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!

Roasted Chicken With Dried Fruit And Balsamic Vinegar 

Roasted Chicken With Dried Fruit And Balsamic Vinegar 

I still have leftover hamentashen filling. So this is a different version of the recipe I posted last week. This time, I thought that I would make roasted chicken and use the hamentashen filling as a glaze, with balsamic vinegar.

My husband felt that the vinegar made it too sour. So, it was his suggestion to spice it up with the red pepper flakes. It really made a difference!

Ingredients:

1 chicken, cut up

Mom’s Chicken Spice Rub

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

Raisin-Date- Apricot Filling for Hamentashen

2 cups pitted dates (approximately)

1 box (15 oz.) sultana raisins

1 cup dried apricots (approximately)

1 lemon zested and juiced

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1/2 cup water (approximately)

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional, but I thought it made it taste better)

I also added more cinnamon, garlic powder, pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste. 

I did not measure the balsamic vinegar. Together with the water, I added enough to get the right consistency and taste.

This was an experiment. So, measurements are not exact.

Instructions 

Boil all ingredients in a pot until soft. For the hamentashen, the filling needs to be slightly thick, so it is important not to add too much water. 

As a glaze for chicken, I added more liquid. This time I also added balsamic vinegar and additional spices.

Instructions 
Place chicken in large pan. Season chicken with Mom’s Spice Rub, and then add the hamentashen filling on top. 

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.

I think that this could be made in a crockpot and pressure cooker, but the texture would be different.

In both cases, the chicken would need to be browned or skinned prior to cooking. For a liquid, I recommend at least 1/2 cup water or broth. 

Cook on low until done or 7 minutes to pressure, quick release method.

Here are the pictures:

Spiced:

chicken spiced with Mom’s chicken spice rub

   Glazed:

spiced chicken and dried friut, balsalmic vinegar & additional spices

 
The final product:

 

chicken with dried fruit and balsamic vinegar

 
  

It smelled great. 

I will find out tonight how everyone else liked it.

Enjoy!

Count Down To Passover — Pizza

This is a very hectic time of year. 

We are preparing for Passover. 

This means that everything in the house, in particular in the kitchen and eating areas are cleaned and checked for leavened products, which are called “chametz.”

It is a lot of work. Fortunately, Raizel is home from school this week. She has been an amazing helper! I don’t know what we would have done without her!

In this state of in between, everything in the kitchen is more scattered than usual. My husband and Raizel have begun to clear out some of the cabinets for our Passover products. Hence, it might be difficult for me to do too much posting for the next week or so.

As I was clearing out my freezer, I found some frozen pizza dough that I wanted to use. 

However, making pizza at home is a bit complicated for me.

As observant Jews, we follow the Jewish dietary laws of keeping kosher.

For those who may not be familiar, in a kosher kitchen, milk and meat dishes are cooked and prepared separately. There is also a third food category, parve, which means neither meat nor dairy.

img_3861

This means that we have separate meat and milk cooking utensils, and we do not cook milk and meat in the oven at the same time, nor eat meat and milk together at the same time.

I thought it might be helpful to include these 2 pictures that I found on line about how to keep kosher:

This picture gives you an idea of the ins and outs of having a kosher kitchen.

Some readers of this blog may have observed that I do not post recipes with dairy products. I rarely cook with dairy. I really only have about 2 dairy pots and only the barest of essential utensils for dairy food.

In order to not cook milk and meat in the same oven together, many people have 2 ovens. It is possible to manage with only one oven, but it takes a bit more planning. 

I am fortunate to have 2 separate ovens: one is for meat and the other is parve. But, I do not have an oven for dairy.

So, any dairy that we eat is usually cooked in the microwave. 

All of this is to explain why making this pizza was an accomplishment for me. Creating this pizza took a little bit of unconventional ingenuity.

I am very excited that I was able to come up with a way to make it!

Ingredients

1 lbs. pizza dough

Olive oil

Salt Spice Blend. Most of my spices have been put away for Passover 

Tomato sauce

Grated cheese

Instructions

Focaccia:

Roll dough onto pan to desired thickness. Add olive oil and sprinkle spices on top.

Bake in 450* oven until lightly browned.

Next step:

Add tomato sauce over prepared pizza dough and then add grated cheese. Microwave for 2 minutes.

Here are the pictures:

img_3836

Pizza dough ready to shape

img_3837

Pizza dough rolled out and on baking sheet

Olive oil and spices on top

Olive oil and spices on top

Cooked pizza dough. Love the color!

Cooked pizza dough. Love the color!

Cooked pizza dough with sauce and cheese.

Cooked pizza dough with sauce and cheese.

Voila! The final product!

Voila! The final product!

 

Voila! Nice fresh hot pizza!

The girls loved it, with the cheese and without the cheese. It is a good thing that I took pictures, because there is nothing left!

References:

https://makoletonline.wordpress.com/

http://bgsujournalism.com/j4200/being-orthodox-not-kosher-in-bowling-green/

Roasted Chicken With Dried Fruit

Roasted Chicken With Dried Fruit

My life is a little hectic. 

The countdown to Passover has begun. We are also going to be moving soon. So, even more than before, I am particularly time challenged.

Passover is the time of year when we eliminate all leavened products from our home. Practically, this means I try to clean out my pantry and freezer.

I still have leftover hamentashen filling. So I thought that I would try to make roasted chicken and use the hamentashen filling as a glaze.

Ingredients:

1 chicken, cut up

Mom’s Chicken Spice Rub

1 Tablespoon salt

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

Plus, additional cinnamon to the chicken.

Raisin-Date- Apricot Filling for Hamentashen

2 cups pitted dates (approximately)
1 box (15 oz.) sultana raisins
1 cup dried apricots (approximately)

1 lemon zested and juiced

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts 
1/2 cup water (approximately)
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional, but I thought it made it taste better)


Instructions
 

Boil all ingredients in a pot until soft. For the hamentashen, the filling needs to be slightly thick, so it is important not to add too much water. 

As a glaze for chicken,more liquid and more cinnamon is needed.

Instructions 

Place chicken in large pan. Season chicken with Mom’s Spice Rub, and then add the hamentashen filling on top. 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.

Here are the pictures:

Spiced:

  
 

With the hamentashen filling. 

After I started cooking, I realized it was too thick. So, I added more filling, with a thinner consistency when I turned the chicken over. I also added more cinnamon.

 

The final product:
  

This was a definite hit. Raizel ate the chicken legs right out of the oven (you can see where the leg was on the plate) and declared “this is killer!”

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!