Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Diane's Braised Barbecue Chicken (G)

Complicated recipes are often wonderful and may offer exotic flavor combinations and a variety of textures and visual sensations. However, most people do not have the time to create such masterpieces!

If a dish can be prepared quickly, have few ingredients and taste wonderful - it becomes one of my new favorites!

My "Braised Barbecue Chicken" fills the bill, as the saying goes. Every time I make it, I wish I had doubled the recipe so I can have leftovers! The flavors are just right, the meat is tender and makes a meal to LOVE!

Note: I only use free-range, hormone-free, antibiotic-free chicken. Not only is it a healthier alternative, but the chicken tastes like it used to when I was a child. Even the dark chicken meat has an outstanding, wonderful flavor.

Diane's Braised Barbecue Chicken

Chicken thighs (partially thawed)
Olive oil
Barbecue sauce

Heat a heavy pan on med-high heat. Add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Partially thaw thighs and spread open to maintain an even thickness. Add thighs to pan. Do not crowd.

 Braise both sides for 2 minutes each. Remove thighs to cutting board and slice crosswise. Larger pieces may be halved. Return meat to pan. Add a little more oil if necessary. Continue to braise. Use a spatula to move meat around until it is nicely browned. Do not over cook.

Turn heat down to med-low. Add a few tablespoons of barbecue sauce and one or two tablespoons of ketchup. Mix well and cook until meat is coated and glazed. Serve over rice or with steamed vegetable. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers, G, V

Even after a lifetime spent in the kitchen, I still love to say many food-related words : flambé, puree, sauté, al dente, fricassee, clarify, aperitif, coq au vin and arugula. All but the last two are preparation terms. Coq au vin is a chicken dish with French origins, while arugula is a type of leafy green from the Mediterranean.

Not long ago, I was introduced to a food new to me called quinoa. Quinoa - so fun to pronounce, ( keen-wa), and is it healthy! This little grain is one of the best sources of protein from a vegetable source. It also provides all the essential amino acids and is GLUTEN-FREE.

Quinoa is a rather unimpressive small, beige seed with South American origins. The grain, cooked much like rice, produces a fluffy, odd-looking mound of round things. The flavor of quinoa is mild and lends itself well to other vegetables and/or meat dishes.

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers is a delightful change from the traditional rice-mixture, stuffed pepper. The tomato base, which includes green chilies, has a wonderful zip and the slightly salty Parmesan adds to the texture and enhances the other flavors. I could eat this dish every week.

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
1/2 Cup Quinoa
1 Cup water
2 large green bell peppers
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
1 T butter (low-fat Smart Balance may be substituted)
4-5 mushrooms, sliced
1, 10 oz. can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies. Drain, reserve liquid
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 C salsa
1 T red wine (optional)
1/2 C Parmesan cheese, grated
Cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside.
Heat a pot of water to boiling. Cut the top off of the peppers and remove seeds. Submerge the peppers and cook gently until soft but not limp. Remove peppers from water and drain. Place peppers in a microwave-safe baking dish. Set aside. In a large skillet, sauté the onion and mushrooms in butter until golden. Add the drained, Rotel tomatoes, garlic and salsa. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 10 more minutes. Lightly combine quinoa and Parmesan cheese.
Fill the peppers with mixture. Add reserved juice to remaining mixture and place around base of filled peppers. Sprinkle each pepper with a little Parmesan.
Cover dish and bake in the microwave for 15 minutes. Uncover, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Plate and enjoy. Serves 2.
(Peppers may be baked, uncovered,  in a traditional oven at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes,