Sunday, November 30, 2014

Spinach Gratin


This Spinach Gratin is a wonderful dish to serve alongside steaks, prime rib, or even as a side dish for a holiday meal. Gruyere cheese is the perfect accompaniment for spinach. Enjoy!

SPINACH GRATIN
Five 10-ounce boxes frozen spinach, thawed
6 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C shredded Parmesan cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 C heavy cream
1/4 C white wine
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 T butter
Olive oil
2 shallots, minced

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

Melt the butter in a skillet and drizzle in a little olive oil.  Cook the shallot until tender, 3-4 minutes.  Deglaze the pan with the white wine and cook until most of the liquid is cooked out. Add in the cream cheese and garlic and stir to melt the cheese.  Remove from the heat.

Place the thawed spinach in a clean towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.  In a bowl, stir together the spinach, cream cheese mixture, heavy cream, half of the Gruyere, half of the Parmesan, nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. Put the mixture in a lightly greased casserole pan big enough to fit the mixture.  Sprinkle the remaining Gruyere and Parmesan over the top.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese on top is browned.  

Ambrosia (5 Cup Salad)


This Ambrosia, or 5 Cup Salad, has been at every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner since I was a little girl. Now it's a favorite of my daughter's, and she wouldn't have a holiday any other way.  This is so easy to make and can be done the day before.  Enjoy!

AMBROSIA (5 CUP SALAD)
1 C mandarin oranges, drained
1 C pineapple chunks, drained (save the juice)
1 C sour cream
1 C mini marshmallows
1 C shredded coconut
1/2 C pecan halves (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and chill.  If you are making it the day before, you may need to stir in a little of the pineapple juice if it seems a little dry.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Turkey Talk


Are you already wondering what to do with your leftover turkey?  How about a hearty Turkey & Wild Rice Soup!  It's creamy, full of veggies, and darn tasty!  It comes together pretty easy and is great with a hunk of buttered cornbread. Enjoy!

TURKEY & WILD RICE SOUP
FOR THE RICE:
1 C wild rice
Chicken stock (don't use the water on the package instructions for the rice and use an equal amount of chicken stock)
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

FOR THE SOUP:
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 C cooked, shredded turkey
Olive oil
1/4 C butter
1/2 C flour
1/4 C white wine
2 C chicken stock
4 C half & half
1 C frozen peas
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon dried herbs (mixed or your choice)

Put the rice ingredients together in a pot.  Cook according to package instructions.  (You are using chicken stock in place of the water in the instructions, so don't add water).

For the soup, melt the butter in a large pot or dutch oven and drizzle in some olive oil.  Cook the onion, celery, and carrots until tender.  Deglaze the pan with the white wine and cook until most of the liquid is done.  Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir.  Add in the chicken stock and whisk.  Add in the remaining ingredients and the cooked rice.  Bring to a slight boil and cook, stirring constantly, until the soup is thickened.  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Baked Brie with Cranberries & Pistachios


This is a ridiculously easy and super impressive appetizer dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any special occasion. This is Baked Brie with Cranberry Sauce & Pistachios.  And it's so good!

BAKED BRIE WITH CRANBERRIES & PISTACHIOS
One 8-ounce wheel of brie
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
One 14-ounce can whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 C shelled pistachios
1 egg
Crackers, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Unfold the puff pastry and place on a greased sheet pan.  Unwrap the brie and set it in the center of the pastry.  Stir the can of cranberry sauce to loosen it up.  Spoon half of the sauce on top of the brie. Chop half of the pistachios and place them on top of the cranberry sauce.  Pull up the puff pastry and fold over the top of the brie, making sure to cover the top completely.  Beat the egg with a splash of water.  Brush the top and sides of the puff pastry with the egg mixture.  Bake the brie for 25-35 minutes or until the pastry is well browned.  

Remove it from the oven and let it rest on a rack for 25-30 minutes or until it's mostly cooled. This step is important since the cheese will run out of the pastry if it isn't cooled some.  Don't cool it too long, though, because the cheese will firm up too much.  You want the cheese to be soft and run slightly but not pour out of the pastry.  Garnish with the remaining cranberry sauce and pistachios.  Serve with crackers.

The San Francisco Treat


No, I'm not talking about Rice A Roni.  I'm talking about Cioppino.  Cioppino comes from an Italian word for "chopped."  It was made by fisherman who used the catch of the day.  They made it on their boats and used the freshest fish and seafood.  

I had heard about Cioppino before, but I had never made it. My husband saw a man making it on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives and he just had to have it.  Since he's such a great man, he gets what he wants.  

So we headed to the "fancy" grocery store in town and went to the seafood counter.  The stew is typically made with shrimp, crab, clams, mussels, scallops, and a hearty white fish.  The shellfish is usually left in the shell, but it is a little messy.  I peeled the shrimp so I could use the shells in the stock. We left the crab claw meat in the shell for presentation, but we took the leg and knuckle meat out of the shell.  Clams and mussels obviously need to be in the shell. My husband wanted to use halibut for the white fish.  He developed a love for halibut when he was stationed in New York while in the Army.  I had never had it before, but I'm usually pretty game to try most things.  

Now, this hearty stew takes some time to develop the flavors, so it's not a whip it up kind of meal.  But, if you're a seafood fan, you will be glad you took the time to coax the flavors out of this.  Enjoy!

CIOPPINO
FOR THE STOCK:
Shrimp shells (*see below)
1 onion, rough chopped
1 stalk celery, rough chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 jalapeno, rough chopped
2 teaspoons fennel seed
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons oregano
Salt, to taste
2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
One 8-ounce jar clam juice
10 C water

FOR THE STEW:
12 ounces shrimp, peeled (*use the peel for the stock above)
2 lbs crab legs, shelled or not shelled
1/2 lb mussels
1/2 lb clams
1 lb halibut, cut into bite sized pieces (or your favorite white fish)
Olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 serrano chile, stem removed and chopped
1/2 C red wine
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & pepper, to taste
Hot sauce, to taste

For the stock, put all of the stock ingredients into a large pot. Bring to a rapid boil.  Reduce the heat just slightly, but make sure it's still boiling.  Continue to cook for about an hour. Strain the liquid and reserve 8 C of the liquid.  Discard the strained remnants.  NOTE:  I left the lid mostly on so as not to lose too much liquid in evaporation and I had more than 8 C stock.  If you don't end up with 8 C stock, just add enough water to it to make 8 C.

For the stew, you will need to soak the clams and mussels in cold water in the sink.  Tap them gently to make sure they close.  If any of them don't close, discard them.  Some of them will close slowly, so wait a few minutes before discarding to see if they do eventually close.  Soak them for about 30 minutes.  This makes the clams and mussels filter out any sand they may have in them.  

In a dutch oven or large pot, drizzle a generous amount of olive oil in the bottom.  Cook the carrots, celery, onion, bell pepper, and serrano until tender, about 5-8 minutes.  Add in the red wine and deglaze the pan.  Add in the reserved stock, the can of tomatoes and the garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring this to a boil.  Reduce the heat slightly and continue cooking about 30-45 minutes or until the liquid has cooked down and gotten thick.  

Add in the halibut (or other white fish), clams and mussels and crab (if leaving the crab in the shell) and cook until the clams and mussels are opened.  If any of the clams or mussels do not open, discard them.  Add in the shrimp (and crab if you took it out of the shell) and cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the shrimp is done.  Serve with hot sauce, if desired, and a hunk of warm french bread.

Monday, November 17, 2014

It's That Sauce!



I remember when I was a kid and we'd go to a Chinese Restaurant.  I used to love to order Sweet & Sour Chicken.  I remember it always came with chunks of pineapple and bell pepper pieces and large onion pieces (I always picked out the onion and bell pepper).  But it was the sauce that I loved. Like my son, I wanted that sauce on the rice too.  And the eggrolls.  If you haven't had it, it's chicken breast strips that are battered in a light tempura batter and fried.  If it was done right, it wasn't greasy.  I loved that stuff!

Recently, my husband requested that I make Tempura Chicken on our son's birthday, along with my son's requests. I'm not going to say this is authentic in any way, but it's close to what you'd expect in an American Chinese restaurant. The sauce is easy to make and will be familiar to you.  If you are a fan of the American Chinese "Sweet & Sour Chicken," I think you'll love this!

TEMPURA CHICKEN
FOR THE CHICKEN:
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 3/4 C flour
1 egg
1 C ice water
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 T cornstarch
Peanut oil, for frying

FOR THE SAUCE:
1 T cornstarch
2 T water
1/2 C pineapple juice
1/2 C rice wine vinegar
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C ketchup
1 T soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder

NOTE:  I made this dish along with several other dishes, so it makes a smaller amount.  If you want this as a main dish, you can double or triple the recipe.

For the sauce, place all of the ingredients in a pot and whisk. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat.  Simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until it's thickened.  Chill until ready to serve.

For the chicken, cut it into strips.  Mix together the flour, egg, cornstarch, ice water, baking soda and cornstarch.  Preheat some peanut oil in a large skillet.  Dip the chicken strips in the batter and place them gently in the oil.  Fry for about 3-5 minutes per side or until they are golden brown and chicken is fully cooked.  Serve with the sauce.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Carmelitas


Oh, my goodness.  Just look at these fabulous bars called Carmelitas.  I don't normally make or eat sweets, but these are fantastic!  Just look at how the gooey caramel melts right out of them!  If you have a sweet tooth and you only try one of my recipes, this one is it!

CARMELITAS
3/4 C real salted butter
3/4 C brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 C flour
1 C old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
One 13-ounce bag soft caramels, unwrapped
1/2 C heavy cream
1 1/2 C milk chocolate chips
1/2 C chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8 x 8 pan with foil and very generously grease the foil.  Stir together the butter, brown sugar, vanilla, flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Spread half of the mixture in the pan.  It will look like you don't have enough, but there is.  Bake this layer for about 12-13 minutes to set.

Meanwhile, place the caramels and the heavy cream in a small pot.  Cook and stir until the caramels are completely melted.  

Remove the pan from the oven and spread the chocolate chips evenly over the bottom layer.  Then sprinkle the pecans over the chocolate chips.  Then carefully and slowly pour the caramel sauce over the pecans.  Your oat mixture will have dried up some where you can handle it now.  Crumble the oat mixture over the caramel and cover as much of the caramel as you can.  Return to the oven and bake an additional 15-18 minutes or until the oat mixture is browned and cooked through.  You will need to chill the bars completely before trying to cut them.  Trust me, I tried and they started to fall apart.  But I put them in the freezer, and they firmed up nicely.  

As adapted from Averie Cooks

Monday, November 10, 2014

Crowd Pleasing


As you can imagine, since I cook so much, I always have leftovers.  Sometimes too many.  But no worries.  I don't throw them away.  I work with hungry people, and they love the leftovers.  If I mention a dish that I made, I almost always get asked, "why didn't you bring any?"  Well, sometimes my family won't let me.  If it's something they really love, they will stand guard with baseball bats at the fridge before I leave for work and make sure I don't take anything with me.  Okay, not so much the baseball bats part.

So last week I made these amazing Chicken Burritos.  I know the picture leaves something to be desired.  But my husband adamantly said I couldn't take any of the leftovers to work. But I managed to sneak in the kitchen while he was in the shower and took some anyway.  I'm sorry, John.  It was so good I had to share and, well, quite frankly, show off a little. The chicken filling is the same filling that I use for my Chicken Flautas, which is one of my husband's top 10 favorites.  There is an ingredient used here called El Pato, which is a spicy tomato sauce.  If you can find it, use the salsa de chile fresco.  If you can't find it, then you can substitute a small can of tomato sauce and add chili flakes or cayenne pepper to taste.  The burritos also have spicy rice, refried beans, pico de gallo, and enchilada sauce.  They were so darn tasty and very crowd pleasing!  I hope you enjoy them too!

CHICKEN BURRITOS
FOR THE CHICKEN:
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 C chicken stock
One 7 3/4 ounce can El Pato salsa de chile fresco  (or tomato sauce)
One 4-ounce can mild green chilies
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder

FOR THE RICE:
1 C rice
2 C chicken stock
1 can RoTel

FOR THE ENCHILADA SAUCE:
1/4 C lard or shortening
1/4 C flour
2 C chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 T chili powder

FOR THE PICO DE GALLO:
About 2 C chopped Roma tomatoes
1-2 serrano (or jalapeno) peppers, chopped (leave in the seeds if you like it hot)
1/2 C finely chopped red onion
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lime, juiced
Salt & pepper, to taste

FOR THE BURRITOS:
2 C refried beans, heated
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Burrito-size tortillas

NOTE:  This recipe is spicy.  If you are spice challenged, leave out the RoTel in the rice, the serranos or jalapenos in the pico de gallo, and switch the El Pato to plain tomato sauce.  Also, chicken stock tends to be salty.  The only thing I have added salt to here is the pico de gallo.  If you are a salt addict, like me, you will need to taste as you go and add salt accordingly.

For the rice, put the rice, 2 C chicken stock, and the can of RoTel in a pot.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Meanwhile, put the chicken breasts in a pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and boil for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is done.  Let cool and shred.

For the pico de gallo, mix all of the ingredients together and chill until ready to use.  You will probably have more pico than you will need, so feel free to cut the recipe down.

Once the chicken is shredded, put it in a large skillet.  Add in the chicken stock, El Pato (or tomato sauce), green chilies, cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder.  Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is cooked out.  Remove from the heat.

For the enchilada sauce, melt the lard or shortening in a skillet.  Whisk in the flour.  Add in the chicken stock and remaining ingredients.  Whisk and cook until the sauce is thickened and bubbly.

To soften the tortillas, place them in a damp towel and microwave for about a minute.  Spread some beans down the center of the tortilla, then some cheese, then rice, then some of the chicken filling.  Close the burritos up.  Serve them with some of the sauce and the pico de gallo. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Crazy Chicken


I love looking at animal videos, especially dogs.  Since we have a Boxer, I really enjoy goofy Boxer videos.  Recently I saw a video of a crazy chicken laughing while it was crowing. You can watch it here.  I say it's a chicken.  It clearly is a rooster with wattles and a comb.  But it's still funny to watch.

My husband is a fan of big, crazy sandwiches.  This one sure does fit that bill.  This is my Pollo Loco Sandwich.  It has bacon, roasted poblanos, chipotle mayo, pico de gallo, jalapeno cheese sauce, Pepper Jack cheese slices, and...Fritos! Crazy indeed.

POLLO LOCO SANDWICH:
FOR THE CHICKEN:
3 boneless chicken breasts, butterflied to make 6 cutlets
Seasoned salt (like Lawry's)
Garlic powder
Black pepper
Chili powder
Cumin

FOR THE CHIPOTLE MAYO:
1 C mayonnaise
1 chipotle in adobo, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

FOR THE PICO DE GALLO:
About 2 C chopped Roma tomatoes
1-2 serrano (or jalapeno) peppers, chopped (leave in the seeds if you like it hot)
1/2 C finely chopped red onion
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lime, juiced
Salt & pepper, to taste

FOR THE JALAPENO CHEESE SAUCE:

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1/4 C flour
1/4 C butter
2 C half & half
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder

FOR THE SANDWICH:
1/2 lb bacon, slices cut in half, and cooked
Pepper Jack cheese slices
6 sandwich or hamburger buns (I used onion buns)
Fritos corn chips
3 poblanos
Leaf lettuce

For the pico de gallo, mix together all of the ingredients and put it in the fridge until ready to use.  For the chipotle mayo, mix all the ingredients together and store in the fridge until ready to use.

For the poblanos, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the poblanos on a sheet pan and roast, turning occasionally, until the skin is charred, about 20 minutes.  When they are cool enough to handle, peel as much of the skins off as you can.  Remove the stem and seeds and slice the poblanos into strips.

For the chicken, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Season the chicken on both sides with some seasoned salt, garlic powder, black pepper, chili powder, and cumin.  Bake for 14 minutes.  Turn and bake an additional 12-14 minutes or until chicken is done.

For the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a small pot.  Cook the jalapeno until it is soft, 3-4 minutes.  Whisk in the flour. Whisk in the half and half and garlic powder and cook until thickened and bubbly.  Remove from the heat.  Whisk in the shredded cheese in small handfuls until it is completely melted and smooth.

Separate the bun halves.  Butter the top halves and put a slice of Pepper Jack cheese on the bottom halves.  Put them on a sheet pan and set under the broiler.  Cook until the cheese is melted and the top halves are toasted.

Assemble the sandwiches with the chicken, poblano slices, chipotle mayo, bacon slices, pico de gallo, lettuce, some Fritos, and the cheese sauce.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sausage Pancake Muffins


These quick and easy treats are sure to make everyone happy for breakfast.  These are Sausage Pancake Mini Muffins!

SAUSAGE PANCAKE MUFFINS
10 breakfast sausage links
1 C flour
1 T sugar (or syrup)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 C milk
2 T vegetable oil

Cook the sausages according to package directions.  Cut each sausage in half so that you have 20 mini sausage links.

Whisk the remaining ingredients together.  Liberally grease a mini muffin tin.  Fill 20 of the tins up to the top.  Stick one sausage half in each tin.  Bake the muffins for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into them comes out clean.  Serve with syrup.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Shoestring Potatoes


These Shoestring Potatoes are so tasty that I have made them twice in a week!  I used a mandolin slicer to slice the potatoes first before cutting them into matchstick size pieces, and it really made the job a lot easier.  You can find mandolin slicers pretty much anywhere they sell kitchen equipment, even Walmart, for pretty cheap.  If you don't have a mandolin or don't want to purchase one, just make sure you have a really sharp knife and a careful hand to make very thin slices.

SHOESTRING POTATOES
2 large potatoes, peeled
Olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Slice the potatoes first on a mandolin (or with a knife into very thin slices).  Then make a few stacks of the potatoes and slice them into thin matchstick-sized pieces.  Spread them out on two sheet pans.  Drizzle some olive oil over them and sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Toss them around with your hands to coat and spread them into a single layer.  Bake them for about 10 minutes and then turn them with a spatula. Continue baking for an additional 10-15 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Sausage Roll, Nebraska


So I've heard of a popular British food called Sausage Rolls. It is made using mince, which is meat that is, well, minced. And sometimes it's also used with bangers, which is a British word for sausage.  I made my own "sausage" by using ground pork.  I've seen where some British people eat them with Heinz HP sauce which is apparently a very beloved sauce in the UK.  I just made some cream gravy to serve with ours.

So, as I sat down to write this post, I went on Google and tried to do a little reading about Sausage Rolls and try to find some interesting tidbit to share with you about them.  I went to Wikipedia and read a bit there.  I went back to my search feed and saw there was another Sausage Roll page on Wiki referring to National Sausage Roll Day.  It even said there's a town in Nebraska called Sausage Roll.  Sausage Roll, Nebraska.  What I didn't realize, since I skim through pages instead of fully reading them, is that entry is actually an April Fool's Day prank page on Wiki.  Duh...how gullible can I be! If you want to see the page, click here.

Anywho, these Sausage Rolls are probably not exactly traditional in flavor, but my husband loved the sausage part so much that he wanted me to make it again for calzones instead of using Italian sausage.  They were really easy to make and pretty darn tasty too.  Enjoy!

SAUSAGE ROLLS
1 lb ground pork (beef will work too)
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 teaspoon sage
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Chili flake, to taste
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 C breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1/4 C water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Mix together the ground pork, sage, salt & pepper, chili flake, garlic powder, fennel seed, thyme, dried minced onion, breadcrumbs, 1 of the eggs, and the water.  Cut the puff pastry into three pieces along the fold.  Roll them out some to stretch the dough wider.  

Divide the sausage mixture into three and spread it down each of the puff pastry sections.  Fold the long side over the meat and crimp the edges with a fork.  Cut each roll into three sections. Place them on a sheet pan.  Cut three slits on the top of each roll.  Mix the second egg with a splash of water and brush the tops of the pastries. I sprinkled a little extra garlic powder over the tops of the pastries for extra flavor.  Bake the sausage rolls for 25-35 minutes or until the sausage is cooked through and the pastries are browned.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Potato Croquettes


These pretty Potato Croquettes are crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside.  And they are delicious!

POTATO CROQUETTES
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 C Panko breadcrumbs
2 T butter, melted
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 C shredded cheese, any flavor
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 egg
Peanut oil

Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and cook until they are tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain them very well.  Mash the potatoes very smooth or put them through a potato ricer.  Stir in the butter, garlic powder, cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and the egg.  Mix well.  Put the Panko in a bowl.  Using a small scoop or or a tablespoon, scoop out about 1 inch balls.  Put the ball into the Panko and coat well.  Shape them into flattened disks and place them on a sheet pan.  Put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes to firm up.

Heat about an inch of peanut oil in a large skillet.  Fry the croquettes in batches until they are well browned and crispy on the outside. 

Family Night


Although we don't do it often enough, I love Family Night.  It's a night where we all enjoy a good meal and then either watch a movie or, better yet, play a board game.  We love the oldies like Taboo and Scattergories.  My personal favorite is Scrabble, but I can rarely get them to play with me.  Since I was a court reporter for 14 years, I do know a lot of words. My husband says it's like death playing it with me.  On the rare occasion we do play, the kids drop like flies and end up retreating to their room.  Last Christmas, we played Scattergories at my parents' house.  If you've ever played that game, you'll know that there can be a lot of debates over acceptable words.  And there are certainly a lot of interesting answers.  We also played Taboo, and we all enjoy buzzing people with the buzzer.  Good times.

Having teenagers, it's tough to have everyone around for Family Night.  We all were home last Thursday night, and it gave me a chance to try a new recipe I developed for Greek Chicken. It's pan-seared bone-in chicken breasts with a beautiful browned skin.  Then an olive and caramelized onion sauce is made in the same pan.  It's all topped off with crumbled feta cheese and fresh parsley.  And they loved it!  It was pretty easy to do too.  I hope your family enjoys this on Family Night.

GREEK CHICKEN
4 bone-in chicken breasts with the skin
1/2 stick butter
2 T peanut oil
1 onion, sliced thin
Pinch sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 C chicken stock
1 C whole pitted black olives, cut in half
2 T fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 T lemon juice
2 teaspoons oregano
Crumbled feta cheese

Put the peanut oil and the butter into a large skillet that has a lid.  Heat to medium high heat.  Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.  Add the chicken skin side down to the pan. Cook for five minutes and until the chicken is well browned. Reduce the heat to medium and cover.  Cook for an additional 15 minutes or until the chicken is done through and at 160 degrees in the center.  Lightly swirl the pan around a few times to make sure the butter isn't burning in hot spots on the stove.  Remove them to a plate and cover them with foil. The carryover heat should bring your chicken up to 165 degrees.

Drain all but about 1 T of the fat from the pan.  Add in the onions and the pinch of sugar.  Cook the onions for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently, or until they are browned.  Add in the olives and cook for a few minutes to soften them slightly. Add in the chicken stock and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add in the garlic, lemon juice, and oregano.  Bring to a slight boil and cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes.  Serve the chicken with the sauce and garnish with the Italian parsley and crumbled feta cheese.