Indian-ish Chicken Breasts

Our first month of participating in the Kitchn’s Cookbook Club was a resounding success! We impressed ourselves by making several things out of September’s selection – Salt Fat Acid Heat. [See: Pasta with Clams & Sausage, Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Cream, and Sausages & Roasted Veggies in Agrodolce] For October, the book selected is Indian (-ish): Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family, by Priya Krishna. I’m super excited about this selection because this is exactly why we joined the cookbook club… this is not a book I probably would’ve picked up on my own. It’s apparently pretty popular though (or tons of people in this city are doing the cookbook club too), because all of the copies are checked out at my local libraries. Henrico County Public Library has NINETEEN holds ahead of me! Luckily, I’m in decent position on the e-book wait list. But until I get a hold of the actual book, we’re going to give some of the recipes from the book that are published on the internet a whirl.

This first choice turned out to be a good one. The marinade is easy to make, though with a one new-to-me ingredient (amchur powder). We loved the flavor and the method of cooking the chicken kept it moist. We made a few adjustments, but didn’t want to experiment too much since we’re not Indian cooking experts by any means!

Indian-ish Chicken Breasts

(Adapted from Indian-ish, via Today)
Ingredients:
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • Fresh mint
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp amchur
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
Instructions:
  1. Combine all ingredients (including 1 tbsp of chopped mint and 1 tbsp of chopped cilantro) except the chicken and coconut oil to form marinade.
  2. Add the chicken to the marinade in a large plastic bag or in a glass dish. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. (We did ours overnight.)
  3. Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot and oil is liquified, cook the chicken for 2 minutes on each side.
  4. Then turn the heat to low, cover, and cook for another 10 minutes. Then turn the heat off, (remove from burner if electric stove), and keep the lid on for another 10-15 minutes.
  5. Ensure doneness (165 internal degrees) and then slice. Serve topped with more torn cilantro and mint if desired.
Serves 2

Lemony Chicken & Orzo

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After I typed up the recipe portion of this recipe, I looked up at our most recent posts and apparently we’re going a little overboard with the lemon (Lemon Blueberry Muffins, Lemon Blueberry Skillet Cake)! So sorry, but we’re featuring lemons again tonight. This is one of those recipes that got passed around because it’s just so good! My sister saw it on Half Baked Harvest and made it for my parents earlier this summer. My mom thought it was so good (and easy!) that she decided to make it for us in the week or so after we came home with the baby. We loved it too and now I have to add it to my repertoire (and share it on here…)

It’s a great dish that feels a little fancier than what we normally have on weeknights, but really isn’t that much work! It uses one pot and takes maybe 30 or 40 minutes to completely come together. And your protein, starch, and vegetable are all right there in the one pot! Win, win, win!

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Lemony Chicken & Orzo

(Adapted from the always delicious Half Baked Harvest)
Ingredients: 
  • 2+ tbsp neutral oil
  • 4 (bone-in, skin-on) chicken thighs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bunch kale, destemmed & roughly torn
  • 2 lemons (1 zested & juiced, 1 sliced)
  • Salt & pepper
Instructions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Generously season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp oil in cast iron skillet, dutch oven, or another stove & oven – safe dish over medium-high heat. Once hot, sear the chicken thighs, starting with the skin-side, for ~5 minutes on each side. Then remove the chicken to the side.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium. [If there isn’t enough oil/chicken grease, add another tbsp. We had plenty!] Add the garlic and orzo and cook, tossing frequently, for just 2-3 minutes.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Follow this with the chicken stock, lemon juice, lemon zest, and kale. You might have to add the kale in batches, pushing them into the liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil.
  5. Return the chicken to the pan. Nestle them into the liquid with the skin exposed and top with lemon slices. Place in the oven and cook for 15 – 20 minutes.
  6. Serve topped with an additional sprinkle of salt if desired.
Serves 4

Ballpark Stuffed Peppers

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This isn’t the first time we’d tried a riff on stuffed peppers around here. I loved our last creation – Chicken & Couscous Stuffed Peppers, probably because I like anything with pearl couscous. This variation goes pretty much the opposite direction and is stuffed full of rice, cheese, and the American classic – hot dog. Think of it like a reverse loaded hot dog! A delicious, messy ballpark hotdog, stuffed inside a pepper instead.

We use Stadium/Ballpark mustard in our recipe (and pretty much anytime we need mustard). It’s a Cleveland thing – a mild brown mustard that has been used at the Cleveland Indians ballpark for decades. Apparently there’s a controversy about it – here’s the story. When Selim moved to the Mid-Atlantic, he was mildly appalled that he couldn’t find it in stores and that I had never heard of this miraculous substance. I was a bit skeptical, but he was right. Stadium mustard is definitely a family favorite for both of us now. We bring home a few bottles of Bertman’s every time we go to Cleveland.

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Ballpark Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:
  • 3 large bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 3 hot dogs, chopped
  • 1 tbsp mustard (see above for our favorite)
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup + cheddar cheese
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Prepare the rice – in a small saucepan, cover rice with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. After it’s boiled, reduce heat to low and cover until water is absorbed & rice fluffy.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp of oil over medium heat. Add the onions and toss with the oil. Then add the hot dogs to the dish and cover. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, until the hot dog pieces have crisped up a bit and the onions are soft and fragrant.
  4. Once cooked, stir the onions and hot dogs into the rice, along with the cheese, mustard, and hot sauce.
  5. Stuff the rice mixture into the peppers.
  6. Place the peppers upright in high-edged oven-safe dish. Add a thin layer of water to cover the bottom of the dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Serve topped with an additional sprinkle of cheese if desired.
Serves 2.

Dinner Salad with a Poached Egg

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In my mid-to-late 20s, there was this salad I used to make myself all the time. I’m talking maybe two or three times a week for months to years. (Katie & Terry probably remember this phase of my life well 😂🤣). I saw it originally in a magazine somewhere I think, though I can’t remember where. I got away from making it when Selim and I started dating, probably for two reasons. One, I stopped cooking for just one person and this is the perfect dinner for one. And two, Selim is morally opposed to anything trendy, and for awhile there everyone was putting an egg on top of everything! Happily, the thought popped into my head to make it for my dinner tonight, and now we have the recipe to share here. It’s really easy to throw together, easily modified, and simultaneously healthy and filling. The salad portion itself can be whatever you want it to be – I generally use mixed greens as the base, with carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers for additional veggies. The consistent components are a poached egg, balsamic vinegar, and lots of fresh pepper. When you break the poached egg open, the runny yolk combines with the balsamic vinegar to essentially create an eggy vinaigrette. The thick fat of the egg yolk replaces the oil of a normal vinaigrette.

As I was writing this post, I figured out that the original recipe inspiration for this salad is likely the Salade Lyonnaise – which is a classic French bistro salad with a bed of frisée, bacon, a poached egg, and a vinaigrette. Sounds familiar… I like my salad just how it is, though I’m sure many people would happily take the additional bacon.

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Dinner Salad with a Poached Egg 

Ingredients: 
  • ~3 cups mixed greens
  • Assorted raw crunchy vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, peppers, celery, broccoli, radishes, whatever!), chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 egg
  • ~2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh ground black pepper
Instructions: 
  1. Poach the egg. [Many people have different tips and tricks on how this can best be accomplished. This is what I do: bring a small saucepan of water to a light simmer, not a boil; crack the egg into a small ramekin; swirl the water with a spoon to create a vortex in the center of the water; gently pour the egg into the vortex and immediately stop stirring; watch the pot to make sure it doesn’t start simmering and let the egg bathe in the water for about 4 minutes. I do not use vinegar or salt or anything else in the water, but you do you.]
  2. Assemble the salad – greens spread out on the plate, topped with the chopped veggies.
  3. Remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to dry briefly. Then place it on top of the salad.
  4. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over top. Crack a lot of fresh black pepper over that. Then break open the egg and toss the salad together!
Serves 1

 

Charred Corn Flatbread

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If you’ve been watching the news recently, you know all about Hurricane Irma. I swear, that’s all we’ve been talking about for the past week or so. We live in South Carolina, which flipped in and out of the hurricane strike zone, through a week of changing predictions. Luckily for us, the worst of missed us here. Sadly, the pictures from the Caribbean, Florida, and the southeastern coast of Georgia and the Carolinas show that those areas weren’t so lucky. Hopefully, the worst was mitigated by the week plus of warning and preparation.

In our house, we were mostly worried about losing power and/or water. I filled water bottles and sinks with water, set out candles and flashlights, and most relevantly to this post – begin working on eating perishable things out of our fridge. Glancing around the kitchen while waiting for Irma’s arrival, I saw 2 aging ears of corn, a drawer full of cheese, and 2 pieces of naan. And voila, the charred corn flatbread was born. It’s a great dish, probably even more suited for a sunny summer evening than the clouds and wind of a hurricane! 🌪️ It’s very corn-centric, but think of it as a new alternative to your average side of corn.

Charred Corn Flatbread

Ingredients: 
  • 2 ears of corn
  • 3 tbsp smoked olive oil, divided (or regular olive oil if you don’t have smoked)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 pieces of pre-made naan or other flatbread (we prefer Trader Joe’s naan)
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 oz brie
  • Several leaves fresh basil
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
Instructions:
  1. Peel the ears of corn and rub with 1 tbsp the smoked olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on all sides.
  2. Set oven to broil. Place ears of corn under the broiler, rotating every 2-3 minutes, until all sides are charred. [Alternatively, grill in a grill pan or on an actual grill.]
  3. Once charred, set corn aside until cool enough to handle and lower oven heat to 350 degrees.
  4. Stir the minced garlic into the remaining 2 tbsp smoked olive oil. Brush over the two pieces of naan.
  5. Top, evenly divided between two flatbreads, with chunks of brie, followed by corn, sliced off the ears. Sprinkle a pinch of crushed red pepper over each flatbread.
  6. Place in the oven for 15 minutes.
  7. After removing from the oven, top with torn fresh basil.
Makes 2 flatbreads

Hot Salmon with Pineapple Salsa

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When I think about a dinner that screams SUMMER! – for whatever reason, my go-to is fish with a fruit salsa. I don’t know about y’all, but I always am more interested in fish in the summer – I can mentally transport myself to the ocean and pretend that fish just got hauled in a few minutes beforehand. And as for fruit salsa, that’s kind of a no-brainer. Who doesn’t appreciate the sweet, juicy bounty of summer harvest fruits? As you can see from one of our first recipes from last summer, I have a template when making a dish like this. Salmon (my favorite fish of the easily-accessible-at-the-grocery-store varieties) + spicy flavoring on the salmon + cool, juicy, & sweet contrasting salsa. Hey – if it ain’t broke, why try to fix it?

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Hot Salmon with Pineapple Salsa

(Salmon inspired by Little Spice Jar blog)
Ingredients: 
  • Salmon
    • 2 salmon portions (~5-6oz each)
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tbsp hot sauce (we used Frank’s)
    • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 5 turns fresh ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
    • Pinch of ancho chili powder
  • Salsa
    • 2 cups diced pineapple
    • 1/2 medium onion, diced
    • 1 bell pepper, diced
    • 3 tbsp lime juice
    • 3 turns fresh ground black pepper
    • Pinch of salt
Instructions: 
  1. Prepare the salsa. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate until time to eat.
  2. Whisk together all of the ingredients under the salmon bullet, except the salmon itself.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Place the salmon portions on a piece of foil large enough to fold around the salmon.
  5. Paint the hot sauce mixtures on all sides of the salmon.
  6. Close the foil around the fish, pinching the edges closed.
  7. Bake on a cookie sheet for ~15 minutes. [FDA recommends a safe minimum temperature of 145 degrees F.]
  8. Open the foil and turn oven to broil. Broil, which watching closely, for just a minute or two to crisp up the top.
  9. Serve salmon with salsa on top.
Dinner for two. There is a lot of salsa – we intended it to be a topping/side dish, but it’s plenty to serve with 4 or 6 portions of fish.

Easy Weeknight Mediterranean Pizzas

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We’re a big Trader Joe’s household, as we’ve probably mentioned a few times. There are several Trader Joe’s staples that we always have around for quick dinners or late night snacks. Their Greco-Roman little pizzas come two to a box and are one of our favorites. So you can imagine our disappointment when two weeks in a row there were not any in the store! What were we supposed to stock our fridge with?? Assuming they were on back-order, we asked a staff member when they’d be back. We were informed that they might have been permanently discontinued!

I was disappointed for a little while, and then I realized that I could recreate our favorite little pizza. While we usually like to post from-scratch recipes on here, I wanted to keep with the quickness and ease of a freezer boxed pizza. And since I was already at Trader Joe’s when I had this brilliant idea – all of the ingredients are from there too!

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Easy Weeknight Mediterranean Pizza

Ingredients / What you need at Trader Joe’s 🙂 
  • 1 package of naan (4 pieces)
  • 1 bottle of truffle oil (1 tsp per pizza)
  • 1 container of pizza sauce (1-2 tbsp per pizza)
  • 1 bag of mozzarella cheese (~1 oz per pizza)
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped, divided between pizzas)
  • 1 jar kalamata olives (chopped, ~5 per pizza)
  • 4oz log goat cheese
Instructions: 
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pour truffle oil onto each piece of naan. Spread around, all the way to the edges, with your fingers or the back of a spoon.
  3. Spoon pizza sauce on next. Spread around, leaving the edges uncovered for a crust.
  4. Top the sauced area with the shredded cheese.
  5. Follow this with the red peppers and kalamata olives. Crumble some goat cheese and add a few dollops here and there on top.
  6. Place directly on the middle rack. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your edges!