Herb Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

We debated going out for Sunday dinner versus staying home. If we stayed home, it meant devoting much of the afternoon to meal preparation. Neither choice seemed satisfactory. Fortunately, we found this recipe that allowed us a home-cooked meal with minimal preparation and clean-up. Here was the entire meal in one fell swoop. Our choice for the white wine was a California Chardonnay. When we decided to roast two chickens at once, there was the added bonus of roasted chicken leftovers for a weeknight dinner.

Thank you to Martha Stewart for this easy, delicious gem. You can find the link here. Placing the potatoes around the edges of the pan is smart; the potatoes cooked through nicely and yet were neither mushy nor soggy. In our research, we also came across Thomas Keller’s tip to use an entire tablespoon of salt on the skin of each chicken. This makes the skin crisp up nicely in the oven. Bon appetit!

Ingredients

1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), rinsed and patted dry

Coarse salt and pepper

1/2 bunch thyme

1/2 bunch parsley

2 leeks (white and light-green parts only), halved lengthwise, then crosswise, and rinsed well

3 medium carrots, cut into 3-inch lengths

1 lb. small red potatoes, any large ones halved

1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup dry white wine

Directions

Preheat oven to 450º F. Season chicken inside and out with salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan. Stuff thyme and parsley in cavity. In a large bowl, toss leeks, carrots, and potatoes with oil; season with salt and pepper. Scatter vegetables around chicken, arranging potatoes at edges of pan; pour wine into pan. Roast until chicken is golden brown and juices run clear when pierced between breast and leg (an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of a thigh, avoiding bone, should read 165º F.), about 1 hour.

Serves 4.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 70 minutes

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Turmeric-Spiced Fish with Wilted Herbs and Peanuts

We had a built-in bias against pan-fried fish. Splatter on the stovetop, fishy smell in the kitchen all night, the bone you discovered only after you bit down on it. Too much trouble, so we would move on to another recipe.

But we always liked fish, and we found this recipe, which looked EASY. So we gave it a try, and the results were great. This cooks so fast there’s no time for splatter or smell, and the tilapia fillets had no bones! Hurray! A great fish choice for a weeknight. We hope you agree.

This recipe comes from the May-June 2018 issue of Milk Street by Christopher Kimball. Here’s the summary, if you can’t find it.

Ingredients

1/4 cup lime juice

2 Tbsp fish sauce

2 Tbsp sugar

1 1/2 lb. tilapia fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric

Salt and pepper

6 Tbsp vegetable oil

6 scallions, thinly sliced

3/4 cup roasted salted peanuts

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped

Directions

In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup water, lime juice, fish sauce and sugar. Set aside.

Season tilapia fillets with kosher salt and black pepper. In a large zip-close bag, mix cornstarch, turmeric, 1 Tbsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper. Add the fish, seal and shake to coat.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 2 Tbsp oil until shimmering. Add half of the fish and cook, flipping once, until golden and opaque throughout, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter. Repeat with another 2 Tbsp oil and the remaining fish. Wipe out the skillet. Heat another 2 Tbsp oil over medium. Add scallions and peanuts and cook until sizzling and fragrant, about 1 minute.

Off heat, stir in cilantro and dill, then distribute mixture over the fish. Drizzle with the lime-fish sauce mixture.

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Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Garlic, and Shallots

Brussels sprouts are truly popular in Belgium, and they may actually have developed there. Regardless, they are a tasty member of the cabbage/broccoli/kale/kohlrabi family. However, if improperly cooked, the results are not good. We like roasted Brussel sprouts, but the little cabbages can quickly go from raw to charcoal. This recipe preserves the taste any Belgian could love—plus you get bacon!

The author of this recipe is David Bonam from the November 2011 issue of Cooking Light. There are only five ingredients: enjoy!

Ingredients

6 slices center-cut bacon, chopped
1/2 cup sliced shallot (about 1 large)
1 1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and sauté for 5 minutes or until bacon begins to brown. Remove pan from heat. Remove the bacon from pan with a slotted spoon, reserving 1 Tbsp drippings in pan (discard the remaining drippings).

Return pan to medium-high heat, and stir in bacon, shallot, and Brussels sprouts; sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic, and sauté for 4 minutes or until garlic begins to brown, stirring frequently. Add the chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes or until the broth mostly evaporates and the sprouts are crisp-tender.

Serves 6.

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Slow-Cooker Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped potatoes are great, but the usual preparation requires the better part of an hour in the oven. That’s OK if you don’t have any other dishes requiring other temperature settings in competition for time in the oven. Reheating is an option, too, but what about NOT using the oven at all?

This recipe makes fabulous scalloped potatoes in the slow cooker. In addition, the recipe uses some sweet potatoes with the regular potatoes to round out the flavor. There is also the neat trick of draping paper towels just below the slow cooker lid to take excess moisture from the potatoes. We found the results were creamy, not watery.

Erin of Milwaukee on her food blog wellplated.com is the source for this recipe. In deference to the instructions on her website, we include only the link here. You can print out a copy of the recipe there. We strongly suggest you take a look at some of Erin’s other great recipes when you view wellplated.com !

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Butter Chicken

What do you you do when a snowstorm keeps you from your takeout Indian restaurant? No, we didn’t have a drone delivery, we made our own Indian takeout. However, we had never seen this dish on the takeout menu anyway, so we decided to give it a try. The results were great, and snowstorm or no, we plan to make it again.

If “butter chicken” doesn’t sound like a name that would share menu space with biryanis and vindaloos, we agree with you. The proper name for this Punjabi dish is murgh makhani, and it was invented by restaurateurs in that part of India in the 1950s. Our version comes from Justine on her The Typical Mom blog. This recipe is prepared in an Instant Pot® home pressure cooker. We think Justine’s recipe is great, but as always, we made a few modifications. We added more garlic and ginger, and next time we may add some minced jalapeño pepper, too. We substituted nonfat half-and-half for half the heavy cream, and we might cut the total liquids by 25% next time we make it. Nonetheless, this was a great home version of Indian takeout, and we highly recommend you try it. We also recommend you go back to Justine’s The Typical Mom blog for several of her other recipes!

If you can’t get to the link to work, here are the recipe ingredients and directions.

Ingredients

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into cubes (about 1 inch)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups tomato sauce

1/2 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

5 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp garlic, minced

1 Tbsp ginger, minced

1 1/2 tsp chili powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 Tbsp Garam Masala

2 Tbsp cornstarch (optional)

Directions

1. Turn your Instant Pot to saute, medium, and add butter.

2. When butter is melted add cubed chicken and onion.

3. Cook just enough for chicken pieces to cook just a touch on the outside.

4. Add all other ingredients into your Instant Pot or pressure cooker and mix together well.

5. Put lid on and close steam valve.

6. Set Instant Pot to manual, pressure, low, for 5 minutes. (enough time if cut into bite size pieces, if larger pieces increase time)

7. When done move steam valve just slightly so steam comes out slowly.

8. Carefully lift lid. Serve immediately or remove chicken and set to saute low for just a few minutes. Put some of the hot liquid in a small bowl with 1 tbsp of cornstarch and whisk together, add back into the pot and stir. May do this again with another tbsp. depending on how thick you want the sauce to be.

9. Sauce will thicken more as it sits. Turn off, add chicken back in, and serve with rice and/or naan.

Serves 6.

 

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Pork Medallions on Apple Compote with Black Pepper Cider Sauce

Wolfgang Puck’s column in our local newspaper carried this recipe recently. The dish is simple enough for a weeknight meal, but could also be the basis for a special dinner. The recipe calls for a total of one cup of heavy cream. Feel free to cut back on the cream, substitute half-and-half, or just eliminate it like we did. We can testify that the result was superb without the cream! You can get your butcher to cut the medallions if you wish, but it wasn’t complicated to cut a pork loin into eight equal cylindrical pieces. We used apple jelly; apple cider jelly was hard to find. Wolfgang Puck’s apple compote is a great pairing–the leftover was a great side dish the next night, too. Enjoy!

Ingredients

For the black pepper cider sauce:

1 cup chicken stock or broth

2 Tbsp apple cider jelly or apple jelly

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 Tbsp crushed black peppercorns

For the apple compote:

2 lb. large pippin or Granny Smith apples

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 tsp apple cider jelly or apple jelly

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup heavy cream

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

For the pork medallions:

1 1/2 lb. pork loin, cut into 8 equal medallions

1-2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1-2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Finely chopped fresh Italian parsley, for garnish

Instructions

First, prepare the sauce: In a 10-inch skillet, combine the stock or broth and the jelly. Over medium-high heat, simmer briskly until the liquid reduces to 1/2 cup, stirring frequently to take care that the sugar in the jelly doesn’t burn along the side of the pan. Pour in the cream and simmer briefly, just until the sauce thickens. Whisk in the butter and crushed peppercorns to taste. Cover and keep warm.

For the compote, peel, core, and quarter the apples, then cut into thin slices. In a 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over high heat. Add the apples, sauté briefly, and then reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft. Add the jelly and wine and stir until the jelly melts. Add the cream and stir until the apples are evenly coated. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a hint of nutmeg. Keep warm.

To prepare the medallions, first lightly dust them all over with the flour and season to taste with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, heat 1 or 2 heavy skillets with enough cooking surface to hold the medallions in a single layer without crowding. Add 1 Tbsp each of oil and butter to each skillet, and swirl to coat the cooking surface. Add the pork medallions and saute until golden-brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

To serve, mound the compote on 4 heated plates. Arrange two medallions on top of the compote on each plate. Spoon a little sauce over and around the medallions. Garnish with parsley, and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

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Instant Pot “Rotisserie” Chicken

This recipe comes from recipe developer Marjorie, from Alabama via the website apinchofhealthy.com. Rotisserie chicken in a pressure cooker? Needless to say, we were both intrigued and skeptical. But we’re game to try almost anything with our new pressurized cooking miracle maker, and we are happy to report Marjorie has won us over. If you’re like we were at first, intimidated by the concept of having a highly pressurized metal container in the kitchen, potentially venting off superheated steam, then this recipe is a good place to start. The instructions are very detailed, so you won’t go off track. We have listed them here, in case you have trouble getting to Marjorie’s website.

Marjorie also has some other Instant Pot® winners on her website; we’re sure you’ll enjoy those recipes, too!

Ingredients

1 whole chicken, 3-5 lb.

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp granulated garlic

1 tsp paprika

1 3/4 Tbsp avocado or coconut or canola oil

1 yellow onion, quartered (optional)

1 lemon, halved (optional)

1 cup chicken stock or broth

Instructions

1. Remove all parts from the chicken cavity; rinse and pat dry with a paper towel.

2. Optional: place the onion and lemon in the cavity of the chicken.

3. Combine all of the spices, including salt and pepper, in a small ramekin dish; stir together.

4. Add the oil to the spices and stir until incorporated.

5. Turn on your Instant Pot® to preheat on the sauté setting on “normal.”

6. Rub the oil and spice mixture on the breast side of the chicken.

7. Place to chicken, breast side down, in the preheated Instant Pot®.

8. Carefully rub the other half of the oil and spice mixture on the other side of the chicken.

9. Allow the breast side to crisp up the chicken skin for a few minutes, about 3-4 in all.

10. Carefully flip the chicken over to the other side, and let it crisp up the skin on the other side for about a minute. Flipping it over may be awkward; try using a sturdy burger flipper and some tongs.

11. Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot® after it browns on the second side and place the trivet in the pot. Then place the chicken, breast side up, on the trivet.

12. Add in the chicken stock.

13. Place the lid on and lock it, per Instant Pot® instructions.

14. Set to manual high pressure for 25 minutes.

15. All the Instant Pot® to depressurize naturally (i.e., do use the venting lever). This may take more than 15 minutes.

16. Remove the lid, and transfer the chicken to a serving plate.

17. Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes prior to serving.

18. You may want tot spoon a little of the cooking liquid over the top immediately prior to serving the chicken.

Remember: cooking times vary. You can test the internal temperature of the chicken to 165º F. to confirm doneness.

Serves: 4-6

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

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