Chicken Thigh Recipes {2} – Curried Chicken Thighs

Second on the list of inexpensive but delicious chicken thigh recipes is Curried Chicken Thighs.  This dish isn’t difficult at all and yet it’s sure to impress.  Serve it over basmati rice if it’s available in your area.

CURRIED CHICKEN THIGHS

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
6 chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
1 cup chopped onion
3 teaspoons curry
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
2 carrots, peeled and sliced on diagonal
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup broccoli florets
1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup frozen peas

Heat oil in large skillet and stir in butter to melt. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Cook thighs skin side down until golden brown. Flip chicken and continue to cook until golden brown. Remove chicken to a plate. Stir in onions and cook until tender. Stir in curry, cayenne, cinnamon and cumin and cook until aromas are released. Stir in carrots and toss to coat. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Place chicken thighs back into skillet and stir in broccoli. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes to cook chicken. Stir in cream and peas. Season to taste. Serve with basmati rice.

Chicken Thigh Recipes {1} ~ Red-Cooked

I hated passing up deals on chicken thighs in the grocery store, but I just never knew how to cook them. Here is the first of twelve creative meals that should provide enough variety to serve chicken thighs for months before you have to repeat.

ayam masak merah (Malay red-cooked chicken)


RED-COOKED CHICKEN THIGHS

4 pounds chicken thighs ~ about 8
2 tablespoons Asian seasoning
1 1/4 cups chopped green onions
2 tablespoons minced ginger
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Chinese wine or medium-dry Sherry
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
4 whole star anise
4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 8 teaspoons water

Season the chicken thighs with the Asian seasoning.

Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning, until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. With tongs, transfer to a plate. Lower the heat to medium and add 1 cup of the green onions and cook until tender, about 1 minute. Add the ginger and cook for 30 seconds. Add the stock, water, soy sauce, wine, vinegar, cinnamon and star anise and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature and simmer for 20 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan, cover, and braise over medium-low heat until tender, about 45 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a serving platter. Increase the heat to medium, add the cornstarch slurry and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thick and shiny, about 5 minutes.

To serve, spoon the rice into the center of each of 4 large plates. Arrange 2 thighs on the rice and spoon the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup of green onions.

Monday Mexican – Pozole!

Warm, inviting Pozole

We’re adding another meal to our Thumbs Up chart!  Pozole, a comforting & simple Mexican soup, can be made in a variety of different ways and served with an unlimited amount of toppings.

Here’s how I made it:

Place one cut up chicken in a pot and cover with water (alternately you can use any cut of chicken or pork).  Add an onion, cut in half, and 2 peeled carrots cut in half.  Simmer for a few hours to make a basic stock.

Remove the chicken and when cool enough, shred the meat off the bones and return it to the soup.

In a food processor or blender smash up 2-15oz cans of hominy, 8 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of oregano, and 1 cup of the stock.  Stir this mixture in the soup along with 1 more can of whole hominy.  (Drain and rinse the hominy before adding)

My favorite part: The toppings!

That’s it for the soup part!  Now for the toppings.  Serve any of the following on a platter to pass around:

  • Shredded cabbage
  • Slices of avocado
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Queso fresco
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Minced jalapenos
  • Chopped red onion
  • Wedges of lime

Add some homemade or store bought tortilla chips too and you’re all set!  This meal is both healthy and budget friendly.   And if you’re low on time you could always used canned stock.

My inspiration for this meal came from Simply Recipes.  Stop over to that blog sometime for some delicious ideas with easy-to-understand instructions and beautiful food photos.

Quesadillas with Chipotle Dipping Sauce

My daughter is out for the day with Grandma, so it’s just the boys, Dad and me.  I thought I’d put together a fun snack meal with chips, dips, and such.  We even had black cherry sodas in bottles.  Now that’s a treat around here!

Quesadilla

One of the quick, easy dishes I threw together was quesadillas.  I used leftover turkey, but in the future will use chicken.

Here’s how I did it:

Spread green salsa onto a flour tortilla (I’m sure red could be used, but I think tomatilloes go really well with this dish).  Top salsa with shredded cheddar, shredded chicken, and more cheddar.

Top with another tortilla & cook in a skillet till brown, then flip and brown other side.  Repeat with more quesadillas.

For the dipping sauce, combine in a bowl:  1/2 cup mayo, 1/2 cup light sour cream, 2-3 chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, 1 large minced garlic clove, the juice of 1/2 a lime, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, 3 sliced scallions, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve along side of quesadillas.

Honey Mustard Pork with Bacon & Cranberry Wild Rice

Roast pork dinner

This week’s menu includes a pork dish which took me about 10 minutes to prepare – and what results!   An enthusiastic five thumbs went up for this fall dish.

Here’s how to do it:

Roasted Pork

Slather a 4 lb pork roast with a sauce made of 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, 4 tablespoons or so of honey, 2 tablespoons of rosemary, and 4-5 garlic cloves minced.  Use the quantities that your family would prefer.

Next, wrap the pork in strips of bacon.  Place in a roasting pan and cook for 2 hours or so at 350 till the pork is cooked to the correct temperature and the bacon is crispy.  This depends on the size of your roast.

Remove the pork and let it sit for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, deglaze the pan with a 1/2 cup of white wine.  Cook till the alcohol evaporates, strain, and put in a gravy boat.  Slice the meat and serve over rice pilaf, passing the sauce on the side.
brown rice - bulgur pilaf w/ sage sausage & cranberries!

Rice Pilaf

Cook long grain wild rice according the package directions.  You can substitute chicken broth for water if you desire.  When the rice is done add toasted almonds, walnuts, pecans, or pignolis, and a few hands full of dried cranberries.  Other options include goat cheese, celery, sauteed onions, herbs.

Sausage and Mushroom Ragu over Polenta

Counter End Shelves

Another meal on this week’s menu is made with pig and fungus according to my Son Who Dislikes Mushrooms.  Anyway, despite said child’s aversions to mushrooms, I thought the dish was delicious!

Here’s how to do it:

Sausage & Mushroom Ragu over Polenta

Take 2lbs of sausage out of their casings and saute till brown.  Remove from pan and add 2 chopped onions cooking till softened.  Add 2 lbs of sliced mushrooms to onions and cook till they give off their liquid.  Add 4 cloves of minced garlic and cook one minute longer.   Replace sausage in pan and add 1-28oz can of crushed tomatoes.  Simmer till polenta is cooked.

Creamy Polenta

Bring 1-14.5oz can of chicken broth to a boil in a sauce pan.  Add 1 cup of corn meal and stir till thickened.  Add 4oz of cream cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  Stir.

Serve ragu in bowls with a scoop of polenta on top.

Roasted Chicken with White Wine Mustard Sauce

Fall is here and I’m enjoying roasting meats for this week’s dinners.   Tonight we’re having roasted chicken with a French-inspired pan sauce.

Here’s how to do it:

Roasted Chicken with White Wine Mustard Sauce

In an oven-proof skillet, saute 6 chicken breasts coated with salt and pepper till nicely browned on all sides.  Put pan in a 350 degree oven and roast chicken till cooked through, about 40 minutes.  Remove chicken from pan and cover loosely with foil.

Put skillet on stove over medium heat and add 1/2 cup white wine, bringing it to a boil and scraping up all the brown bits.  Stir in 4 teaspoons of Dijon mustard.  Combine 1/3 cup of cream with 1 tablespoon of flour and whisk into sauce till thickened slightly, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Season with salt and serve over chicken.

Roasted Potatoes with Basil Vinaigrette

Rosemary Potatoes

Quarter 2lbs of red potatoes and place in a roasting pan.  Add a few glugs of olive oil and season generously with salt, pepper, and rosemary.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour till easily pierced with a fork.

Come ON spell check!  Tell me “glug” is not a word!

G.O.R.B

We had G.O.R.B. for dinner.  Nope, not the famous G.O.R.P. (Good ol’ raisins and peanuts), but Good Ol’ Rice and Beans.

I make this easy meal once every other week or so,  but really I need to do it every week.  There are so many variations you can try:  Toppings, spices, cooking methods, and what to serve it upon.

Red Beans and Rice

You can use canned beans or you can soak a bag of beans overnight, then add them to a slow cooker with water to cover & cook all day with spices and even a ham hock or bacon.  While cooking, spice the beans up with garlic, oregano, cumin, pepper, and hot sauce.  Also try adding sauteed veggies like onions, peppers, and carrots.  The sky’s the limit!  When they’re done, blend them to a puree, or blend half of them, or even leave them whole.  I usually blend half of the beans for a nice texture over rice.

We like red or black beans and we prefer serving them over brown rice to white.  Toppings for the beans are also endless:  Queso fresco, or another type of cheese, scrambled eggs, cilantro, red onions, crunchy veggies.

Rice and beans can be Mexican in style, or Cuban or Creole.  If you want to go real crazy you can make curried lentils over basmati rice, but I’ll post that recipe another time!

Sides?  How about corn bread, a big green salad with crunchy vegetables, or homemade tortillas.

However you enjoy them, serve this nutritious meal often.  It’s easy on the budget and usually requires minimum prep time.  This is a perfect training meal, too, for budding young chefs.

Homemade Tortillas

Homemade tortillas.  I can’t get them perfectly round no matter how hard I try.  I can’t get them as thin as store-bought.  I can’t even get the flavor the same.  But none of these things matter to us, because the shape (amoeba-like as they are!), the puffiness, and the taste are fantastic!  We love homemade tortillas.

I made tortillas.

3 cups soft white wheat flour (or all-purpose)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup hot water

Mix the first three ingredients in a bowl.  Cut in the shortening till it’s all crumbly.  Add the water and combine till you get a nice dough that holds together.  Add water or flour as needed to achieve this.   Let the dough rest if you have time.

Shape the dough into 12 balls.  Roll them out to thin circles (or amoebas if you prefer) using a rolling pin and flour to help stickiness.

Cook each tortilla in a hot, dry cast iron skillet for about 1-2 minutes per side.

Enjoy them with rice and beans, stuffed with beef or chicken, or as quesadillas.  You can even add cinnamon and sugar and vanilla ice cream if you want to just go absolutely tortilla crazy!

Try as I might, I cannot remove the following little lines from this post.  Freaky!  So please ignore them and read more posts and leave lots of comments on how you get your tortillas ROUND!

Beef Stew

Hearty beef stew is warm and comforting and has an inviting aroma that fills your house as it slowly cooks all day long.   Serve over piping hot, creamy mashed potatoes or steaming buttered egg noodles with peas.

Beef stew will quickly become a staple in your fall and winter menus.  Even picky folks should enjoy this meat and potatoes favorite.  Oh, and it freezes perfectly well so make enough for next week too!

Shin Beef Stew

Here’s how to do it:

Brown one inexpensive hunk of beef bottom round roast on all sides in a deep pot.  Remove to slow cooker.

In same pot add 2 large sliced onions, 6 or so peeled carrots in big chunks, and 4 celery stalks sliced thick. Cook till soft, scraping up all the browned bits at the bottom of the pan.  Add 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, 2 teaspoons dried mustard, 1-14oz can of beef broth, 1 can of condensed tomato soup, and 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.

Pour vegetables and sauce over beef and slow cook for 6-8 hours.

After 6 hours or so remove the beef and slice, shred, or chunk it – whatever your preference. Replace the beef into the slow cooker and cook another hour.  It would be a shame to lose any of those delicious, meaty juices that came out of the roast when you were cutting it, so be sure to add them back to the pot as well!

Add 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.  These two ingredients make the meal and are what give the gravy its distinctive sweet edge. Make a paste of 2 tablespoons corn starch and water.  Add to pot and stir and cook till thickened about 20 minutes.  (You can do this on high with the lid off so it thickens faster)

After your meal is finished, fix a fire and grab a cup of tea, a blanket, and your book.  Put your feet up and enjoy your many blessings.  Even better to do this next to your Excellent Husband!