Tag Archives: low-carb

Rotisserie Chicken Salad

Two rotisserie chickens on sale for $10, a bargain I couldn’t pass up. I had gone to the store for one bird to make Enchiladas Verdes, but when I saw the sale, it was a no-brainer. When I got home and the poultry cooled off, I stripped off the skin then harvested all of the white and dark meat. The skin and bones I bagged for the freezer for The Hubs to make his delicious stock.

This couldn’t be any easier. If you happen to have some leftover cooked chicken on hand, you could certainly use that and save yourself a trip to the grocer.

Rotisserie Chicken Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 small rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 green onions (green and white parts), sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped tarragon
  • 1/2 large lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Bibb lettuce leaves
  • Red bell pepper strips, optional

Directions

  1. When rotisserie chicken is cool enough to handle, pull off the chicken, then strip all white and dark meat from the bones. Discard skin and bones, or save to make stock at a later date.
  2. Chop the chicken meat into about a 1/2-inch dice. Place into a large bowl.
  3. Slice and dice the celery, green onion, grapes, parsley and tarragon. Add those ingredients to the mixing bowl along with the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve on a couple of Bibb lettuce leaves and garnish with bell pepper strips, if using.

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Tomato Salad with Tuna, Capers, and Black Olives

Local tomatoes are king this time of year so we try to use them in a variety of ways almost everyday during the season. Here’s a simple summer tomato salad recipe that makes the most of—and uses up—some of the tomato bounty from your garden or local farm market.

America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) discovered that salting the tomatoes before mixing them into the salad brings out their juices, which make a great base for the dressing. Another discovery was there’s no need to peel homegrown tomatoes for a tomato salad recipe, because their skins are usually thin and unobtrusive.

The amounts of the ingredients are subjective to your own preferences. If you prefer tuna packed in oil, go ahead and use it; in fact, save the drained oil from the tuna and use it instead of, or with, the remaining olive oil. No blanching or cooking needed here!

The olives, red onions and capers are boldly flavored Mediterranean standbys, typically a healthy diet to follow. It’s a great option to bring on a picnic or to enjoy lunch at your community pool.

While we are on the subject of great tomato recipes, I have to give a shout out to the Heirloom Tomato Tart (shown above) that I blogged about 4 years ago. If you are also interested in that recipe just click on the link. The tomato salad recipe is below.

Tomato Salad with Tuna, Capers, and Black Olives

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. vine-ripened tomatoes
  • ½ tsp. table salt
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. capers, chopped
  • 12 large black olives, such as Kalamata or other brine-cured variety, pitted and chopped
  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 6-oz. can solid white tuna in water, or oil-packed if preferred

Directions

  1. Core and halve tomatoes, then cut each half into 1/2″ thick wedges. Toss wedges with salt in large bowl; let rest until small pool of liquid accumulates, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk oil, lemon juice, capers, olives, onion, parsley, and pepper to taste in small bowl. Pour mixture over tomatoes and accumulated liquid; toss to coat. Set aside to blend flavors, about 5 minutes.
  3. Crumble tuna over tomatoes; toss to combine. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately.

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Peruvian Grill-Roasted Chicken

As we were eating this fantastic meal, The Hubs declared “If this is how they eat in Peru, I’m moving there.” Needless to say, we didn’t up and sell the house, but we swore we were going to make this riff on beer can chicken again—real soon. If you are feeding a crowd, it’s easy enough to fit two birds on the grill.

Cooks Illustrated tells us “In Peru, maestros polleros, or poultry masters, make the wildly popular chickens known as Pollo a la Brasa by grill-roasting chickens on rotisseries that spin lazily over crackling wood fires to produce meat that’s encased in tawny, paper-thin skin and dripping with juices.”

This version of Pollo a la Brasa calls for marinating the bird in a beer-based marinade that also includes ingredients commonly used in pollerías today: soy sauce for salinity; lime juice and mustard for brightness; and garlic, dried thyme, black pepper, and cumin for earthy, savory depth. Make sure to plan ahead, because the chicken needs to marinate for 24 hours.

Aji Amarillo (yellow chile) and huacatay (an herb that’s often called black mint) add spark and depth to many of the sauces that accompany Pollo a la Brasa. Vibrant Aji Amarillo gives off fruity, habanero-like vibes with moderate heat. Huacatay, on the other hand, is evocative of vegetables and freshly cut grass with menthol undertones. Both multi-use sauces are easily sourced online.

Instead of a rotisserie to rotate the bird horizontally, a half-empty beer can is used to prop it up vertically. Then position the propped-up bird in the center of a kettle grill outfitted with a split fire. The key is to rotate the chicken a quarter turn every 15 minutes. While not the constant movement of a rotisserie, about five turns produces remarkably succulent, smoky meat packaged in well-rendered, uniformly mahogany skin. (We purchased a 4-pack of pastes from Amazon which included both huacatay and aji amarillo.)

Peruvian Grill-Roasted Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 12-oz. can beer, divide
  • 2 Tbsp. finely grated garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. table salt
  • 2 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 4- to 4½-lb. whole chicken, giblets discarded
  • 1 cup wood chips
  • 1 13 by 9-inch disposable aluminum roasting pan

Directions

  1. Whisk ½ cup beer, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, salt, mustard, pepper, thyme, and cumin together in liquid measuring cup. Refrigerate remaining beer, still in can, until ready to grill. Using your fingers or handle of wooden spoon, gently loosen skin covering chicken breast and leg quarters. Using paring knife, poke 10 to 15 holes in fat deposits on skin of back. Tuck wingtips underneath chicken.
  2. Place chicken in bowl with cavity end facing up. Slowly pour marinade between skin and meat and rub marinade inside cavity, outside skin, and under skin to distribute. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, turning chicken halfway through marinating.
  3. Using large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap wood chips in 8 by 4½-inch foil packet. (Make sure chips do not poke holes in packet.) Cut 2 evenly spaced 2-inch slits in top of packet.
  4. Place beer can in large, shallow bowl. Spray can all over with vegetable oil spray. Slide chicken over can so drumsticks reach down to bottom of can and chicken stands upright; set aside at room temperature while preparing grill.
  5. FOR A GAS GRILL: Remove cooking grate and place wood chip packet directly on one of outside burners. Set grate in place; turn all burners to high; cover; and heat grill until hot and wood chips are smoking, about 15 minutes. Turn 2 outside burners to medium and turn off center burner. (Adjust outside burners as needed to maintain grill temperature between 350 and 375 degrees.)
  6. Scrape cooking grate clean with grill brush. Transfer chicken with can to center of cooking grate with wings facing piles of coals (or outer burners on gas grill) at 3 and 9 o’clock (ends of drumsticks should rest on grate to help steady bird). Cover grill and cook for 15 minutes.
  7. Using tongs and wad of paper towels, rotate chicken 90 degrees so wings are at 6 and 12 o’clock. Continue cooking and turning chicken at 15-minute intervals until thickest part of thigh registers 170 to 175 degrees, 1 hour to 1¼ hours longer.
  8. With large wad of paper towels in each hand, transfer chicken and can to clean bowl, keeping can upright; let rest for 15 minutes. Using wads of paper towels (or gloves), carefully lift chicken off can and onto cutting board. Discard can. Carve chicken, transfer to platter, and serve.
  9. Not part of the original recipe, we decided to defat all of the flavorful drippings in the aluminum tray and serve alongside the platter of chicken.

Aji Verde Sauce

This Peruvian Green Chile Sauce, also called Aji Verde, truly makes the meal, so don’t skip this part. Simply blend the ingredients together in the blender. So easy! And it can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup  mayonnaise
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed and seeded, coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove. minced
  • 2 Tbsp. grated cotija cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh minced cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. jarred huacatay paste
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender or small food processor until smooth, about 1 minute.

Aji Amarrillo Sauce

Another sauce option which we made the second time we served it with two chickens.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup  mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. aji amarillo paste
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. jarred huacatay paste

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender or small food processor until smooth, about 1 minute.

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Recipe by David Pazmiño for Cook’s Illustrated

Sizzling Pork and Eggplant Hiyayakko

According to Bon Appétit where we sourced this recipe, Hiyayakko is a Japanese warm-weather starter or side dish made of a small square of chilled silken tofu, a sprinkling of toppings, and saucy drizzles (think a heap of bonito flakes and puddle of soy sauce, or fresh tomatoes with ponzu).

In this version, the simple template goes family-style, with sliced silken tofu carefully shingled on a platter, topped with a savory ground pork and eggplant stir-fry. The combination of cold, custardy tofu and hot, saucy pork was a bit odd in our opinion. We think next time we’d use firm tofu and flash-fry slabs of it in a hot skillet, then shingle it on a platter.

Fresh basil from the garden showered on top was the perfect garnish. If Thai basil is accessible, use that. Unable to source Chinese or Japanese eggplant, we substituted an Italian variety which is typically larger, and therefore had to slice it down differently.

The hubs thought it would be good over steamed rice. While I agree, it is no longer a low-carb or as high a protein meal. Your call…

Sizzling Pork and Eggplant Hiyayakko

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 16-oz. packages silken tofu
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 medium Chinese or Japanese eggplant (about 8 oz. total), cut into 3″-long pieces, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 2 red Thai chiles, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 2″ piece ginger, scrubbed, finely grated
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 4 Tbsp. soy sauce, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar, divided
  • Basil leaves (for serving)

Directions

  1. Wrap tofu in a few layers of paper towels to absorb moisture; place on a plate. Chill until ready to use.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook eggplant, stirring occasionally, until slightly tender, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet. Cook pork, breaking up meat, 1 minute. Add chiles, garlic, ginger, and sugar and cook, stirring and continuing to break up meat into small pieces, until pork is no longer pink and mixture is fragrant, about 4 minutes.
  4. Return eggplant to skillet; add fish sauce, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, and 2 Tbsp. vinegar. Cook, stirring often, until liquid is mostly absorbed and eggplant is browned and tender, about 3 minutes. Add remaining 2 Tbsp. soy sauce and remaining 1 Tbsp. vinegar and cook, stirring, until mixture is slightly saucy, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  5. Carefully unwrap tofu; slice crosswise ½”-thick. Shingle tofu on a platter. Spoon eggplant mixture over; top with basil.

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Adapted from a recipe by Kendra Vaculin for Bon Appétit

Flank Steak with Tomato-Eggplant Ragù 

This dish borrows some of the flavors of Greek moussaka for a quick-one pan meal. Seared flank steak is finished with a wonderful rustic sauce-like side of eggplant, tomatoes, garlic and herbs. Crumbled feta cheese adds briny notes that contrast nicely with the sweetness of the vegetables and the richness of the beef.

We paired ours with rice pilaf doctored with herbs and olive oil.

Prep is pretty easy because there is no need to peel the eggplant, canned tomatoes are used, and the feta cheese is already crumbled; not to mention it all happens in one skillet.

To keep the eggplant from drying out so that the pieces become silky-soft, don’t drain the juices from the tomatoes—the liquid helps form the sauce. When slicing the flank steak for serving, make sure to slice it against the grain for the tenderest texture.

Flank Steak with Tomato-Eggplant Ragù

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1½ lbs. flank steak, trimmed, halved lengthwise, then crosswise
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. eggplant, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 14½ oz. can diced tomatoes, (don’t drain, save the juices)
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup lightly packed fresh mint, chopped
  • 1½ oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about ⅓ cup)

Directions

  • Season the steak with salt and pepper. In a nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the steak and brown on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes total, flipping the pieces once. Transfer to a plate.
  • In the same pan over medium-high, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the eggplant and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce to medium and add the tomatoes with juices, the garlic, oregano and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and the eggplant has begun to break down, about 5 minutes.
  • Off heat, stir in any accumulated beef juices and half the mint. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the steak against the grain and place on a platter. Spoon the eggplant mixture on and around the steak, then sprinkle with feta and the remaining mint.

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Recipe by Julia Rackow for Milk Street

Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloins with Apple, Sherry and Smoked Paprika

The inspiration for this Spanish spin on pork and apples comes from “Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America” by José Andrés. This version from Milk Street uses pork tenderloins that get a stovetop sear and finish in the oven on a bed of lightly sautéed onion and Granny Smith apple. The onion-apple mixture softens to a jammy relish-like accompaniment that is accented with smoked paprika and dry sherry. It’s a rich, woodsy complement to slices of the mild, meaty tenderloin.

We cooked only one tenderloin for the two of us which provided three servings of meat. The amount of ingredients for the sauce was kept the same because we prefer things saucy. Our accompaniments were roasted butternut squash cubes and a simple side salad. The flavors of the meal were outstanding!

Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloins with Apple, Sherry and Smoked Paprika

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika, divided
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 1¼-lb. pork tenderloins, trimmed of silver skin and halved crosswise
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, halved, cored and cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • ¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position. In a small bowl, mix together 1 teaspoon of paprika and 1½ teaspoons salt. Rub the mixture onto all sides of the pork.
  2. In an oven-safe 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Place the pork in the skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned on all sides, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to a large plate.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of butter, the onion and apple to the skillet. Cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Distribute the mixture in an even layer, then scatter on the thyme. Place the pork on top, add any accumulated juices and transfer to the oven. Roast until the center of the thickest piece of tenderloin reaches 135°F or is just slightly pink when cut into, 9 to 12 minutes.
  4. Remove the skillet from the oven; the handle will be hot. Using tongs, transfer the pork to a cutting board and tent with foil. Add the sherry, broth and the remaining 1 teaspoon paprika to the pan, then cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is slightly reduced and thickened, about 4 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, then remove and discard the thyme. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and stir until melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onion-apple mixture to a serving platter, leaving the liquid in the pan. Thinly slice the pork and arrange over the onion-apple mixture. Drizzle the pan liquid over the meat and sprinkle with the chives.

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Shoulder Lamb Chops with Fennel and Capers

The flavors were amazing in this dish from Mastering the Art of Italian Cooking by Lidia Bastianich, one of our favorite Italian chef/authors. With rosemary, fennel, capers, onion and homemade stock, you can’t help but start salivating from the heady aromas while you’re cooking.

Shoulder lamb chops are usually not as costly as other cuts, but you do have to deal with a little more fat and bone. With only three chops, we still needed to brown them in two batches, which the original instructions didn’t indicate. Too closely together in the skillet, and the meat will steam instead of brown.

One major difference we will do next time is reduce the amount of stock from 2 cups down to 1 cup (this is noted in the list of ingredients below). After the chops were removed from the skillet, we tented them with foil, and reduced down the liquid in the pan (which still included the other ingredients).

And what is with throwing out the garlic?? That’s like tossing the baby out with the bath water, a sacrilege in our opinion! Otherwise, it was a fabulous recipe.

Shoulder Lamb Chops with Fennel and Capers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredient

  • 4 1⁄2-inch thick bone-in shoulder lamb chops
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • All-purpose flour, dredging
  • Vegetable Oil for frying
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1⁄4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1⁄4 cup drained tiny capers in brine

Directions

  1. Season lamb chops with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Spread some flour on a plate and dredge the chops in the flour, tapping off the excess.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add 1⁄4 inch of vegetable oil. Cook the chops until they are crisp and browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove them to a plate. (It’s likely you will need to do this in 2 batches.)
  3. Pour out the oil and wipe the skillet clean. Set skillet over medium heat, and add olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and rosemary. Once the garlic and rosemary are sizzling, add the fennel and onions, and season with the remaining salt and the red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring to make sure the vegetables don’t burn, until they are wilted and golden, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the vinegar and bring it to a boil. Add the stock. Reduce the heat so the sauce is simmering, and add the chops and capers.
  5. Simmer, covered, until the chops are tender, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the rosemary stems and garlic (no way!), and serve.

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Original recipe from Lidia Bastianich

Tomato and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This recipe is a lighter spin on the typical cheese-stuffed chicken breast, featuring feta, tomato and Greek-inspired flavors.

Purchase similarly sized chicken breasts so they’ll cook at the same rate. Because our 3 breasts were quite large, the stuffing mixture was doubled, although that is NOT noted in the list of ingredients below. And, they had to be cooked an additional 10 minutes to come to the proper temperature. As a side dish, we roasted some asparagus spears drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper and Za’atar.

Preserved lemons are a common ingredient in Moroccan recipes. You can find the salty pickled citrus in well-stocked grocery stores (near the pickles and olives) or Middle Eastern markets. We usually make and keep a jar of them in our auxiliary refrigerator. (Forgot to include them in the set-up photo below.)

Tomato and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. whole-milk plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup finely chopped grape tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped preserved lemon
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 4 same-sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed 
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mash feta and yogurt together in a small bowl. Stir in tomatoes, olives, lemon, oregano and garlic.
  3. Using a sharp knife, cut chicken breasts in half horizontally without cutting all the way through, to create a pocket. Stuff each pocket with equal amounts of the feta mixture; fold the chicken back over and secure with toothpicks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Carefully flip the chicken and transfer the pan to the oven.
  5. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees F, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a clean cutting board. Let rest for 5 minutes, then slice.

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Original recipe from EatingWell Magazine.

Chicken alla Diavolo with Broccoli

Here’s a one-pan meal that has risen to the top of our list—pretty much after one bite! The chicken was amazingly moist and juicy, the broccoli florets cooked just right, and the hot, sour and vinegary peperonicini-garlic topping was a WOW factor!

The chicken for Italian pollo alla diavola, or devil’s-style chicken, usually is spatchcocked and grilled. The name is a reference to cooking the chicken over flames and/or the seasonings that make the bird diabolically spicy.

For this easy weeknight version, Milk Street quick-cooks chicken parts instead of a whole bird, seasons them generously with both red pepper flakes and black pepper, then roasts them on a baking sheet in a very hot oven. The broccoli florets also get tossed onto the baking sheet for a complete one-pan dinner. A simple garlic-lemon pan sauce spiked with peperoncini finishes the dish and adds another layer of piquancy.

We used a whole 4-pound-plus chicken. First because, we both prefer different meat options; and secondly because we like to have the extra parts, neck, back, gizards, ect. for our “body bag” which we store in the freezer until such time we need to make homemade chicken stock again. And a whole chicken is typically cheaper than buying the sum of its parts separately. But, yes it is a bit more work. If you prefer to buy already cut up thighs, and or breasts, by all means, do so.

About that broccoli. Don’t cut the crowns into small florets. Keep them in largish 3-inch pieces so they don’t overcook. The baking sheet will be crowded after the broccoli is added, but both the chicken and broccoli reduce in size during cooking.

Two steps not mentioned in the original directions, but that we think are necessary is to, first, massage the chicken parts with oil so that the rub will adhere to the skin. Second, oil the center of the rimmed baking sheet where the garlic cloves will be, and then drizzle a bit more oil over the cloves.

Chicken alla Diavolo with Broccoli

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 12-oz. bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts or 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
  • ¼ cup plus Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 lbs. broccoli crowns, cut into 3-inch florets
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest, plus lemon wedges to serve
  • ½ cup chopped drained peperonicini
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh oregano, chopped

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the middle position.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the thyme, pepper flakes and 2 teaspoons each salt and black pepper. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the mix onto all sides of the chicken. To the remaining seasoning mix in the bowl, add the ¼ cup oil and the broccoli, then toss to coat.
  3. Place the garlic in the center of a rimmed baking sheet, then arrange the chicken, skin up, around the garlic; this placement helps prevent the garlic from scorching during roasting. Arrange the broccoli in an even layer around the chicken. Roast until the thickest part of the breasts (if using) reaches 160°F and the thickest part of the thighs (if using) reaches 175°F, about 30 minutes.
  4. Using tongs, transfer the chicken and broccoli to a serving platter. Transfer the garlic to a medium bowl and, using a fork, mash to a rough paste.
  5. Carefully pour ¼ cup water onto the baking sheet and scrape up any browned bits. Pour the pan juices over the garlic and add the lemon zest and peperoncini, then whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Pour the sauce over the chicken and broccoli, then sprinkle with oregano. Serve with lemon wedges.

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Recipe by Rose Hattabaugh for Milk Street

Savory Spiced Pecans

When it comes to snacking, this gal sits deep in the camp of the spicy and savory. I had about a half-pound of pecans that I wanted to spice up—without sugar, as many candied varieties include. I found just what I was looking for on kitchn.com, and now consider myself an addict (The Hubs too!).

While the recipe below is for a whole pound, I only made half of it, mainly because that’s the amount of nuts we had on hand. It was New Year’s Eve and we were spending the evening home alone, so I made this as one of our treats for the celebration. Well, we couldn’t stop ourselves from munching on them during the afternoon, so I had to hide them from ourselves until party time!

There is no denying the power of the pecan, and here are a few reasons why according to American Heart Association. Pecans reduce the risk of heart disease with an abundance of “good” heart healthy fats. These unsaturated fats can have a protective effect by lowering total blood cholesterol when eaten in moderation.

They contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals—including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc. One ounce of pecans provides 10 percent of the recommended daily value for fiber. Also, a natural, high-quality source of protein they contain very few carbohydrates and no cholesterol and are naturally sodium-free.

And if that isn’t enough, pecans, especially these, are just so dang good!

Savory Spiced Pecans

  • Servings: Yields 4 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups (1 lb.) pecans halves
  • 1/3 cup (5 1/3 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Place the pecans in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter. Whisk in the Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, ground mustard, Tabasco, and cayenne.
  4. Pour the butter mixture over the pecans and stir until well combined. Taste a pecan and add more Tabasco or cayenne if desired.
  5. Arrange the pecans on a large sheet pan and bake for 20-22 minutes until toasted and lightly browned, stirring halfway cooking time to prevent burning.
  6. Remove from the oven and cool completely, tossing occasionally, before transferring to an airtight container.

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Adapted from a recipe by Nealey Dozier for ktchn.com

Fennel-Steamed Salmon with Warm Olive and Caper Vinaigrette

While we know salmon isn’t a Mediterranean fish, this recipe riff from “Patricia Wells at Home in Provence,” uses high-impact Provençal ingredients which are an ideal match for the rich, meaty fillets. Here, steamed fish sits atop a bed of sliced fennel to add sweet, licorice-like perfume; after cooking, the tender-crisp slices make a delicious accompaniment.

The sharp flavors of the warm olive, caper and lemon vinaigrette complement both fish and fennel. Cook the salmon to medium doneness—that is, until only the center is translucent. For well-done fillets, steam the fish for a couple minutes longer than indicated.

If you prefer white fish over salmon, thick fillets of striped bass or sea bass work well, but increase the steaming time to about 10 minutes. No matter the type of fish you choose, try to select fillets of equal thickness so they cook at the same rate.

Don’t uncover the pot while the fish is steaming, as loss of steam will slow the cooking. Instead, simply set a timer (or tell Alexa to remind you 😉 ). Note to the wise: When opening the pot, angle the lid away from you to avoid a burst of steam to the face.

We chose broccoli rabe as the other side dish. By par-boiling it first, much of the bitterness is eradicated. Once chilled in an ice bath and drained, any extra moisture is wrung out in a clean dish towel. A little garlic, olive oil and red pepper flakes give it a boost of flavor when reheated in a pan.

Fennel-Steamed Salmon with Warm Olive and Caper Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 small fennel bulbs (about 1 lb. total), halved, cored and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest, plus ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 6-oz. salmon fillets, each about 1 inch thick
  • 6 sprigs dill, plus 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  • 1 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup drained capers
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the fennel with the lemon zest and ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper; set aside. Season the salmon all over with salt and pepper.
  2. Place a folding steamer basket in a large Dutch oven. Add enough water to fill the bottom of the pot without submerging the basket. Remove the basket. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high.
  3. Line the basket with the fennel. Place the salmon skin down on the fennel, then lay the dill sprigs on the fillets. Turn off the heat under the pot, then set the basket in it. Cover and return to a simmer over medium. Steam until the thickest parts of the fillets reach 115°F to 120°F (for medium doneness), 7 to 9 minutes; the fennel should be tender but not completely soft.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium, combine the olives, capers, oil and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, just until sizzling gently, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the lemon juice and cook, stirring, just until warm, another 1 to 2 minutes. Cover and set aside.
  6. When the salmon is done, remove and discard the dill sprigs. Using a metal spatula, transfer the fennel and fillets, skin down, to a serving platter. Sprinkle with the chopped dill, then spoon on the warm sauce.

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Adapted from a recipe found in Milk Street; original by “Patricia Wells at Home in Provence”

Chicken Skillet with Mustard-Cider Sauce

In this quick stove-top dish, hard cider, thyme and whole grain mustard combine for a delicious pan sauce over bone-in chicken pieces. Perfect for a week night meal when you are pressed for time but still expect a flavorful dinner, and I do mean spot-on Fall flavors!

Instead of using just thighs, we decided on a combination, white meat for the Mrs., and dark for The Mr. Two bone-in breasts halves were chopped in half again to create four pieces and were combined with 4 thighs.

Now, after reading through the preparations, we both realized there would be no way the Brussels sprouts would be tender in the small amount of time they allotted. I made the executive decision to brown them in the pan drippings after the chicken was removed. After a couple of minutes, the apple wedges were then added for 4 minutes as per instructions. This method worked out well, with the sprouts browning, absorbing the pan flavors and softening just enough.

The other major change was at the end. After removing all of the poultry and veggies to a platter and covered with tinfoil to keep warm, we reduced the thin pan sauce down to a thicker consistency. Bring the sauce to a rolling boil for a couple of minutes and when you can drag a spatula through it and leave a trail, the sauce has thickened. Remove foil from platter, and pour the sauce over its contents. Top with bacon—oh, of which we used 7, instead of 4, thick slices 🙂

Chicken Skillet with Mustard-Cider Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 1/2 lbs.)
  • 2 med. tart red apples, cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 12-oz. bottle hard cider
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 12 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (2 cups)

Directions

  1. In a very large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove from the pan, reserving the drippings in the skillet.
  2. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook until browned, 10-12 minutes, turning once. Remove the chicken from the skillet.
  3. Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan drippings cut side down, let them brown undisturbed for 2-3 minutes. Add the apples to the sprouts, and cook until browned on both sides, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes total. Remove the apples and sprouts, keep divided on a plate. Drain and discard drippings from skillet if necessary.
  4. Add the cider, thyme, mustard and salt to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer.
  5. Return chicken to skillet and cook, covered for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the Brussels sprouts, cook, covered for 5 minutes.
  7. Add the apples, cook, uncovered, until the chicken is done (at least 175°F), 3 to 5 minutes more.
  8. After removing all contents from skillet to platter, cover the food with tinfoil. Heat the sauce to a rolling boil and reduce down until a spatula can pull through and leave a trail.
  9. Divide the chicken, Brussels sprouts, and apples among dinner plates. Spoon the cider mixture over the top, and sprinkle each serving with the cooked bacon.

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Roughly adapted from a recipe in Fine Cooking Magazine

Roasted Kale and Red Onions

Found in a recent Fine Cooking Magazine, this tasty side dish recipe is a perfect combination of balsamic vinegar, kale, and red onion. The side made a wonderful partner to our Roasted Loin Chops with Charmoula.

With only the two of us, we cut the amount of onions and kale in half, the balsamic vinegar and chicken broth by a third, and the remaining ingredients were kept the same. The original recipe is intact below.

Roasted Kale and Red Onions

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 large red onions, cut in wedges 
  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil, divided 
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chicken broth 
  • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 bunches (about 1-1/4 1bs.) kale, stems removed coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line large roasting pan with foil; set aside.
  3. In bowl toss onion with 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper; set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in large skillet; add onion mixture. Cook over medium-high heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to brown. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add broth and vinegar. Cover; cook 15 minutes or until onions are tender.
  5. Add butter. Increase heat to high. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, shaking pan occasionally, until onions are glazed.
  6. Meanwhile, add kale to roasting pan. Toss with remaining oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Roast, uncovered, 15 minutes, tossing 3 times.
  7. To serve, gently toss with onions.

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Low-Carb Spinach Artichoke Chicken

Spinach artichoke chicken is an easy and delicious keto skillet recipe. It features crispy chicken thighs in a rich cream sauce with spinach, artichokes, garlic, and parmesan. However, the original recipe only called for half (which we deemed too paltry) of the spinach and artichokes so we doubled that, as noted in the list below. Also, we added two more thighs to total eight, allowing two per person for a dinner feeding four.

This AMAZING recipe takes all the rich flavors of a great spinach artichoke dip and turns it into a full meal. And it’s an easy one pan recipe that’s ready in about an hour. Truly delicious! Typically, I am more of a white meat fan, while The Hubs prefers dark meat. Next time I may include a mix of thighs and chicken breast quarters, but again, maybe not…

Instead of frozen, fresh spinach works in this recipe as well. You obviously won’t need to thaw and squeeze it; simply chop it up and stir it into the sauce before transferring the dish to the oven.

Low-Carb Spinach Artichoke Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 8 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup chicken broth
  • ⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 12 oz. artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Pat the chicken thighs dry and sprinkle all over with the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large (at least 12″) ovenproof skillet. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down, and cook undisturbed for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown. (Our chicken skin took 8 minutes to get a nice golden brown.)
  3. Flip the thighs over and cook another 4 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Drain most of the fat from the pan and discard.
  4. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the broth to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a simmer. Add the cream and Parmesan and continue to cook until slightly thickened, another minute or two.
  6. Stir in the chopped artichokes and the spinach until well combined. Place the chicken thighs on top of the cream sauce and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through to a temp of 170° to 175°, and the sauce is bubbling.

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Roughly adapted from an online recipe from All Day I Dream About Food

Grilled Lamb Shoulder Chops Greek-Style

Shoulder chops aren’t the most tender, but they truly have great lamb flavor. Plus, they are far less expensive than other types of lamb chops. The steaks are usually rather thin, therefore make sure you have a hot fire ready so they get a good sear on the outside before they have a chance to overcook on the inside.

Lamb and grilling are a classic combination in Greek cookery. In just minutes over a hot fire, they are nearly ready to serve with that quintessential Greek flavoring combination of fresh oregano, fresh lemon juice, really good olive oil, and just a touch of garlic. Simple is, as simple gets.

To complete the meal we roasted some baby Yukon potatoes which benefited from some of that oregano-garlic sauce; and a side of Roasted Green Beans with Pecorino and Pine Nuts which are mixed with oil, salt, pepper, and a tad of sugar to enhance caramelization.

Grilled Lamb Shoulder Chops Greek-Style

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Four 10- to 12-ounce lamb shoulder blade chops, 1/2 inch to 1/4 inch thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. roughly chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 lemon

Directions

  1. Preheat grill to hot.
  2. Dry the chops with paper towels and sprinkle them generously with salt and pepper. Place the chops on the grill and cook until well seared, 3 to 4 minutes per side. To check for doneness, use an instant-read thermometer. The chops are rare at 120°F, medium rare at 125°F, medium at 130°F, and well done at 145°F and higher. FYI, lamb can take on a gamey flavor when cooked past medium.
  3. When the chops are done, remove them from the grill, cover them loosely with foil, and let them rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the olive oil, oregano, and garlic and mix well.
  5. Spoon the garlic mixture over the lamb chops, squeeze the lemon on top of them, and serve hot.

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Recipe by John Willoughby and Christopher Schlesinger