Garlic-Rosemary Chicken

Having barely posted over the last several weeks and now coming back post-honeymoon to a big project at work, I am struggling with the “swing of things.” I have many drafts, many posts circulating in my head but not yet drafted and, as of Wednesday, our wedding photos to edit and play with in Photoshop. I may have to schedule my blogging time in to my day like a job.

For now, I shall start simple. Saturday night, we decided to make some chicken but didn’t want buttermilk chicken as we had just done that a few days before. Chris found a recipe online for a garlic-rosemary rubbed pork loin which intrigued him but was rather time consuming with creating an oil infusion then letting it sit for several hours followed by cooking it in the oven.

I don’t know the source of the original recipe but basically, you mixed fresh rosemary and chopped garlic together with olive oil to infuse the oil, by letting it sit for several hours. Then this is mixed with salt to create a paste which is then rubbed on the meat. I knew that introducing heat to the equation would speed up the infusion process and I also knew we had some garlic olive oil from a store in Traverse City. Its a tasty oil but does not hold up to high heat cooking like a non-infused oil so we don’t use it a lot.

In a small saucepan or saute pan, mix 2-3 sprigs of rosemary leaves, finely chopped with 2 cloves fresh chopped garlic (okay, I used the stuff in the fridge) and 3-4 tablespoons of oil (use extra virgin if you don’t have flavored). Heat over medium-low until aromas fill your kitchen. Allow to cook at a medium-low or lower temperature about 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld without frying the garlic.

Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in enough salt to create a paste. I didn’t measure this but I’d estimate 3/4 to 1 tablespoon worked for me. Rub paste in to all sides of chicken breasts. Allow to sit about 10 minutes.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add chicken breasts and saute 5-7 minutes per side until golden brown and cooked through. We used thin cut chicken breasts, as usual, so total cooking time was about 12 minutes.

Served with sweet potato fries: 2 sweet potatoes, cut in to similarly sized chunks, tossed with olive oil and seasonings, baked 30 minutes or so in a 425 degree oven (watch these- they will burn).

To accompany the sweet potato fries, I had some sweet garlic mustard from Vermont. Yummy!

The chicken was incredibly easy and very flavorful; I expect to see a return engagement to our kitchen in the near future. Not really having to measure anything makes it very nice indeed.

Arroz con Pollo

I borrowed this recipe from Elise, over at Simply Recipes. Some modifications for serving size and timeliness along with what was handy.

Arroz Con Pollo

Ingredients

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 package boneless skinless chicken breast, patted dry (approx 3 breast halves with tenderloins)
1/2 cup of flour for dredging
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Paprika

1 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup jasmine rice
1 1/2 cups* chicken stock
1 cup of diced tomatoes (canned, oregano, basil, garlic flavor), strained
Pinch of oregano or more
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup frozen mixed vegetable blend (beans, carrots, peas)

Directions

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pan with a lid.

Mix flour, salt, pepper and paprika together on a small plate. Dredge chicken in flour mixture and saute in pan until lightly browned on both sides. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Add the rice to the pan to brown. Add a little more olive oil if necessary. Stir first to coat the rice with the olive oil in the pan. Then allow it to sit and brown lightly. Add the onion and garlic. Cook the onion, garlic and rice mixture, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened, about 4 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix the stock, salt, oregano and tomatoes together.

Place the chicken pieces on top of the rice. Pour the stock mixture over the rice and chicken. I added a little more dried oregano here but its optional. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low, and cover. Cook 15 minutes until the rice has absorbed all the stock.

Add frozen vegetable blend to pan and return lid. Cook 3-5 minutes until vegetables are heated through. Fluff rice with a fork before serving. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

This made 4 servings. It all came together pretty quickly – maybe 30 minutes start to finish. No picture- it was quick but a late start to dinner so I didn’t want to impede Chris by taking glamour shots first.

Arroz con Pollo would make a great make-ahead dish. You could freeze individual portions.

Quickie Dinner & A Complaint

I just wanted to cook something, anything for dinner tonight. Something easy and fast. We are in desperate need of a fridge clean-out so I just grabbed a few things I knew weren’t very old.

Ingredients

3 boneless chicken thighs (1/2 a package, left over from camping)
1/2 jar tomato sauce
2 portabella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red onion, chopped
Garlic seasoning mix
balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
fresh basil
parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Season thighs with garlic seasoning mix or mix of your choice.  Brown thighs on both sides then remove to a plate.  Add onion and mushrooms to pan and saute for 3-5 minutes, until starting to soften.  Add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar to pan and use wooden spoon to scrape any bits up off the bottom.  Add tomato sauce and another 1 tsp garlic seasoning plus 1/2 tsp rosemary then return chicken to pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Let cook until chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens slightly.

While chicken with sauce is cooking, prepare pasta of your choice. When ready, serve chicken and sauce over pasta, garnish with fresh basil and shredded cheese. This made two servings for dinner plus one for leftovers.


It was quick. Since we have nice bright 100 watt lights in our house, versus the lantern and firelight I used on Saturday night, I was able to see these chicken thighs a little better. And I was appalled at how fatty they were. Fat on all sides plus some gristle on one. I tried to trim it off but this was seriously cutting in to my time limit. I almost gave up and used the chicken breasts we have instead. And I didn’t want to waste food just because I felt ripped off. I HATE paying for fat on chicken. Which is why I normally buy Miller Farms Amish Chicken. It is consistently the best looking pre-packaged chicken in any store that carries it. And you don’t get the fatty surprise when you open the package at home. I have purchased other brands (one that may or may not be named after a squeaky voiced boxer in particular) and ended up throwing out 1/4 pound or more in fat. Really, if I am buying boneless skinless chicken breasts, what makes you think I’d want it covered in fat?

I told Chris that next week I’m buying some chicken from the City Market. And otherwise, no more major mega-brands.

The garlic seasoning mix I used is from Garlic Festival Foods. We picked up the all-purpose seasoning plus some salsa at the Michigan Renaissance Festival on Sunday.