Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk

Hello wonderful!

IMG_5620I decided to challenge myself in a way I never have in the kitchen before: I decided to bake a chicken. A whole chicken.

My typical experience cooking chicken involving baking pre-sliced chicken breast in the oven or on a skillet, but once I read Serena’s Best Roast Chicken Ever recipe I knew I had to give this a shot. If you have not checked out her blog Domesticate Me I highly recommend that you do; Serena has some great food ideas and some serious skills!

IMG_5622

Okay, back to the chicken. I knew based on the recipe reviews that this dish was good, but I did not know just how DELICIOUS it was going to be! Incredibly flavorful and a very versatile entrée that can go with a number of side dishes. I decided to eat the chicken along with some steamed broccoli and brown rice, and I ladled the sauce that the chicken cooks in over everything and it was a great decision.

Oh, and I have the mention that the aroma coming out of the oven when the chicken is baking is phenomenal. Your whole home will smell of baking chicken. Don’t be surprised if your neighbors want to join you for dinner!

A note on the baking process: since I do not own a Dutch oven, I used a large saucepan and covered the chicken with a double-layer of aluminum foil. Worked like a charm!

You can find the recipe here.

Advertisements

Home Sweet (Thai-food filled) Home

photo-45

The past two days have been extremely relaxing and comforting for me. Nothing beats being home. As much as I enjoy my city life, I was ready to get a break from the craziness of it all. Going back to Cali for a few days is just what I needed. I have spent a lot of time lying around the house, catching up with old friends, and running in the fresh mountain air.

Another thing I have been doing a lot of is eating. Whenever I come home, my parents spoil me with a smorgasbord of food. My dad cooks every Persian meal I could ever imagine, and some I did not even know existed. My mom is currently into make meals using the fresh produce in her vegetable garden. We are talking lots of fresh tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and eggplant. Every meal in this household is a feast. And you thought Thanksgiving was only one day in November.

Anyways, with leftovers from dinner comes creative food options for lunch. And my brother Marco and I were craving Thai.

photo-46

I never could have anticipated my infatuation with Thai food. I was first introduced to this lovely cuisine on a family trip to Thailand. I was in the eighth grade at the time, and my initial fear of the spicy, sweet, and unique dishes gave way to an adoration of all things Thai. My love for Thai cuisine has led to regular visits at Thai restaurants and frequent cooking experiments with Thai ingredients.

photo-41

That’s where this sandwich comes in. I took the usual suspects found in Thai cuisine (sweet chili sauce, peanuts, scallions) and incorporated them into the cheesiest, gooiest, most delectable sandwich that has even come out of the family panini press. Let’s put it this way, my chatterbox of the brother said not a word as he devoured his Thai panini. Yep, this panini is that good. It comes highly recommended, from my household to yours!

Thai Chicken Panini (serves 2)

Ingredients for Panini

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 mozzarella ball
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 4 Tbsp Thai Peanut Sauce (see below)
  • 4 large slices Sourdough bread
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 medium tomato (optional)

Thai Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2-3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2-3 Tbsp ground fresh chili paste
  • 2 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Grill and slice the chicken breasts. Set aside. 
  2. Heat panini press to medium heat. Butter one side of each sourdough slice.
  3. For the Thai Peanut Sauce (which I will warn you is irresistibly good), combine all the ingredients for the sauce and mix well. 
  4. Place one sourdough slice butter side down on panini press. Spread 1 tablespoon of the Thai Peanut Sauce on sourdough. Next, layer the mozzarella and chicken on top. drizzle another tablespoon of Thai Peanut Sauce over the chicken. Top with shredded carrot, scallions, and tomatoes (optional ingredient). Place another layer of mozzarella and the other slice of sourdough on top. 
  5. Close panini press and warm the sandwich on medium heat until the cheese is nice and melty (the trick is to go low and slow…be patient!)
  6. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients for the other sandwich. Serve with fresh cilantro and extra peanut sauce. 

I am officially a “Party-Dip Person”

Well, I went to my boyfriend’s house and this happened:

IMG_3414

IMG_3416

I love a good social gathering. Call it my love for entertaining, or maybe my love for conversation, but either way I really like it when my friends and family come together. And when one of these social gatherings occur you can bet your Crockpot that there will be a party dip there (See: Smokey Avocado Dip and Baked Brie Appetizer)

IMG_3418

Last weekend I spent the time with Nick (the man I also refer to as “the boyfriend”) and his family at their beach house. You could say I was a happy camper with unlimited sunshine and a couple of days of free time. When Nick and I spend time together we always make sure to eat some great food. When I decided I wanted to make us something Nick gave me this look that said “Please make a batch of Buffalo Chicken Dip”.

IMG_3417

If you have ever considered yourself a fan of buffalo chicken, then this party dip recipe is for you. If you have never tried buffalo chicken, you need to make this dip because clearly you have not tasted the most amazing flavor combination bar food has ever seen,

Buffalo chicken contains the perfect amount of spice to wake up your taste buds. It also makes a wonderful accompaniment to a cold beer.  Make the dish into a cheesy dip and you hit “addicting party food” territory. You will want to make this recipe for a crowd. One, because if you eat the whole thing yourself you’ll surely feel ill. And two, your popularity will skyrocket right before your eyes (and happy, buffalo-chicken-filled tummy).

Now for the nutrition-conscious (which is something we all aim to be and if you’re not interested I recommend skipping the next couple paragraphs): this dip is by no means healthy. It contains a lot of cheese, and with cheese comes saturated fat. In small quantities cheese is actually quick good for you: think calcium, protein, and blood-sugar balance. And it tastes fabulous. But this dish is cheese-laden, a “cheese-on-cheese” sort of delicious. So eat with caution: no one wants to eat a cup of cream cheese with a spoon but if you aren’t a conscious eater that is exactly what you’ll do with this dip. And let’s not forget that Ranch Dressing (or Blue Cheese Dressing if you prefer) is high in fat, calories, and sodium especially when bought at the supermarket. So enjoy yourself, but go easy.

So now that I have addressed the cheese, it’s time to address get on to the great part about this dish: the chicken! In this carb-laden world  I know more people who would eat a bagel instead of an omelet, or mac and cheese instead of a turkey sandwich. You need your protein, people! The human body needs protein to function well, especially during bodily growth and development. This party dip is one that definitely gives you some lean protein (chicken) to help your bod run in tip-top shape. So despite the fact this dish is high in fat, pat yourself on the back for the contribution of protein that you’ll make to your system.

Okay, done with the health tirade. Sorry if your eyes glazed over. They won’t anymore after you try this recipe. Enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Dip (serves 12 at a normal party, 6 if you’re all buffalo chicken fanatics)IMG_3414

Ingredients

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, meat pulled from bone and shredded (or 3 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded)
  • 1/3 cup Frank’s hot sauce (it’s a buffalo-flavored sauce that every kitchen should have in stock)
  • ¼ cup Ranch dressing (or blue cheese dressing, if preferred)
  • 1 package shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz. cream cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. First, shred your cooked chicken to pieces. This step is messy and really, very fun. Tip: make sure the pieces are small enough that they won’t break your tortilla chips. No one wants to lose their chip in the party dip.
  3. Next, pour your buffalo sauce over the chicken and mix together in a large bowl. Let the sauce marinate with the chicken for a few minutes.
  4. Mix softened cream cheese and dressing into the chicken-buffalo bowl. Taste test and add more buffalo chicken sauce, if desired.
  5. Transfer your party dip to a casserole dish (I used an 8×8) and sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top. Warm dish in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, baguette, crackers, or celery and carrots.

Perfectly Baked Chicken

New York City apartments are not conducive to broiling anything. Every time I go to bake steak or chicken in the oven I welcome the heavenly smell of cooking meat with the shrill ring of my smoke alarm. I guess smoke circulating in an apartment the size of a dorm room will lead to some issues. Creative as I tend to be, I devised a solution:

IMG_2881

IMG_2882

Whoever said fans are only useful in the summertime?

IMG_2888

Anyways, this recipe may not prevent your smoke alarm from going off, but it is a surefire way to make some delicious baked chicken breast. It can easily be made in the time it takes to watch an episode of Modern Family, and lean protein is a great way to ensure you are consuming a healthy diet. Just match the chicken with your side dishes of choice, and viola! A perfect, well-balanced meal.

IMG_2891

Perfectly Baked Chicken Breast

Ingredients

  • Chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil (you’ll thank me for this later: easy clean up!)
  2. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of chicken breasts.
  3. Brush chicken breasts with olive oil and place them in your baking pan
  4. Bake in the oven at 350 F for 30-45 minutes. The chicken will be nice and golden when it is done, and if you are unsure just cut into one of the thicker chicken breasts to check for doneness.
  5. When cooked, remove the chicken breasts from the oven and let them sit for 5 minutes before serving (this ensures the chicken absorbs all the juices, and cools down so it doesn’t burn your mouth).

This chicken is delicious and perfect as a dinner entreé, or as an addition to salads or sandwiches. It can be topped with a sauce or salsa, or chopped and put into a pasta dish. Quick, healthy, and versatile: perfect!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

IMG_2654

The original idea for this recipe comes from my best friend from elementary school, Lauren.

IMG_2669

When we were younger, we used to eat bowls upon bowls of this delicious soup. Then I moved to New York, I knew I had to get the recipe from her. Today I decided I was finally going to make it, so I braved the cold to go to the grocery store and buy supplies. Of course, I would come back with all the supplies and be SO excited that I would make enough soup to feed a small army. But no matter; I can still eat multiple bowls of tortilla soup in one sitting, and I froze half of it to enjoy at a later date.

IMG_2674

Chicken Tortilla Soup (makes 6 servings)

Ingredients:

  • Chicken (2-3 cooked chicken breasts, or one rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 package of Taco Seasoning
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 can Pinto Beans
  • 1 can Hominy (I used Goya brand)
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cans of chicken broth
  • Avocado
  • Sour Cream (or Greek Yogurt)
  • Cheese (I recommend a Cheddar/Monterey Jack mix)
  • Cilantro
  • Lime

Directions:

1. Cook chicken on a skillet, set aside (if you have a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, skip that step and simply pull the chicken meat off the bone and set aside)

2. In a large pot, sauteé onion on olive oil for a few minutes. Add in celery and carrots and stir. Add in beans, hominy, and tomatoes. Next, pour in chicken broth and taco seasoning and chicken and mix. Let the soup simmer for 30 minutes.

3. Ladle a serving of soup into a bowl. Top with tortilla chips, avocado slices, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), and cheese. Sprinkle with cilantro and lime if you would like. Enjoy!