Tag Archives: chicken

How to reuse olive brine, oil from sundried tomatoes and more (and transform it into fabulous fare)

The next time you eat the last olive out of the jar and go to wash the brine down the sink, stop! You are about to pour flavor down the drain.

My kitchen motto is “think before I toss.” I can’t stand wasting food so I am constantly looking for ways to reuse ingredients and save items people normally throw away- like brine or the oil in sundried tomatoes. Those ingredients are incredibly flavorful.

Olive brine is great in marinades (just use it instead of vinegar in your recipe); mix a tablespoon into mayonnaise when making potato salad; mix brine, olive oil and Italian seasoning and use it to marinate vegetables; add a dash to a dirty martini or Bloody Mary; or make my Fat Free Olive Brine Smashed Rosemary Potatoes.

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I don’t eat potatoes very often because once you add all the flavorings like butter or cream, they are so fattening. This is a fat free recipe that uses olive brine, rosemary and chives to flavor the potatoes. I came up with it this week and considering it is fat free, I think it’s great.

As for the oil in a jar of sundried tomatoes- that’s my favorite leftover ingredient. You can mix it with balsamic vinegar for an instant salad dressing; use it to dress orzo or other pasta; use it as the oil when you make goat cheese omelets;  use it instead of olive oil when you make croutons or crostini; or make my Warm Bruschetta. This is my favorite recipe and it’s ready in less than 5 minutes. I simply slice grape or cherry tomatoes, warm some of the oil in a pan, toss the tomatoes in with basil and cook for 1 minute. Salt to taste and serve.

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You can also save the oil from artichokes and use that in marinades or salad dressings.

Pickle brine is another item you can reuse. It’s good in marinades, but I often refill the jar with other items like cucumbers or carrots and reuse the brine. I have a recipe below for Spicy Dill Carrots which is simply carrots, onions and jalapenos in dill pickle brine.

Brine from hot peppers is good in marinades, barbecue sauces, or add a touch to deviled eggs (but use sparingly).

Beer is another item I can’t stand to waste. A couple of days ago, I tried a new beer and I hated it. There was no way I could drink it, so I put it in the fridge to use in the future. The next day I made Leftover Beer BBQ Chicken.  You can also make beer bread, beer cheese dip, or use leftover beer to boil brats (add onions to the beer and finish the brats on the grill).

There are so many items we throw away every day that we can reuse. I hope this inspires you to think before you toss. Enjoy.

Fat Free Olive Brine Smashed Rosemary Potatoes

1 pound microwave in a bag red potatoes

¼ cup olive brine

¼ cup chopped chives

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook potatoes according to package directions. While the potatoes cook, chop the chives and rosemary.

When the potatoes are ready, empty the bag into a serving bowl and smash them down.

Pour the brine over potatoes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Then top with chives and rosemary. Toss and serve.

You can also substitute basil in this recipe if you don’t like rosemary.

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Warm Bruschetta

2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, assorted colors

1 ½ tablespoons oil left from the sundried tomato jar

10 basil leaves

Salt to taste

Slice cherry or grape tomatoes in half. Set aside.

In a nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle with basil and salt to taste. Serve immediately.

This dish is delicious over couscous or with French bread, but I also like it alone as a side dish.

 

Leftover Beer BBQ Chicken

6 chicken thighs, legs, or breasts

1 tablespoon barbecue rub

1 ½ teaspoons Cajun seasoning

1 teaspoon jerk seasoning

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Half an onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 almost full bottle of beer

1 bottle of KC style barbecue sauce

White rice for serving

Lay chicken in a 13 by 11 inch pan. Sprinkle with all the seasoning. Slice the onion and garlic and sprinkle both over the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375. Pour beer in the side of the pan being careful not to wash off the seasonings. Pour half the bottle of barbecue sauce over the chicken and then stir about a fourth of the bottle into the beer. You will use about ¾ a bottle.

Bake for 1 hour (check it after 50 minutes because cooking times vary depending on the size of the piece of meat and what you cook. Breasts cook faster than thighs).

Serve over rice and spoon the sauce over rice before serving.

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Spicy Dill Carrots

2 cups leftover juice from dill pickles

1 ¼ cups carrot slices (I buy the precut carrot chips)

2 jalapenos (or to taste), sliced in half

Half a red onion, thinly sliced.

When the jar of dill pickles is gone, simply fill it with carrots, jalapeno and onion. Refrigerate for 2 days before eating. Consume within 10 days.

If you add the jalapeno seeds, it will be significantly spicier.

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Rotisserie Chicken and Bacon Pizza with Sundried Tomatoes and Feta

Friday nights call for pizza.

After a long week, a quick, satisfying pizza with a glass of wine is the perfect end to the week. And this pizza is fantastic. I use Naan, which is my favorite pizza dough, and then top it with tomato sauce, chicken, sundried tomatoes, cheese, bacon, and feta.

After it bakes, I sprinkle basil on top.

It’s quick, convenient and delicious. What more could you ask for as you end the work week? I hope you enjoy it.

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Chicken, Bacon Pizza with Sundried Tomatoes

Serves 4 as appetizer; 2 as main course

The sundried tomatoes and fresh basil really lift the flavor of this pizza; and of course, the bacon adds a lot, too. This pizza is easy, great for a quick dinner or a party.

1 ready-made Naan crust or pizza dough (Stonefire is my favorite brand)

Pizza sauce, desired amount

1 cup chopped, skinless rotisserie chicken

1/3 cup real bacon pieces (store bought is what I used)

1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes

1 1/3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (or desired amount)

1/4 cup feta cheese

Fresh basil to garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread pizza sauce over dough. Top with chicken, bacon, sundried tomatoes and cheeses.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Remove and garnish with slices of fresh basil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Green Tomato Relish

I love relishes but so many take a long time to cook and/or are canned at the end.

My Green Tomato Relish takes less than 20 minutes and is great on pork, chicken, turkey or even brats (instead of sweet relish). It’s a sweet relish accented with coriander seed and is stored in the refrigerator for a week. If you like chutneys and relishes, give it a try.

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Green Tomato Relish

2/3 cup chopped red onion

2 cup green tomatoes that have been put through the food processor but are still in chunks

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon coriander seed

3 tablespoons water

1/8 teaspoon celery seed

½ a small garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy bottom medium saucepan, heat red onion, tomatoes, sugar, coriander seed, water, celery seed and garlic and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10-15 minutes until most of the liquid has been evaporated. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow to cool before serving.

Serve over pork chop, turkey, chicken or brats or other sausages.

Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for a week.

Mango, Pineapple Salsa (serve it as an appetizer first and leftovers on pork, chicken or fish)

I love salsa. Fruit salsa. Smokey salsa. Charred salsa. Jarred salsa. Green salsa. You name it, I love it.

But I particularly love this Mango, Pineapple Salsa. One of my best friends makes a similar salsa and this is my version. My salsa won “Best Overall Salsa” at a friendly competition and it was up against an array of excellent salsas.

Aside from being delicious served on its own, this salsa is great on grilled fish or pork. I recently marinated pork chops for 24 hours in Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce (online) http://www.soyvay.com/flavors/veri-veri-teriyaki) and then pan fried the pork and topped it with the leftover salsa. It was fantastic!

 Pork with Mango, Pineapple Salsa

If you don’t have that sauce, use soy sauce, ginger, 1 teaspoon canola oil, 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar  and 1/2 a garlic clove for 3-4 pork chops. That makes a nice marinade. A pork loin marinated in Asian sauce, grilled and then served with this salsa would be spectacular.

This would also be great on chicken or fish tacos.

The key to this salsa is ripe, sweet fruit. Mangoes are hardly ever ripe when you buy them, so I buy them 3-4 days before I need to make this salsa. I also buy extras in case some are not sweet. Whenever I have to use avocados or mangoes I buy extra because you’ll often get a disappointing one in the batch. I bought 5 mangoes to be safe. There were all sweet, so I ate the others for breakfast.

Let this marinate for 2 hours or more before serving. You can adapt this recipe and add 2/3 cup drained black beans to this and it’s delicious, too. In that case, I also add 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

If you can’t find ripe mangoes, you can use the jarred refrigerated type, but fresh is always best!

I like to serve it in a margarita or martini glass for nice presentation. It’s such a refreshing salsa for summer. I adore it!

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Mango, Pineapple Salsa

2 1/2 very ripe mangoes, chopped fine

2 ½ cups finely chopped fresh pineapple

¾ of a medium red onion, chopped

2/3 of a bunch of cilantro, chopped

1 large jalapeno, seeded and chopped fine

1 teaspoon cumin seed

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Sea salt to taste

.Directions:

Chop all the ingredients and place in a medium bowl. Add salt to taste. Toss and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Chicken Fattoush Flatbread

I love, love, love Fattoush, a Middle Eastern salad that explodes with flavor. I was first introduced to it at a Lebanese restaurant in Ghana. I lived in Ghana, in West Africa, for years and it has some incredible restaurants.

Fattoush is served with warm pita, usually crispy from the oven. If you have leftover pita from a party or pita that’s about to go stale, you should make Fattoush.   Fresh herbs, like parsley, mint, basil, are key to this salad. I pack a lot of parsley in mine and often use cilantro, too.  The vinaigrette is simple, lots of lemon and olive oil. If you love lemon, add the lemon zest, too.  I hit mine with a general dose of black pepper and garlic salt and load on the green onions.

My mouth is watering.

The concept of the warm pita was my inspiration for this flatbread. To transform the salad into a main course, I added rotisserie chicken and then piled it all atop of whole wheat flatbread. I made my own flatbread, but you could use Naan or pizza dough or pitas instead.

If you’re looking for a HEALTHY, delicious dinner, you’ve found it. It’s so light and flavorful. It’s the perfect summer dish.

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Chicken Fattoush Flatbread.

serves 2

1 cooked, crispy flatbread crust (I made my own whole wheat but it’s faster to buy one; my recipe follows)

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced Romaine lettuce

3 green onions, sliced

½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or mint

1 cup chopped cucumber (peeled or unpeeled, it’s up to you)

1 cup chopped rotisserie chicken

2/3 cup sliced grape tomatoes

Generous dose of garlic salt

Generous dose of black pepper to taste

Dressing

2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

Salt

For the dressing, whisk ingredients together. Salt to taste and set aside.

Bake flatbread according to directions. You want the salad to rest for 5-10 minutes before you add it to the flatbread  but you also want the flatbread to be warm, so read the instructions before you make the salad so you time it right.

For the salad:

Thinly slice the lettuce and green onions and place in a large bowl.

Chop the parsley, cilantro or mint, cucumber, chicken, slice tomatoes and add to bowl. Pour salad dressing over salad and add a lot of black pepper and garlic salt. Taste as you go so you don’t oversalt. Allow it to rest 5-10 minutes.

When pita is ready, top it with the salad and serve.

You can use a pizza, pita or flabtread crust or make your own. For this portions, you will need 3-4 whole wheat pitas or

Whole Wheat Flatbread Crust

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons active yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup lukewarm water

Stir ingredients together in a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil over the dough, cover the bowl with a clean towel and place on the oven to rise for 6 hours. Turn the oven on to 200 degrees or more to help it rise.

When it’s time to cook, preheat oven to 450 and place baking sheet in the oven to heat.

Split the dough in half. Coat your hands with flour and work the dough into a ball (you may need more flour). Sprinkle corn meal and flour on a flat surface. Start working the dough in your hands, pinching it to spread it out. Then place on the floured surface and spread with your fingers until you have a piece of flatbread.

When oven is ready, remove the baking sheet, sprinkle it with cornmeal to keep the dough from sticking, and bake 10-13 minutes, until crisp.

Top with fattoush and serve immediately.

Try this Fabulous Chicken, Bacon, Gorgonzola Flatbread

Divine. Heavenly. That’s how I’d describe my Chicken, Bacon, Gorgonzola Flatbread, which is bubbly, creamy, bacon goodness.

Every day this week, I am showcasing a new flatbread creation and this is my favorite so far. Now, I am not done creating yet, but I’m in the home stretch.

This wonderful flatbread is topped with bits of tart apple that provide a nice contrast in terms of texture and flavor.

This pairs beautifully with red wine. The funny thing is I don’t usually like blue cheese, but Gorgonzola is much lighter than many other varieties and this doesn’t even taste like blue cheese. So if you think you don’t like blue cheese, it’s still worth trying this.

I can’t wait to eat it again.

Chicken, Bacon, Gorgonzola Flatbread

Makes 2 flatbreads

1 (8.8 ounce) package (which contains 2 flatbreads) of Stonefire Tandoori Baked Original Naan

5 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup real bacon pieces or chopped bacon, plus 1 teaspoon (do not use bacon bits)

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

½ cup Gorgonzola crumbles

1 ¼ cups chopped rotisserie chicken

2/3 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

1 Granny Smith apple

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Stir together cream cheese, bacon, heavy whipping cream, garlic powder and Gorgonzola. Set aside.

Remove the breasts from the rotisserie chicken and chop those. Finely mince the Granny Smith apple and set aside.

When oven is preheated, spread half the cream cheese mixture on each flatbread. Sprinkle half the chicken on each flatbread and top with Mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 9 minutes. Then sprinkle with the apple and serve.

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Make your own barbecue sauce this week

It’s July 4th week, which means the grills are going to be sizzling all over this country.

It’s a perfect time for me to take a break from my rotisserie chicken and showcase other fare.

I wrote this story for The Joplin Globe http://www.joplinglobe.com. And today, I am showing off some of my homemade barbecue sauce recipes. I make a mean sauce and have plenty of ideas for you.

Some are homemade, some are doctored up, but all are delicious. My Blueberry Port sauce is sooooooooo easy and delectable!DSC_0733 (2)

There are many styles of barbecue sauce in this nation. This is a very abbreviated version of some of the highlights:

There’s the sweet, dark, tomato and molasses variety from Kansas City, accented with a dose of liquid smoke. This is one of the nation’s most popular varieties and one of my favorites. And from that style, comes a variety of commercial spin-offs, like honey, honey-bourbon, etc.

I love the thickness of this variety because it sticks to the meat.

Then, there’s the mustard and vinegar sauce from South Carolina which I love, too. This style was inspired by German immigrants in South Carolina and is nothing like the K.C. variety. This sauce is very thin so it’s better to dip your meat in it (if you pour it over a sandwich, the bread will get soggy).

I make an easy 10 minute version with plain yellow mustard (traditional), a little coarse mustard (not so traditional), vinegar, sugar and lager. It’s best served on pork or chicken. The beer really compliments the mustard.

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North Carolina also serves up a vinegar sauce but has a good kick of hot pepper. I prefer its neighboring state’s tradition.

Then, there’s Texas, which has different varieties by region. There’s not a classic barbecue sauce per say, but the sauces in the Lone Star state tend to have heat, like jalapenos, and spices like cumin and chili powder. I’ve also found the varieties in Texas to be less sweet and thinner than the Kansas City style.

And Memphis has a style similar to Kansas City, with a lot of tomato and brown sugar or molasses in the recipe. Kansas City is actually a mutation from the Memphis version. Dry rubs are popular in Memphis.

While you can buy so many commercial varieties these days to reflect these traditions, it’s fun and easy to make your own (or doctor up your own).

When I make barbecue for a party, I like to put out a homemade barbecue sauce bar and offer five varieties or so. It’s perfect because people get to sample a variety of sauces and the smorgasbord of sauce satisfies a variety of taste buds.

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Here’s a tip: I usually put out pretzel sticks next to the sauce so people can dip a stick to taste the sauce and decide which one they want to use. You also use less meat this way and less chance of contaminating the sauce.

Another great thing about barbecue sauce is if the meat is a little dry, sauce can cover up that mistake. Even moist barbecue tends to dry out by the second day, so barbecue sauce can make leftovers more palatable.

I have a variety of recipes for you, including some doctored up varieties. And here’s a few extra ideas to doctor up some more sauces, but I recommend using inexpensive sauce when trying these:

  • Mix together 1 cup barbecue sauce with ½ cup hot picante sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • A shot of brandy or bourbon can add depth to a sauce.
  • Add ½ cup of beer to 1 ½ cups of sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Try adding in orange zest for a burst of flavor.
  • Chopped jalapenos will add great spice to a sweet sauce and make it sweet and spicy.
  • Try adding apple butter or a blackberry jam to sauce to kick up the sweetness and add depth.

Other than that, invite friends over and enjoy the barbecue.

Mustard and Lager Sauce

Makes a large batch

1 tablespoon coarse mustard

¼ cup yellow mustard

½ cup apple cider vinegar

2/3 cup Lager

2 tablespoons water

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and simmer for 5 minutes (use an overly large pot to keep it from boiling over). Whisk ingredients together halfway through the cooking. Cool before serving.

This sauce is best with chicken, pork, and a variety of grilled sausages. A thick slice of sharp cheddar cheese is also nice dipped in this sauce.

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Blueberry Port Sauce

Makes a small batch

½ cup Kansas City style barbecue sauce

2/3 cup fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons Port

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Place all ingredients in a medium pan and bring to a simmer. Use a potato masher to mash blueberries. Turn off heat and allow to cool. You can puree this sauce once it has cooled to make it smooth or serve as is.

Note: This sauce is so good, you can serve it as a dip either plain or on top of a block of cream cheese. Serve with tortilla chips.

This sauce is best on chicken, pork, or salmon (as a finishing glaze).

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No Cook Peach Barbecue Sauce

Makes a small batch

½ cup Kansas City style barbecue sauce

2/3 cup canned peaches in heavy syrup (with about 1 tablespoon of the peach liquid in the cup)

Place peaches in the blender and blend until smooth.

Stir the puree into the barbecue sauce and serve.

This sauce is best with pork or chicken.

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Sweet BBQ Sauce (Similar to Kansas City)

Makes a medium batch (double the recipe for a party)

1 tablespoon canola oil

1/3 cup chopped red onion

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¾ cup ketchup

½ cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons molasses

1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar

½ teaspoon liquid smoke

In a medium, nonstick pot, heat canola oil over medium heat. When hot, add onions and ground cumin and cook for 5 minutes. Then add remaining ingredients, reduce heat to a simmer and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so mixture does not stick. Turn off heat and cool before serving.

I personally like to serve this with the bits of onion, but you can put it through the blender if you want a smooth sauce.

This sauce is great with beef, game meats, or chicken.