Chicken & Bowties

Over the past couple of years, about one out of every five times I’ve called my mom, she’s making chicken & bowties for dinner. I finally asked her this weekend for the recipe. We gave it a whirl last night and now I understand why she makes it so frequently. Thanks, Mom!

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
2 T olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 T sun-dried tomato pesto
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 c white or rosé wine
1/2 lb farfalle, cooked

Heat olive oil to medium high in large deep skillet. Add chicken and cook for 3-5 minutes or until just golden. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Add broccoli and cook for 5 minutes more.

Combine salt, pepper, pesto, basil, red pepper flakes and tomatoes in a small bowl. Add mixture to chicken and broccoli and stir until well distributed. Add liquids, bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add cooked pasta and stir well.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

This is great when you’ve been hanging around Germans for a while who claim to like spicy food. You can smile and nod and then go home and eat this and smugly chuckle to yourself with satisfaction.

1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tsp. blackening seasoning
3 Tbs. butter
1 small green pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 small red pepper, sliced into thin strips
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
3-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
4-8 drops pepper sauce (tabasco works, cholula’s better)
1/2 tsp. each basil and lemon pepper
1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
8 oz. pasta of your choice, cooked and drained (we use linguine)

Place chicken, onion and blackening seasoning in bowl and turn to coat. Sauté chicken in butter 5-7 minutes. Add vegetables and cook 2-3 more minutes. Reduce heat, add cream, pepper sauce and seasonings. Heat thoroughly but do not boil. Add pasta and toss.

Moroccan Chicken

We had some incredible soup in Avignon at a Moroccan restaurant in the old town. I’ve been trawling the internet ever since for something similar and this finally appeared to fit the bill. It’s not identical, but the flavors are very much in the same family.

8 oz baby carrots
1 1/2 cups uncooked lentils, rinsed well
1 1/2 lbs frozen chicken tenders
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt to taste (I don’t think this is necessary)
3/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cans chicken broth

Place first three ingredients in crockpot, layering first carrots, then lentils, then chicken. Sprinkle garlic over chicken. Combine dry spices in a bowl, then sprinkle over chicken. Pour broth into crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 1.5 hours, then set on low for 5.5 hours. Serve with couscous.

Sarah’s Much-Tweaked Jambalaya

I found a recipe for Chicken Jambalaya on I thought it was good, but I hated the proportions of the ingredients (1/4 cup celery?! What do I do with the rest of the bunch?) and it was way too bland. Now, it barely resembles the original, but it tastes much better. To us, anyway. This makes a lot, but I think it tastes better the second day, so leftovers are sort of a treat.

1 lb Polish or Andouille Sausage, sliced
3 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cubed
1 small bunch celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/3 cup white rice
3 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 T hot pepper sauce
1 bay leaf

1. Sauté sausage in Dutch oven over medium high heat until it lets out some grease. Cook chicken until browned in sausage pot. Add onion, celery, garlic and green pepper and cook until onion is translucent.

2. Stir in tomatoes, broth and rice. Bring to a boil and add all other ingredients. Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes.

Chicken Soup

I’m not really sure how to define this. It started out with a disappointing chicken and dumplings recipe I found online. Then I thought, ‘I can come up with something better.’ I ended up thickening the soupy brothy part with some cornstarch and throwing in some instant German Semmelknödel (like a big dumpling make of StoveTop stuffing – better than it sounds). The recipe that follows is a basic, improvised chicken soup that probably improves with adaptation.

Chicken Stock
1 whole chicken (2.5-3 lbs.)
4 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled & sliced
1 onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, coarsely sliced
1/2 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. thyme
11/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 bay leaf

2 T. butter
1 onion, chopped
4-6 ribs celery, chopped
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1 tsp. black pepper
4-8 cups chicken stock
4-6 carrots, peeled and sliced
chopped cooked chicken

Chicken Stock Prep

1. Put all ingredients in large deep pot and fill with water until completely covered. Bring to a boil, turn down heat to medium simmer and cook for 40-50 minutes.

2. Carefully remove chicken from stock (it should be falling-apart tender) and set aside in a large bowl, covering with a paper towel. Allow to sit for about 45 minutes-1 hour.

3. After allowing it to cool at least 30 minutes, slowly pour stock through cheesecloth-lined mesh strainer into a large bowl. Don’t keep the vegetables! They’ve given up all their flavor to the stock and turned to mush. Allow stock to cool more before skimming fat from top.

4. Remove meat from the chicken, discarding skin and bones. You can shred it or chop it into pieces – whichever you prefer, texturewise.

Still with me? Good!

Soup Prep

1. Melt butter in deep soup pot over medium high heat. Sauté onions in butter for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

2. Add celery to pan and sauté for another 3 minutes. Add rosemary, parsley, thyme and sage to onion and celery and stir until just distributed.

3. Pour stock into pot. For two of us, I use 4 cups – and that makes a lot. Add seasoned salt, pepper and carrots. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until carrots are tender. Turn heat to low and add chicken meat. Heat through.

Chicken Lo Mein

Welcome to Lo Mein 2.0! The first incarnation of this was a Rachael Ray recipe (as evidenced by the former, cutesy title, ‘No pain lo mein’). I was kind of desperate for something approximating my Chinese take-out order and the recipe I found was okay, but not RIGHT and certainly nothing special. So I kept tweaking to make it less salty (not so much soy!) and more spicy (mmm, chilies.) and I think I finally got it to where I’ve wanted it all along. Move over, Rachael!

3 T sesame oil
2/3 lb boneless chicken breasts, sliced thin (about 1/3 inch)
1 t salt
1 t ground white pepper
1 1/2 t ground ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 t dark soy sauce
1 T Hoisin sauce
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 head of broccoli, florets only
1 can baby corn, drained
1-2 red Thai chilies, chopped (discard seeds for less heat)
1/2 mushrooms, sliced
4-6 oz bean sprouts
1 lb lo mein noodles, cooked and tossed with a little sesame oil

Heat 1 T oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat. Toss chicken with 1/2 t each of salt, white pepper and ginger until just coated, then add to skillet with onion and garlic. Stir fry until chicken is well browned. Remove to chicken mixture to a bowl and stir in 1 t soy and 1/2 T Hoisin. Set aside.

Heat another T of oil to medium high in skillet then add pepper, broccoli, baby corn and chilies. Stir well to coat with oil, then add remaining salt, white pepper and ginger to vegetables. Stirring frequently, cook until broccoli is just tender-crisp. Add remaining oil to heat then add mushrooms and sprouts. Cook all vegetables, stirring often, until sprouts become translucent. Add remaining soy and Hoisin, then stir in chicken mixture and heat for 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat and add noodles. Toss until well coated and serve immedately.

Chicken Piccata

This one got overhauled, too. See, Cliff and I are sort of what I like to call ‘sauce pigs.’ When I make something with a sauce that goes over rice or pasta or something, I tend to like A LOT of sauce. And I’m getting better at sauces, too. So it was time to update this one and we were very pleased with the outcome.

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lightly pounded and cut into strips
4 T flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
3 T olive oil
1 t oregano
1/4 c white wine
1/2 c lemon juice
1 c chicken stock
1/2 t tarragon
1 T cornstarch
1 T water

Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat. Mix flour, salt, pepper and oregano in a shallow bowl, then dredge chicken through flour mixture and brown on both sides. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, scrape up browned bits on bottom of pan and deglaze with white wine, cooking for 2-3 minutes, then add lemon juice, chicken stock, tarragon and capers to pan. Bring sauce to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch and water to a slurry, then add to sauce, stirring frequently until sauce thickens. Return chicken to pan to warm until ready. Serve over angel hair pasta.

Chicken Curry

8 bone-in chicken breast halves, skinless
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs olive oil
2 onions, peeled and quartered
1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger root
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 Tbs hot (Madras) curry powder
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce (443 ml)
1 (10 oz.) can coconut milk (295 ml)
4 whole cloves
4 pods cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
salt to taste

1. Rinse chicken and pat dry; season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, then saute chicken until browned. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
2. Sauté onions in skillet until translucent; add ginger and garlic and sauté until fragrant, then stir in curry powder.
3. Return chicken to skillet and add tomato sauce, cocnut milk, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon stick. Season with salt to taste and stir all together.
4. Reduce heat to low and simmer until chicken is tender and cooked through (no longer pink inside), about 20 to 25 minutes.