Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

I have a slight obsession with Costco.  For instance, if I won the lottery, it would be my first stop (ok, so I would follow it up with Nordstrom).  You can buy anything and everything there....including a car or a casket.  I make a weekly trip and always leave with a rotisserie chicken.  I may or may not also leave with 17 items that were not on my list, usually including something that will only fit on a flat bed cart.

Here is the part where I tell you what I do with my Costco, cooked to perfection, golden brown, still warm, rotisserie chicken.  I make a fabulous mayo free chicken salad and lots of chicken stock.  I freeze half my chicken stock and keep the rest for making Chicken and Broccoli Rabe and Cannellini Bean, Kale and Garlic Soup.  Using my rotisserie chicken without waste, I feel like a "pro" in the kitchen.  The chicken salad is also great to have on hand when I hit the 2:00 mark, need a nap, and raid the refrigerator in an attempt to "wake up."

If you are used to reading my blog, you know you
can follow along with the pictures, or
Click here for a Printable Recipe

I start by cutting everything up for both my stock and my chicken salad.  
I like to use only one cutting board, so order is important. 
Here is the order I dice and chop:

Celery: 3 stalks diced for chicken salad, 3 stalks roughly chopped for stock
Onion: Red, white, yellow, Vidalia; whatever you prefer for stock, 
just need one, peeled, cut in big chunks
Chop 1/2 red onion or 4 scallions for chicken salad
Red Grapes: Slice in half about 30 red, seedless grapes
Almonds: Whole almonds roughly chopped or sliced almonds 
(but first toast in a dry pan or oven over medium heat for 4-6 minutes)
Garlic: 5-6 whole cloves, just peel, for stock only 
Carrots:  Throw in a handful of baby carrots...or chunk up a real carrot, stock only
Spices:  In your stock pot, add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, 
2 bay leaves, and 1 tablespoon each of kosher salt, Herbs de Provence, 
and a few cranks of black pepper

Next I cut up the chicken, I don't use the skin in my chicken salad but I 
do throw it in my huge soup pot for extra flavor (and fat).
There is no easy way to cut up an entire chicken....you are going to get dirty!
I know some of you are squeamish around the bones, 
and some won't eat the dark meat. 
Whatever you won't eat; bones, skin, the yucky part of the chicken 
(you know what I'm talking about) goes in your stock pot. 
The white meat (and dark if you like it) gets chunked up and 
goes in your chicken salad bowl. 

To finish your chicken salad mix: 1 container plain Greek yogurt with 
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste.  This is your "mayo"
You can adjust and use more yogurt, mustard, etc.  
Chicken Salad also tends to be more dry on day 2 or 3. 

Mix together and chill before serving
Optional: add 1 T chopped fresh rosemary and add some blue cheese crumbles, or
omit the red grapes and almonds and substitute with dried cranberries and walnuts

For the Stock:
Cover entire chicken, veggies and spices with water
Bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour, let cool
Strain with a fine mesh strainer over mason jars
You can freeze as well however leave 1 inch from lid empty
Discard chicken, bones, etc.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Broccoli Rabe is the new Kale

Kale is trendy and popular while boosting health benefits.....Broccoli Rabe does the same and is crazy delicious...I'm putting it on the map!  Also known as Rapini, this dish reminds me of my Italian Father from NY....partly b/c he taught me to LOVE this dish and partly because he says Broccoli Rabe way cooler than me.  The original dish uses sausage but I wanted to make it healthier (plus, I always have chicken in the house).

The leaves and stem of this vegetable have a distinct flavor that you will come to adore....they become fragrant as soon as they hit the heat! This dish is relatively low in fat, few ingredients make it conducive to weeknight cooking and leftovers are great for lunch the next day.

Put Pavarotti on Pandora, pour yourself a glass of Chianti and let's all fall in love with Broccoli Rabe!

Here you go...if you cook often you can follow the pics and short instructions
For a more detailed recipe, click below

Here is what you need....Olive oil, garlic, chicken broth, flour, 
chicken cutlets, orecchiette pasta,  broccoli rabe, and all purpose flour 
To avoid using 2 cutting boards begin by cutting 1 inch off the bottom stems 
from the Rabe, discard, and roughly chop the rest in 1-2 inch chunks.
Note, the leaves and stems are edible! 
Rinse well in a colander.  Leave aside to drain until ready to add to dish. 

Start by peeling and chopping about 12 cloves of garlic 

 Over medium heat, sauté, 4-5 Tablespoons Olive oil, about 10 cranks of freshly 
ground black pepper and your chopped garlic 
 I cut 2 large chicken cutlets into strips on the horizontal, see below, 
and coat lightly in flour, salt and pepper
Add the Broccoli Rabe to the pan when your garlic is a light golden color
(be careful if Rabe is a little wet...it will cause the oil to spit a little at you)
 Once the Rabe is wilted, add to one side so you can 
cook the chicken 
 Add the chicken to the pan in a single layer. 
Cook each side for a few minutes, it will turn white with a 
light golden color.  Flip and cook the other side.  
 If you need to cook additional chicken, add the cooked cutlets 
to the rabe and continue cooking in a single layer.  
 Once the chicken is cooked, mix everything together and add 
1/2 cup chicken broth 

 Toss with cooked pasta (orecchiette or bow ties) and add freshly grated parmesan cheese
This is a good place to add a few pinches of kosher salt
and a few cranks of black pepper
 Serve family style right out of the pan with extra parmesan 
and some crusty bread