Posts Tagged ‘Chicken’


Pressure Cooker Chicken, Bacon, and Lentil Stew

February 20, 2018

Although I’m usually hesitant to acquire new kitchen gadgets, our 10-year-old crockpot has been living with a broken lid hinge/handle for a few years now and has generally seen better days. My husband had expressed interest in pressure cooking a few times over the past couple years, so when Amazon offered the Instant Pot Duo Plus at an excellent price on cyber Monday, I made a rare impulse buy with the justification that I could replace the crockpot and also have a pressure cooker/rice cooker/yogurt maker all in one appliance. (I’ve since learned that many people think the Instant Pot’s slow cooker function is sub-par, so I’m going to test it out for myself before finally getting rid of my trusty old crockpot.)

The only experience I’ve had with pressure cookers is watching my parents cook rice and beans in their old stovetop “jiggler” style cooker, which always made me a bit nervous. But the new electronic countertop cookers have a lot more fail-safes built in, so after reading through the manual to learn more about the pressure cooking process, I started out with a simple batch of plain basmati rice. Success!

My next step was to find some good recipes for actual meals. Although I generally prefer to cook out of cookbooks from sources that I know extensively test their recipes (versus just searching the internet for recipes), my current cookbook collection didn’t include any pressure cooker books. So I turned to Serious Eats, one of the few online sources I trust to produce great recipes. I already had all the ingredients for this chicken stew, so it seemed like a perfect recipe to get started. It turned out perfectly, and I’ve since fallen in love with pressure cooking as a way to prepare easy meals that I can throw together while the kids are napping and still have time left over to get other things done.

Depending on what you’re making, pressure cooking isn’t always faster than stovetop cooking, but the advantage is that with an electronic model, you don’t have to monitor it once the cooking starts. So far I’ve made mostly stew-type meals (including a lot of Indian curries), which is what this type of moist-heat cooking excels at. I’m sure I’ll have a lot more pressure cooker recipes to share over the coming months! Enjoy!

Pressure cooker chicken, bacon, and lentil stew

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Pressure Cooker Chicken Congee

February 4, 2018

I’d never tasted congee until I made it for the first time a few weeks ago. Initially the description of this Chinese rice porridge sounded unappealing and bland – rice cooked to mush in lots of water? But I kept seeing it described as the ultimate homey comfort food, perfect for cold winter nights or nursing a cold. Basically the Chinese version of how western culture uses chicken soup. I decided to give it a try, and I’m so glad I did!

So when a mild stomach bug made its way through our house this weekend, hitting me first on Friday and my husband Saturday, I cooked up another batch. It was the perfect food for our unsettled stomachs, filling but not too heavy.

This pressure cooker version, adapted from Two Sleevers, includes chicken thigh meat for protein, and garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce for just the right amount of savoriness. Depending on how long your pressure cooker takes to pressurize, the congee can be ready from start to finish in under an hour. Enjoy!

Chicken congee

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Carolina Chicken Salad

February 18, 2015

I’m still alive! My new job (well, I’ve been at it for 6 months now, so I guess I can’t really call it “new” anymore) is awesome. However… there are always a lot of different projects going at once, and I have to juggle many different problem solving possibilities in my head at a time, so it’s much more work mentally than my old job ever was. Which means my brain starts to feel pretty “used up” by the end of the day and I really don’t feel like blogging or doing much of anything else that takes mental energy. I love the work though! I’m really glad I took the leap – my unique IT/pharmacy skill set is perfect for this position.

Another thing that been keeping the blog way down on the priority list is… pregnancy! Yes, my husband and I finally decided in the fall that it would be a good time to start trying to have our first child, and we were one of those lucky couples for whom it didn’t take much time at all! I’m currently 21 weeks along, and our daughter is expected to arrive end of June/beginning of July. So far everything has been going really well – I barely got any morning sickness (just a slight touch if I got hungry, but having a snack took care of that right away), and no weird cravings or food/smell aversions. The one symptom I did experience during the first 3 months was a lot of tiredness. Not really the “I can barely keep my eyes open and I’m going to take a 3 hour nap” type, but more the “I sat down and I don’t have the motivation/energy to ever get up” type. Very similar feeling to when I had mono in the fall of 2013, just without the fever and strep throat on top of it. :) I guess having mono was actually good preparation for first trimester of pregnancy!

Because of the pregnancy, I decided it wouldn’t be prudent to give up anything food-related for Lent this year. Instead, I’m giving up Facebook and reading fanfiction. Those are currently my two biggest time-sucking activities online, so I’m trying to put what energy I do have into things that are more productive, like finally updating this blog, for example!

So this recipe is a yummy one from my childhood. I would guess that my dad probably got it out of Gourmet magazine or Bon Appetit however many years ago. It’s a great weeknight all-in-one dinner salad, since it’s got plenty of veggies and protein, and doesn’t take too long to put together. The dressing is both tangy and sweet, and the olives add a nice briny touch. My parents would usually use leftover cooked chicken, but I’ve picked up a rotisserie chicken on the way home specifically to use for this recipe… fast and easy. It’s supposed to be garnished with tomato wedges too, but I didn’t have any on hand the day I took this photo and my husband doesn’t really like big chunks of tomato anyway. Enjoy!

Carolina chicken salad

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Tunisian Chicken with Potatoes, Raisins, and Lemon

November 5, 2013

We had a wonderful visit this past weekend from our good friend Dave (who also was my husband’s college roommate). He lives in another part of the state now about 3 hours away from us, so unfortunately we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like. Over the past few years he’s become interested in learning to cook, but he doesn’t really get many opportunities to cook much at home, so we decided we would turn the visit into a cooking extravaganza weekend! On Friday night after he arrived, we picked out some recipes to make a multi-course meal on Saturday and a simpler supper on Sunday, keeping in mind the produce we’d be getting from our CSA this week (our CSA farm sends out an email every Thursday telling us what we will be getting at Saturday’s pickup; it’s super handy for menu-planning to know ahead of time!). Saturday morning we went to the Public Market, which he’d never been to before. Then we began our cooking marathon!

For our big Saturday dinner we made wine-braised chuck roast with onions, red cabbage with apricots and balsamic vinegar, and roasted acorn squash with maple-soy glaze (the side dishes I don’t have pictures of). So delicious! But obviously a lot of work, definitely not an everyday or even an every-weekend type of meal. Sunday morning we made oatmeal for breakfast (no apple topping though), we whipped up some fettuccine for lunch, and then ended the day with vegetable potpie. Still more than what I’d make on a typical weekend, but Sunday’s recipes were faster and easier, and we covered a good range of cooking techniques. Overall a very successful and delicious weekend!

This stovetop braised chicken recipe from Bon Appetit’s Fast Easy Fresh cookbook isn’t related to any of our weekend cooking, but I had made it a few months ago and decided now would be as good a time as any to share it. :) I don’t cook African food very often – something new to try is always exciting! Placing the chicken into the pot without browning it first saved a lot of time, but I knew that would sacrifice flavor in the end result, so I made sure to salt the chicken pieces under the skin and let them sit while I was prepping the rest of the ingredients. I also only had tiny potatoes, so I just cut them in half rather than cutting larger ones into chunks. We really enjoyed the end result: salting the chicken beforehand definitely made the chicken more flavorful than it would have been otherwise, and it’s mostly a complete meal-in-a-pot (adding some greens on the side wouldn’t hurt). The recipe takes about 45 minutes from start to finish, making it just do-able for a weeknight meal. Enjoy!

Tunisian chicken with potatoes and raisins

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Chicken and Brown Rice with Chorizo

August 12, 2013

Here’s another one-pot meal that I made earlier in the spring when the weather was cooler. I really like one-pot meals because even though I cook a lot, I still haven’t mastered the skill of getting multiple dishes ready at the same time. That and more dishes per meal = more dishes to wash!  :)

This recipe, from another back-issue of Saveur, is a Spanish spin on chicken and rice, incorporating roasted red peppers and chorizo sausage. I was pleased that the recipe called for brown rice rather than white rice, since brown rice has so many more nutrients (and fiber) than white rice. For recipes that call for white rice, it’s often hard to make a simple substitution because brown rice has to cook significantly longer, (unless the rice is cooked separately from the rest of the dish).

I would definitely make this recipe again. While it takes too long to be made on a weeknight, it’s a perfect winter Sunday supper because none of the ingredients are particularly seasonal. Enjoy!


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Roasted Chicken with Kimchi Smashed Potatoes

May 23, 2013

Normally I would only think of using kimchi (spicy Korean fermented vegetables) in Korean dishes, but this recipe in March’s issue of Bon Appetit sounded intriguing. Kimchi can be made with all different kinds of vegetables; this recipe calls for jarred napa cabbage kimchi, which I found in my local Asian grocery store in the refrigerated section.

Rather than simply being served alongside the main dish, this recipe places the kimchi on top of roasted and smashed baby potatoes – a delicious combination! The chicken’s skin is nice and crispy from being browned on top of the stove while the potatoes roast, and the peppery arugula complements the starchy potatoes and tangy kimchi nicely. The whole recipe takes about 45 minutes from start to finish, so it’s great for a complete weeknight supper that’s a little out of the ordinary. Enjoy!

Roast chicken with kimchi smashed potatoes

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Indian-Spiced Chicken with Chickpeas and Spinach

February 25, 2013

I’ve been in such a cooking rut since the holidays… I’ve either been making mostly the same old things, or I’ve been taking the lazy way out and making pasta with jarred sauce, grilled cheese sandwiches, etc. But I feel like I’m finally starting to come out of my slump now that I’ve given myself a challenge: I’ve gone essentially gluten-free for Lent. Which is to say that I’m avoiding wheat products, but I’m not reading every ingredient label just to avoid things like maltodextrin or modified food starch. I’m also still eating oats, which are gluten-free by themselves but typically avoided by celiacs due to potential for cross-contamination. Avoiding flour is enough of a challenge for these 40 days – you know how much I love pasta, and pizza, and bread, and baking lots of desserts!

So far I’ve been doing pretty well with this experiment – it’s definitely forcing me to think more about what I eat, which I’ve really needed the past few months. I’ve been eating way too many convenience foods lately, and while frozen burritos from Trader Joe’s are delicious and probably better than many other brands, they’re still prepackaged and not as healthy as cooking with fresh ingredients.

I’ve been looking through some of my back issues of Bon Appetit for recipes that are good served with rice, and I can across this one in the January 2013 issue. I love braises – the way this cooking method transforms meat into something that falls apart with the touch of a fork is amazing. Although this recipe calls for whole chicken legs including both the drumstick and the thigh, my grocery store didn’t have chicken sold this way so I used 9 individual thighs rather than 6 legs. Thighs are my favorite part of the chicken anyway, so I didn’t miss the drumsticks at all.

I served the chicken over brown basmati rice, which I cooked according to the directions I found at Chow Times. The rice turned out nice and fluffy; I’ll definitely be following these instructions the next time I make it. It feels good to be getting back into healthy cooking, so updates should be more frequent! :)


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