Friday, July 31, 2015

Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze

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I always like a little twist on grilled chicken and I have to say I didn’t really taste the marinade on this one, but the sauce was pretty good. It’s not my favorite chicken recipe I’ve made, but it’s worth a try for the sauce.

Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze

(Adapted from The Food Charlatan)

 

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4 chicken breasts*, left whole or cut into thick strips diagonally

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

3/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons steak seasoning

 

For the glaze:

6 slices bacon, chopped

3/4 cup honey

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon hot sauce (I used Frank's)

 

In a large ziplock bag, squish together 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, 3/4 cup oil, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons steak seasoning.

 

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Add the chicken breast, thighs, or salmon filets. Seal and refrigerate for a few hours. (If you are marinating salmon, grill them after 1-2 hours at the longest or it will get mushy. If you are doing chicken, you can do it 2-3 days in advance if you want.)

 

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.

 

Make the glaze. In a large pan, cook the bacon until it is crisp, then remove to a paper-towel-lined plate and let cool. If you didn't chop it, crumble it now. Set aside.

 

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Drain the grease from the pan, but don't clean it. Add the honey, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce.

 

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Let bubble over medium heat. Once it is bubbly, add in the chopped bacon.

 

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Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes until it has thickened slightly, then remove from heat. The glaze will continue to thicken as it cools down.

 

Grill the chicken or salmon over medium-high heat.

 

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Discard the marinade, or use it to brush the fresh veggies you should be grilling. Don't forget to brush the grill with oil first or it will stick. Cook 2-4 minutes per side, until it is no longer pink for the chicken, or until it flakes tenderly with a fork for the salmon.

 

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Serve topped with the bacon glaze. I like to serve this with grilled veggies on the side, like tomatoes and baby bell peppers. It would also be good with baked beans.

 

Notes

*I used 2 salmon filets and 3 chicken thighs this time when I made it. If you are doing all salmon, use 4-6 filets. If you are doing just thighs, use at least 5. It doesn't really matter, just however many you can fit in the marinade and have it cover them pretty well. The marinade is a pretty generous amount.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese

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One of my brother’s favorite flavors in life is garlic. I’m pretty sure he’s eaten it raw and I’ve occasionally had to tell him he smells like garlic from eating so much of it. All I know is if vampires attack I’ll be heading to his house! I liked this mac and cheese it’s nice to have another flavor in it to dress it up and make it feel like more of a fancy mac and cheese. 

Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese

(Adapted from Just A Taste)

 

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For crumb topping:

4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

2 cups Panko Japanese bread crumbs

3 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives

 

For pasta and sauce:

1 head garlic

Olive oil

1 pound uncooked pasta (such as cavatappi, shells or rigatoni)

1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter

6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

5 cups whole milk

5 1/2 cups coarsely shredded cheddar cheese (white, yellow or a mix of both)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

Make the crumb topping:

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

 

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Add the breadcrumbs and chives, stirring to combine. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until toasted slightly.

 

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Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

 

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Make the pasta and sauce:

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

 

Slice the top one-third off the head of garlic. Place the bottom portion on a piece of foil, drizzle it with olive oil, and season it with salt and pepper. Place the top portion back on the head of garlic and crumple the foil to create a sealed packet. Roast the garlic for 30 minutes.

 

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Remove the roasted garlic from the oven and squeeze the cloves into a bowl. Using a fork, mashing the cloves into a paste. Set aside.

 

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Cook the pasta in a large pot of well-salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Butter a 13x9-inch shallow baking dish.

 

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In a large, heavy saucepot (such as a Dutch oven), melt 1 stick butter over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour and reserved garlic paste. Cook the roux, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes until golden.

 

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Whisk in the milk. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce it to a simmer and let it cook for 3 minutes.

 

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Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, mustard powder, salt and pepper until well combined.

 

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Add the pasta and the reserved 1/2 cup of pasta water to the pot, stirring to combine. (It will be soupy.) Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the buttered baking dish.

 

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Sprinkle it with the reserved crumb topping and place it on a sheet tray (in the event it bubbles over while baking). Bake the macaroni and cheese for 20 to 25 minutes until it's golden brown and bubbling.

 

Kelly's Notes:

The garlic head can be roasted, and the garlic gloves mashed, 1 day in advance. Store the garlic paste, covered, in the fridge.

 

The macaroni and cheese can be baked in a large baking dish or several smaller ramekins for individual servings.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Apple Cheddar Stuffed Chicken with Apple Dijon Pan Sauce

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I was excited about trying this Fall dish and then it was a big let down. The flavors didn’t really come through like I wanted and the sauce was a watery puddle on the plate. I think I’ll stick to my stuffed pork chop recipe I have.

Apple Cheddar Stuffed Chicken with Apple Dijon Pan Sauce

(Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats)

 

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4 chicken breasts

1 small apple, peeled and chopped small

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme + a pinch, divided

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

salt & pepper

1/4 cup flour (I used brown rice flour)

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup apple juice

2 Tablespoons dijon mustard

1-1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (could use rice vinegar)

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees then get out a baking sheet and set aside. Using a sharp knife, cut a pocket horizontally into each chicken breast then set aside.

 

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Mix apples, cheese, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, dried oregano, salt, and pepper in a small bowl then stuff chicken with a quarter of the mixture (may have a bit leftover.) Close with toothpicks if desired.

 

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Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish then dredge chicken breasts in mixture, tapping excess flour off.

 

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Place chicken into skillet then saute until golden brown on one side, 4-5 minutes. Flip then saute until other side is golden brown, 3-4 minutes and then transfer chicken to baking sheet and place into the oven to finish cooking through, 5-7 minutes.

 

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Meanwhile, add chicken broth, apple juice, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of dried thyme to skillet then turn heat to high. Cook until sauce has reduced, about 5 minutes, then taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Plate chicken then drizzle with pan sauce.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Easy Pork Chops with Sweet and Sour Glaze

Easy Pork Chops with Sweet and Sour Glaze

I had a craving for pork chops lately, and usually when we have them they are pre packaged ones with a stuffing. I happened to really like the flavor that this glaze gave the pork chops and it’s super easy to mix up while the hubby was grilling them. We happened to grill them instead of pan frying them then roasting, so I can’t say how it is done in the pan.

Anytime you happen to grill pork I always like to slice up some green apple and lightly grill it to serve with the meat. The flavor of the apple pairs really well with the pork trust me!

Easy Pork Chops with Sweet and Sour Glaze

(Adapted from Damn Delicious)

 

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4 (8-ounce) pork chops, bone-in, 3/4-inch to 1-inch thick

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

 

For the sweet and sour glaze

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons honey

2 cloves garlic minced

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, optional

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

 

Season pork chops with salt and pepper, to taste.

 

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add pork chops and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. I grilled mine instead.

 

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Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 140 degrees F, about 8-10 minutes.*

 

To make the sweet and sour glaze, combine balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan over medium heat; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

 

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Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

 

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Serve pork chops immediately with sweet and sour glaze.


*Cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the pork chops.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Basic Steamed Mussels with White Wine and Shallots

Basic Steamed Mussels with White Wine and Shallots

As my July edition of my New Years Resolution I went with mussels. I’ve had these in restaurants before mostly mixed with other seafood. They are super easy to cook and make a nice light meal. I happened to double the recipe and at the bottom of this post you’ll see how easy it is to make 2 meals out of the same recipe.

Basic Steamed Mussels with White Wine and Shallots

(Adapted from Charlie Palmer Group)

Serves 4

 

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3 lb mussels, preferably small cultivated

1 C white wine

1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 each shallots, fine chop

1 clove garlic, fine chop

2 each fresh thyme sprigs, or 1/2t dried

1 each bay leaf

3 T parsley, fine chop

4 T butter, optional

to taste fresh ground pepper

 

Wash the mussels, scrubbing them well under cold running water. Pull off any pieces of protruding beard. Tap any mussels that are open lightly on a counter. If they do not close, discard them (they are probably dead).

 

In a large pot, combine the wine, shallots, garlic, thyme and bay leaf, and bring to a boil over medium heat.

 

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Simmer for about five minutes, then add the mussels.

 

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Cover, turn the heat to high and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, shaking the pot occasionally to redistribute the mussels. When steam starts to shoot out from under the lid, turn the heat to medium. Take off the lid and check to see if all the mussels have opened. If not, replace the lid and cook for 2 minutes more. At this point, discard any mussels that have not opened.

 

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Transfer the mussels to four shallow bowls. If the liquid in the bottom of the pan is sandy, carefully pour it into a clean saucepan, leaving grit in the old pan.

 

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Heat the broth, add the chopped parsley, whisk in the butter and season with pepper.

 

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Ladle it over the hot mussels. Serve.

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Since I doubled the recipe I separated the mussels and the shells then cooked some egg noodles and served with the remaining mussels and sauce. I think we liked this way best, but either way you need some nice French bread to soak up all the goodness!

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