Mediterranean Smothered Chicken

I have a great affinity for Mediterranean food and thought I should expand my repertoire of Mediterranean dishes. I didn’t stretch myself much with this one, but it was an eye opener.

One thing I realized is that I’d limited the entire culinary Mediterranean to a single country. How did I cook all these years and never consider more than Greece?! I had thought of Italy, but summed them up as primarily a pasta place.

There’s an entire eastern Mediterranean region that I’d never considered. When I did, I stumbled upon something resembling a spicy Yemeni chimichurri sauce known as Schug. As I researched the sauce, I learned a bit about the Eastern Mediterranean. In retrospect, it only makes sense that there is an Eastern and Western Mediterranean cuisine. My mind had never considered the idea. *shame*

Armed with my newfound recognition of cuisine from another region of the Mediterranean, I set out to combine the familiar flavors with these new flavors to create this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large Chicken Breast, halved
  • 10 oz. serrano chiles, seeds removed and halved
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Black Olives
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes in oil
  • Lemon
  • ½ red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 oz jar artichoke hearts, roughly chopped

Schug Inspired by Tasting Table

  • 1 cup parsley
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 10 oz. Serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, halved
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • Feta cheese, crumbled

Salt your chicken breast and set in the refrigerator about an hour ahead. This helps to make the chicken more tender.

In the meantime, prepare the Schug. Add the serrano chiles, parsley, lemon juice, cardamom, coriander and salt into your food processor and puree. Adjust salt and serrano chiles to your preferred taste.

*If you aren’t a tremendous fan of heat, I suggest you cut back about 2 oz of the serrano chiles.

Remove chicken from oven and slather your chicken in the green sauce. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 F. Place chicken in a pan and cook in oven for about 30 minutes or until fully cooked.

While the chicken is cooking grab a large cast-iron skillet and place on medium to high heat. 

Toss in the red onions and garlic and cook until fragrant.  Then add in the sun-dried tomatoes with about 1tbsp of the oil, artichoke hearts and olives.

Remove chicken from oven and pour the sundried tomato mixture over the chicken breasts.

Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top along with some crumbled feta and serve.

I served it on top of this Mediterranean Orzo Salad from Foodie Crush.

F&P Takes on Mexicanish Street Corn

Me: “What should I make?”

The Not So Little Littlest Sisters: “Mexican street corn!”

Me: “OK” *insert shoulder shrug*                 

We could never have imagined the battle that would ensue. Sure and certain of its simplicity, we walked into the stadium as if the battle were already won. We were holding steady, until it came time to skewer the corn. “Nothing to it!” or so we thought.

With our skewers at the ready, we went in for the strike. Alas, the corn cob proved tougher than we thought. One of the Not So Little Littlest Sisters went for it again, nearly losing the corn as it deflected her jab. There wasn’t much at stake so with persistence, we overtook the cobs in the end.

They proved no match for our “skewers”. Our skewers were in fact discarded chopsticks, and not an ideal choice. With great ingenuity and skill, we managed to skewer our cobs beautifully. It was a battle for the ages and for the books, but I encourage you to come prepared with the appropriate weapons. Otherwise, you may not be as fortunate.

Recipe for Mexican Street Corn
Ingredients
– Corn cobs, halved
– Lime Juice
– Lime Zest
– Sour Cream
– Mayonnaise
– Cotija cheese
– Cilantro, fresh
– Paprika
– Skewers (real ones)

Instructions
Heat a cast iron skillet to medium high heat and place the cobs in the skillet to heat and brown it a little, turning as appropriate.

In a bowl, combine the lime juice, zest, sour cream, and mayo. Smear it all over the corn. Crumble the cotija over the corn, cover with paprika to your desired preference and top with some roughly chopped fresh cilantro.

Frogmore Stew aka Low Country Boil

Frogmore Stew, more popularly known as Low Country boil is simple to make and fun to eat with a large group. I don’t need a special occasion to have a large group because my immediate family is big enough to consume this entire meal.

We’d been wanting to try it for a while. When we saw that Publix had crab legs on sale, we  figured this was the time.

Unfortunately, it was raining so we had to make it all happen on our stovetop and pour everything out onto the dining room table.  We thought about using newspaper but with this whole virus ordeal, that seemed like a bad idea. So, we got a hold of some butcher paper and spread it lengthwise on our long dining table.

I was raised to always serve a vegetable with a meal. Corn and potatoes do not count.  I thought the green beans would be the perfect addition.

  • 2 bags of Zatarain’s Crab Boil
  • 12 c water
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • Beer (Dark Ale) 12 oz
  • 2 Lemons
  • 2 lbs. small red potatoes, halved
  • 4 ears of corn, halved
  • 26 oz andouille sausage, 1-inch slices
  • ½ lb.  green beans
  • 2 lbs. shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 2 lbs. crab clusters
  • 8 oz Butter, melted for dipping
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic

Fill a large pot with water and a bottle of beer. Pour the content of the Zatarain’s Crab boil bag in the pot. Allow the water and beer to come to a boil, then add in the potatoes and cook for 7 minutes. Next, add in corn and string beans, let it boil for about 5 additional minutes, then add in the sausage and boil for about 3 minutes. Lastly, add the crab legs and shrimp and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Be sure not to overcook the shrimp.

Strain the entire pot and dump all your contents onto your paper. 

Vegetarian Version:

Vegan Cajun Sausage Link (1 in. pieces)

Boil the potatoes for 8 minutes, add the corn and let it cook for 7 minutes. Then add string beans and cook for about 4 minutes.

In a skillet cook up the vegan Cajun sausage, add it to the strained meat free vegetables, and serve.

Strain the vegetables in the pot and pour the contents on the paper and add in the sausage.

Curry Vegetables over Cauliflower Mash

This light, healthful dish is full of flavor, and also leaves lots of room for creativity. If you prepare it, you’re not limited to the vegetables I used in my recipe. Tailor to with your favorite vegetables. You could try eggplant, broccoli, or spinach.

Because it’s a light meal, you might seek a bit more heft, like some of my family.  Ground turkey meatballs is a perfect complement to this dish. I included the meatball recipe below.

Curry Vegetable

  • roasted chickpeas
  • 1 can 15 oz coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp green curry paste or to taste
  • 1 large white sweet potato, thinly sliced
  • carrots, thinly sliced
  • bok choy
  • kale, roughly chopped
  • salt
  • pepper

Cauliflower Mash

  • 1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. sour cream or dairy-free sour cream
  • salt
  • pepper

Optional Turkey Meatballs

  • ground turkey
  • cayenne
  • paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
  • curry

In a skillet, pour and combine coconut milk and green curry paste. Allow milk mixture to come to a simmer, then toss in the sweet potato and carrots.

Cook for about 7 minutes or so. You don’t want the carrots and sweet potato to get to tender yet. Add in kale and bok choy and cook for about 5 minutes more.  Add in salt and pepper to taste.

Steam cauliflower just until soft. Puree the cauliflower in a food processor, then add sour cream and pulse until you reach your desired consistency.  Salt and pepper to taste. 

To plate, scoop a hefty serving of cauliflower mash into a dish and top with the curried vegetables and roasted chickpeas (or meatballs).

*This dish is great as a vegan dish. However, if you would like to add some extra protein grab about a ½ lb. of ground turkey and add in the cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper, and curry powder.  Grab about 2 oz. of meat and shape into a ball. Brown the meatballs in a light oiled skillet and cook thoroughly in an oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes.

Cinco De Taco Tuesday

I don’t know why some people make a big deal out of Cinco de Mayo. Well I have an idea, but that’s a topic for another day. Happy Cinco De Taco Tuesday! This year it seems epic enough to acknowledge since most of us can’t go anywhere, and I suggest you try making your own taco buffet!

Kimchi Chicken Tacos

Meat
·        1 lb. Ground Chicken
·        2 tbsp Soy Sauce
·        Salt, to taste
·        Pepper, to taste
·        Garlic Powder, to taste
·        1 tbsp Paprika
Topping
·        Spicy Kimchi, roughly chopped
·        Tomatoes, diced
·        Green Onions
·        Cilantro, roughly chopped
·        Sour Cream
·        Lime
Tortillas
Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes
·        2 cups masa harina
·        2 ¼ c of hot water
·        2 tsp salt

Grab a large skillet and turn the stove on medium-high heat. Cook and break up the ground chicken until fully cooked. Add in the soy sauce, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Be sure to taste and season according to preference.

Tortillas

Mix masa harina flour and salt in a medium sized bowl.  Add hot water until it comes together enough to make a dough.

Divide the dough into two ounce balls dough balls. I chose 2 oz. because I wanted mine to be the size of a street taco.

Use a Ziploc bag to line the tortilla press then place a dough ball in the middle and press until about 5” in diameter.

After making sure your skillet is on medium- high heat, place your tortillas in the pan for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until there’s a little char. Move cooked tortillas to a plate and repeat making tortillas until the dough is used up.

Assemble

Grab your tortilla and fill with the ground chicken. Top with tomatoes, kimchi, green onions, sour cream and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze on top.

Enjoy!

I also got to flex my carpentry skills by making the taco stand you see in the photos. I’m part of a large family so a stand that fit about 15 tacos was a “necessity”. My stand was modeled after this one on Curbly. I really impressed myself with this meal.

An Inspired Loaf of Meat

I am not a fan of meatloaf. What’s appetizing about slab of meat topped with ketchup?! Just does not appeal me. One of my younger sisters will tell anyone, without hesitation, that she hates meatloaf. The moment she heard it was on the menu, she complained and was disappointed with me for choosing such a blah meal. I, however, had no intention of preparing a blah meatloaf.

Inspired by the Barbacoa Melt at Toasted, I decided to try my hand at converting myself and convincing our resident contrarian that meatloaf can be appetizing. And by George (whoever he is!) I think I’ve done it!

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Barbacoa Meatloaf

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  • 1.5 ground beef
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 c parsley, fresh
  • ¼ c cilantro, fresh
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp chipotles in adobo, chopped
  • ¼ c green chiles, canned, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ c cotija, crumbled
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For vegetarian version

  • 1 Lightlife Plant Based Burger patty
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp parsley, fresh
  • 1 tsp cilantro, fresh
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp chipotles in adobo, chopped
  • 1 tbsp green chiles, canned, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 5 Ritz crackers, crushed 

Topping

For the meatloaf:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ᴼ.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the meat or meat substitute with the eggs, parsley, cilantro, lime juice, chipotles, green chiles, garlic, cotija, oregano, salt and pepper.* Mix until well combined.
  3. Place in a greased loaf pan and bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until the center is fully cooked.
  4. Remove loaf from oven, allow to rest for about 10 minutes and flip the meatloaf out of the pan onto your serving dish.**
  5. Top with chimichurri and allow to cool to a bearable temperature of consumption.
  6. Adorn your loaf with pickled red onions and serve.

*5 Ritz crackers for the personal vegetarian loaf

** Spare yourself the flip and shape your raw meat in a loaf pan then flip that onto a greased 9×13 pan

     and proceed with instructions.

Give this recipe a try and let me know your thoughts on it, especially if it adds meatloaf to your favorite food list.

Here’s to making the most of a bland dish!

Spice It Up

New places, new foods, new experiences; I welcome them all. When it comes to cooking new recipes, I am hesitant to leave a perfectly good recipe behind to take liberties with it. While meal prepping for my 3rd or 4th Whole30, I decided to experiment with flavors of India.  I gathered whatever I could find in the cabinets, stumbled across Garman Marsala, and tossed it all into the ground chicken.

It was  बहुत सुन्दर (bahut sundar)! That’s Hindi for très magnifique, according to Google Translate. And très magnifique translates to very magnificent, according to my rudimentary French.

I encourage you to ditch the cookbook and flex your culinary muscles. Share what you come up with. You can start by tweaking this simple recipe!

Spiced Meatballs

  • 1.5 lbs. ground chicken
  • 1 tbsp Grapeseed oil
  • 3 tbsp Greek Yogurt
  • Ginger
  • Garman Marsala
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Turmeric
  • Garlic
  • Granulated Garlic

Preheat oven to 350 F

Combine all ingredient in a bowl and combine.

Roll into balls and place on greased pan.

  • I measured each meatball out to 1 oz each.

*Tip:  I oiled my hands to prevent the meat from sticking to my hands.

Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.

Note: These meatballs are perfect to freeze and reheat as needed. Let the meatballs cool completely before putting them into freezer bags, and then pop ’em into the freezer.