Category Archives: Dinner

Easy Empanadas

A couple of weeks ago, we Kitchens went out on the North Fork of Long Island to take advantage of the lovely not-quite-Fall weather, wineries and pumpkin picking.   Restaurants aren’t exactly plentiful for a good portion of the wine trail on the North Fork, so I thought it might be a good idea to pack snacks.  (Otherwise we’d be two car-fulls of drunks on a Sunday afternoon.)  I decided on empanadas because they pack a pretty filling punch and are fairly easy to make in decent size numbers.  The wineries were super gorgeous! There were pumpkins and delicious looking squash and acres and acres of beautiful vineyards.

 

Now, I know I’m going to catch flack for my recipe.  I don’t use chorizo because I find a lot of it too greasy.  I also buy the dough — I’m sorry, but I’ve tried making it and no amount of kneading or tampering with recipes can get the dough to be like La Fey’s.  So do yourself a favor and just go and buy La Fey discs for these.  Trust me, it’s 10 times easier and they work beautifully in the oven. Goya also makes a decent empanada dough.

Chicken and Sausage Empanadas

Chicken and Sausage Empanadas

Chicken & Sausage Empanadas

The Dough/Discs

2-3 packages of the large La Fey discs.  The filling recipe below makes enough for about 24  (20 if you’re packing it in)  Extras can be frozen.

The Filling

4 chicken breasts (medium/large size), cut into small chunks

5 – 6 Italian sausages (hot), diced/chopped into small pieces

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup Chardonnay or other fairly dry white wine

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 large Spanish onion (diced)

2 heaping tablespoons garlic cloves (diced)

3 Bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cumin

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup Spanish green olives with pimentos (pitted)

1/8 cup capers

1 green pepper (diced)

Egg Wash

1 egg lightly beaten with a teaspoon of water

 

I find that most of the La Fey discs are pretty well frozen when I buy them, so let these defrost while you’re cooking the mixture.  For the filling, in a large (12-14″ pan), heat the 2 tablespoons of oil and add diced onions and garlic and saute until onions are softened (5 minutes).  Add diced chicken and sausage and cook on medium high heat, stirring, for about 2 minutes.  Add wine, chicken stock, pepper, cumin, bay leaves, green pepper, olives, capers, salt (basically all remaining ingredients).  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered, until meat is cooked and sauce has thickened (about 30 mintues).  After it’s cooked, let the mixture cool uncovered for about 20-30 minutes.

Take this time to pull apart the dough discs.  If you’re using La Fey, they’re generally not separated in the package by wax paper, so be very careful when pulling them apart or the discs will tear.  Preheat the oven to 350°.   Prepare baking trays for cooking — if you’re making 24 empanadas, you’ll likely need three pans.  Lightly lightly grease the pans.   For filling the empanadas — if you’ve got a calzone mold, this will be super easy.  Place the disc in the mold, spoon in about 3 tablespoons filling and close the mold, which will seal the seams.  If you don’t have a mold, it’s really just as simple.  Spoon the mixture on to one side, and fold the other half over so it forms a half-circle.  Use a fork to seal the edges (just like you would a pie dough for a two-crust pie).  Place on baking sheet and repeat for remaining empanadas.  Brush with the egg wash and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the empanadas are golden. You can serve these warm or at room temp, and they freeze beautifully!

Onions for empanadas

Onions for empanadas

Chicken and sausage empanada filling

Chicken and sausage empanada filling

Filling the empanadas

Filling the empanadas

Molded empanadas

Molded empanadas

Empanadas

Chicken and Sausage Empanadas

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Filed under Appetizers, Baking, Chicken, Dinner, Party Food, Pork, Recipes

Mama Kitchen and The Universe Giving Back

I admit, I have been totally delinquent in my blogging, BUT! there has been good reason.  Mama Kitchen had surgery this week — everything went smoothly, but I wanted to be here to help take care of her and to help out during the recuperation.  So yes, delinquent blogger, but, also, good daughter.   I think these things even out.  Apparently, the universe has seen fit to reward me today and I couldn’t be happier.  You see,  I just won a gift certificate to Williams Sonoma.  (Did anyone else just hear a choir of angels? Cause I sure did.)  And who, you might ask, is the fairy godmother who hath bestowed this unbelievably good fortune?  It’s Merci New York, this fantastic resource for chic, sophisticated stylish brides.   And while Merci can plan any sort of event, their blog (Merci New York Blog) is an absolute must-read for brides.

Now – on to the recipes!  Mama Kitchen chose this next one, but it’s really a perfect fit with our recent focus on fall produce.  It’s getting chilly down here in South Carolina and the perfect cure for that? Chowder. Specifically — Chicken and corn chowder.

 

Chicken and Corn Chowder

2 chicken breast cutlets (I’m sorry, I forgot to weigh them), cut into cubes

6 cups chicken stock

2 15.25 oz cans of corn, strained

3 celery stalks, diced

6 small russet potatoes, chopped into chunks

1/2 medium onion or 1 small onion, diced

2 green bell peppers, roughly chopped

1 cup heavy cream

1 tsp dill

1 1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tsp olive oil

2 tbsp flour

In a large soup pot, heat the oil and saute the diced onions until soft (about 3-4 minutes).  Then add chicken and cook together with onions over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes.  Add celery, green peppers and spices.  Cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Add chicken stock and bring soup to a boil.   Let cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes.  Ladle out 1 cup of the boiling broth into a bowl (or measuring cup).  Slowly stir in the 2 tbsp of flour.  This will help to thicken your soup.  After the flour has been completely incorporated into the broth, return the mixture to the soup pot and stir in and mix completely.  Add potatoes and corn.  Let cook for another 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.  Add heavy cream, and mix into broth.  Let soup simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes.  (Note, you can also use corn starch in place of flour to thicken the soup.)

 

Diced potatoes for chicken and corn chowder

Diced potatoes for chicken and corn chowder

 

 

Chicken and corn chowder

Chicken and corn chowder

 

 

Chicken and corn chowder

Chicken and corn chowder

 

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Filed under Chicken, Dinner, Recipes, Soups and Stews, Tidbits

Stew it up

I won a cookbook giveaway!  Since Mr. Kitchen and I have started planning our wedding, I’ve become a devoted wedding blog reader.  I recently entered a giveaway hosted by OneWed for the Dam Good Sweet Cookbook by Beard nominee David Guas, and I won!  The cookbook features New Orleans-style desserts and I can’t wait to give it a try.  (How I’m going to fit into a wedding dress, I have no idea.)  Mr. Kitchen is in for a yummy fall!  Speaking of yummy, Mr. Kitchen and I have been working tons and tons over the past few weeks, and we are plum tired.  So tired, that I forgot to buy tickets for today’s Vendy Awards.  So instead of spending the afternoon tasting the delicious fare of some of the city’s best food trucks, we’re heading over to Eataly.  Something tells me my bank account is going to be very angry with me later… Hey, some girls shop for shoes — I shop for food!

Anyway, on to fall produce!  Next up: Carrots.  Definitely one of the most versatile of the fall vegetables, carrots can go in, well almost any dish, and one of the easiest fall dishes to prepare is a hearty, stick to your ribs beef stew.  Seriously all you need is the ability to chop, brown and boil to make stew.  I’ve used lots of different cuts of beef for stews but I recently tried giving short ribs a try.  I really liked the way it turned out — the marbled meat was definitely falling off the bone by the time the stew was done and it was absolutely tender.  I’m also a firm believer (and perhaps this is my Irish heritage talking), that you can put in almost any vegetables you’ve got lying around.

Fall Short Rib Stew

Fall Short Rib Stew

Short Rib Stew

7-8 hearty-sized short ribs

3 celery stalk (roughly chopped)

3 shallots (roughly chopped)

2 medium sized carrots (roughly chopped)

2 Yukon Gold potatoes (cut into bite size chunks)

1 sweet potato (or just use 3 Yukons) (cut into bite sized chunks)

1 turnip (roughly chopped)

2 cups beef stock

1 small bottle red wine (I think it’s 375 ml?) (I prefer a cabernet sauvignon for beef stews)

1 tsp salt (to taste)

2 tbsp thyme

1 tbsp tarragon

Flour (for dusting short ribs)

2 tbsp olive oil (for browning ribs)

In a bowl, toss the short ribs with flour, salt and pepper.  In a large pot, heat oil and brown the short ribs on all sides.   Remove short ribs from pot.   In the remaining oil, saute shallots.  Once they are soft, add the meat back in and add the wine.  Cook over medium heat until the wine is halfway reduced, about 10 minutes.  Add beef stock, thyme, tarragon, carrots, turnips and celery and reduce heat, cooking meat until it is very tender (about 1.5 hours).   Add chopped potatoes and cook for an additional 45 minutes to an hour, until all vegetables and meat are completely tender.  Season with additional salt and pepper as desired.

Browned short ribs and shallots

Browned short ribs and shallots

Pour in the vegetables and herbs for short rib stew

Pour in the vegetables and herbs for short rib stew

Short rib stew

Add the potatoes and cook until tender

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Filed under Beef, Dinner, Recipes, Soups and Stews

Welcome, Fall

The weather in New York City has been glorious this past week (except for that whole freakish Tornado thing).   I’ve talked about how much I love this season, when it starts getting chilly and people buy new school supplies — I love the promise of an empty notebook!  Fall is also the season when Mr. Kitchen and I truly fell in love, so this season has all sorts of super happy memories for me.   One of our best dates was going to some of the OpenHouse NY sites.  Each year in the fall, there’s an “Open House NY” weekend, where sites that are generally not open to the public open their doors for everyone to visit.  We got to visit the garden rooftops surrounding Rockefeller Center and the Mason’s lodge in the city.  I love exploring the city and I was so so happy to discover that Mr. Kitchen did too.

Another reason to love fall?  The produce choices available in this season just can’t be beat.   So in honor of this fabulous time of year, where there are Apples! Pumpkins! Squash! All sorts of root vegetables! I thought it might be nice to focus on fall produce recipes for the next few weeks.

First up?  Apples.

Most people have an apple pie recipe, but apples make such a fabulous addition to all sorts of foods.  I’ve seen it added as a last step in stews, had it chopped and roasted with onions and celery with chicken, and all sorts of other mix-ups with turkey and other proteins.  My newest favorite is adding to it to a pork roast.  Actually, it’s more like adding a bourbon-infused apple pie to pork roast.

pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

Pork Loin with Apple Bourbon Topping

The rub

2 lb pork loin

1 tbsp salt

pinch cayenne pepper

generous pinch thyme, pepper and rosemary

2 tbsp olive oil,  another 2 tbsp for searing

The topping

1 apple (I like Granny Smith), finely chopped

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp  cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

3 tbsp Bourbon (your choice, but a word to the wise — if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it.)

A roasting pan

Preheat the oven to 325°

Mix together dry rub ingredients (salt, cayenne, pepper, etc.)  Rub down the pork loin with about 2 tbsp olive oil and then rub on dry ingredients.  Let stand 10 minutes.  In a pan large enough to fit the roast, heat the remaining olive oil.  Sear the roast on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.  (For a good tutorial on searing, see here)

Once the meat is seared, place it in the roasting pan.  I like to use roasting pans that have an elevated roasting rack.  I also add water to the base of the pan, as an extra insurance that the meat will remain tender.  Cook the roast in the oven, uncovered, for about a half an hour.  (You’ll be adding the topping to the roast and will be returning it to the oven.)

To make the topping, finely chop the apple and add the lemon juice.  Add vanilla, brown sugar, nutmeg and bourbon.  Stir together well.

After the roast’s initial 30 minute cooking period, remove from oven and pile the apple topping on top of the roast.  Return to oven (make sure there’s still water in the base of the pan!) and cook until the center of the roast reaches 160° .  Generally, this takes about 40 minutes per pound, but I’ve found that using this topping makes the roast cook a bit slower.   We’re also cooking this at a slightly lower temperature, to let the apple flavoring soak into the meat.  If you’re shorter on time, a good guideline is 350° and 30 minutes per pound.  Let roast stand for 10 minutes before carving (it allows the meat to firm up to make slicing easier).

pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

The pork with the olive oil and herbs rub

pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

Searing the roast

pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

Pile the apple mixture on top of the roast

pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

Cooked and sliced pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

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Filed under Baking, Dinner, Pork, Recipes, Tidbits

Easy Does It

I’m on vacation this week, and we’re headed out to Michigan to visit Mr. Kitchen’s family.  We haven’t seen them since we’ve become engaged so we’re excited to go visit!  Also, I am very excited to not get up and schlep on crowded smelly super hot subways for a week.  I need to escape from the city, or at least work commuting, fairly regularly or else I get twitchy.  Does anyone else living in the city get that?  I’m generally a pretty happy person but every once in a while — generally after weeks of working overtime with no end in sight — I start getting irrationally angry at my commute.  Once I even kicked a subway car.  Guess what? When you do that? The subway car always wins.  I had a bruise on my foot for a few days.

Anyway, back to my vacation and visiting my soon-to-be in-laws.  I’ve never really cooked for my in-laws, but if I were hosting a meal, I would imagine I would serve something like this.  Really, this might be the perfect in-laws over for dinner recipe.  1) It looks impressive 2) It involves crowd-pleaser ingredients (unless your in-laws have nut allergies) 3) It’s pretty easy to make and 4) It’s fairly healthy!

Panko topped stuffed chicken breasts

Panko topped stuffed chicken breasts

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Makes enough for two breasts — Double for your in-laws!

Stuffing

2 tbsp butter

1/4 onion, diced

1/8 cup almonds, chopped or pulsed in food processor

1 tsp parsley flakes

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp Parmesan

Salt and pepper to taste

Topping

1/4 cup Panko

2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (shredded)

1 tsp butter (melted)

1 tsp Dijon mustard

A bit of olive oil, for drizzling.

Preheat oven to 350º

To form pockets in the chicken:  With a very sharp knife, cut from the top (thickest part) of the breast from right to left and top to bottom at approximately a 30 degree angle, so that you’re forming an angled slit throughout the entire length of the chicken.  Make sure that you do not cut all the way through the chicken breast (otherwise you’ll have chicken breast halves).  Start out easy, making a slow, shallow cut.  You can always go back and cut deeper.

The stuffing:  Melt butter in sauce pan and saute onions and peppers.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Allow mixture to cool.  After it has cooled, mix cooked peppers and onions with almonds, egg and Parmesan.  Spoon mixture into chicken pockets.

The topping:  In a bowl, mix together Dijon and melted butter.  Brush some of this over the chicken breasts.  Mix remaining butter/Dijon with panko and Parmesan, and spoon on top of breasts, pressing the topping on gently to set it.  Drizzle tops of chicken breasts with a bit of olive oil.   Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Diced onions and peppers

Diced onions and peppers

Sauteed onions and peppers

Sauteed onions and peppers

Panko topped stuffed chicken breasts

Stuffing the chicken breasts

Panko topped stuffed chicken breasts

Stuffed chicken breasts

Pre-bake Panko topped stuffed chicken breasts

Pre-bake Panko topped stuffed chicken breasts

Panko topped stuffed chicken breasts

Panko topped stuffed chicken breasts

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Filed under Chicken, Dinner, Recipes

Lighten Up

As you may have noticed by the photos that accompany the recipes I’ve posted, I cook (and inevitably eat) everything that’s included on the blog.  So, while all the stick to your ribs food I’ve been posting has been an absolute joy to make and eat, my Wii Fit Mii has been looking pretty shameful lately.  Yes, that’s right, I’m being shamed by the Wii Fit.  My Mii has been looking pretty dejected this week and the game system keeps playing that “doh doh doh doh” “you lose” music, so I’m thinking this is a bad sign.  Everything in moderation right?  So next up is a delightful, light and actually good for you Herb Crusted Salmon.

Herb Crusted Salmon.  Is it just me or does that just automatically sound just a bit more sophisticated than your average mid-week meal?  Luckily, this recipe is incredibly easy and takes less than 20 minutes total to prepare.

herb crusted salmon with white asparagus drizzled with a balsamic parmesan vinaigrette

I paired the salmon with a white asparagus drizzled with a balsamic parmesan vinaigrette and dinner rolls

Herb Crusted Salmon

2 Salmon steaks (approx 3/4 lb)

2 tsp basil

2 tsp thyme

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp rosemary

2 tsp flour

pinch salt

pinch pepper

pinch tarragon

Olive oil to drizzle on salmon

Pre-heat oven to 400º

Rinse salmon fillets.  In a bowl, mix the herbs together in along with flour.   Cover a jelly roll pan with foil.  Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on fillets, enough to just coat the top surface of the fillet.  Dip fillets oil-covered surface down into mixture of herbs, pressing gently to coat the surface.  Place fillets on pan.  Drizzle again with a bit of olive oil.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes.

White Asparagus with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Parmesan

Half a bunch of white asparagus, rinsed

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp salt

pinch pepper

2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (shaved)

Rinse and trim asparagus.  In a shallow pot, blanch asparagus spears over medium-high heat for approximately 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  In a bowl, mix together oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and dijon.  Drizzle or toss with asparagus.  Top asparagus with Parmesan.

Pre-cooked salmon topped with herbs

Raw salmon topped with herbs

Mixing the white asparagus with balsamic vinaigrette

Mixing the white asparagus with balsamic vinaigrette

Herb crusted salmon with white asparagus drizzled with Balsamic vinaigrette and Parmesan

Herb crusted salmon with white asparagus drizzled with Balsamic vinaigrette and Parmesan

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Filed under Dinner, Fish, Recipes, Tidbits