Skillet Lemon Butter Chicken with Spinach & Orzo

at mimi's table half baked harvest skillet lemon butter chicken & orzo

Quick and amazingly delicious, try this spin on one of Tieghan Gerard’s skillet meals One Skillet Lemon Butter Chicken and Orzo. Please visit the link to Tieghan’s recipe to read her post and to ogle her beautiful photographs. Read about her here in “I Love Your Blog.” (In September, Tieghan published her first cookbook which is filled with delicious variations and stunning photos. Yep, I bought a copy!)

In only 45 minutes with simple ingredients, whoever you feed will be delighted with the fresh mix of flavors. I love, love, love the flavor of fresh lemon. It just brightens up a dish whether it’s juice, zest, or cut into slices. And in this recipe, you’ll use the lemon all three ways! Okay, maybe I overcooked the lemons, but they were still delicious.

I followed all Tieghan’s directions but substituted boneless, skinless chicken thighs because we like dark meat. And I added fresh spinach instead of kale because it was marked down at the grocery. Her recipe says it serves six – hmmm – I guess Richard and I are heartier eaters – I would have guessed four. So, I increased the chicken to two pounds.

This is one recipe I had to try. Rich in flavor without being heavy, Skillet Lemon Butter Chicken with Orzo and Spinach is a winner, winner chicken dinner. (I know – cliche, but certainly true!)

AMT Here's a tip iconHere’s a Tip!

Get yourself a garlic press.  I’ve minced and minced. I’ve ruined more than one manicure grading the little fragrant bulbs on a Microplane, which a famous Food Network chef says she uses. Apparently her in-laws like the flavor of garlic, but not the minced little bits they find in her recipes. What is that? Really?

at mimi's table oxo garlic press

Anyway, a garlic press makes life a lot easier. No more cut fingers. Beautiful manicures stay intact. My daughter bought me this OXO for Christmas a few years ago. It’s heavy but easy to grip and does a fabulous job pulverizing garlic the way it should be. Pressed garlic is great to use to make garlic butter spread for, what else? Garlic bread.

Many thanks to Tieghan Gerard for her constant inspiration!

Grab your skillet and let’s get to work!

 

 

Skillet Lemon Butter Chicken with Spinach & Orzo
In only 45 minutes with simple ingredients, whoever you feed will be delighted with the fresh mix of flavors. I love, love, love the flavor of fresh lemon. It just brightens up a dish whether it's juice, zest, or cut into slices. And in this recipe, you'll use the lemon all three ways! Gently adapted from Half-Baked Harvest's One Skillet Lemon Butter Chicken and Orzo.
Author:
Cuisine: American
Recipe type: One-skillet Dinner
Serves: 4-6 servings
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large lemon, sliced with seeds removed
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced, grated, or pressed with a garlic press
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • ⅓ cup white wine
  • 2½ cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 10 oz fresh spinach
  • zest and juice of one lemon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Heat olive oil in large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat
  3. Sprinkle chicken thighs with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  4. When the oil is shimmering, add chicken thighs. Sear on both sides until golden brown, 3-5 minutes per side. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside
  5. Add butter and lemon slices to the skillet. Sear until the lemon is golden on both sides, 1 minute or so. Place cooked lemon slices on top of browned chicken
  6. Add orzo and stir to evenly coat the pasta. Add garlic. Stir and cook until garlic is fragrant, no more than 1 minute
  7. Add white wine to skillet to deglaze. Add chicken broth, spinach, lemon juice. Bring to a boil and stir.
  8. Add the chicken and lemon slices and any juices accumulated on the plate
  9. Transfer skillet to the oven and roast for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  10. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and lemon zest, and serve.

 

Jessica’s Outstanding Roast Turkey

at mimi's table thanksgiving turkey with jessica

I have always prepared the Thanksgiving meal, even if it was cooked at my daughter’s house. Last year, I roasted the turkey at my home and carted it over to Jessica’s house. She prepared the side dishes.

This year, Jessica decided to stuff and roast the bird herself! She and I discussed techniques, but it was all her doing. Could not have been prouder of my girl! She used the same recipes we’ve created for 20 years or more. (Stuffing recipe is 50+ years old.) Hers was a much better turkey than I’ve roasted for a long time. Moist, beautifully browned and juicy.

For your dedication and bravery! For your outstanding skills! For a WONDERFUL BIRD! You are beautiful and bold!

I, your mother, present you with the 2017 Turkey Cup!

at mimi's table turkey cup jessica

Congratulations, my darling. You deserve it!

What were Jessica’s tricks of the trade, you may ask?

She didn’t brine her turkey. (Egads) She bought a lovely 21-pound Butterball, which is self-basting. She used a Martha Stewart concoction of white wine and butter to baste her turkey during the first two hours of roasting.  (3 sticks of butter melted in 1 bottle of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc held warm on the stove burner as the basting continues.) Cheesecloth is drenched in the wine/butter mixture and the cloth is gently placed over the breast and drumsticks during the first two hours of roasting. Then the cheesecloth is removed. And in addition to her roasting – she tented the turkey breast and tops of the legs in between the first two hours to keep the skin from browning too quickly. Genius!

Jessica also put a piece of aluminum foil in the roasting pan underneath the turkey so the bird didn’t flop around during the steady rotation and basting in the pan. GENIUS!

And it was much easier to collect the drippings for making gravy. We ran warm turkey stock over the pan drippings to release the tasty brown bits and added it to the gravy pot.  Phenomenal. GENIUS!

Awesome Thanksgiving meal. I’m looking forward to next year!  Love you!

Easy Chicken and Biscuit Casserole

at mimi's table simple chicken and biscuits casserole

It can’t get easier than this. Use leftover turkey or roasted chicken and transform it
into a creamy, steamy biscuit-topped casserole.

AMT Here's a tip iconWait – It gets easier! I cheated when I prepared this dish. I had some chicken breasts in the freezer and poached them. And then I used frozen peas & carrots, country-style diced frozen hash browns, frozen chopped onions, and a box of commercial biscuit mix for the luscious dumpling-like topping. This is not my normal style, but what the heck. I wasn’t looking forward to chopping a bunch of vegetables this particular day. It was an easy way out. It was so easy in fact that I’m sure I’ll utilize more frozen prepared vegetables in the future, for sure! And it tasted just as good as if I’d made it from scratch, even the biscuits.

I still like to make my own white sauce rather than canned cream soups. My husband and I need to watch our salt intake, and it’s one way I can control the amount I use in a recipe.

  Here we go!

Easy Chicken & Biscuits
Transform leftover chicken or turkey into a creamy, steamy casserole topped with biscuit-like dumpling topping.
Author:
Cuisine: American
Recipe type: Casserole
Serves: 9 servings
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup frozen diced onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 bag frozen peas & carrots
  • 1 cup frozen corn (optional)
  • 2 cups frozen country-style hash browns, diced not shredded
  • 2 cups low-sodium or homemade chicken stock
  • 1 cup half-n-half OR 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups cooked chicken or turkey, shredded or cut into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil (optional)
  • For the biscuits
  • 2½ cups baking mix (I used Kroger's, but you can use Bisquick or Jiffy)
  • 1 cup of cold whole milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. On the stove, melt the olive oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onions and cook until soft. Add minced garlic, stir and cook for one minute.
  4. Add 3 Tablespoons flour. Stir until you can no longer see any white flour. Cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the chicken stock. Whisk until incorporated. Cook until sauce begins to simmer and thickens a bit.
  6. Add milk. Stir and bring back up to a simmer.
  7. Reduce heat to medium. Add peas & carrots and potatoes and stir. Bring back up to a simmer.
  8. Add chicken. Stir until everything is mixed together.
  9. If the sauce is too thick, you can add more chicken stock.
  10. Check for seasoning.
  11. Pour into a 9"x13" rectangular baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
  12. Mix the baking mix and milk together.
  13. Drop by heaping Tablespoons all over the chicken mixture.
  14. Bake in the oven for 35 - 40 minutes or until the biscuits have risen, turned a nice golden brown, and the sauce is bubbling.
  15. Remove from oven to a cooling rack and let the casserole sit for 10 minutes before serving.

 

Chicken Pibil Sandwich with Pickled Onions and Avocado Crema

at mimi's table pati's mexican table chicken pilbil sandwich


Here’s a Thanksgiving leftover tip! Substitute turkey to build these fabulous sandwiches! YUM!!

Star of the Show!
Pickled Red Onions with Jalapeno

Pickling fresh vegetables seems to be all the rage these days. And there’s a good reason. Pickled veggies don’t take a lot of time. The ingredients are cheap and simple. A small sweet and tangy crunchy bite for almost anything. And you can make pickled veggies in small batches.

at mimi's table red pickled onions

It only takes 10 minutes to put everything together. And if you make a large batch, Pati says these delicious pickled onions will last in your refrigerator for two weeks.

Pickled Red Onions
Tangy and sweet pickled red onions add a flavorful crunchy bite to any sandwich, taco, salads. Whatever your little heart desires!
Author:
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 2 cups
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup each grapefruit juice, orange juice, lime juice and white distilled vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher
  • 1 large red onion thinly sliced, about 2 cups
  • 1 jalapeno charred
  • 2 bay leaves
Instructions
  1. Place the grapefruit juice, orange juice, lime juice and vinegar in a mixing bowl along with the black pepper, allspice, and salt. Mix well.
  2. Add the red onions and bay leaves.
  3. Char or broil the banana pepper in the broiler, on the grill, on a hot comal or dry skillet set over medium heat or directly on an open flame, for 3 to 6 minutes. Turn it once or twice, until its skin has lightly charred.
  4. Add to the onions.
  5. Toss well in a canning jar and let the ingredients pickle at room temperature from ½ hour to 2 hours
  6. Put the jar in the refrigerator. Pickled Red Onions will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

 

This Chicken Pibil Sandwich is one of my favorites from Pati’s Mexican Table. Spicy chicken topped with crunchy pickled red onions and slathered with avocado crema is a satisfying bite. It’s a quick sandwich to put together, too.

at mimi's table fall logo 2017
Let’s make a batch!

Chicken Pibil Sandwich with Pickled Onions and Avocado Crema
Nicely seasoned chicken or turkey topped with tangy, sweet pickled red onions and slathered with avocado crema. Quick, easy, and very yummy!
Author:
Cuisine: Mexican
Recipe type: Sandwich
Serves: 4-5 servings
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • ½ pound ripe tomatoes
  • ¼ red onion outer layer removed
  • 3 cloves garlic unpeeled
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ cup white distilled vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons achiote paste chopped (the paste that comes in a bar, not a jar!)
  • 6 cups cooked shredded chicken from homemade broth or rotisserie chicken (may substitute turkey)
  • Soft buns
  • Avocado Crema
  • Pickled Red Onions a la Yucateca
Instructions
  1. Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet or roasting pan with foil. Place the whole tomatoes, onion and unpeeled garlic cloves on the foil and set under the broiler, 3 to 4 inches from the heat. Broil for 4 to 5 minutes, until charred on one side. Flip over and broil for another 4 to 5 minutes, until the skin is blistered and completely charred. The tomatoes should be very soft with the juices beginning to run out. Remove from heat.
  2. Once cool enough to handle, quarter the tomatoes and place in a blender jar along with any juices from the baking sheet. Peel the garlic cloves and add to the blender along with the onion, salt and 1 cup of the chicken broth. Puree until completely smooth.
  3. Heat the oil over medium heat in a casserole or soup pot until hot but not smoking. Pour in the puree and cover partially, as the sauce will sizzle and jump. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and darkens considerably.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the grapefruit juice, orange juice, lime juice, vinegar, oregano, cumin, allspice, pepper, chopped achiote paste, and the remaining cup of chicken broth in the blender and puree until completely smooth.
  5. Stir the puree into the tomato sauce and bring back to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes, then add the shredded chicken. Mix together well and continue to cook, uncovered, until the chicken has absorbed most of the sauce, about 5 minutes. The finished dish should be very moist but not wet or soupy.
  6. To serve, scoop about 1 cup of the chicken pibil onto the bottom half of a bun. Top with avocado crema and a few pickled red onions.
Notes
Read Pati Jinich's recipe at https://patijinich.com/recipe/fast-track-chicken-pibil-sandwich/

Avocado Crema: 2 ripe avocados; ½ cup Mexican crema;1 minced clove garlic;1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice; ½ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.

 

Perfect Buttermilk Fried Chicken

at mimi's table perfect buttermilk fried chicken

Who doesn’t have a love affair with fried chicken?  The Midwestern  super Sunday supper. Piping hot from the fryer.  Crunchy on the outside.  Moist and steamy on the inside. Perfect picnic fare.  Ever go the Indy 500?  They won’t let you in without a bucket and a cooler of cold beer.

I LOVE fried chicken.  When I lived in Billings, I joined a church discussion group. Everyone went around reminiscing their favorite meal.  Montana is beef country, so most folks talked about steak, which I admit is fabulous.  However, when my turn came, I proclaimed “fried chicken.”  “Hmmmmm,” they responded, dreamily remembering their own fried chicken dinner love affairs.

My daughter and son-in-law can’t get enough of the stuff.  So, when I want a favor, I fry up a batch or two. Sometimes I do it just because I love them.  We’ve had fried chicken for Christmas dinner on more than one occasion, for cryin’ out loud.  We’re fried chicken junkies, I admit.  I am a card carrying member of Fried Chicken Anonymous.  at mimis table chicken head icon

As many times as I’ve put a scald on a bird, I’ve used as many different techniques.  I can’t seem to settle on one recipe, except for the dredge which has evolved but remains basically the same over the years.  I know you’re thinking, “What on earth?  It’s flour, salt, and pepper, moron.”  Aha – wait for it.

And I’ve experimented with different frying techniques.  I’ve used a cast iron skillet, voted the numero uno fry in the world, no argument from me.  I’ve tried deep Les Cruset pots, but I can’t keep the oil temperature consistent, which is important.  I have an electric skillet with a thermostat and a lid, but it’s just not quite right.  I’ve used combinations of lard, shortening, canola oil, and peanut oil.  Oven fried without the vat of oil, which really isn’t fried chicken, by the way, but I get why some folks go this route.

Sometimes perfect.  Sometimes not.  I tried until I got it the way I wanted it.  
Today was my day!

at mimis table chicken head iconLet’s Fry!

 

The Proper Frying Vessel

After watching many chefs and cooks do fried chicken in a commercial deep fat fryer, I decided that was the best method for me.  The one I chose came unexpectedly in an Amazon email of daily deals.  The T-fal Ultimate EZ Clean  fryer.  Take a look:

at mimi's table t-fal deep fat fryer perfect buttermilk fried chicken
It’s great and just what I wanted.  The fryer holds 3/4 gallon of oil – more than enough to submerge large pieces. Chicken pieces are bathed in hot grease on all sides at once, which allows for even cooking. See that plastic container underneath? It an oil reservoir. After all the frying is done, flip the switch on the front and the oil is filtered and drains into the container for storage. (Oil must cool for at least 2 hours before draining.) GENIUS!
at mimi's table t-fal deep fat fryer lid perfect buttermilk fried chicken
The thermostat goes up to 374°F.  The lid has a see-through window and a steam vent.
at mimi's table t-fal submerged heating element perfect buttermilk fried chicken
Equipped with a submerged heating element that maintains a proper oil temperature.
at mimi's table t-fal fryer with basket perfect buttermilk fried chicken
Generously sized frying basket with a handle. The basket can be raised and rested on a stop inside the fryer to allow food to drain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The basket, oil reserve, and lid can all be put in the dishwasher.  Cleaning up after a serious fry isn’t the neatest of tasks, but the T-fal Ultimate EZ Clean fryer makes the job less messy.

The Chicken

Normally, I buy whole chickens and dissect them into pieces.  Eight meaty pieces from one bird, ten if you cut the breasts in half.  I learned from my mother, who could take down two chickens in the blink of an eye.  If you’re intimidated by the process or are partial to certain parts, I’d go ahead and buy pieces with skins on them.  This recipe is for two birds and 4-6 more thighs.  Serving lots of little kids?  Substitute drumsticks for the chicken thighs.  I make sure there’s enough for a meal and more leftover for lunch or a picnic or sandwiches.

My Grandma Smith swore by 3 1/2 pound chickens as the only size for frying.  I agree as do others. I’d love to find a fresh fryer less than 5 pounds.  They’re growing hens big these days, and breast pieces are particularly large which means no one is going to go hungry if you cut the breasts in half.  Of course, I don’t do that, because my daughter LOVES large chicken white meat parts.

at mimi's table retro woman4
Here’s a tip!  Don’t throw away the backs, necks and giblets.  Put them in a plastic bag and into the freezer to make chicken stock later.  With chicken, everything has a purpose but the “cluck.”

 

The Brine

AMT Here's a tip iconWhy brine the pieces in buttermilk?  The lactic acid in buttermilk makes the chicken moist and tender. Recipes frequently recommend that pieces are brined overnight, either in buttermilk or salted ice water.  I’ve used both methods.  My mother preferred buttermilk, so that’s my preference, too.

I layer the parts into a large plastic container.  Between each layer, I pour 1/2 cup of buttermilk, and season with salt and pepper.  You could add a squeeze of siracha or a sprinkle of cayenne, too.  Continue the chicken tower inside your container making sure the last layer is buttermilk.  On goes the lid and into the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, so overnight is best.

Drain and Bring to Room Temperature

The next day and 30 minutes before I begin the fry, I remove the pieces from the brine onto a rack over a sheet pan.  First of all, the chicken needs to be brought to room temperature so the cooking oil stays hot and pieces cook evenly.  Secondly, the brine needs to drain from the meat.  You’ll thank me come breading time.

at mimi's table brined chicken pieces draining

The Dredge and The Bath

at mimi's table flour dredge perfect buttermilk fried chicken
Flour, Seasoned Salt, Freshly Ground Black Pepper, and Cinnamon

Prepare the flour dredge.  You know, one of my problems is that cooks use way too small vehicles for egg wash and flour dredge.  We’re left with egg goo and flour goo all over the counter.  A 9″x13″ pan is great.  I like to use a big flat bowl with high sides that gives me lots of room.  I have my mother’s Pyrex bowl, the green one with white flowers.  It has handles and it is perfect.

Into the bowl, add one cup of all-purpose flour for each chicken.  In this recipe, I used
2 1/2 cups of flour, because I had two whole chickens and four thighs.  Add 1 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt for each chicken, so that makes 4 1/2 this time, extra for the chicken thighs. And 1 teaspoonful freshly ground black pepper; 3 teaspoons this time.  

And the SECRET INGREDIENT;  ground cinnamon. Not a lot, maybe 1/3 teaspoon per chicken; 1 teaspoon in all.  Yes, cinnamon.  I’ve read over the years that cinnamon is what’s used in Maryland Chicken.  However it came about, the spice lends a pleasing smell when frying, and some added complexity.  I love using it in fried chicken.

at mimi's table chicken egg wash perfect buttermilk fried chicken
Some legs taking a nice soak.

So, three whole eggs beaten with one cup or so of milk in one of your big bowls.  It doesn’t make a difference what kind of milk you use.  After all, we’re making fried chicken.  This is not a calorie counting meal.  Use 2% or skim milk, but whole milk will do the trick, too.

Breading and Frying

at mimi's table breading time perfect buttermilk fried chicken

One by one, put the pieces into the egg wash to coat.  Lift and drain off excess. And roll in the flour dredge.  Put the pieces on a wire rack over a sheet pan and let the pieces dry off for 10 minutes.

Oil Temperature is Important!

While the chicken pieces are drying, it’s time to heat up the oil:  350°F to 360°F is ideal.  If you don’t have a fryer with a thermostat, use a large dutch oven and a deep fry thermometer.  There’s no shame in using a cast iron skillet, either.  The trick with proper frying is to maintain an even oil temperature.  As soon as you lower pieces into whatever frying vessel, the oil temperature will lower.  

As the pieces begin to fry, the temperature will recover, but you may have to monitor the heat on the stove to make sure it doesn’t drop too low.  Low frying temperatures will cause the pieces to be too greasy. If the temperature is too high, the outside will cook too quickly and the inside will not completely cook or even be raw.  This is why I like my T-fal deep fryer; I don’t have to constantly fiddle to maintain the oil temperature.

The trick with proper frying is to maintain an even oil temperature. (I’ve said that before I know, but it bears repeating.)  As soon as you lower pieces into whatever frying vessel, the oil temperature will lower.  As the pieces begin to fry, the temperature will recover, but you may have to monitor the heat on the stove to make sure it doesn’t drop too low.  

And I use peanut oil because it is known for a high smoke point.  Other options are canola oil, vegetable oil, or solid vegetable shortening.

When you’re ready to put the pieces into the fryer, give them another whirl in the flour dredge.  Shake off the dredge back into the bowl and lower the chicken into the fryer.

Breast pieces take the most time to cook.  Whole ones will take 16-18 minutes.  Thighs 10-12 minutes; drumsticks and wings 8-10 minutes.  If in doubt, use a food thermometer to make sure the inside has reached 165°F.

As the chicken pieces come out of the fryer, drain them on a wire rack over a sheet pan, and keep warm in a 225°F oven until ready to serve.  Draining on paper towels will soften the breading and you want fried chicken crunchy.

Happy, Happy, Happy!

at mimi's table happy happy happy perfect buttermilk fried chicken

What’s happier than a heaping plateful of crunchy, hot, perfectly fried chicken?  At this moment, I can’t think of another thing!

Unless, it’s leftovers!

at mimi's table leftover fried chicken perfect buttermilk fried chicken

Happy Frying!at mimi's table signature 2 fall

 

BAM! Best Veggie Chili

You won’t miss the meat – truly.  Trust your Mimi.

Don’t be skeptical.  Walk on the Wild Side with a heaping bowl of this fabulous and flavorful chili.  Take a look.  How can you resist??  I can’t.

at mimi's table BAM best veggie chili

UH OH! – what is that nestled among all those yummy vegetables?  OK – You may be right – shhhh, it’s ground chicken.  Guess I’m busted, eh?

Truthfully, the day I decided to make this delicious chili, I wasn’t going to shell out $12 for all the portabello mushrooms called for.  BAM! Best Veggie Chili is, essentially, a frugal recipe.  You know? . . . So, I substituted a pound of browned ground chicken at $3.99/pound for some of the portobellos I wasn’t willing to pay for at the grocery.

However, if you find portabellos cheap, I wouldn’t hesitate using them, leaving out the chicken.  I’ve done it before, and it is FABULOUS!  Or substitute cremini mushrooms, which really are baby portobellos and cheaper.  My “meat-lover” husband loves this chili with or without the ground chicken.

I’m not a big zucchini fan, but it goes into the pool with all their veggie friends.  This dish is such a happy one!

What’s to love?

The finished flavor is perfectly balanced.  It’s not spicy hot, but has subtle heat from the serrano chilis, chili powder, and cumin.  What you’d expect in chili.  Use whatever canned beans you enjoy:  pintos, kidney, black, or a can of chili beans.  This day, I used a drained and rinsed can of black beans and a can of regular chili beans with all their liquid.

The sweet crunch from corn is irresistible.  It makes the dish. Do not be tempted to leave it out. I always use frozen corn, but if canned is all you have in the larder, what the heck. And canned petite diced tomatoes.  You can use fresh tomatoes and dice them yourself if you have access to lovely ones and the time to prepare them.  Or a sous chef . . . just sayin’

One serving suggestion is to make some brown rice and scoop 1/4 – 1/2 cup into the bottom of the bowl and ladle the chili over that.  A slab of freshly made cornbread is another good idea.  If you like a little more spice in your bowl, add a shake or two of Tabasco, or use Pepper Monterey Jack cheese as garnish.  Don’t be shy either.  Add a dollop or two of sour cream and diced avocado.  You won’t regret it.

at mimi's table retro woman4

 

This is also an awesome slow cooker dish.  Like any good chili, it’s great the next day and freezes beautifully.

 

Credit for this recipe goes to Emeril Lagasse, renowned chef and restauranteur, thus the title.  Here’s the link on Food Network.  Don’t be intimidated by the plating.  It’s a little foo-foo.  Not very Midwestern, if you know what I mean.  In any regard, this is one great bowl of chili.

at mimi's table signature line fall

 

BAM! Best Veggie Chili
This is an extremely flavorful vegetarian chili with portabello mushrooms as the meat substitute. Don't care for mushrooms? Substitute ground chicken or turkey. This is a fabulous dish that can be made on the stovetop or in a slow cooker.
Cuisine: American
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6-10
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups yellow or sweet onion, diced
  • 1 cup red or yellow bell peppers, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 2-3 serrano peppers, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into small dice
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1½ pounds portobello mushrooms, wiped clean and cubed
  • 1 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 2- 15 oz cans black beans, or pinto beans, or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or water
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped, optional
  • Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Sour cream, optional
  • Diced avocado optional
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion, serrano peppers, and bell peppers. Sautee for 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add garlic, and continue to sautee for 1 minute or until you can smell the garlic.
  3. Add onions, serrano pepper, bell pepper and garlic into a large slow cooker.
  4. Add the next 10 ingredients to the slow cooker. Omit the cilantro. Stir to combine.
  5. Cook on high heat for 3-4 hours or on low heat for 7-10 hours, stirring occasionally.
  6. Just before serving, add the chopped cilantro, if desired.
  7. At serving, sprinkle cheese over hot chili. Add a dollop of sour cream, diced avocado, and serve with a wedge of lime as garnish.
Notes
Cooking Options: Substitute browned ground chicken or turkey in place of some of the portobello mushrooms.
Serving Options: Serve with ¼ to ½ cup of cooked brown rice in the bottom of the bowl, then ladle chili over rice. Serve with hot corn bread.

 

 

Simple Chicken Curry with Sauteed Veggies

Simple Chicken Curry – There’s nothing easier, with a palette changing array of spices. This is served with rice or rice noodles, and an array of sauteed vegetables. Put this in your recipe box for something different, quick, and satisfying.

at mimi's table simple chicken curry

Wow!  I had no idea.  I’ve made this recipe several times, but am always amazed by the taste of a simple curry.  This recipe is not difficult.  It’s easy and quick.  It’s inexpensive.  It has become one of my and my husband’s very favorites.

Bored with the same old chicken dishes, I found this one at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.  An awesome find that widened my culinary palate in a huge way.  What a gift, seriously.

Adding vegetables, simple and traditional or non-traditional, only adds to the nutritional data.  The coconut milk may be a bit of a nutritional reach due to fat content, but what the heck.  Some dishes are worth savoring, and Simple Chicken Curry is certainly one.

This recipe also calls for Asian fish sauce.  You can buy fish sauce at any Asian grocery, or perhaps some forward thinking, amply stocked stores will carry it.  You don’t need much at all, so a bottle will last for a good long time.  It’s cheap.  If you’re running in the Asian cuisine lane, you’ll need eventually to buy fish sauce.  It’s salty and is disgusting smelling, but, trust me, you won’t regret the couple of bucks you spend.

You’ll also need to buy a curry powder.  Now, curry powder is like chili powder or Italian seasoning.  It comes many different ways.  You can make your own, which I desperately wish to attempt, or buy this sweet curry from Penzey’s Spices.  There are other curries available, but this is the friendliest for this dish.

So, let’s look at my fascination with curry at the beginning.  “Adams Rib” starring Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.  A mid-Century movie in black & white, it’s the story of two married-to-each-other attorneys.  One represents the state, the other, the defense.  It’s funny, simple humor with adult relationships – I simply love it, as did my 70’s college friends.  Take a look at the trailer:

In the beginning of the movie, Hepburn & Tracy come home after a long day’s work looking for something quick to make for dinner.  They decide on lamb curry. (Like, who has a cooked leg of lamb in the fridge?  It’s the 50’s OK? Who knows?)  In the clip, it hints at what they’re preparing, but the dish is easily identified when Hepburn cracks a fresh coconut over the kitchen sink dressed in a becoming bathrobe.  Seriously, as a junior high school student, I was wondering what the hell was lamb curry?  What was curry at all?? Although I was well versed in leg of lamb.  Gee, was this an epicurean epiphany?

According to her blog, Mel at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe has a great Asian Indian friend, Sujoo.  It is this woman who, I might say, expanded Mel’s palette, as she has done mine.  Thank you, Mel & Sujoo.

Gosh, this stuff is great.  Yes, I added some unconventional veggies, but it rounded out the meal.  We do have leftovers, and my husband and I fight over who gets the biggest portion. Guess who wins??

Shall we travel together to the land of Asian culinary mystique?  Let’s begin.

at mimi's table Asian dishes  Healthy Appetite!  Mimi

Simple Chicken Curry with Sauteed Veggies
If you've never tried curried recipes before, this is your introduction to the Asian flavor palette. If you're a seasoned expert, Simple Chicken Curry with Veggies won't disappoint. Move over and let a new Asian dish into your recipe box.
Author:
Cuisine: Asian
Recipe type: Main Dishes
Serves: 4 servings
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger, fresh & grated, or frozen & grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder, preferable Penzy's Sweet Curry Powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 can (13.6 ounce) coconut milk. regular fat or low fat
  • ½ tablespoon light brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon fish sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
  • ¼ - ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • Hot, cooked rice or quinoa for serving
Instructions
  1. In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds, until it starts to smell fragrant.
  2. Sprinkle in the curry powder, coriander and cumin. Cook for another 30 seconds, stirring to prevent burning.
  3. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes (it doesn't need to be cooked all the way through quite yet).
  4. Stir in the coconut milk, brown sugar, fish sauce, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. If you would like the sauce a bit thicker, whisk together the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl. Once combined, stir the mixture into the simmering curry. Simmer, stirring constantly, for a minute or so until the sauce thickens a bit.
  6. Stir in the cilantro. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Serve the curry over hot, cooked rice, quinoa or whatever else you might like (or it can be served on its own).
Notes
I'm not sure what vegetables to serve. I opted for microwaved Green Giant frozen Brussel sprouts, and carrots slivered into strips and sauteed in 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter and 1 teaspoon brown sugar.

I did not alter Mel's Kitchen Cafe recipe, except to use whole fat coconut milk. Rather than add cornstarch slurry, I just simmered the dish down for a bit for the desired consistency, which Mel offers as an alternative.

 

Healthier Chicken Broccoli Cheese Casserole

at mimis table healthier chicken broccoli cheese casserole

My husband loves casseroles.  I mean, he’s crazy about them.  He also loves rice.  Lucky for him, I had chicken breasts in the refrigerator, some leftover shredded carrots, cheese, and 1/2 bag of broccoli florets.  I can make rice.  What I didn’t have was sour cream.  I always have sour cream. What was I going to do? Continue reading “Healthier Chicken Broccoli Cheese Casserole”

Chicken Pot Pie with Phyllo Crust

grannie geek, chicken pot pie with phyllo crust

Richard and I love the roasted chickens from Costco.  They’re juicy, fragrant, properly seasoned, and cheap.  I mean, when you can buy a whole roasted chicken for the same price, or cheaper, than a whole raw chicken, there’s no debate.  We buy them often, and use every bit of the chicken, even the drippings in the bottom of the container.  Follow me, and let’s see how the leftovers are magically transformed into a hearty, comforting chicken pot pie!

Pot pies are perfect for a variety of reasons.  First, they’re absolutely delicious; the perfect comfort food.  Second, it’s easier to get picky young eaters to devour dreaded healthy vegetables when they’re smothered in a creamy sauce encased in a baked flaky, buttery crust.  And lastly, it’s a good way to use up leftovers.  I frequently have vegetable odds and ends wrapped in the fridge eager to become part of something fabulous.  Use phyllo dough, puff pastry or your own homemade pastry crust for a crunchy topping.

Continue reading “Chicken Pot Pie with Phyllo Crust”

Turkey Enchiladas in Mole

Yes, we still have turkey.  Uh oh – hope I didn’t make you roll your eyes . . . Yes, another turkey recipe: Turkey Enchiladas in Mole.  Never had mole?   Boy, are you in for a treat!!

grannie geek, turkey enchiladas in mole
Turkey Enchiladas in Mole

I’m crazy for this recipe.  My ex-mother-in-law, who taught me everything I know about Mexican cooking, made these for me when we visited her in Colorado Springs one Christmas. She went all out for dinner, but the real treat was the next day, when she used leftover turkey to make enchiladas.  Oh my, my mouth is watering.

Continue reading “Turkey Enchiladas in Mole”