Tuscan Lemon Chicken

If you live in Seattle, it appears summer has left the building. Before it is totally gone and with Labor Day weekend coming up, I wanted to share my favorite grilled chicken recipe of the summer. Backing up a little, I wasn’t always the master griller I am today. Four short months ago I had never operated a grill on my own and was completely intimidated. I thought this was a guy job. I don’t currently have one of those. I decided it was about time to change my status – my grilling status. For Mother’s Day, my parents got me a Weber grill and it has been the best gift ever! I grill everything now! Steaks, chicken, lots of hotdogs for Oliver, veggies, salmon. Obsessed.

My first grilling project was Ina’s Tuscan Lemon Chicken. It is so delicious. I’ve probably made it six times this summer and it is just really good. I have made this a few ways, a whole chicken flattened as is in the recipe or cut up into eight pieces. The latter is the easier method and much less mess.  Read More

If I make soup, will fall come?

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Fall is my favorite season. Leaves turning, crisp weather. But seriously, where the funk is it? Last week, Ina Garten posted one of my favorite soups on FB, her Italian Wedding, and I thought this the perfect Sunday dinner. Being that it’s, oh, the middle of October in Seattle, one can safely assume that the weather is not going to be summer-like. But no, global warming has other ideas. Oliver and I had our family pictures Sunday afternoon and we were both sweating our asses off in sweaters (I sure hope she can photoshop my shiny face) running around Discovery Park in the blazing sun. It was 74 degrees. I mopped myself down when I got home, turned on the A/C, and got to work making this pot of deliciousness. Read More

Sunday Dinner – Roast Chicken & Veggies

All of Seattle is watching the Seahawks play the 49ers for a shot at the Superbowl. I, however, am listening to Jake & the Neverland Pirates as I am home with a sick little guy who has commandeered the TV. I am making one of my fave Sunday dinners, roast chicken and veggies. Until about 5 years ago, the thought of roasting a chicken was completely intimidating. In hindsight, I have no idea why. It is seriously easy, and one of those dinners you just throw in the oven and let ‘er rip. Perfect for company, makes your house smell amazing.

I have been doing various versions of roast chicken, one of my favorites is Ina Garten’s Engagement Roast Chicken. I love the gravy you make at the end, it’s the best part. I have also been digging Smitten Kitchen’s Flat Roast Chicken, where you remove the backbone from the chicken (or have the butcher do it). This shortens the cooking time to about 45 minutes rather than 75 minutes. Both are totally fantastic recipes. Staples. But today I felt like getting crazy today and trying something new. Enter Martha Stewart’s Perfect Roast Chicken. What I like about this guy – you pierce a lemon all over and insert the entire thing into the cavity, as well as garlic cloves, fresh thyme, salt & pepper. Gives the final product such great flavor.

Veggies on the menu tonight are Yukon gold potatoes, parsnips, yellow onion and carrots. Also planning to roast a little kale to green things up.

Sunday Roast Chicken & Veggies

adapted from Martha Stewart’s Perfect Roast Chicken (so, I guess it wasn’t quite perfect)

Ingredients

  • 1 4lb organic chicken
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 large cloves garlic, peeled (plus 4 more to include with veggies)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme (plus more to include with veggies)
  • 1 medium onions, peeled, cut in half width wise, then sliced into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 bunch carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 3 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into even chunks

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°
  2. Let chicken and 1T butter stand at room temperature for 30 minutes
  3. Cut up all veggies and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Make sure the veggies are all around the same size.
  4. Remove the giblets and excess fat from the chicken cavity. Rinse chicken inside and out under cold running water. Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips under the body.
  5. Sprinkle the cavity of the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  6. Place the lemon on the counter and roll back and forth, this softens the lemon and allows the juice to flow more freely. Pierce entire surface of lemon with a fork. Using the side of a large knife, gently press on garlic cloves to open slightly. Insert garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, and lemon into cavity. Place chicken in large roasting pan. Cut about 18 inches of kitchen twine, bring chicken legs forward, cross them, and tie together.
  7. Spread the softened butter over entire surface of chicken, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Spread veggies evenly around the chicken in the roasting pan, if they are too crowded, they will steam, not roast. Place in the oven, and roast for 15 minutes.
  8. Reduce temperature to 350º after 15 minutes.
  9. Continue to roast until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and the juices run clear when pierced, about 1 hour. When chicken seems done, insert a thermometer into the breast, then the thigh. The breast temperature should read 165º.
  10. Remove chicken and place on a platter to rest for 10 – 15 minutes. Raise temp back up to 425° and throw the veggies back in to continue roasting for an additional 15 minutes.

Pretty exiting, Oliver let me turn on the Seahawks game and we got to watch them beat the 49ers and get their 2nd chance to play in the Superbowl!! Dinner was delish as well. Good Sunday in Seattle.

Mexican Chicken Soup

After two dinners out this weekend at RockCreek and Westward, both of which were fantastic, I was ready to do some cooking and eat dinner at home on Sunday. Not to mention, it was rainy and shitty and the wind was literally attempting to blow my house down. Perfect soup weather! Ina Garten posted her Mexican Chicken Soup recipe on her Facebook feed last week and I realized it had been way too long since I had made one of my favorite soups. Bonus, it is totes healthy.

My notes for the recipe:

  • Ina calls for 2 – 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded. I used 3, seeded them, and it was way too spicy for Oliver. Great for me, not for him. He ate mac & cheese. That always feels good, you slave away and they’d rather eat their dinner from a box.
  • Chopping the veggies – I used my food processor to chop everything. Onion, carrot, garlic, jalapeno, celery, cilantro. I think this soup benefits from the veggies being chopped finely, especially the onion and carrot. With the onion, the processor chops it into almost a liquidy mush, which worried me, but it ended up great and just thickened up the soup.
  • Making tortilla strips for garnish – I used 8 tortillas, cut them in half, then cut them into 1/2 inch strips. spread on a rimmed cookie sheet in 1 layer and baked at 375 until golden brown, about 10 min.

Ina Garten’s Mexican Chicken Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
  • 2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
  • 6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas

For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.