Seriously, you have no idea how hard it was to not use the pun in the title of this post, even after writing it in multiple social media captions….
In my opinion, there are few things better than a good bloody mary. I started drinking them years ago (chill, they were alcohol-free at the time) when I worked as a hostess for brunch at a restaurant one summer. Unlike the servers or bussers, I was mostly stationed at the front, near the door, which meant I routinely went six hours without eating or drinking much. At best, I could sneak to the end of the bar to have a sip of water or coffee during slow points, but I was constantly hungry. So one day I decided to try out the bloody mary mix that I always watched the bartender make….
First off- notice anything different? Like how the photos aren’t gimicky (sorry Instagram) cell phone photos, but ones taken with a real DSLR? That would be because I finally bought one!! I am now the proud owner of a slightly-used Nikon D40, and I couldn’t be more excited. Sure, I’ll miss the cute little filter and “tilt shift” options, but I have a real lens that can ZOOM. Exciting, I know.
If you decide to skip reading whatever it is I decided to go on about in this post before the actual recipe, do know one thing: although the original recipe came from Kraft Foods (the back of a package of shredded cheese, specifically), what I have posted here is not at all scary and processed.
I might even be as bold as to say it’s pretty good, cheap, and ultimately not all that unhealthy. Sure, there’s pasta, but that could easily be swapped out for whole wheat pasta, rice, brown rice, or just skipped entirely if you’re trying to avoid carbs.
- The images show a double recipe, as I was cooking for 10 people- normally I just serve it out of the skillet, as the name suggests, to 4-5 people. It also reheats really well.
- Omit the cayenne if you don’t like a lot of heat
- I made the salsa from scratch, using my favorite salsa recipe, because I had a lot of time on my hands. When that isn’t the case, I’ve used plenty of bottled ones, even the Tostito’s one, and it turns out well
- Again, with the time on my hands, I used some of the salsa (the recipe above produces a ton) to marinate the chicken for a couple of hours before cooking it. If you do this, make sure to separate the chicken and discard the marinated salsa before cooking, otherwise your chicken won’t brown very well.
Salsa Chicken Skillet
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1” cubes
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp ground cayenne
1/2 tsp ground cumin
A few dashes of Cholula, or any other hot sauce (optional)
1 1/4 cups salsa
1 large green pepper, cut into thin strips, then cut in half
1 cup shredded cheese
1 cup orzo pasta
- Cook pasta as directed on package.
- Heat a large, nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat. Add the chicken and season with salt, pepper, cayenne and cumin. Cook until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in salsa and peppers, and add the hot sauce, if using. Simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until chicken is done.
- Drain the pasta. Add to chicken mixture, and mix until evenly coated
- Remove the skillet from heat. Sprinkle cheese on the top, Cover with a pot lid or piece of aluminum foil and let stand for a couple of minutes, or until cheese is melted.
- Serve warm, with extra salsa, hot sauce, or whatever additions (I love a bit of fresh avocado or a lightly dressed salad) you like on the side.
This dish was something I grew up eating at old Italian restaurants in Yonkers when we would go up there to see my grandparents. I have no clue why I waited so long to look up a recipe for it, as it is incredibly easy to make and not all that indulgent of a dish. I’m imagining just making the sauce to put over a simple grilled chicken sometime soon…
I also halved this recipe, as it was just for my sister and me, but I ended up making the second half of the sauce, which I find to be the best part. So if you do halve the chicken part, I recommend keeping the original amount of sauce.
adapted from Gourmet via Epicurious
- 4 large skinless boneless chicken breast halves (2 pounds total)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus 1 whole lemon, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound chicken with flat side of a meat pounder or with a rolling pin until 1/4 inch thick.
- Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking.
- While oil is heating, stir together flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl. Dredge 2 pieces of chicken, 1 piece at a time, in flour mixture, shaking off excess.
- Lightly beat eggs in another shallow bowl. When oil is hot, dip floured chicken into beaten eggs to coat, letting excess drip off, then fry, turning over once, until golden brown and just cooked through, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and keep warm, loosely covered with foil. Fry remaining chicken in same manner.
- Pour off and discard oil, then wipe skillet clean and heat butter over low heat until foam subsides. Add wine, broth, and lemon juice and boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 6 minutes.
- Stir in parsley and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken and top with lemon slices.
I’ve come to realize that the Sunday dinners my sister and I do are really just a nice way of saying that I act as a personal chef. A couple of weeks ago, she suggested making a bechamel sauce for some pasta. My only knowledge of it was that it is one of the four mother sauces of French cooking, and that it’s basically a cream sauce. I was making myself a chicken dish, so I didn’t care that the pasta didn’t excite me. But when we went grocery shopping, she suggested putting pancetta in. We looked around, and the closest we could find was just diced ham (which, once sauteed with a bit of salt and pepper, was not that bad), so we used that.…
My sister recently found out [read: self-diagnosed] that she is gluten-intolerant. Which is actually really tragic, because the girl lives on pasta and cereal. I never had much of a desire/need to explore gluten-free cooking and baking, but now I consider it a fun challenge. It’s a bit easier cooking-wise, especially when Trader Joe’s makes great things like corn pasta that don’t taste completely awful.
I don’t much care for meat sauce (I like my pasta meat-free) but for some strange reason, I really enjoy cooking it. I’ve made several attempts since the start of the school year, and with the help of some tips via Smitten Kitchen, I think I’ve finally nailed it. The proof lies in the fact that there is none of it left 72 hours later….
Curried pea and carrot soup
I made this soup as a riff off of a dish I had for lunch fairly often when I was studying in Uganda. The approach was fairly simple: sauté some onions with whatever spices you had on hand, throw in peas and fill up with water until they were just covered, put a lid on it and wait.
Back in the US, with all my first-world kitchen amenities, I like to puree the stew into a soup.
1/2 of a medium yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped up
1 tbsp oil or butter (I used some herbed butter I was trying to get rid of)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2-1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
8 oz peas
1 cup water
Pancetta, sautéed (optional)