Thursday, October 9, 2008

Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss

One of my favorite dishes is chicken piccata. Now I already have a favorite recipe that I make all the time. I wasn't quite sure that anything could be as good. However, this recipe that I saw on Lauren's Kitchen and And A Cookie For Dessert sounded pretty damn good. So in the interest of trying something new, I took the plunge and it was actually quite good. Not quite as good as my tried and true recipe, but good in a different kind of way.

Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss
from Rachel Ray's website
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 1/3 pounds chicken breast tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 6 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 pound penne rigate pasta, cooked to al dente (I used thin spaghetti)
  • Chopped or snipped chives, for garnish (omitted)
Heat a deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons of EVOO and the chicken to the pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken until lightly golden all over, about 5-6 minutes.Remove chicken from pan and return the skillet to the heat.

Reduce heat to medium. Add another tablespoon EVOO and one tablespoon butter, the garlic and shallots to the skillet. Sauté garlic and shallots three minutes. Add flour and cook two minutes. Whisk in wine and reduce liquid one minute. Whisk lemon juice and broth into sauce. Stir in capers and parsley. When the liquid comes to a bubble, add remaining 1/2 tablespoon
butter to the sauce to give it a little shine.

Add chicken back to the pan and heat through, 1-2 minutes. Toss hot pasta with chicken and sauce and serve. Adjust salt and pepper, to your taste. Top with fresh snipped chives.

Swedish Meatballs

The other night, I had a yen for Swedish Meatballs. I have no reason why! Luckily I had a package of ground turkey and sour cream in the refrigerator. I also happened to have starred a recipe in my Google Reader so I was in luck. What follows below is the recipe from the A Taste of Home Cooking blog, originally a Rachel Ray recipe. Unfortunately, my picture is not quite as nice!

Swedish Meatballs and Egg Noodles
Comfort Foods: Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals

1 pound ground chuck, or ground beef, pork and veal mix
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 small onion, finely chopped (or grated on a box grater)
A few drops Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 cup beef broth
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup sour cream

1 bag wide egg noodles
1 tablespoon butter
A handful of chopped parsley

Cook egg noodles according to package directions. While waiting for the water to boil, make the meatballs and sauce.

To bake meatballs: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix ingredients for meatballs in a medium-size bowl. Form bite-size balls and place on nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes.

To cook meatballs on the stovetop: preheat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Mix ingredients for meatballs in a medium-size bowl. Form bite-size balls and add directly to the pan as you roll them. Once the last ball has been rolled, give the pan a good shake and place a lid or aluminum foil over the top. Cook meatballs 10 to 12 minutes, turning them occasionally. Remove meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate, wipe out pan, and return to heat to make the sauce.

To make the sauce: melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour and continuously whisk until a smooth paste is formed. Slowly add sherry while continuing to whisk sauce; cook until sherry reduces by half. Add broth in a slow stream and continue to whisk until sauce thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Turn off heat and whisk in salt, pepper, Dijon mustard and sour cream.

Once the noodles are cooked, drain them and toss with butter and parsley. Add meatballs to the sauce, stir to coat, and serve over the noodles.

Savory Sweet Potato Fries

Now I am normally one who likes sweet potatos made sweet, like spiced mashed potatoes or candied. But I decided to stray from the norm and was pleasantly surprised. Here's the recipe I tried with my additions in italics. Enjoy!
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (omitted)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt (used sea salt)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 lb medium sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (used olive oil)

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Coarsely grind coriander, fennel, oregano, and red pepper flakes in an electric coffee/spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Stir together spices and salt.

Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1-inch wedges.

Toss wedges with oil and spices in a large roasting pan and roast in middle of oven 20 minutes. Turn wedges over with a spatula and roast until tender and slightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes more.