

Chicken with Grapes and Baked Rice

 When I was in my 20’s this was one of my first guest worthy dinners I proudly made many times!  I remember well the woman I worked with that gave me both of these recipes when I was looking to make something other than Italian!   She said it was her favorite easy meal to prepare and she was so right!   I always received so many wonderful compliments on the tenderness of the chicken and the amazing flavor of the rice. 

I lost contact with my coworker a long time ago and also stopped making these two dishes many years back.  To my surprise, I recently heard from some friends that I gave this recipe to that they are still making it to this day!   It brought back many memories of this easy dish of boneless chicken breasts simmered in a mix of white wine and chicken broth.  The presentation with the grapes shows so pretty and gourmet.   

So I decided it was time to bring back the memories of this dinner.  In recalling the ingredients to the rice, the recipe called for one 10.5 oz can French onion soup and one 10.5 oz can beef broth.  Reading the ingredients on the French Onion soup I decided I can easily lightly caramelize some onions and simmer in organic beef broth than deal with all the extras that can of soup threw in!  I suppose it makes it less of an instant dish to put together, but these days I prefer to take a few more steps to eating healthier. 

The results were as I remembered.  The aroma so enticing, the chicken fork tender; the rice just couldn’t be any simpler or tastier!

Chicken with Grapes and Baked Rice

4 boneless chicken breasts, lightly pounded

1 egg lightly beaten

1 cup dried bread crumbs

3 tablespoons parmesan cheese

1- 2 tablespoon herbs de Provence (see below for blend of spices)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

½ cup good white wine

¼ cup chicken broth

¼ cup sliced green onion

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1 bunch grapes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly pound chicken to an even thickness.   Combine bread crumbs, parmesan, herbs, kosher salt and pepper in one plate; beaten egg in another.  Bread chicken first in egg, then in bread crumb mixture. 

Heat a large skillet with olive oil and butter.  Sauté chicken breasts in batches until lightly browned, though not fully cooked.  Place breasts in casserole dish.  Combine white wine and chicken broth and pour over chicken breasts.  The liquid should be halfway to the chicken breasts.  Sprinkle chopped green onions and garlic.  Cover casserole and bake for 45-50 minutes.  Remove foil, add grapes and serve hot.

Herbs de Provence

  • 2 tablespoons dried savory
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons dried fennel seed

In a small mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients together. Store in an air-tight container.  Makes 1 cup.

Baked Rice Casserole

1 cup uncooked brown rice (or white)

1 small onion, finely sliced

1 tablespoon butter for caramelizing the onions

1 tablespoon herbs de Provence

1 28 oz organic, low sodium beef broth

¼ cup butter

1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in medium saucepan.  Add onion and slowly cook until onion is very soft and beginning to caramelize.  Pour in beef broth and herbs and simmer for 15 minutes.  Can be made ahead, cooled and refrigerated. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine uncooked rice, beef broth with sautéed onions and ¼ cup butter in butter casserole.  Place in oven and bake for 45-50 minutes.  Sprinkle on chopped parsley, serve hot.

Lemon Chicken Soup

Sunshine, warmth and yummy goodness are in this bowl of chicken soup.  Avgolemono (av- go- le- ma- no) is a classic Greek soup made with egg yolks and lemon juice quickly whisked into simmering broth.  I use this method in various soups I make to lighten and liven the flavor; as I did in the White Wine Soup previously posted. 

Lemon juice and fresh parsley takes chicken soup to a whole new level of brightness and the yolks gently thicken the broth.  Typically rice would be used in a Greek lemon soup; I chose to add pastina to the soup for its delicate lightness and only used small diced carrots and onions to further brighten the soup.   

 A bowl of this gentle sunny soup definitely cheered up my dreary Monday!

Lemon Chicken Soup

6 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium broth

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper

1 small onion, chopped

3 carrots peeled and chopped

1 bay leaf

¾ cup pastina

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

3 tablespoons freshly squezed lemon juice

3 large egg yolks

 Heat oil in large stock pot.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and saute until lightly browned on both sides.  Remove to a plate.  Lower heat and add onion and carrots, cooking until softened and lightly browned, scraping up bottom from bits of chicken.  Pour in the broth, bay leaf and chicken breasts.  Bring to boil, cover and simmer over low heat until chicken is cooked through about 10 minutes.

Remove chicken to a cutting board and continue simmering soup.  Add in pastina.  Fork shred or cut chicken into bite sized pieces.  Return chicken to pot and reduce to very low.

Whisk the lemon juice and egg yolks together in a small bowl.  Continue whisking constantly while gradually adding 1 cup of the hot soup into the egg mixture.  Whisking quickly will temper the eggs so they do not curdle or scramble in the soup.  Add the lemon/egg mixture into the soup continuing to whisk until soup thickens slightly.  Stir in fresh parsley and adjust to taste with additional salt and pepper.  Remove bay leaf.   Serve at once.  Leftover soup may curdle a bit when reheated, but the taste will remain the same.

Chicken Francese

 This is one of those classic dishes of sauteed chicken cutlets in a sauce. There is Chicken Francese, Chicken Piccata and Chicken Marsala, not to mention or leave out alla Carciofini (with artichokes and one of my favorites!) This dish is homey and comforting, served steaming hot it makes it to the dinner table quickly and easily and comes across as a guest worthy entrée!

I would like my daughter to learn this recipe as it will be a staple, go to dish on any occasion, making her guests feel special and herself very good! Francese really means “in the French way” referring to the way the chicken is cut and seasoned. Francese is served in a light lemon, wine sauce, Piccata is served in a lemon, caper sauce. Both are dipped in flour and egg, lightly sautéed and returned to the pan to simmer in the sauce. Veal and pork can also be substituted; I like to use pork tenderloin sliced and pounded thin as the tenderloin will remain very tender. Fresh chopped parsley brightens up the sauce and adds some color to the dish!
 

Chicken Francese
 
1 lb chicken cutlets, pounded to about ¼ inch thickness
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

½ cup all purpose flour

½ cup chicken broth

¼ cup white wine

2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

Fresh parsley chopped and lemon wedges

Using two plates to create a breading station, beat eggs seasoned with salt and pepper in one plate and flour into other plate. Measure broth, wine and lemon juice in a bowl.

Heat olive oil and butter in large skillet over medium heat. Dip chicken cutlets into flour and then egg mixture and add to pan. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove chicken to plate to keep warm and continue with remaining cutlets.

When all the chicken is done, add the broth mixture to the pan. Bring to boil, scraping up bottom, reduce heat slightly and continue to cook sauce until slightly thicken. Stir in chopped fresh parsley and return chicken to skillet. Turn chicken in sauce to heat up well and serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side.

Sonoma Chicken Salad

When I was doing my personal chef gig, this salad was a favorite for yacht trips, weekend vacationers and in moveable feasts.  I became aware of this salad through its popularity at Whole Foods as one of their classic market dishes.  Once again, it’s using a simple few quality ingredients that makes it so good!

I like to make this chicken salad more in the Fall with the grapes, pecans and the mayo poppy seed based dressing.  Having roasted chicken already made, I can pull this together quite quickly.  While its great on the day its made, the flavors improve the next day which makes it an excellent make-ahead dish.  I like to serve it on a bed of mixed greens with fresh fruit  or in a sandwich or topped on toasted baguette slices or crackers for brunch or lunch dining.

Sonoma Chicken Salad

Adapted from Whole Foods Market

For the Salad:
4 cups roughly chopped cooked, roasted chicken
3/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted
2 cups red seedless grapes, halved or whole
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

For the Dressiing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine chicken, pecans, grapes, celery in a large bowl.  Mix in dressing.  Can be made one day ahead.

For the dressing:  In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Dijon, vinegar, honey, poppy seeds and salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Dressing can be made up to two days prior to mixing the salad.

Tortilla Soup with Roasted Chicken

I have been pretty much roasting chicken every week.  I find that by doing so, I have the makings for a healthy lunch and easy protein for my son to consume.  The smell of roasted chicken in my kitchen is so wonderful.  Like the rotisserie chicken that is so enticing in the grocery store, especially when I run in after work and so hungry!  I can honestly say tho, that I have never bought one.   I would actually feel guilty.  I probably would have more time in my life if I didn’t feel the need to make everything homemade!  Maybe someday…maybe not…

And it really is so very easy.  I prefer to purchase chicken cut up in pieces.  I preheat the oven to 425 degrees, line a large baking sheet with foil and top it with a rack.  The foil is to make clean up easier and the rack is to allow the chicken to crisp up all over.  I spray the rack with nonstick spray and then place the chicken parts on top.  (I cut off excess fat, but leave the skin on.)  I drizzle oil on top and sprinkle on salt, pepper, dried herbs (oregano, thyme), creole spices, really whatever I feel at the moment.  I pop it in the oven for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 375 degrees and continue to roast another 30 minutes.  The chicken comes out juicy, nicely browned and crispy. 

This week, making soup was definitely on my mind and I wanted something a bit more exciting than my traditional chicken soup.  Tortilla  Soup is basically a chicken soup with a lot of flavor from corn, tomatoes and the distant taste of cumin.  It can be made spicy, which my son and I love, but not my daughter.  Toppings like avocado, grated cheddar, crispy baked tortilla strips, sour cream, chopped green onion make it a fun entre allowing everyone to suit their own tastes.

Tortilla Soup

Adapted from Wolfgang Puck, “Pizza, Pasta & More!”

2 ears fresh corn, husks removed
4 or 5 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 small onion, peeled, trimmed and quartered
1 small red pepper or jalapeno, trimmed and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 corn tortillas, cut into 1 inch squares
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 to 3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 quarts chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For Garnish:
2 corn tortillas
1 ripe avocado
1-2 large chicken breast, cooked, boned and skinned
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Using a large knife, carefully cut the kernels off the corn cobs and set aside, reserving the cobs.

Using a food processor, coarsely chop the garlic, onion, pepper and corn kernels.  Reserve.

In a large soup pot, heat the oil.  Add the squares of tortillas and cook over low heat until they are slightly crisp.  Stir in the chopped vegetables and simmer just until the vegetables are coated with the oil.  Do not brown.

Add the tomatoes, the tomato paste and 2 teaspoons of the cumin and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes to maximize the flavor.  Slowly pour in the stock, add the corn cobs and cook over low heat until the soup is reduced by one-third, about 25-30 minutes.

Discard the corn cobs and puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth.  For a smoother consistency, the soup can be passed through a fine strainer.  Return to a clean pot and season with salt pepper and additional cumin to taste.

Prepare the Garnish:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the tortillas into thin strips and arrange on a baking tray.  Bake until the strips are crisp about 10-15 minutes.  Peel and dice the avocado.  Cut the chicken into strips or bite size chunks.

To serve, add the chicken to the soup and ladle into warm soup bowls.  Serve immediately with garnishes for individual topping.

Chicken & Eggplant Cutlets with Caprese Topping

This dish is a medley of tastes and textures; a wonderful mix of warm and cold, healthy and light.  With a minimum of prep work and my favorite method for making cutlets, I can enjoy this easily on a weeknight.  Candles lit, slightly chilled white wine; perfect for end of summer alfresco dining.  It almost sounds romantic; however, this dinner was only for me..but why not treat myself special!!!

Chicken & Eggplant Cutlets with Caprese Topping

4 boneless chicken breats, pounded to even thickness
1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced longwise into 1/2 inch slabs, 4 slices
1 1/2 cups fine breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
2 eggs beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon dried oregano or fresh parsley
Arugula
Vinegrette
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
8 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with foil or use a slipat.  Lightly brush with olive oil.  Creating a breading station, place the beaten eggs and milk in one pie plate and the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper in another.  Begin with the eggplant and dip into the egg and then the breadcrumbs.  Place the eggplant slices on one baking sheet.  Continue with the chicken and place on another baking sheet.  Drizzle lightly olive oil over all the cutlets.  Put both into the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes.  The bottom of the chicken and eggplant should be nicely browned.  Turn the cutlets over and return to oven to finish baking about another 15 minutes.

While the chicken and eggplant cutlets are baking, mix together the tomatoes and mozzarella, a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.  Allow to marry the flavor and set aside until ready to plate. 

To plate the dish, place arugula on each dinner plate.  Drizzle on a little vinaigrette.  Top with one eggplant cutlet and place a chicken cutlet on top of the eggplant.  Spoon on the tomato and mozzarella dividing among the dishes.  Drizzle on additional vinaigrette.  Serve at once.  Serves 4.

Scattered thunderstorms, overcast skies

 

Peering out the window it looks like the perfect day to stay indoors, cuddle up with my puppies and pick out one of my many books awaiting to be read.  I actually look forward to these days.  There are times I long for the cooler weather I left up North.  Hibernating in the kitchen, cooking and baking and filling my home with welcoming smells.  It LOOKS like a chilly day, but I open the door and 85 degrees and humidity snaps me back to reality.  Be that as it may, I close the door and pretend.

I bought 5 lbs of chicken leg quarters yesterday, assuming I would make stock and later figure out a dish to use up the chicken.  So it was very easy this morning to decide on baking a chicken pot pie.  In fact, I made two pies, one for home and one to share!

Chicken Pot Pie can be made as effortlessly as you want.  I prepare my own stock, but you can use store-bought.  I simmer my chicken, but you can use purchased rotissere.  I make my own crust, but refrigerated rolled pie crust is good as well. 

Chicken Pot Pie

Adapted from Whole Foods Market recipe

Pie crust, enough for top and bottom (refrigerated roll crust or homemade)

1/3 cup oil
1/2 medium onion chopped
2 large carrots chopped
1/3 cup flour
2 minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
4 cups cooked boneless chicken, roughly chopped
1/4 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped hearts of palm
3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and carrots and saute until tender, about 3-4 minutes.  Blend in the flour and salt and cook stirring constantly.  Slowly add the milk, chicken stock, minced garlic, herbs, salt and pepper.  Stir constantly until it bubbles and thickens slightly, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the chicken, frozen corn, peas and hearts of palm.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring to combine well.  Set aside.

Prick the bottom and sides of the pie crust with a fork and crimp the edges.  Bake the empty pie shell in the oven for 5-6 minutes, until the dough is very light golden brown.  Remove the crust from the oven and cool for 2 minutes.

Spoon the chicken mixture into the partially baked pie crust.  Brush the crimped edges with water and place the top pie crust over the filling.  Seal and crimp the edges.  With a sharp paring knife, cut 4 slits in the top of the crust.  Brush the top crust with the egg mixture.  Place the pot pie on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.  Serves 6.