Simple and Good Braised Chicken

Simple and Good Braised Chicken

This is such a simple chicken recipe, that it risked being called “Chicken With No Name.” It is endlessly adaptable, depending on available ingredients, personal preferences, time and circumstances. I have made it several times over the past few weeks, and it is always a hit.

Ingredients:

1 chicken cut in parts, skinned

Optional: leave skin on and sear the chicken pieces until browned for added flavor

2 -3 carrots, sliced

2 onions, sliced

2 celery stalks with leaves, cut in 1″ pieces

Optional: 1-2 parsnips, or other vegetables. Don’t add too many vegetables, or else the chicken will be overwhelmed. The more simple, the better the outcome.

Salt, to taste. Add the salt sparingly after it is cooked. Kosher chicken tends to be salty, and too much salt ruins the flavor.

1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Optional: paprika adds a nice flavor and color

2 bay leaves (I love bay leaves, so I like to add more)

1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed, near the end

1/2 cup water Optional: use chicken broth, or wine

Optional: 1 can crushed tomatoes or tomato paste for a thicker broth

Optional: 3-4 potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters

Optional: Thicken broth with 1-2 tablespoons of flour or starch. I usually dissolve the starch in a small amount of broth, and then add it to the dish and simmer until thickened.

Optional: If you REALLY want to be fancy, brown the starch or flour in fat, and then gradually add the liquid and stir or whisk until desired thickness. This takes a bit of time and skill, so I don’t recommend it if you are time challenged. It is something I do only for special occasions and for the right audience. My family does not like thicken sauce, and I find that it makes the leftovers “gloppy.”

Instructions 

Place carrots, onions, and celery in the bottom of the pot. If you have the time, you could saute the vegetables until browned, however, I did not. Add the chicken pieces on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with pepper, garlic powder, and if using, paprika or other desired spices. Then add the liquid, and, the (optional) tomato puree or paste.

I place the chicken on top of the vegetables so that the stock almost steams or roasts the chicken.

The secret is to cook the chicken with only a minimal amount of liquid or stock. And, only add a minimal amount of salt after it is cooked. Too much salt, or liquid, and the taste is altered. I also only add crushed fresh garlic at the end. In general, less is more with this chicken recipe. The beauty is in its simplicity.

Stove top: bring to boil and let simmer until done. Add crushed garlic, salt and adjust seasonings to taste.

Crockpot. Cook on low until done. Add crushed garlic, salt and adjust seasonings to taste.

In pressure cooker: 7 minutes to pressure and then use the quick release method by running cold water over the lid when done. Add crushed garlic, salt and adjust seasonings to taste.

This week, I made it in the crockpot overnight. I adjusted the seasonings when I got up this morning before going to work. I forgot to take a picture of it in the crockpot. So, I only have pictures when I made it on the stove top.

Here are the pictures:

Layered in the pot before cooking. I see I added parsnips too.


The first time around, my husband ate straight from the pot!


Another live action shot of Jay eating from the pot.


Everyone was soooooo happy! Raizel said, “I am obsessed with this chicken. It is scary good!”  My husband said, “This chicken is killer!” It is one of the few times that there were actually no leftovers.

It is fast, easy, all natural and simple — cooking for the time challenged at its best.

Enjoy!

Brazilian Black Beans

Brazilian Black Beans

This is something that my husband has been requesting for a while. I think I finally perfected it!


Ingredients
:

1 lbs. black beans

2 onions, chopped 

2-3 of garlic, crushed

3-4 bay leaves

Water: 3:1 ratio of water to beans if using pressure cooker; or to cover

1 can crushed or diced tomatoes 

1 tablespoon salt, to taste

Red hot pepper flakes to taste

Optional: pepper

Optional: meat

Instructions

Sauté onions with spices and beans, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes with the juice and water.

Stove top: bring to boil and let simmer until done. Add crushed garlic and adjust seasoning. 

In pressure cooker: 24 minutes to pressure and then released the pressure quickly by running cold water over the lid when done.

Add crushed garlic and adjust seasoning when cooked.

Crockpot. Cook on low until done. Less water is required.

Add crushed garlic and adjust seasoning when cooked.

Here are the pictures:

  
  
  
  
 
I served the beans with rice and taco shells. 

Everyone loved it. 

My husband happily said, “I think you finally nailed it!”

Both girls ate second helpings!

Enjoy!

North African Meatballs 

This is something that I made for the first time last night. Raizel is in love with cumin, so this is my attempt to satisfy her growing gourmet tastebuds.

Ingredients 

Meatballs:

2 lbs. ground meat

1/2 cup oatmeal 

1 egg

1 tablespoon North African Spice Mix, or to taste

1 clove garlic crushed 

North African Spice Mix:

1 tablespoon salt, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, garlic powder 

2 tablespoons paprika 

1/2 teaspoon pepper, cayenne, cloves 

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 

Sauce

1 onion, chopped 

3 cups water or broth 

1 can diced tomatoes 

3 oz tomatoe paste

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic, crushed 

Optional: chopped fresh parsley and/or cilantro 

Instructions 

Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a pot. I usually add the crushed garlic at the end.

Blend all ingredients for the meatballs together. Shape into balls and place in sauce.

In a pot, bring to a boil and then simmer until done. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Last night, I cooked the meatballs in a crockpot on low. I adjusted the seasonings when I got up this morning before going to work.

Fresh herbs always add a gourmet touch, but I did not use any.

Here are the pictures:

  

 

  
Raizel tasted it and promptly ate some for breakfast. She said, “this is good!” 

Even Yaffa said, “the meatballs are so good, Mommy!” That is a true vote of confidence!

Enjoy!

My Fool From Lynz Real Cooking

My daughter, Raizel, has taken to reading some of the blogs that I follow. She is particularly taken with Lynn at Lynzrealcooking.com. When Raizel saw this recipe (and the peanut butter cheese cake) she said, “Mom, you have to make this! It looks scrumptious!”

Here is the link to her recipe:

My Fool

So, as I shared earlier, I have been home sick for the past few days. What am I doing with my spare time? Cooking!  So, this is my rendition of Lynn’s recipe.

My Fool

Ingredients:

2 cups red lentils

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

water to cover, or if using pressure cooker, 3 cups water to 1 cup beans

Instructions

Sauté onions with spices and lentils, until fragrant. Add tomatoes with juice and water.

Stove top: bring to boil and let simmer until done. Adjust seasoning.

In pressure cooker: bring to pressure for 4 minutes and then released the pressure quickly by running cold water over the lid when done. Adjust seasoning.

Crockpot. Cook on low until done.  Less water is required.

Here are the pictures:

Sautéing the onions, garlic and spices: 

  

 Lentils and tomatoes added:

 
Ready to add water:

    
The final product:

Everyone loved it! Raizel said, “make sure to tell Lynn how much I liked it!” 

Thank you Lynn for this wonderful recipe. 

We enjoyed it very much! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shawarma Chicken

Raizel and I are crazy about the Schwarma Spice blend. I have been experimenting with it in everything! 

My friend Malka, a chef par excellence, made me aware that Schwarma Spice also goes well with chicken too.

This recipe is adapted from my basic roasted chicken recipe posted earlier this week.

Shawarma Chicken

Ingredients 

1 chicken, cut up

2 onions, sliced

2 lemons, juiced (about ½ cup)

Season with Shawarma Spice Mix to taste

Optional: 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed 

Shawarma Spice Blend

1 Tablespoon cumin, coriander, garlic powder

1.5 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon turmeric, pepper

½ teaspoon cloves, cayenne pepper and cinnamon.

Instructions 

Slice onions and place chicken over onions in large pan. Season chicken with Season with Shawarma Spice Mix to taste and if possible, let marinate prior to cooking.

Preheat oven to 425*F.

Roast in oven for 1.5 hours, or until cooked, turning over for last 30 minutes.

Although I haven’t made it in a crockpot or pressure cooker, I think it is possible to make it in one. The method would be the same as for the roasted chicken.

Crockpot:
Skin chicken and place over onions in crockpot. Season and add 1/2 cup lemon juice. Cook on low.

Pressure Cooker 

Follow directions for the crockpot and cook 7 minutes to pressure, using quick release method.

OR: Season chicken and brown in pressure cooker with onions. Cook for 7 minutes to pressure, using quick release method.

This also can be made on top of the stove, using water or broth as the liquid.

Fast and easy and becoming one of our favorites. (I have Raizel giving me recipe and menu ideas now.)

Here are the pictures, which look very similar to the basic roasted chicken:

   

Final product:

   
Raizel liked it so much, she ate half the chicken at dinner! So, this was a hit!

My friend Malka made it with chicken cutlets and a red onion, with great success.

Malka was kind enough to send me pictures of hers. She made it with chicken cutlets, and it looks awesome!

   

Malka’s final product:
 

Thank you Malka!!

Enjoy!

Basic Roasted Chicken

Basic Roasted Chicken

I realized as I was preparing to post a new recipe, that I have never posted on how I make my basic roasted chicken. 

This is my go-to recipe, that I make almost weekly.

Ingredients

1 chicken, cut up

Mom’s Chicken Spice Rub.

Spice Blend

1 Tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper, garlic, onion, paprika, ginger, mustard powder

Variations:

Optional: 2 onions, sliced

Optional: 16 oz. mushrooms

Optional: vegetables of your choice. I often use zucchini, or carrots and parsnips

Optional: 3-4 potatoes, cubed

Optional: my grandmother used to squeeze a lemon on the chicken to “get rid of the barnyard smell.” When she was growing up, they bought their chickens from the meat market.

Instructions 

Slice onions and place chicken over onions in large pan. Season chicken with Mom’s Spice Rub and if possible, let marinate prior to cooking.

Preheat oven to 425*F.

Roast in oven for 1.5 hours, or until cooked, turning over for last 30 minutes.

My husband likes me to sometimes finish off the chicken by broiling it for 2 minutes on each side to give it a nice color and slightly drier texture.

Alternatively: broil for 20-25 minutes/side

This is the basic recipe that I follow, and then I make variations, as desired.

This could also be made in the crockpot or the pressure cooker.

Crockpot:

Skin chicken and place over onions and added vegetables as desired in crockpot. Season and add 1/2 cup liquid –either water, broth or wine. Cook on low.

Pressure cooker:

Follow directions for the crockpot and cook 7 minutes to pressure, using quick release method.

OR: Season chicken and brown in pressure cooker with onions and vegetables, if using. Cook for 7 minutes to pressure, using quick release method.

This also can be made on top of the stove. 

Fast and easy and everyone’s favorite.

Here are the pictures:

All dressed up and ready to go:

   
  

Final product:

 

Enjoy!

Lentil Soup

This past Saturday, we were supposed to go away to visit friends. However, due to the anticipated snow storm, we ended up staying home for Shabbat. Instead of cholent, I made lentil soup.

Ingredients:

1 lbs lentils

1 lbs stew meat

1 onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 parsnip, peeled and chopped

3 potatoes, peeled and quartered

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon salt, to taste

1 teaspoon pepper,  to taste

1 teaspoon cumin

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Water to cover. If using the pressure cooker, use 3:1 ratio of water:lentils

Optional: add chopped fresh parsley or cilantro before serving

Instructions

Sauté onions, carrots, celery and parsnips. Then add the spices, meat and lentils and continue to sauté until fragrant. Add potatoes, bay leaves and water.

Stove top: bring to boil and let simmer until done. Add garlic and adjust seasoning.

Pressure Cooker: 7 minutes to pressure and then release the pressure quickly by running cold water over the lid when done.

Crockpot: Cook on low until done. When using a crockpot, less water is required.

Before serving, adding chopped cilantro or parsley adds a nice gourmet touch.

This week, as I was time challenged, I just added all the ingredients into the crockpot and let it simmer all day. When I got home I adjusted the seasoning.

This can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the meat.

Yaffa could hardly wait to have it, and ate it for a snack!

Frankly, it came out great, but, Raizel is visiting my mother, so, I do not have any robust eaters at home.

Enjoy!

Silver Tip Roast

Since this is my husband’s birthday week, I made a silver tip roast for Shabbat dinner. This is fast, easy, all natural and delicious!

Ingredients 

1 Silver tip roast, 2.5 lbs.

3 onions, sliced

2 carrots, sliced 

Meat spice rub

2-3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed

1-2 bay leaves

1/2 cup broth, wine or water, but I used water

Salt, pepper, paprika to taste

Instructions 

Marinate meat with spice rub and crushed fresh garlic.

Sauté onions, until carmalized. Add carrots, and then meat.

Add water, bay leaves.

Bring to pressure, 35 minutes, and then use quick release method.

Simmer and adjust seasonings.

This can also be made in a crockpot, on top of the stove, or in the oven.

Stove top: bring to a boil and then simmer until done.

Oven: bake in covered pan at 350*F for 1-11/2 hours.

Crockpot: If desired, sauté onions and carrots and place in crockpot. 

Place meat, and bay leaves over onions and add broth/water. 

Reserve some of the onions and place on top of meat, for added flavor.

Once cooked, adjust seasonings, usually with just salt, pepper and possibly paprika and additional fresh garlic.

Here are the pictures:

Marinating with spices:

  

After initial cooking in pressure cooker:

  
 

Final product:

 

My husband, who is a meat lover said, “this is a little taste of the world to come!”

It’s a good thing I took a picture right away, because there were no leftovers!

Enjoy!

Brisket 

For me, vegetables are a work of art. I spend a lot of time and attention cooking them.

My meat and chicken recipes, however, tend to be very simple. Brisket is something that I make usually for holidays and other special occasions.

My friend Francis however, asked if I had a recipe for brisket without sugar or alcohol, so I thought I would post it here now.

For slightly different reasons, my sister and I both do not like to cook with wine. My sister, Raizel (both she and my daughter are named after the same person) says that wine has too strong a flavor, especially if something is cooked for a long time.  She only likes to add wine, if necessary, near the end of cooking.

I find that wine gives a slightly sour taste and the food doesn’t last as long.  Plus, I call the juice from cooking, “liquid gold” and I like to use it again, to give a richer flavor to other dishes. When wine is added, I find that I can’t do that.

Francis was concerned that without wine, the meat would be too tough. Although I am not a meat connoisseur, with a pressure cooker, I do not find this to be the case. My husband, who is a bona fide  carnivore also loves brisket best cooked in the pressure cooker.

Sorry, no picture is available. If and when I make it again, I will add it later.

Ingredients 

2-3 lbs. brisket, second cut is best

2-3 onions, sliced

2-3 carrots, cut on diagonal

2 stalks of celery, sliced

2 parsnips cut on diagonal

Optional 3-4 potatoes, cut in quarters

Meat spice blend: salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, paprika and mustard if desired

salt, pepper and paprika to taste

2 bay leaves

2 cloves of garlic, crushed near the end

1 cup, or more water or broth depending on cooking method

Instructions 

Sprinkle spices on the meat before cooking.

Sauté onions and vegetables. Add meat, bay leaves, potatoes (if using) and liquid.

My sister recommends sautéing the onions, and placing the meat on top and reserving some of the onions for the top of the meat.

Brisket is a versatile meat, that can be cooked in the pressure cooker, crockpot, stove top or oven.  A definite time saver!

I like brisket best when cooked in the pressure cooker, and cook it for 30-35 minutes to pressure. If using the pressure cooker, unless I am in a rush, I do not add the potatoes. If I really want potatoes, I cook the meat for 25 minutes, break the pressure and then bring to pressure again for 7-10 more minutes (depends on the size of the potatoes) to complete the cooking.

Another alternative is to add potatoes, and let the meat simmer until done. If not, the potatoes become over cooked and too soft. Potatoes, however, add a richness to the broth.

Stove top: bring to a boil and then simmer until done.

Oven: bake in covered pan at 350*F for 1-11/2 hours.

Crockpot: If desired, sauté onions and other vegetables and place in crockpot. Put meat, spices inside and pour broth/water over the top.  Reserve some of the onions and place on top of meat, for added flavor.

Once cooked, adjust seasonings, usually with just salt, pepper and paprika and add fresh garlic.

Enjoy!

Sunday’s Beans

My culinary adventures to create fast and easy vegan dishes continues.

This is something that I made on Sunday for the first time.

Ingredients 
3 cups Lima beans

1 onion, chopped

1 pepper, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

4 bay leaves

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoons pepper

1 teaspoon garlic or 1 clove garlic, crushed at the end

8 cups water, or to cover, depending on cooking method

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions 
Sauté onions, peppers and celery. Then add the spices and beans, and continue to sauté until fragrant. Add water.

Stove top: bring to boil and let simmer until done. Add garlic and adjust seasoning.

Pressure Cooker: 12 minutes to pressure and then release the pressure quickly by running cold water over the lid when done.

Crockpot. Cook on low until done.  Less water is required.

Before serving, add chopped cilantro.

Here are the pictures:
Sauté onions, peppers and celery:

Next, add the beans and spices and sauté until fragrant:

Here is the dish after it cooked:

Just before serving, add the fresh chopped cilantro.

Voila! Everyone loved it on Sunday. 

I made it again this morning in the crockpot. Using the crockpot, I did not sauté the vegetables.

  
 

Enjoy!