Monday, May 30, 2011

Awesome Chicken Salad!

I love salads, not green salads (though I love those too), but the fattening ones made with tuna, chicken, ham etc. It has taken me years to perfect my version of chicken salad, but finally I did it and am now willing to share it with the world. I first found out how awesome this recipe really is when I started making it for events, and then started making it for myself often. I love it that much.

I made this chicken salad last night and added a sprinkling of curry powder, just the kind that you buy in the grocery store and I love the variation! I think for a full recipe, start out with a little if you want to try, like maybe a teaspoon, wait 30 minutes and taste, you may want to add more or keep it as is. The recipe I am sharing will just be the original.

Also, sometimes I am a little lazy, I don't care, but I buy a whole pre-cooked chicken, I actually like the one I get from Market Basket, often times you can find some cold ones reduced in price aww yeah!

With the wet ingredients (mayo and yogurt) start out with what I give you, and if you like it wetter add more, but keep in mind that this salad will be fairly thick, also, I don't measure when I cook so it might be better to start lower and add more later. Remember that you can add more but you can't subtract from it once its mixed in.
Simply Organic Organic Curry Powder ( 1x3 OZ)
1 whole 3 lb chicken, cooked, deboned, shredded
3/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 stalk finely chopped celery
2 tsp onion powder OR a couple grates of fresh onion
1 tsp celery salt
handful of dried cranberries

With your hands, shred the chicken, make sure there are no bones or cartilage (gag), just meat! This part is most important because I don't really like chunky salads for some reason. Next, add in the mayo and yogurt, with a fork mix and mash, the chicken should break down more, almost like a spread. You can add the onion and celery salt in now too, taste to make sure there is enough of both, but really you should let the flavors sit for AT LEAST 30 minutes to allow everything to meld together.

If and ONLY if everything is to your tasting, add in the cranberries and celery and mix in. Its always best to allow the chicken salad to sit a little longer before serving (See how many times I say this?).

Lastly, this is also great as a spread for crackers at parties. YUMMMM.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lick the Plate Clean Chicken Marsala (Seriously, You Will)

If you are looking for an easy recipe that will have your guests literally licking the plates (DAWN!! go to her page if you like shoes) then this is an absolute MUST try.

I really like chicken marsala, but I wanted something a bit creamier that will really stick to the chicken and the pasta. So I decided to add a dollop of mascarpone cheese to the sauce and believe me, you will too once you try it. eek!

This recipe will be for 2, but even if you double it, 2 people will still be licking the plates and pans clean. You can always make extra sauce by adding extra broth, wine etc.

2 boneless chicken breasts, pounded as thin as possible (or you could cut them and pound out)
1/2 cup marsala wine (or madeira or even sherry)
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese but try to use mascarpone)
1 cup chicken stock
Flour for dredging
Salt n pepa
Olive Oil

With your pounded out chicken, sprinkle each piece with salt and pepper and toss it in flour. You don't want it to be heavily coated, just enough to form a crust. In a preheated pan over medium to high heat, heat some olive oil. I use no measurements, maybe a table spoon or you can even use cooking spray, and add your chicken and let them cook thoroughly on each side. Try not to flip them for at LEAST a few minutes, if they are sticking to the pan then they are not yet ready to be flipped. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the pan and set aside on a plate (juices will collect, this is good!)

Next, you'll want to scrape up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan so while its very hot, add the chicken stock and scrape away! Now lower the heat and add the wine, mustard and mascarpone, whisk til all thoroughly melted and incorporated. Add the chicken and juices and allow to simmer for a bit, the sauce should thicken a bit (not gravy thick, but shouldn't be watery either, if it is add a little cornstarch to some water and then add to the sauce).

Serve over pasta or mashed potato! In the pic I have also paired it with sauteed green beans and mushrooms. If you want more of the sauce, which I always do, just add extra broth, you can't really mess this dish up so don't be afraid to try. Want it creamier? Add more mascarpone! Get it?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Heaven on a Yellow Plate

Well, I guess I didn't mean the dessert, turkish delight (YUMMM!!!) but I discovered another Armenian market in Watertown which is pretty awesome. I hate though, that there are so many Armenian markets within a mile radius, why can't I have some by me?

Anyway, there are staples that I always buy when I go to one of these treasure chests: olives, lamejun (Armenian pizza), boregs and other 'pies', muhammara and stuffed grape leaves. Also, if you are in the market for herbs and spices, you can usually get good size bags for cheap.

I was lucky enough to get to go to this new place after work one day this week, since we had to go in that general direction I figured I would stock up on these delicious treats.

In the photo, in the middle are the olives. I LOVEEEEE red olives and I can never find them. A nice size container was like $2.50. To the left and diagonal are the lamb stuffed grape leaves, to the right is hummus, then meat pie, above that is lamejun, to the left s baba ganoush (eggplant dip), and the red stuff next to it...muhammara (spicy red pepper and walnut dip).

Obviously, I didn't make any of these myself, but soon you will have your own recipe for hummus which is super easy, and you can flavor it to your liking. Also, the grape leaves on the vines have not yet matured or even opened, but come June, you can certainly find me picking grape leaves at my mothers house to be stuffed later with yummy meat and rice.

And this my friends is what I call, heaven on a yellow plate.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Grillin' n Chillin'

So, I've been without my laptop for..get this..DAYS and it feels like years. I am back and I am ready to grill! Tonight I wanted something on the grill, and I bought steak tips from the market, pre-marinated. When you work 1100 hours a day, sometimes you just don't have time to remember to marinate your own, and its OK if you don't!

I actually just bought a pack of terryaki steak tips in a vacuum sealed bag for like six smackers. Not bad, it could easily feed 3. So first you need to take each chunk out of the bag, you may be able to cut it into quarters or thirds. I love when they label them as "tips" when really its like half the cow. Anyway, don't bother trimming the fat, unless its a LOT. It will baste the meat and add to the fire....YUM.

Get your veggies ready and cut. Some people cut them way too small, don't do this. If you are cutting a pepper, you should be able to get like 4 or 5 large chunks from it, this way when it cooks it won't burn and shrink. Grilled onion is my favorite!! I don't use a specific kind, but I just happened to have a vidalia which came out lovely and sweet. A large onion can be cut into quarters, but you should be able to get 8 chunks out of it. These two are my "go to's" since I always have them, but other delicious veggies you could use are zucchini, summer squash, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms or even fruit like pineapple or peaches.

So, I've invested a dollar in metal skewers, yes, I paid one dollar for like 6 or so at the christmas tree shoppe. They are great to have on hand, but if you have traditional wooden skewers, feel free to use them. You can soak them first so that the tips don't burn off but I usually skip this part. Now comes the fun part...ASSEMBLY LINE TIME! Start with whatever you like...tonight I started with meat, then onion, then meat, then pepper then meat and so on. It doesn't matter, but they do come out pretty with whichever pattern you choose. You can pour the leftover marinade over the meat and vegetables, no need to waste! Voila, you now have kabobs! (Do you see how we transitioned from skewer to kabob?)

Your grill should be preheating now too. I use gas, so all I can tell you is to put it on medium low, you'll want to cook these slowly so as to avoid burning and drying out. If you like rare, then you can put the heat up higher to sear the outside but get that nice pink inside. Once on the grill, do not keep constantly turning them, just cook maybe 10 mins on 2 sides and they should be done in no time.

I like to serve these with bread, salad, rice (or couscous or quinoa).

What kinds of things do YOU like to grill? Or serve with grilled food?