Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Balsamic-Marmalade Glazed Chicken & Lemon Drop Salad

Saw Rachel Ray cooking this up on Food Network today and my taste buds went, "Mmmmm, I bet that is delish." And it was. I modified her recipe for our family's tastes, but it is a winner I will turn to again and again. The glaze is so good, I practically licked my plate clean.

Orange-Balsamic Glazed Chicken

6 boneless chicken thighs
2 boneless chicken breasts (cut in half to equal size of thighs)
olive oil
grill or steak seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt)

1/2 c. chicken broth
3 T. aged balsamic vinegar
1/3 c. sweet orange marmalade

Chopped green onions for garnish

Lightly season both sides of chicken pieces with your favorite seasoned salt. In a hot large skillet with about 2 T. olive oil, saute and brown boneless chicken pieces on high heat until both sides are golden brown. Remove pieces at this stage on to a platter to keep warm. (Don't worry if they are not done all the way through, you'll be simmering in the sauce to finish cooking in a minute.)

In skillet, pour in chicken broth, balsamic vinegar and orange marmalade, stir and loosen all the good bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to medium. Add chicken pieces in, coating both sides as you lay them in the sauce. Simmer until the sauce thickens to a syrupy glaze.

I served this over a lemon risotto (any risotto recipe you like, just add grated lemon peel and squeeze of lemon to it) and my favorite summer salad, below.

(The glaze, above, would be fabulous drizzled over a dish of roasted butternut squash and walnuts, for my vegan and vegetarian friends. Just sub vegetable broth for the chicken broth.)

Lemon Drop Salad (for two)

Mixed lettuce, whatever you like-- enough for two
One half avocado, diced
1 T. slivered toasted almonds
1/2 fresh lemon
1 T. olive oil
1 T. organic sugar
sea salt to taste

Toss the lettuce with sea salt, a good squeeze of lemon, sugar, olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. It should be sweet and sour -- like lemonade.
Add diced avocado and almonds and serve. So refreshing and light. I love this salad.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fall-Off-the-Bone Oven BBQ Ribs

Few things as tasty to most Texans as BBQ ribs. I love this super easy recipe for cooking savory-sweet tender ribs in your oven. I made these over the weekend and wish I could describe the amazing smell in my kitchen... like maple and bacon!

1 Rack Pork or Beef Ribs
Smoked Paprika (has to be the smoked variety)
Tony's Cajun Seasoning
Liquid Smoke
Brown Sugar
1/2 c. water
Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce

Rinse, pat dry (with paper towels), then plop rack of ribs in your largest rectangle pan. (You can tuck under the ends if it is a wee bit too long for your pan.)

Sprinkle top of the ribs with smoked paprika and Tony's Cajun seasoning. Splash about 2 T. of liquid smoke over the ribs next, followed by a generous sprinkling of brown sugar (about 1/3 cup). Pour 1/2 cup water around the edges of the pan. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 6 hours at 280 degrees.

When ribs are tender and done, remove foil, douse with Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce (or your favorite brand) and then right before serving, run it under the broiler until sauce is thickened and bubbly on top.

Serve with a large wet napkin, because these are finger lickin' messy!

Because ribs are so heavy and rich, I like to serve them with fresh vegies and fruit only. (No starchy beans,potatoes, bread or corn). A light crunchy cold broccili or cabbage slaw, with slices of pineapple and watermelon makes the perfect side dish to balance the warm, rich ribs.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sweet Smokey Talapia

This is a super fast meal, and easy to serve a bunch. Great with a nice crusty bread to sop up yummy pan juices! If you've not yet tried smoked paprika, do yourself a favor and add it to your spice collection. The smell is amazing, the taste delicious. You'll find yourself using it often!

Sweet Smokey Talapia

8 small to medium sized pieces talapia, lightly rinsed and patted dry.
1 T. olive oil
2 T. butter
Smoked Paprika (must be the smoked variety for the best flavor) (about 4 teaspoons)
Salt & Pepper
Juice of one lemon
Brown Sugar (about 4 teaspoons)
4 fresh garlic cloves, pressed or mashed to paste

Heat oven to 350. In a large oven-proof pan (I used the broiler pan bottom) Melt the butter and olive oil. Coat fish in oil/butter mixture on both sides, and lay side by side in same pan. Sprinkle each slice with about 1/2 teaspoon of paprika and brown sugar, then lightly salt and pepper. Top each slice of fish with a small smear of garlic paste. Squeeze juice of one lemon over all.

Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes or until fish is white and flakey. Then turn your oven to broil and broil until the spices and brown sugar on top darken a bit.

Nice served with crusty bread, a green salad with avocado, and a fresh ear of corn.