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Archive for May, 2009

broiled-salmon-peppercorn-lime-9

Look, no chicken!!!

I don’t make fish as often as I’d like. I usually do my grocery shopping on Saturdays, with meals planned out in my head for the week ahead. With fish, you can’t really buy it on Saturday and have it a few days later – it’s really something you need to buy on the day you want to use it.

This recipe looked way yummier in the Cooking Light magazine – they managed not to burn their pepper-corn lime rub… and I really don’t see how that’s possible after 7 minutes under a broiler!

But even with the blackened rub, this dish was awesome. I served mine with the lime slices like the magazine suggested, and I think that squeezing the lime juice over the fish added the perfect flavor.

Broiled Salmon with Peppercorn-Lime Rub
from Cooking Light, May 2009

4  (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 3/4 inch thick)
Cooking spray
2  teaspoons  grated lime rind
1/2  teaspoon  kosher salt
1/2  teaspoon  cracked black pepper
1  garlic clove, minced
Lime wedges (optional)

1. Preheat broiler.

2. Place fish, skin sides down, on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Combine remaining ingredients except lime wedges; sprinkle over fish. Broil 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.

peppercorn-lime rub

peppercorn-lime rub

"naked" salmon fillet

"naked" salmon fillet

just before broiling

just before broiling

finished salmon

finished salmon

(After 7 minutes under the broiler, my salmon was blackening too much, but not cooked all the way through… so I finished it in a pan over medium heat)

Serve with lime wedges.

serves 4

plated dish

plated dish


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I make a lot of chicken recipes, don’t I? I just loooooove chicken!

And cheese? Don’t even get me started on cheese! I’m addicted to the stuff!

So you can probably imagine my excitement when I saw this recipe in Cooking Light. I had to make it.

I loved this dish. The stuffing is perfect and the reduced sauce is delicious, although you could definitely serve it without the sauce if you don’t have wine or chicken broth available.

Stas wasn’t a huge fan – he just doesn’t like chicken stuffed with anything (which is so weird to me). He did like the sauce though. So maybe if I make this in the future, I’ll only stuff half of them and just serve him a breast with the sauce.

I just really want someone else to make this and get excited about it because I loved it that much 🙂

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Caramelized Leeks, and Thyme
adapted from Cooking Light, May 2009

1 1/2  teaspoons  olive oil
1 1/3  cups  thinly sliced leeks
3/4  teaspoon  salt, divided
1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
3/4  cup  (3 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
1  tablespoon  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1  tablespoon  fat-free milk
1 1/2  teaspoons  chopped fresh thyme
6  (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Cooking spray
1/2  cup  dry white wine
1  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to pan; cook 12 minutes, stirring frequently. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook 2-5 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.

cooking the leeks

cooking the leeks

Combine leek mixture, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cheese, parsley, milk, and thyme in a small bowl, stirring with a fork.

the cheese/leek mixture

the cheese/leek mixture

Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket; stuff 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese mixture into each pocket. Sprinkle chicken evenly with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

cutting pockets in the chicken breasts

cutting pockets in the chicken breasts

Return pan to medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan, smooth side (the top of the breast) down; sauté 5 minutes; turn chicken over. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 10 minutes or until chicken is done.

add chicken to pan

add chicken to pan

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the chicken is done!

Remove chicken from pan; let stand 10 minutes. Add wine to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until reduced by half (about 2 minutes). Add broth, and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 9 minutes). Serve with chicken.

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reducing the sauce

serves 6

I served it with mashed potatoes:

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Stas hates to cook. And he’s a lucky man because he very rarely has to 🙂

Yesterday, I went to the salon to have my hair colored. It was a 1pm appointment that went until 5pm (yes, 4 hours) – so Stas was on his own for lunch. Much to his dismay, there weren’t any hot dogs in the freezer to boil or leftovers to re-heat!

So what did Chef Stas whip up? Take a look…

omlette-1

brains? or an omelette?

omlette-2

the finished (non-folded) omelette

This is how Stas describes his creation:

Chef Stas’ Omelette

5 eggs
some whole milk
butter (“a lot of it”)
salt

1. Crack 5 eggs into a bowl, add milk, and “go crazy” with a hand mixer.
2. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Pour egg mixture in. Cover and cook “until it’s done”.
3. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

serves 1

I wonder what he would’ve cooked if we had no eggs in the fridge 🙂

Stas lived on his own for about 7 years before I moved in… this meant that he cooked for himself for 7 whole years. Who knew?! I’d never guess it judging by the lost puppy-dog look on his face when I ask him to prepare his lunch or dinner…

But I wouldn’t have it any other way – I love cooking for Stas. I make him breakfast whenever I can, I pack his lunch every day, and I have dinner waiting for him every night. I feel that a woman should take care of her man like that – it’s how I was raised and it’s how our kids will be raised.

And as much as I take care of him, I get taken care of in return  (and then some!) I’m a lucky girl!

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one of the chicken breasts plated

I love the May issue of Cooking Light- so many good recipes to try! I made this recipe earlier in the week, one one of our non-gym nights. It took awhile, but it was worth it. The wine added a delicious stew-like flavor, and the little pearl onions were so yummy!

My only gripe is that the carrots were nasty – but I hate carrots, so I’m biased! I only left them in the recipe because I thought they looked nice and spring-like 🙂

The original recipe also called for 12 baby turnips (to be added with the carrots and onions), but I couldn’t find any at the grocery store.

Braised Chicken with Baby Vegetables and Peas
adapted from Cooking Light, May 2009

2  tablespoons  butter, divided
2  bone-in chicken breast halves, skinned
2  bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
2  chicken drumsticks, skinned
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
2  (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1  cup  dry white wine
1/2  teaspoon  chopped fresh thyme
12  baby carrots, peeled (about 8 ounces)
12  pearl onions, peeled (about 8 ounces)
6  fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
2  bay leaves
2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
3/4  cup  fresh green peas
2  tablespoons  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; sauté 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan.

browning the chicken

browning the chicken

Add broth to pan; cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add wine and next 6 ingredients (through bay leaves); stir. Add chicken to pan, nestling into vegetable mixture; bring to a boil.

after adding the liquids

after adding the liquids

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until chicken is done. Discard bay leaves and parsley sprigs. Remove chicken and vegetables from the pan.

Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour cooking liquid into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top).

letting the fat rise to the top

letting the fat rise to the top

(Watch out… this next part is a little tricky and semi-messy!) Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings back into pan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Return liquid to pan. Bring liquid to a boil; cook until reduced to 1 1/2 cups (about 5 minutes).

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet. Add flour, stirring until smooth. Add flour mixture to cooking liquid; cook 2 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Return chicken and vegetable mixture to pan; stir in peas. Cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Garnish with chopped parsley (I forgot to garnish mine!!)

serves 4

finished!

finished!

a close-up of the finished product

a close-up of the finished product

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one of the chicken breasts plated

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Let me just start by saying that this recipe is so good! I usually don’t try to make Chinese food on my own – mostly because I never want to buy the long list of strange ingredients (fish sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, etc.). I mean, when else will I use stuff like that?! It’ll just sit in my fridge for months until it goes bad and I throw it out.

I decided to make this one because it only called for 1 ‘strange’ ingredient – oyster sauce. And that oyster sauce was pretty cheap at Market Basket 🙂

Also, the recipe was in the ‘Dinner Tonight’ section of this month’s Cooking Light – meaning that it’s quick and easy. Cooking Light says that it should only take 30 minutes to make.

I’d say the most time-consuming part of this recipe is preparing the ingredients (measuring sauces, chopping vegetables). This is a recipe where practicing ‘mise en place‘ is key; lay everything out on the counter, chop and set aside the vegetables… and then you’ll be good to go and the recipe will seem ten times easier. You’ll go crazy trying to pull everything out of your cabinets and measure and chop as you go.

I’ve already stated that I loved this recipe, but Stas loved it as well. He works next to Chinatown and used to have Chinese food a lot, so he doesn’t like it much (I’ve since started packing his lunch every day – lucky guy!) . In addition, he’s not a ‘sauce-guy’… but he couldn’t get enough of this sauce. I served it with white rice and he loved the combo of the sauce & white rice.

Chicken and Cashews
adapted from Cooking Light, May 2009

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
2 tablespoons dry sherry
4 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
3/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped unsalted dry-roasted cashews

ingredients - minus the soy sauce (I forgot)

ingredients - minus the soy sauce (I forgot)

1. Combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce, sherry, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, and chicken in a large bowl; toss well to coat. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch, broth, oyster sauce, and honey in a small bowl.

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coating the chicken

2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken mixture to pan; sauté 3 minutes.

cooking the chicken

cooking the chicken

3.Remove chicken from pan. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in pan. Add onion and bell pepper to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 1 minute.

sauteeing the veggies

sauteeing the veggies

4. Return chicken mixture to pan; sauté 1 minute. Stir in broth mixture. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with cashews.

Serves 4

finished dish

finished dish

finished dish - take 2

finished dish - take 2

The original recipe called for 1/2 cup chopped celery to be added with the onions & red pepper, but I hate celery so I skipped it.

It also called for sliced green onions to be added with the cashews, but the grocery store didn’t have any!

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