Chicken Thighs: Budget-friendly and Delicious

Chicken Thighs: Budget-friendly and Delicious

I happened upon this video from Epicurious last week and then gave it a try using items already in my fridge and pantry. It’s brilliant…simple, delicious, and looks like I spent hours. I’ll be trying more combinations over the coming weeks. This will be the best 2 1/2 minutes you’ve ever spent! Watch it!

Lemon Rosemary Chicken Thighs with White Beans

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Ingredients
8-12 chicken thighs
1 fresh lemon, thinly sliced
4-5 cloves fresh garlic, slivered
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
Salt, pepper
2 cans white beans or 2-3 cups dried beans you’ve soaked and cooked

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Directions
Please rack in top third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Arrange in 9×13 baking dish. Brush top of each piece with a small amount of olive oil.

Spoon beans around chicken. Space out the slivered garlic. Tuck in the lemon slices. Pour liquid so that it comes about halfway up the chicken. Leave tops exposed. Lay rosemary sprigs around dish.

Bake in top half of oven until chicken browns, about 30-45 minutes.

It was really that simple!

For a more exotic way to prepare chicken, try spicing things up with chipotle and ancho chili!

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10 Apps No Cook Can Live Without

I know this is a dramatic title. Maybe I’ve been reading too much Huff Post lately! But seriously, these are the apps I rely heavily on while in my kitchen. And as always, feel free to chime in and share what apps you find indispensable to cooking.

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iPhone camera
What would I do without my smartphone camera? I use it to take pictures while I’m cooking which is handy. But more importantly, I take photos of recipes in magazines whenever I am in a waiting room! Remember the days when you were in the doctor’s office and found a recipe you wanted to try, so you had to either write it down on a scrap of paper or secretly tear it out of the magazine? (OK, I never did that!) Now I snap a photo and refer back to it when shopping or ready to cook.

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Epicurious
This was the first cooking app I ever used and it continues to be a mainstay. I’ve compiled many of my favorites in the recipe box feature. I like the categories such as “picnic ideas,” “main course salads,” or “Mexican tonight.” Photos, reviews, ratings, and step by step instructions make this a user-friendly resource that is loaded with recipes. Epicurious features a suite of mobile applications, including one for your smart Samsung fridge!

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Grocery Store
I’m not going to recommend any specific grocery store since I have no idea what’s available in your area. I will tell you however, that if your favorite store has a useful app, download it! I really like the Wegmen’s app. I can add all my ingredients to the list and it will organize them by aisle for faster shopping. It gives me a total of what I’m about to spend. Other cool features include tons of recipes and even a prescription refill option.

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Coupons
You might already have a favorite coupon app since there are a few out there. This one from coupons.com allows you to register your loyalty card, add applicable coupons to your account, and redeem them right at checkout. It takes some time to scroll through the available coupons whenever you go shopping, but saves you the trouble of clipping and storing paper coupons. Since I love to cook, it helps keep costs down on my grocery bills.

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Grill
If you like grilling, then the Weber’s Grill app is one to consider. Besides a slew of grilling recipes, it serves up grilling techniques and a handy timer. It has a grocery list feature, but since I use my grocery store app, I haven’t really taken advantage of that section.

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Thermometer
This is more of a product than an app, but it’s the app that makes it so cool. Weber’s iGrill products mean you are no longer tethered to the grill or oven when cooking. The app on your phone keeps you updated on internal temps. If like me you start talking to your guests in the kitchen while your meat is cooking out on the grill, then this is a lifesaver.

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Converter/Calculator
If you’re a baker, this app is for you. Scale recipes up or down like a pro. Convert between metric and non metric measurement.

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Substitutions
Have you ever been up to your elbows in a recipe only to find you are missing a critical ingredient? I sure have! Substitutions is a handy app to have when you need to find a way to make a recipe work when running to the grocery store that minute is not an option. Even better, the app helps you find substitutions for ingredients that cause allergic reactions. Brilliant!

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Pairing
If you are an average Joe (or in my case, Brad) like me, your knowledge of beer, wine, and cheese is limited to what you like. But that’s not always helpful when it comes to entertaining. That’s why it’s important to have a couple of useful apps for wine, beer, and cheese pairing suggestions. Unfortunately, I have not come across one app that does it all, but I have a couple that I rely upon. Here they are:

Pocket Wine Pairing
PairWise

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Plus one bonus!
Cheese & Wine

What’s on your smartphone that makes home cooking easier? I’d love to know!

Not Your Momma’s Chicken and Rice

Not Your Momma’s Chicken and Rice

I was in the mood for chicken and rice last week but wanted a healthier option than I grew up with as a kid. I looked through my pantry and fridge for what I had on hand and typed a few of my available ingredients into Bing. Batta-boom. Chipotle Braised Chicken and Rice with Zucchini courtesy of Epicurious was just what the doctor ordered. I have included a link to the original recipes. I made a few twists and turns of my own. If you give it a try, let me know what adaptations you make!

Chipotle and Ancho Braised Chicken

Ingredients

1/2 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leafs
1 T butter
salt
pepper
1 1/2 T olive oil, divided
3-4 pounds chicken quarters
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili pepper
1 cup homemade chicken stock
1 T fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Directions

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Cook onion, garlic, and bay leaf in butter and 1/2 tablespoon oil with 1/8 teaspoon salt in a skillet over medium heat until onion starts to cook down and caramelize, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

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Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken in remaining tablespoon oil in and transfer to a plate.

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Stir in chile powders and onion mixture into pan and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add stock and simmer.

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Place chicken back in, and ladle some of the onions and broth over each piece. Cover and look on low 25-30 minutes. Turn once or twice to get flavor over entire pieces. Transfer chicken and onions with a slotted spoon to a platter. Skim off and discard fat from sauce, then boil until slightly thickened. Stir in lime juice and cilantro and spoon sauce over chicken.

Zucchini Rice

Ingredients

1 cup brown rice
1 3/4 cups cold water
3 T vegetable oil, divided
1 T coriander seeds, slightly crushed
1/4 teaspoon cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchini cut into 1/2-inch rounds, then quartered
1/2 cup chopped mixed cilantro, parsley, and mint
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup pecans toasted and coarsely chopped

Directions

Cook rice and water with 1 T oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 50 minutes. Place in bowl to cool down.

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Saute coriander and cumin in 2 T oil in skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes.

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Add garlic, zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Saute until zucchini is crisp-tender, and slightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

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Toss zucchini with rice, chopped herb mixture, lemon juice, pecans, and salt and pepper to taste.

This made a delicious and healthy dinner if I do say so myself. I hope you will share your favorite chicken and rice dish! Please leave a comment and remember to friend me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/brad.nierenberg.9 and Twitter https://twitter.com/GourmandBrad

Buon appetito!

Bradley Nierenberg’s Top 10 Cooking Websites

Bradley Nierenberg’s Top 10 Cooking Websites

Unlike many cooking bloggers, most of my home cooking adventures are the result of delicious looking recipes I’ve found online. But there are an overwhelming number of websites for cooking, (39,700,000+ Google results to be exact), so how does one choose which ones to use?

This is one of those personal preference lists which I hope you will contribute to by leaving a few comments with your favorites. Here are mine:

10. http://www.foodnetwork.com/ I like watching the Food Network and frequently search the site for recipes I’ve seen made on the show. The website has very good search options, plenty of videos, great photos, and recipe reviews. In fact I featured a couple of Emeril’s recipes in my previous blog post on Creole cooking.

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9. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/ Believe it or not, the Williams-Sonoma site has a fantastic recipe collection. It’s a smart idea because I am always tempted to order another kitchen gadget while searching for recipes! I recently made their pomegranate salad and was not disappointed. And the Breakfast Skillet is a home run!

8. http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/ Looking for quick and easy? Look no further than Six Sisters Stuff. I first found them on Facebook and now drool over their photos and recipes.

7. http://ourbestbites.com/ I really like the recipes that come out of the kitchens of these Mormon Moms. I use their first cookbook regularly. It is nice the way they build upon recipes. For example, after you make their shredded pork, they offer a number of recipes that use it. Their caramelized green beans are truly amazing.

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6. http://www.finecooking.com/ I started using the Fine Cooking website and app after I received a gift subscription to the magazine. I must say, if this was a magazine list, it would be my top choice! Every recipe I’ve tried from this site is a keeper. If you are wondering how to cook your own chick peas and then how to use them up, go to Fine Cooking. I’ve made a pastry wrapped roast chicken, baked Alaska, and many other delicious meals because of this exceptional website.

5. http://www.tasteofhome.com/ When I’m looking for a recipe for something I ate as a kid, but don’t have it in my mish-mash handwritten collection of recipes, I go to Taste of Home. This site seems to have a great collection of recipes moms and grammas (dads and grandpas too) have been making for ages. Are you craving that baked oatmeal you loved in your childhood. Guess what? It’s in this website waiting for you!

4. http://joyofbaking.com/ This is really a website for baking, but belongs on my list because I use this site all the time. Stephanie Jaworski’s scone recipes are fantastic. I also like her quick breads. In fact, her zucchini bread with coconut is the best recipe out there. I like how Stephanie explains things as a preface to each recipe. There are also plenty of videos if you need visual help on a technique.

3. http://barefootcontessa.com/ I like to watch Ina Garten on the Food Network and then try the recipes she demonstrates. I have a couple of her cookbooks too. Ina’s recipes are always a hit for dinner parties. If you have not yet tried her coconut cake, you don’t know what you are missing! And yes, it calls for five sticks of butter!

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2. http://thepioneerwoman.com/ Ree Drummond is my go to gal for comfort food. You cannot beat her meatloaf, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, or sweet rolls. It’s not health food, but when you want to sink your teeth into something really delicious, check out The Pioneer Woman.

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1. http://www.epicurious.com/ It is the only cooking app I even use on my iPhone. It combines recipes from Bon Appetit, Self, and Gourmet magazines and features guest recipes from other chefs too. The photos, instructions, and reviews never let me down. I’ve used it for years.

Remember to add your favorites below!

Thanksgiving Sides – Tried and True or Something New

Thanksgiving Sides – Tried and True or Something New

Thanksgiving-Sides

I realized this morning that Thanksgiving is next week. By now I’ve usually hunted through my grandmother’s recipe box and pulled out all my tried and true favorites, created a shopping list, and planned out a cooking schedule. Somehow the holiday crept up on me and I honestly thought I had a couple more weeks.

With only a week and a half to go, I see an opportunity to skip the tried and true family favorites this year and scout out a few new side dishes and desserts. I recently joined a couple of Facebook cooking groups (The Home Chef’s Hangout and Real Cooks of Facebook) which have inspired me to try new things. The question remains, will I miss Gram’s cranberry relish, apple sausage dressing, and green bean bundles come Turkey Day?

My go-to website for finding recipes is always Epicurious. Though some of the recipes are a bit too complicated for my novice cooking skills, I find the reviews really helpful. Plus I love the pictures and breadth of choice. The slideshow for Make Ahead Side Dishes for Thanksgiving will be one place I pull ideas from this year.

Another great resource I like to use is Yummly. While many of the entrees are not as sophisticated as those I find on the Epicurious site, I like creating my own collections as a way of organizing recipes I’d like to try. As you can see, I’ve started collecting Thanksgiving Sides already!

I’m looking forward to trying something new and perhaps creating a few new traditions. Which Thanksgiving recipes do you still pull from your Gramma, Great Aunt, or even Mom? Feel free to share in the comments section. You can include your recipe unless it is a family secret!