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chicken noodle salad cups – entertain with ease

salad cupsSalad cups are one of my favourite ways to serve as an appetizer.  You can take pretty much any salad recipe and instead of serving it on a plate, shrink the portion to fit onto lettuce, endive spears, Tostitos scoops, mini fillo shells, wonton cups and so on; you get the picture.  December is a party month and that usually means at some point you’ll be entertaining in your home.  It’s a time when entertaining can be a drain on one’s pocketbook and free time or both.  But it doesn’t have to be if one makes a plan and eliminates any last minute running around (wasting time and money).  Continue Reading →

chicken stew with olives

chicken stew with olivesFour weeks ago today we were cruising the Bosphorus River, listening to the historical commentary about Turkey and how this river has influenced its shores. As I sit here reminiscing of our trip, it feels as though it was eons ago.  All the planning, research, initial deposit to final payment, and the excitement leading up to the final week is but a mere memory.  Our trip, though, has left us with new experiences, new friends, and lots of new memories.  When we’re in a new country, top attractions are on our hit list but so is food.  Our first country was Turkey where we stayed in Istanbul.  Continue Reading →

Chicken Shawarma -easy to make

chicken shawarmaThis chicken shawarma dish isn’t as time consuming as the real MacCoy.  A traditional shawarma, originating in southern Turkey, is cooked with stacked, spice-marinated lamb on an upright spit. The shawarma turns and cooks on the spit for hours, basting in its own juices. When ready to eat, the meat is shaved off the stack with a large, sharp knife.  The word shawarma refers to rotation or turning.  Typically, shawarma is eaten as a fast food, rolled into a pita bread together with vegetables and a garlicky dressing.  Continue Reading →

Chicken, Peach and Quinoa Salad

chicken, peach & quinoa saladAs much as I like cooking a whole chicken, I can’t seem pass by a grocery store rotisserie chicken without stopping to inhale its amazing aromas.  And, how is it they’re cheaper than buying a raw one?  I bought a 4 lb. rotisserie chicken for $7.99 whereas an uncooked 4 lb. one was nearly $11.00.  From what I can gather by nosing around the internet, a supermarket sells fresh ingredients before the best-before-date and anything after that gets chopped up and sold in a salad bar and the meat is cooked and sold hot (helps minimize food waste).   Continue Reading →

Honey Garlic Chicken Kebabs

honey garlic chicken kebabsKebab, meat on a stick, is a middle Eastern dish and the traditional meat was lamb but you can use just about any meat, chicken, fish or vegetable. Chicken kebabs are easy to make and are appealing to most.  If you don’t have a barbeque, use the broiler in your oven. Continue Reading →

Honey-Crisp Oven-Fried Chicken

Honey-Crisp Oven-Fried Chicken byThe Culinary ChaeWhat is it with fast food that can send your stomach growling after a whiff of something deep-fried?  When my sensory system is alerted to these aromas, it’s all I can do to stay away.  According to The Urban Daily, Scottish immigrants to the United States are often credited with being the ones to introduce fried chicken to the country where as most other European immigrants to the country ate baked chicken.  Many of these Scottish immigrants settled in the southern United States where fried chicken became extremely popular.  When African slaves who worked as cooks were brought to the country, they put their own spin on the dish using seasonings and spices not found in most Scottish dishes.

Serves 4
adapted from Fine Cooking

4 chicken thighs
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

panko & chicken1. Place the chicken in a bowl with the buttermilk and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

2. In a bowl mix panko bread crumbs with paprika, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.

4. Heat the oven to 350°F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

5. Remove chicken from the buttermilk, shaking off excess buttermilk. Discard the remaining buttermilk. Dip chicken in crumbs, pressing so the crumbs adhere to the chicken. Place the coated chicken on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle a small amount of honey on top (like a zigzag pattern) and lightly spray the top of each chicken thigh with cooking spray. Bake until the chicken is crisped and cooked through, 45 to 50 minutes.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
Crispy texture and so juicy inside!  This recipe will easily satisfy any deep-fried craving.  Enjoy!

Spanish Baked Chicken

Spanish Baked Chicken by The Culinary ChaseWe’ve been in our new home now for nine days and it feels as though we never left Nova Scotia! I love how easily we slipped back into our routine…and for me part of that means entertaining. I made this Spanish baked chicken while we were still in NY and knew this would be a hit here, too.  The Spanish know how to cook and the ingredients for this dish go so well together.

When we entertain, we like to keep things as simple as possible which means prep work is done the day before or the morning of the dinner party.  This allows me to be with our friends and not stuck in the kitchen.  I chose to start the evening off with homemade tapenade and a beet and goat cheese terrine followed by grilled romaine salad.  To accompany the chicken, I made an aubergine with mint salsa and Israeli couscous.  John and I had been to the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market and picked up a bottle of Pomme d’Or from Grand Pré winery.  Let me say this, we aren’t big fans of  dessert wine or anything remotely similar.  Having said that, we tasted, on the advice of Mr. Stutz (owner of Grand Pré), and immediately knew the Pomme d’Or would be a wonderful way to end the evening.  We paired it with blue cheese, large purple grapes, aged local Gouda and dried apricots.  The evening was a huge success and our friends were a little merrier when they left.

Serves 4
adapted from Simply Recipes

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup sliced green olives
3 lbs. chicken parts (I used chicken thighs)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup dry white wine

In a bowl combine the olive oil, vinegar, oregano, salt, garlic, pepper, bay leaves, raisins and olives. Prick the skin of the chicken with fork tines and add to the marinade, coating well. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

chicken Collage by The Culinary ChasePreheat oven to 350°F. Place chicken in a baking dish. Combine wine with the marinade and pour over chicken. Sprinkle chicken with brown sugar. Bake uncovered basting occasionally, until chicken is tender (about 50 minutes). Remove bay leaves and serve immediately.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Finger-lickin’ good! I was a bit hesitant to sprinkle the brown sugar over the chicken as I thought it might be too sweet but fondly enough it helped calm the sharpness of the vinegar.  The photo of the chicken was taken when we were back in NY and I cut the ingredients in half as it was just the two of us. Enjoy!

Bulgur Salad with Cannellini Beans, Feta & Mint

Whenever I feel as though we’ve eaten too much red meat, we take a break and consume loads of veggies and ancient grains such as bulgur.  It’s this sort of balance that keeps us healthy…I can’t recall the last time I had a cold or the flu.  Bulgur is made from precooked wheat berries.  It’s a perfect substitute for rice as it has more fiber and is low on the glycemic food index.  We enjoy this ancient grain and especially like its chewy, mild nutty flavor.  I’m sure you’ve eaten it before in dishes such as tabbouleh and pilafs.  Because it’s low in fat and calories, it’s a perfect way to feel satiated without adding pounds.  Bulgur is already partially cooked and therefore needs little time for preparation –  perfect for a quick meal without jeopardizing nutrition.

Serves 4 to 6
adapted from BHG

1 1/2 cups water
1 cup bulgur
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon lime zest
3 tablespoons lime juice
3 cups shredded purchased roasted chicken
1-15 ounce can cannellini beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped yellow and red sweet pepper
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped fresh mint
salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan bring water to boiling. Add bulgur and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Return to a boil then reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes or until water is absorbed and bulgur is tender. Transfer to a large bowl.

In a small saucepan heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat. Add garlic and reduce heat to medium high. Cook and stir until garlic starts to turn golden around the edges. Remove from heat. Stir garlic and oil into bulgur mixture.

For the dressing, in a screw-top jar combine red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, lime zest, and lime juice. Cover and shake well. Stir dressing into bulgur mixture. Add chicken, cannellini beans, sweet pepper, feta cheese, cumin, 3/4 cup of the parsley, and 3/4 cup of the mint to bulgur mixture; toss to mix well.  Season and top with remaining parsley and mint.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  This is such a hearty salad and loaded with nutritional goodness! You can substitute the bulgur for cooked brown rice or quinoa.  Enjoy!

Roasted Chicken with Bacon & Sweet Paprika – Fifty Shades of Chicken

Suddenly the fridge door I’m resting on swings open, and I find myself rolling off the shelf and falling toward the kitchen floor.  Crap.  My plastic wrapper bursts as I land, and my giblet bag slides halfway out.  Double crap.  Damn my cheap packaging.  Instantly I feel hands on me, lifting me carefully from the tiles.  Long, powerful fingers cradle me from underneath and expertly tuck my giblets back into place.  Holy cow.  Something clenches deep inside me.  My rescurer lays me gently on a countertop.  He’s wearing jeans and a clean white apron.  He’s young and handsome, with a rakish mop of hair.  He has muscled arms and clearly works out.  But it’s his hands that have me mesmerized.  They’re smooth, pale, perfectly manicured, and beyond competent.

The above passage was taken from the introduction of Fifty Shades of Chicken (a parody in a cookbook).  Friends of ours, Dale and Teena, gave me this book and when I read the name of the book I burst out laughing.  Although I’ve never read Fifty Shades of Grey (and have no desire to read) I was intrigued how the author, FL Fowler (pseudonym), could fashion a cookbook to that of sexual practices, dominance, submission, sadism and masochism.  After reading through it, poultry porn certainly comes to mind but it is a cookbook laced with very subjective thoughts and tongue-in-cheek humor.  The recipe I chose falls under the heading – Chicken with a Lardon – yep, read into what you will.

Serves 4
adapted from Fifty Shades of Chicken

1 orange
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 1/2 to 4 lb. chicken
6 or more strips of bacon

Preheat oven to 400f.  Finely grate the zest of the orange into a bowl.  Stir in paprika, salt and pepper.   Massage the oil all over the skin of the chicken.  Sprinkle some of the paprika mixture into the cavity; massage the remaining mixture all over the bird.  Cut the orange into quarters and thrust the fruit deep into the cavity of the bird.

Move the chicken to a rack set over a roasting pan.  Roast for 45 minutes, basting with any pan juices.  Crisscross the bacon over the breasts and continue to roast until the chicken is cooked through and bacon is crisp – about 20 minutes.  Let rest 10 minutes before carving.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Great flavors with the combination of paprika and orange.  An easy way to test whether or not the chicken is cooked is to wiggle the drumstick.  If it feels as though it will easily come away from the side, it’s cooked.  Enjoy!