Spice-rubbed chicken and roasted broccoli with garlic

Spice-rubbed chicken and roasted broccoli

One show that sometimes inspires me is Everyday Food on PBS.  A few months ago there was a recipe that looked worthy of attempting, Spice Rubbed Grilled Chicken. The recipe calls for a spice rub that you mix yourself but it makes quite a bit and I really dislike waste so I halved the measurements just in case I didn’t care for the flavor.  But I was being frugal for naught because I found the rub to be very tasty and unlike any pre-made spice rubs that I’ve ever bought from the supermarket in the past.  Instead of grilling, I roasted the chicken in a 400F oven until the chicken breast reached 160F or about 30 minutes.  The chicken turned out juicy and delicious.

For a quick and healthy side dish, I took broccoli florets, some sliced garlic, a little of the spice rub and a teaspoon of olive oil and mixed them in a bowl.  I added this mixture to the chicken about 10 minutes into the chicken’s cooking time because I like my broccoli still crunchy but you can add it at the start of roasting if that’s what you like.   Recipes after the jump.

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Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie

While my husband and son are adventurous in their food choices….they’ll try just about anything….my tastes are a little boring in comparison.  However, American comfort food never fails to satisfy all of us.  My recipe for Chicken Pot Pie is adapted from three different Cook’s Illustrated pot pie recipes.  I preferred the crust of one but the sauce from another and the use of leftover chicken from yet another one.  So with a little trial and error I put together my own blended recipe.  Yes, it means making your own crust but it’s so worth it.  The butter crust is flaky and savory…store-bought doesn’t even come close.  Normally, I use the  leftover meat from a Costco rotisserie chicken for the sauce.  The pan I use is one that can be used on top of the stove and in the oven…this one to be exact.  This way there is one less pan to wash because I cook the sauce and bake the pie all in one pan.  (Note: this recipe is for cooks with a moderate amount of experience)

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Summer on a plate.

Classic Bruschetta I love fresh basil but since it is so expensive to buy it fresh from the supermarket my son planted some basil in our small container garden on our balcony.  It’s so satisfying being able to pick a few fresh basil leaves and toss them into tomato dishes.  When I want something light for lunch, I’ll toast some of my 5 Minute Artisan Bread under the broiler; rub the toasted bread with a garlic clove; chop up a tomato; shred a few basil leaves; a few grinds of sea salt, a splash or two of balsamic vinegar and a spoonful of EV olive oil.  Summer on a plate.

Bruschetta plated

NYT Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

The ultimate cookie for me

The ultimate cookie for me

After reading about this recipe from Jacques Torres in the New York Times, I was intrigued.  After all, one doesn’t normally use bread flour in a cookie recipe and who waits 24 to 72 hours to bake a batch of cookies after mixing the dough?  Was the wait worth it?  Most definitely!!!  As the NYT article stated, the eggs are better incorporated into the dough after a couple of days in the fridge.  The original recipe calls for sea salt to be sprinkled onto the cookies just before baking.  The cookies are fantastic with or without the salt.  As for the chocolate discs mentioned, I cannot find them around here and it would be cost prohibitive for me to order them…even though I was sorely tempted to.  I found these larger almost flattened chocolate chips from Ghirardelli to be a splendid substitute.  I wish they came in a 65% cacao content but depending on how bitter or sweet you want your cookies, you can find the 58% or 72% at SuperTarget or at some HEB stores here in TX for around $4 a bag.  You may notice that my cookies in the photo have less chocolate than the ones in the NYT article.  The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds of chocolate.  Although I adore chocolate, I found it to be a bit much.  I reduced that amount to just under a pound and for me and my family, that’s the perfect amount.  The cookie dough is so flavorful that too much chocolate would overpower the caramelly, toffee-like flavors in the baked cookie.  One more thing I should share with you.  When I found this cookie recipe at NYT, I found a link to this article.  For those of you love to bake as I do, I found it illuminating.  Making sure the butter temperature is at 65 degrees when I bake has transformed my skills from good to great.  Something so simple yet so necessary.  Yes, I know it sounds fussy or pedantic but it really made a difference.  I highly recommend taking your butter’s temperature and weighing your flour to have the most consistent results.  Look for the recipe after the jump.

cookie plate

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Baked Rigatoni Cake

Baked Rigatoni Cake

Baked Rigatoni Cake

Several months ago I saw a photo of this pasta cake on one of these foodie sites, the name of which escapes me now, and I knew I had to have it.  That cheesy top looked irresistible.   It’s a Martha Stewart recipe for kids so there is very little seasoning in the original recipe.  To perk up the flavor, I used freshly ground chuck and added a half teaspoon of Italian seasoning as well as a dash or two of red pepper flakes for a little background heat.  I reduced the amount of Parmesan by half because one cup of Parmesan cheese would be overpowering not to mention expensive.  You may need an extra set of clean hands to help you keep the rigatoni tubes upright as you arrange them.  My son helped by shoring up the already set tubes as well as uprighting any errant tubes.  It turned out rather good…it’s a keeper.

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One way to use up strawberries

Sweet pizza with strawberries and bananas

Sweet pizza with strawberries and bananas

I’ve always wanted to try a dessert pizza and I got the opportunity when I had strawberries and bananas that needed to be used before they spoiled.  After some searching, I found some inspiration from a source I would not normally use; Paula Deen at Food Network.  Her recipe served as an outline for me.  I used the Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix in place of the refrigerated dough.  Vanilla extract took the place of the almond or orange extract and strawberry jam stood in for the marmalade.  A little powdered sugar went into the cream cheese and a little grated chocolate for the top.  I only had bananas and strawberries in the way of fruit but it was enough to make this a tasty dessert.

Easily my favorite comfort food: Potatoes and Onions

Potatoes & Onions

Potatoes & Onions

For my first official post I chose the dish that says, “Everything will be alright.  Don’t worry. Things will look up.”

There’s no real right or wrong way to make this dish.  I don’t have a set recipe but there are couple of things to remember.  Add the onions when the potatoes are almost halfway cooked otherwise they will burn.  I normally use red potatoes for this dish but other types can be used.

Here’s what you need for a large single serving or 2 smaller servings:

-4 or 5 small or medium red potatoes

-vegetable or olive oil

-salt and pepper

-half an onion cut into wedges

-fresh herbs

Cut the potatoes into wedges while you heat up a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Rinse and dry the wedges a bit and then add some oil to the pan.  Place the wedges cut-side down carefully into the pan.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover pan with a lid.  Cook for about 10-12 minutes and check potatoes to make sure they aren’t burning.  When nicely browned, flip each wedge carefully with a fork and then toss the onion wedges on top of potatoes.  You don’t need to use the lid again if you want crispy potatoes. Cook until the second side of the potatoes is browned and the onions have cooked.

When done, I sprinkled the potatoes with some lemon thyme we have growing on our balcony to brighten the flavor.

These potatoes come out crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

A plate of these never fails to please.  🙂 <unintentional rhyme>