Monday, October 29, 2012

Week 43 - Crockpot Tuscan Chicken

The Recipe
500g chicken breast - cut into 1" cubes
1 (14oz) can white beans
340g (~1.5 cups) spaghetti sauce
1 bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup water
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper

In a crockpot, layer onion, garlic, carrot and bell pepper on the bottom. Add the chicken on top, beans, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Add spaghetti sauce and water. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or until chicken is tender and cooked.

Serve with pasta or spaghetti.

The Verdict
I think I would have preferred using dark meat - the chicken did get a tad dry.
That's my only complaint though. It was easy to make and tasted lovely - the sauce was delicious :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Week 42: Skillet Chicken

The Recipe
4-5 pieces of chicken (I used 3 drumsticks and 2 breast fillets - dark meat for me, white meat for DH)
3 carrots, cut into bite sized pieces
5 small potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 stalk celery, cut into chunks (I don't like celery, so I used a handful of mushrooms instead)
4 cloves garlic, minced
butter/margarine/oil
2 tsp corn starch
1 cup chicken stock

Hardware: One large ovenproof skillet or two smaller ones (I used 2 smaller ones).

Preheat the oven to 230C. Put the skillet(s) in the oven to preheat too. When the oven is heated and the skillets are hot, do the following:
Remove the skillets from the oven and add a goodly amount of margarine/butter/oil to each. Add minced garlic to each skillet and stir it around in the butter. Put the chicken, skin side down, in one skillet and the veggies in the other. (Note: I think it might be even better to have a mix of chicken and veggies in each)
Put some sort of lid onto the skillet(s) (e.g. pizza pans) and slide them into the oven, still at 230C. Bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, stir the veggies and turn the chicken. Preheating the skillet means that the skin should be golden brown and delicious-looking. Leave the lids off and slide the skillets back into the oven for another 15 minutes.

When the chicken is done, pile the chicken on top of the veggies (doing it in 2 skillets really works because of this step). Combine cornstarch with chicken stock. Put the skillet that held the chicken over high heat. Add the cornstarch/stock. Stir it well, and almost constantly, to get all the good brown bits and garlic off the pan. When the sauce is thickened to your liking, pour it over the chicken and veggies.

The Verdict
I never can get thickening to work, and this was no exception. Ah well, despite the very liquid sauce it was still ABSOLUTELY delicious! Definitely something I'll be making again. I don't make oven-baked chicken much as it tends to dry out on me, but this turned out all kinds of yummy (of course the white meat might have been dry... after all, I didn't try that). Really, you can use any kind of veggies for this - parsnips or pumpkin would go nicely with it too.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Week 41: Smothered Beef Patties

The Recipe
1 pound ground beef
1 bell pepper, cut into strips
1 onion, sliced
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp butter
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Salt, pepper

Form the ground beef into 4 patties. Warm some butter or oil in a skillet and cook the patties until done. Put aside and keep warm.
In the same skillet, add butter and olive oil and let butter melt. Cook onion and bell peppers over medium heat until tender. Add mushrooms, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Heat until mushrooms are hot and cooked through.

Serve with halved baked potatoes.

The Verdict
I am not really all that much into beef patties, but the mushroom-onion mix did add a nice touch. That part I could definitely see myself making again.... but probably as a side to a different main.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Week 40 - Western Glazed Pork Chops

The Recipe
2 pork chops
3/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup salsa
2 tbsp orange marmalade
1/3 cup shredded cheese
Aluminum foil wrap

Preheat oven to 200C. Place pork chops in a shallow baking pan lined with foil. Sprinkle with chili powder. In a small bowl, combine salsa and marmalade and spread half of the mixture over the pork chops. Bake for 15 minutes, then spread remaining salsa mixture over pork chops and continue to bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Sprinkle cheese over pork, return to oven and bake for 2 minutes longer or until cheese has melted.

Serve with potatoes and beans.

The Verdict
There's a first for everything, and this was a first for me - making something even I wasn't able to eat. Fortunately I was home alone, so I didn't subject Lars to this as well. The glazing just did NOT taste good. Possibly it might be a hit for somebody fonder of orange marmalade than myself, but as it was, I had to scrape off the glazing before I could eat the meat. Suffice to say this is something I WON'T be making again.