Larrupin

Uncommonly Good

Roast Chicken Salad

Roast Chicken Salad

Roast Chicken Salad with Mandarin Oranges, Pecans, and Honey Mustard Dressng

This salad started out the same as the one I made yesterday, but it had a totally different taste. I added diced roast chicken, mandarin oranges, pecans and sliced almonds. I dressed it with store-bought honey mustard dressing.

I roast a chicken every few weeks, usually when I see them on sale at the grocery store. I get at least one fresh meal out of it and then I have leftovers of the main meal, chicken for salads or sandwiches, chicken broth, and I set aside all the unappetizing “chicken parts” for the dogs. They love it when I add those “parts” to their bowls.

Roasting a chicken is easy. Just wash it inside and out and put it in a roasting pan. I season mine with a variety of herbs. Tarragon has a distinctive flavor, at least to me, so I don’t usually mix it with other flavors. I have a personal herb blend I use on almost everything especially on chicken. I’ll pour about a half-inch of white wine in the bottom of the pan. Sometimes I’ll add  mushrooms, celery tops, onions and garlic. It goes, uncovered, in an oven preheated to 400° for about 10–15 minutes. When the skin is crispy and golden I’ll put a lid on the pan, or cover it with foil and leave it for another 45 minutes or so.

Roast Chicken Before

Fresh chicken seasoned with rosemary, tumeric, stuffed with mushrooms, celery, and lemons.

As soon as I get it in the oven, I’ll put rice in my rice steamer and turn it on. When the rice is done, the chicken usually is as well.

When the chicken is done, I take it out of the oven and let it sit for a few minutes while I get everything together for serving. Then I’ll take the chicken out of the pan and put it on a plate for carving. My favorite fresh hot piece of chicken is the leg quarter so I’ll pull that of and add it to the rice.  I may make a gravy out of the pan juices, but if not, I’ll simply spoon the pan juices over the rice and chicken. Garnish with some slivered almonds and chow down.

Roast Chicken After

Rosemary Lemon Roast Chicken

After I eat, and the chicken is cool I’ll debone it and put the whole breasts and any other meat in a container for future use. I may toss the bones, but if I have time I’ll put the bones back in the roasting pan, add some more water and put them on the stove top and cook them down to make broth.

After the bones cook an hour or so, remove from the heat and let it cool enough to handle. Remove the larger bones with tongs or a slotted spoon . (Don’t feed them to your dogs or cats. They can splinter and cause internal injuries when your pets eat them.) After you think you have all the bones out, pour the broth through a strainer and remove the smaller bones. You can also strain it though cheese cloth if you want to get the rest of the chunks that are floating around.

When the broth is strained, pour it into a tall container. I frequently use a tall plastic to-go cup I’ve saved. Put it in the fridge and the chicken fat will form a layer and harden on the top making it very easy to remove before you use the broth.

I’m in the mood for a BLT tomorrow for lunch. I think I also have an avocado I can add to it. We’ll see if I can’t get around early enough to pull it off.  I’m also looking for my little sandwich maker so I can make grilled sandwiches at the office. At home, my trusty iron skillets are so much easier, but I just realized that little sandwich maker is just the ticket. If I can just remember where I put it. 🙂

April 20, 2010 Posted by | Brown Bag, Salad | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eighteen Ingredient Salad

I took a few days off work last week, so I was out of practice when it came to getting my lunch together this morning, but it was worth it when it came time to eat. I’ll do better tomorrow. I listed all the ingredients below since it’s so deep you can’t see everything that’s there.

Salad, Monday, April 19

Eighteen ingredients plus a deviled egg made this tasty Monday salad.

For me, salads taste better when there is a lot of color, a lot of texture, and a variety of flavors. I like something unexpected in amongst the greens, something that pops when I bite into it. There were two pops in this salad. Craisins, and grape tomatoes.

I also prefer salads that aren’t a lot of trouble to eat.  I want to be able to stab my fork into the pile and pull up a little of everything, which is why I make paper thin slices of carrot, radishes, zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers.

I don’t want to have to use a knife to cut my lettuce so I tear all the leafy greens into bite sized pieces. Broccoli or cauliflower gets cut or broken into small bites.

I use grape tomatoes for several reasons. They don’t make the salad soggy like cut tomatoes do, and they are bite sized. Sometimes even cherry tomatoes can be a mouthful.

The plastic bowl I used came from Target. They make a pretty good Salmon Mango salad with poppy seed dressing that I’ve enjoyed a few times. I put the lettuces, and sliced veggies in the bowl, usually piled separately instead of tossed to keep from crushing the lettuce. A small block of feta cheese goes in too. I break it up as I eat the salad. Craisins and nuts go in separate small lidded containers and are tossed on when I’m ready to eat.

To make sure this lasts me all afternoon I make sure to add some protein. Today I piled on no-fat cottage cheese, and a deviled egg. Other, more filling options are well-drained tuna, salmon, baked or roast chicken, turkey, steak… and I’ll get into all that in another post.

Here’s my list of ingredients:

  • Romaine
  • Spinach
  • Butter Lettuce
  • Red Cabbage, thin sliced like for slaw
  • Broccoli, small florets (better blanched than raw)
  • Zucchini, paper thin slices
  • Yellow squash, paper thin slices
  • Green onion
  • Carrot, paper thin slices
  • Radish, paper thin slices
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Feta Cheese
  • Craisins, in a separate container
  • Cottage Cheese, in a separate container
  • Sunflower Seeds, roasted, but not salted
  • Almond Slivers
  • Croutons, rustic, homemade
  • Deviled Egg: picked peppers with jalapenos also added a kick to the salad
  • Dressing: homemade, of course.

Tomorrow will be similar. I already have the lettuce in the bowl ready to go. I’ll try to remember mandarin oranges for tomorrow. I also have some baked chicken I want to add. If I go with the chicken and oranges I’ll probably use walnuts and almonds for garnish.

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Brown Bag, Salad | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Snow Day Minestrone

Thursday, with an ice storm underway and the snow moving in, my daily Chow email came with a recipe for Minestrone.
Minestrone is a hearty Italian peasant soup, made with the vegetables of the season and it sounded perfect for Snow Day. (When the grown-ups have Snow Day it is an official designation and should be capitalized, unlike snow days when the schools close but most of the grown ups still have to work.)

I found there is no “original” recipe for minestrone, but the ingredients were determined by the season and region in which it was made. Minestrone can be a brothy soup with vegetables that still have some crunch to them; or it can be cooked for hours, breaking down all the vegetables into a thick medley of amazing flavors. This recipe leans toward the brothy version.

I skipped the butter in the original recipe and went with just olive oil. I found other recipes that started with diced bacon and then adding the vegetables to to bacon and drippings. I’ll try that next time. This is how my Snow Day Minestrone played out.
Prologue
Early in the day I put 1 cup dried Great Northern Beans (they were the only dried beans I happened to have) in a large saucepan, covered them with water, and brought it to a boil over high heat. Then I got the newspaper and settled down. About 30 minutes later I remembered the beans and ran to the kitchen in time to hear the sizzle of the last of the water evaporating. Fortunately, I caught them before they started to burn, so I refilled the pot and put them back on the stove. This time with low heat. I let them cook for another hour or so and when some were tender and others were still al dente I removed the pot from the heat. You can skip this step if you want to used canned beans.
Act One:  Saute
For the soup, I put my pot on the stove and turned the heat to medium. I tossed in the onions, celery, and red pepper with a splatter of olive oil.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper, tasting as you go. I let them soften and then added the garlic
and stirred it into the mixture for a minute or so. Next came the diced potato and carrot. I scraped the bottom of the pan to include all the good stuff that sticks to the bottom. When everything looked good I poured in the can of tomatoes and the juice and added the bay leaf. I let that cook together a couple of minutes.
Act Two: Simmer
I stirred in the liquid from the cooked beans. I added the green beans and liquid, half the zucchini, the peas and stirred occasionally until zucchini softened, about 10 minutes. Next came the broth, the pasta—I used small shell
macaroni— and half the parsley and let it simmer about 5–8 minutes.  Finally came the cooked beans, the leftover liquid, and the last of the zucchini. And just for fun I threw in a handful of alphabet pasta. The whole pot continued to simmer until the pasta was ready and the last of the zucchini still had a little crunch to it.

Epilogue: Serve

Remove from heat and stir in the remaining parsley, taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with grated Parmesan, freshly ground pepper, and my personal favorite, Tabasco sauce. Garnish with crunchy garlic seasoned croutons.

The Players

1 cup dried Great Northern beans
2 T olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced and diced somewhat chunky
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 small russet potato, medium dice
2 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled, thinly sliced
1 medium bay leaf
1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
15 oz can green beans
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas
4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup small shell macaroni and 1/2 C alphabet pasta
1/2 C finely chopped Italian parsley (about 1/2 bunch)
Grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese, for garnish
Garlic Seasoned Homemade Croutons

January 31, 2010 Posted by | Soup | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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