Tag Archives: chicken

Easy Roasted Chicken Thighs, New Potatoes & Veggies

30 Jan

With the foodNURDling around, I don’t have a lot of spare time or free hands. A few days ago, however, while he slept blissfully in the early evening I headed into the kitchen to make dinner. It felt so good to be back in there after weeks away from the stove.

I had some chicken thighs, some potatoes, sweet peppers and cherry tomatoes. I didn’t want to make a lot of dishes, so on to a large roasting sheet they were to go. In a large bowl, I made a quick marinade with olive oil, paprika, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and tossed in the chicken and halved new potatoes. In went the potatoes into a hot oven, followed by the chicken and finally the peppers and tomatoes (with just a little salt, pepper and olive oil). Forty-five minutes later I have moist, aromatic chicken, beautifully roasted potatoes that are creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside, and lovely, caramelized vegetables. There was almost no prep work and minimal clean up: perfect!

Serves 2.

Ingredients

4 chicken thighs (skin removed, if you like)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tb extra virgin olive oil
2 tb paprika
1 tb thyme
1 ts salt
1 ts black pepper
1 lb small potatoes, halved
1 sweet pepper, sliced
1 container of cherry tomatoes, scored on the top

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 425F.
2. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, oil, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. Add in the potatoes and chicken and toss to coat.
3. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spread out the potatoes in a single layer on one side. After 15 minutes, add the chicken (skin-side down if you kept it) and stir the potatoes around. Bake 15 minutes.
4. After 20 minutes are up, add the vegetables to the sheet (with their own salt, pepper and olive oil) and flip the chicken over. Bake for another 15 minutes.
5. When the  last timer goes off, remove the sheet from the oven and enjoy!

chicken thighs, potatoes, veg

Lemon Curry Chicken

25 Jun

I have a seriously awesome husband. Since we found out that we’re expecting a little foodNURDling in December my moods and energy have fluctuated a lot and he’s rolled with the punches (metaphorical punches, to be clear…my mood swings aren’t that intense!). I’m often too tired to cook, to clean, to make it past 9:30pm without a nap. So, to thank him for picking up the slack, I headed off to Kensington to pick up some delicious, fresh ingredients for a yummy dinner! This is Tyler Florence’s recipe, as is the mango-basmati rice with which it’s served. This recipe calls for a chicken in 10 pieces: if you go to the butcher, they will be happy to do this for you! You can also get chickens broken down at the grocery store…or you can try it at home yourself.

Ingredients

1 3lb chicken,  cut into 10 pieces
2 c plain yogurt
2 tb curry powder
1 lemon, zest & juice
1 tb sesame oil
salt & pepper

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Rinse and pat chicken dry.
2. Stir together the yogurt, curry powder, lemon zest and juice, sesame oil and salt & pepper in a big bowl.
3. Add the chicken and toss gently with the yogurt marinade.

Prepped & read to go in the oven

4. Place chicken on a baking sheet and roast, basting twice with the remaining marinade as it cooks. (Roughly 45 minutes.)


5. Serve with Mango Basmati Rice.

Crispy-Skinned, Juicy Roast Chicken

15 Apr

I took a friend on her inaugural visit to the St. Lawrence Market the other day and, while there, figured I ought to pick up something for dinner. I didn’t want to do anything too complicated as J and I had plans later that night so I stopped by De Liso’s and grabbed a whole chicken. I had already picked up some herbs and cippolini onions so, after picking up the bird, I was good to go.

I so love roasting chickens and am always on the look out for tricks to make this simple dish even better. I saw someone make one up, carve it in the pan in which it was cooked with carrots, potatoes, onions and celery and then he mixed it all together in the same roasting pan. I thought that was kind of genius as the elements in the pan soak up all the delicious juices released by the bird. Though I didn’t use most of those aromatics, I did have the onions and I also tossed in some garlic. It came out fabulously and I’ll likely be making my chickens this way from now on.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 4lb chicken
2 tb extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt & fresh black pepper
3-4 sprigs each of thyme and rosemary
8-12 cippolini onions
6 garlic cloves

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 500F. Rinse with cold water and thoroughly pat the chicken dry, placing it on top of the onions and four of the garlic cloves in a roasting pan.
2. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and rub over the skin, coating it completely but not heavily. Liberally salt and pepper, including inside the cavity.
3. Place the herbs and the remaining garlic cloves into the cavity.
4. Wrap a little bit of tinfoil around the wing tips so they don’t burn.
5. Place the chicken in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 350F. Cook for roughly 70 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165F. You can also tell if it’s done if the juices run clear.
6. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes once it’s cooked. Carefully carve the chicken in the roasting pan and mix the pieces in with the onions, garlic and juices that have accumulated. (You can also cut the bird on a cutting board and then return the meat to the pan if you’re not comfortable doing it in the pan itself.)
 *Note – the skin should be nice and crispy and you don’t want to lose that by soaking it in the pan juices. Reserve the skin off the breast and leg meat, adding it back when you’ve plated.

Belize 2012 – Day Eight: How to Do Nothing…Perfectly.

1 Apr

Aside from the beautiful scenery, the amazing aquatic adventures and the relaxed atmosphere, the thing that J and I remembered most about Caye Caulker was the pineapple grilled cheese sandwich we had for breakfast at Amor Y Cafe on our first morning there. It sounds a little weird, I’ll grant you that. Let me make the case for it, though: the cheese is mild and a little salty; the pineapple is juicy and sweet; and the bread is light as air, buttered and just toasted enough to get a nice crunch without being overly crisp. The cheese is gooey and when you bite into this gloriously simple sandwich, the cheese oozes out and mixes with the fresh juice from the pineapple slices. It was so good J spent the better part of the following year perfecting the Toronto-made version. (I was more than happy to be the guinea pig for these taste tests and even happier when he figured out the key to recreating it.)

So when we found ourselves back at the caye, we knew we had to head to Amor Y Cafe as soon as we could. They’re only open for breakfast and are busy from the time they open til they close at midday. The service is always friendly, if not always terribly expedient; but, you’re in Caye Caulker. Nothing moves too quickly there anyway. There is a fairly large breakfast selection and you can order any of the sandwiches to go, should you want a snack for later. We chose seats at one of the tables that’s right on the street – a great spot for people watching – and ordered our coffees.

The most important meal of the day.

We did, for just a moment, ponder ordering something aside from the pineapple grilled cheese, but quickly dismissed those thoughts. We put in our orders and soaked up the atmosphere. We recognized a few people from neighbouring businesses that we’d met last year, including the guy who gave us the most epic directions ever. (“I know where you need to go. See those two girls over there? Yeah, turn left at them and then walk til you see some trees…”) Not much later, our highly anticipated meal arrived. I must tell you: it was as good as we remembered. Maybe a tiny bit better.

Grilled cheese heaven.

Did I mention this thing is enormous? It’ll keep you going for a while.

Leisurely breakfast finished, we parked ourselves beach-side with some books and magazines. We were to meet J’s cousin and her friend some time in the early afternoon but had not been able to communicate exactly when. No matter: we sat in a lovely, shady spot between the two water taxi piers and spent a couple of hours doing…nothing. When the scenery looks like this, that’s a perfectly acceptable – and recommended – activity:

When they arrived in the early afternoon, we changed into our bathing suits and headed up to the Split. We spent the rest of the daylight hours watching the parasailers perform their stunts, swimming, drinking from our bucket o’ beers and generally enjoying ourselves immensely. When dinner discussions arose, we suggested heading back to Syd’s. Syd’s, however, was closed on Sundays (ah, travelling in a Catholic country. Gotta remember what day it is or you may find yourself outta luck) so we needed another option. That ended up being the Rainbow Grill, a restaurant with an enormous open-air dining room right over the water. Hard to beat that. I went for the curry chicken; J was feeling the chicken burrito. Both plates were gigantic but as we hadn’t eaten lunch (unless beer counts. And it could.) that was no problem. We polished those suckers off with no problem.

We parted ways after dinner, heading back to our respective hotels. We made plans to meet up around 10am for breakfast and said goodnight. Another fabulous day on a beautiful island with wonderful people.

Ginger-Lime-Honey Chicken

16 Feb

This was one of the first recipes I tried out back when I started cooking more on my own. It makes use of stuff you may well already have in the kitchen: lime, ginger, honey…and chicken. I use chicken thighs, but you can certainly use chicken breasts if you like.

Serves 2.

Ingredients

1 lime
2 tb honey
2 tb fresh ginger, grated
4 chicken thighs
1 tb butter
salt & pepper

Directions

1. Mix together the juice of the lime, ginger and honey in a small bowl.
2. Season the chicken with salt & pepper.
3. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter on medium-high. When it begins to bubble, add the chicken. (Make sure your pan isn’t too crowded.)  Cook 3 minutes/side.
4. Add the mixture to the pan with the chicken. Lower the heat and cover. Cook for 10-12 minutes, turning a couple of times.
5. Remove the chicken from the pan and allow it to rest 10 – 15 minutes. Make sure you scrape up all the caramelized bits from the pan – they’re delicious!

In Search of Smoky Perfection: BBQ in T.O.

6 Sep

Barbeque can be such a contentious matter.  Discussing your favourite spot for ribs or fried chicken among friends can lead to long debates about the merits of a dry rub over a wet, whether cornbread is ruined by the addition of jalapenos or which spot in the city smells the best upon entering. I am by no means a bbq snob: I like it all, so long as it’s cooked well. I do prefer sticky, messy wet ribs over the dry-rubbed product but I certainly don’t turn my nose up at them. I don’t believe that there is only one way to do barbeque and I’m on a mission to try it all at the best places Toronto has to offer.

The first bbq spot I tried out in our fair city was an old standby: Phil’s Original BBQ. This was my first taste of “real” barbeque and I was hooked. I recall the ribs, in particular, were excellent. It has been several years since I’ve been there – in fact, Restaurant Makeover hadn’t even come in yet. What say you, folks? Worth a repeat visit?

Next up was Memphis Smoke House. It’s a little further out of the core, at Yonge & Sheppard, but don’t let that stop you. In discussing this post with the husband the other day, we realized that this was the only joint that we found truly exciting. J had read an article in The Star about this place and how the owners had convinced the chef to relocate from Louisiana to Toronto to cook for them. We were blown away by the richness of the ribs, the delicious beans, the crumbly – but not dry – cornbread and the huge portions. It was clear that this was no ordinary bbq we were eating: this was being made by someone who’ done it for years and years and had just about perfected his craft.  Get a combo platter with Aunt Shirley’s BBQ sauce. We have been back several times and brought many others with us. The ribs, the pulled pork, the fries…everything gets a rave review.

Our next stop was the Cluck, Grunt & Low on Bayview. The less said about that the better. Suffice it to say that we were not surprised to see that it had closed within months of opening. The replacement, Highway 61, has fared much better. The food is pretty good, if not super-outstanding. It is, however, very comfortable and pretty good value for your buck.

Then popped up Stockyards.  I have recommended this place til I turned blue in the face. Their fried chicken is remarkably crispy on the outside, while juicy and tender (and molten-lava-hot) on the inside.  I’m not a huge fan of the carraway-laced coleslaw, though I do like the matchstick-thin cabbage. It’s really a personal taste thing. But let us not forget about the ribs! They are smoked to perfection and come with a tangy sauce that’s just ridiculously delicious. You can only get them three days a week, so go early. I can pretty much guarantee you will go often. It should be noted that there are – MAYBE – 20 seats and they are difficult to get. Either be prepared to wait for a spot or just get the take-out.

Finally on my bbq list? Hardys Hogtown Brasserie. My interest was piqued by a Toronto Life article a few months back that said the owner had built his own smoker out of giant drums. It was to open up just down the street from Stockyards, creating some healthy competition. Finally made it in last Friday, a few weeks after their soft opening. Two advantages Hardys has over Stockyards? It’s an actual restaurant and it’s licensed. The list craft beers on tap is a nice alternative to the standard Keith’s-n-Labatt at most places.

The coca-cola ribs were on special so my fellow diner and I ordered two 1/2 racks. My other companions ordered the regular ribs and the slider trio comprised of one pulled chicken, one pulled pork and one pulled brisket sandwich. We were then informed by our incredibly charming and gracious server that they were out of the regular ribs entirely and only had 2 1/4 racks left of the special. Ooooooookay. Shouldn’t the front of house know when a product runs out?

We changed our orders to the 2 1/4 racks of the special and a trio of sliders to split; J’s ribs were swapped out for a trio. Our onion ring apps arrived and they were dang good, if perhaps a little oily. Our mains arrived…sans the trio to split. Once again, our server had to explain that there was a mix up but that they would be happy to give us any other main on the house. She recommended the brisket sandwich, so we got that and the collard greens. All in all, once all the food had arrived, we had to admit that it was all excellent. The coca-cola ribs were sweet without being cloying; the brisket sandwich was piled high with tender, slathered brisket; the trio was perhaps a bit on the small side but delicious nonetheless. The sides of collard greens, potato salad and coleslaw were all completely devoured: always a good sign. Some work needs to be done on the communication between the kitchen and the front of house, but otherwise this was a great spot for friends to gather, have a couple drinks and nosh on some great barbeque. Is it better than Stockyards? Ask me again in a month when I go back for a comparison dinner.

Still to check out on my list? Barque, which has been getting insane rave reviews from all corners, and Lou Dawg’s. Where else do I need to go, my smokehouse-loving, rib-devouring friends?

Chicken, Mango & Brie Quesadillas

28 Jun

I came across this recipe while surfing the net and knew I had to try it out. I was already planning to do a roast chicken over the weekend, so I knew I’d have some leftovers that I could use. But even if you don’t have any chicken already cooked up, you could just buy a couple of chicken breasts and poach them for 20 minutes or so. Let ’em cool and pull them apart – easy peasy!

Serves 2 hungry people.

Ingredients

4 large tortillas
1/2 cooked chicken, shredded
1 mango, sliced
125g brie, cut into small pieces
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
3 tb picked jalapenos (or fresh – up to you), diced
1/4 c sour cream
zest & juice of 1 lime

 

 

Prepping!

Directions

Lime Dip

1. Heat a non-stick surface to medium-high. (I used my Griddler, but a non-stick pan, sprayed with oil, will work!)
2. Place one tortilla on the heated surface. On half of the tortilla, place 1/4 of the chicken, mango, brie,  jalapeno & cilantro.
3. Fold the tortilla in half over the ingredients. If using a Griddler, lower the top half and press. Leave for 4 minutes. If using  a pan, cook for 2 minutes per side. Repeat process for remaining three tortillas, keeping the cooked quesadillas in a warm oven.
4. Meanwhile, mix together the lime zest, juice & sour cream. Season with a little salt & pepper to taste.
5. When all the quesadillas are ready, cut the halves into quarters and serve with the dip!

 

Finito!

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