Easy Chicken Dinner

chicken.jpgIt is warm outside and the sun is shining and I really don’t want to be in the kitchen, so an easy quick dinner it is!  I recently picked up the new America’s Test Kitchen’s “Simple” and adapted one of the recipes to my liking.  The recipe was Chicken with Tomato Salsa.

For the salsa:

Cut a cup or so of cherry tomatoes into quarters

Add 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of good olive oil

Sliced basil to taste

Salt & Pepper and maybe a little red pepper if you want more of a kick to it

I added half an avocado (cut into 1/4″ pieces)

Mix together and put aside.

For the chicken:

I used two chicken breasts and cut them in half, so they would be thinner and cook faster. Dipped them in two stirred eggs (but one might work), dipped them in a mixture of gluten-free panko and parmesan and quickly sauteed (about 2 minutes per side) in olive oil.

*Here is a tip: 

When using olive oil, always heat the pan before you add the olive oil.  But with butter melt it in a pan that heats as the butter melts.  

Serve on a nice platter with the extra basil for decoration!  And of course, put the tomato salsa on top.  Delicious, moist and very pretty.

BEETS

This is the easiest way I know to cook beets.  Wash the beets, cut off the greens and a bit of the other end.  Peel, but on a cooking tray (I line with aluminum foil – so I don’t have to scrub it), put a little olive oil (EVOO), salt and pepper and bake for 30 minutes at 425°.

Enjoy this easy and fast (other than the time the beets take to cook) dinner.

 

 

 

Easy Chicken Dinner

Blackberry Pie along with some dang tasty Ribs…

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My husband said he loves Blackberry Pie, so yesterday I tried a sort of new crust and added blackberries to the inside.  I used Vodka in place of half of the water for the pie crust, as it is supposed to make the crust lighter, as it evaporates and your crust will not have a chance of being soggy.

Why this works: We wondered how to make pie dough that is tender, flavorful, and—most important—consistent. Since water bonds with flour to form gluten, too much of it makes a crust tough. But rolling out dry dough is difficult. For a pie dough recipe that baked up tender and flaky and rolled out easily every time, we found a magic ingredient: vodka. Using vodka, which is just 60 percent water, gave us an easy-to-roll crust recipe with less gluten and no alcohol flavor, since the alcohol vaporizes in the oven.

FOOL PROOF PIE CRUST

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, (12 1/2 ounces)
  • teaspoon table salt
  • tablespoons sugar
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • ½ cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
  • ¼ cup vodka, cold
  • ¼ cup cold water

Instructions

FOR ONE 9-INCH DOUBLE-CRUST PIE

NOTE FROM THE TEST KITCHEN Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor—do not substitute extra water. The alcohol is key to our recipe; if you don’t have vodka on hand, you can use another 80 proof liquor. This dough will be moister and more supple than most standard pie doughs and will require more flour to roll out (1/4 cup must be used to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter).
  1. 1. Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

    • 2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

      I roll out between two floured pieces of parchment.  This is a very tender crust, so not one for a beginner.

      Blackberry Pie

      Ingredients

      • 4 cups fresh blackberries
      • 1/2 cup white sugar
      • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
      • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
      • 2 tablespoons milk
      • 1/4 cup white sugar

      Directions

      1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
      2. Combine 3 1/2 cups berries with the sugar and flour. Spoon the mixture into an unbaked pie shell. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup berries on top of the sweetened berries, and cover with the top crust. Seal and crimp the edges, and cut vents in the top crust for steam to escape.
      3. Brush the top crust with milk, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar.
      4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

      Using this recipe, the bottom of my pie was a little too soggy for my taste.  I would put a pizza stone in the oven to reflect more heat on the bottom.  Put it on the rack below the pie.

      … And since I believe in eating dessert first here is the rib information.  I made the sauce and cooked it in a slow cooker.  I mentioned this might be great for The Fourth of July when we invite family and friends, and my sweet husband commented, why don’t you make a second one where you just pour in a bottle of BBQ sauce for my sons.  Moments like this are frustrating.

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      Slow-Cooker Barbecued Sticky Ribs

      Why This Recipe Works

      In order to fit our ribs into the slow cooker for our barbecued sticky ribs recipe, we arranged the full racks of ribs standing up around the perimeter and finally spiraling in towards the center of the slow cooker, pouring the sauce over the top. Because we had left space between the ribs, they cooked evenly, and because the sauce was poured on top of the standing ribs, they slow-basted during cooking, absorbing more of the sauce’s flavors.

      • tablespoons paprika
      • tablespoons packed light brown sugar
      • tablespoon salt
      • tablespoon ground black pepper
      • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
      • pounds baby back ribs, or St. Louis-style spareribs (see note)
      • cups barbecue sauce

      Instructions

      SERVES 4 TO 6

      NOTE FROM THE TEST KITCHEN Authentic baby back ribs weigh about 1 1/2 pounds per rack, while St. Louis-style spareribs weigh about 3 pounds per rack. (Note that commercially packaged “baby back” ribs are often just mislabeled St. Louis-style spareribs.) Both types of ribs, however, will work well here. You can either make your own barbecue sauce, or use your favorite store-bought brand—we like Bull’s Eye Original
      1. 1. Combine the paprika, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a small bowl, then rub the mixture evenly over the ribs. Transfer the ribs to the slow cooker and arrange them standing upright with the meaty side against the interior wall of slow cooker. Pour the barbecue sauce over the ribs. Cover and cook on low until the meat is tender, 4 to 5 hours.

      2. 2. Transfer the ribs to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. Let the cooking liquid settle for 5 minutes, then gently tilt the slow cooker and remove as much fat as possible from the surface using a large spoon. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium sauce-pan. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until the mixture measures 2 cups, 15 to 20 minutes.

      3. 3. Slice the ribs between the bones and toss them with the barbecue sauce. Transfer the ribs to a warmed platter and serve.

      Barbecue Sauce

      From Cook’s Country
      WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:

      Ingredients

    We found that simmering the sauce on the stovetop concentrated the flavors and thickened the sauce. A little Worcestershire sauce provided rich, savory flavor and a combination of chili powder, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce provided just enough heat to register, but not so much that it overwhelmed the other flavors.

    MAKES 3 CUPS

    This recipe was developed using relatively mild Frank’s RedHot hot sauce.

    INGREDIENTS

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1. 1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

      2. Add ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, and hot sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened and reduced to 3 cups, about 30 minutes. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 month.)

Blackberry Pie along with some dang tasty Ribs…