FOODIE ALERT!: Artichoke Chicken

Posted by Cory , Sunday, March 28, 2010 8:03 PM

This is another recipe that I took and adapted to my own lazy ways. A few Christmases ago, my mom gave me a cookbook from Pampered Chef called "29 Minutes to Dinner", the premise being that each recipe is ready in under half an hour. As I was flipping through it this afternoon, trying to figure out a few dinners for this week, Roomie was chopping up some artichoke hearts for a dip she was making. At that moment, I happened upon this particular recipe and saw an opportunity to use some of the GIANT jar of artichokes that has been sitting in our fridge forever.

Artichoke Chicken
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (recipe calls for them to be pounded; I just cut them in half)
1 tsp dried rosemary

*Artichoke Topping
1/2 c. chopped artichoke hearts
2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley (used dried because I haven't planted my herbs yet)
2 tbsp. parmesan cheese
2 tsp. mayonnaise

Heat some olive oil in an oven-safe skillet. Mix the rosemary, salt and pepper together and sprinkle on each side of the chicken. Place the chicken in the skillet and cook 3-4 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Preheat the broiler and place the racks as close to the heating element as possible.

Mix together the artichoke hearts, parsley, parmesan cheese and mayonnaise. When chicken is done cooking, spread the mixture evenly over the top of both breasts, top with an additional sprinkle of parmesan cheese, and broil for 4-6 minutes.

*We ate ours with a green salad and baked potatoes (red potato for Handsy, a sweet potato for me). I generally stay away from things with mayonnaise in them, but it added just the right amount of creaminess and tang to this chicken.

While you run around like JFK

Posted by Cory , Tuesday, March 23, 2010 7:03 PM

Bullet-point format, because I'm lazy like that.

*The programming execs over at TLC need to have a more productive brainstorming meeting. The roomie and I just saw a commercial for a new show called "The Little Chocolatiers". As you might guess, the premise of the unscripted show follows the work of a family of chocolate-makers, who are also little people. In case you're not counting, that brings the total number of series (not just hourlong specials) about little people to three. How many do you need, TLC?! This from the same network that has at least three series about families with multiples and/or a jillion kids. It blows my mind.

*Speaking of TLC, two OTHER new shows they've trotted out are "Hoarding: Buried Alive" and "Addicted". Sounds an awful lot like a rip-off of A&E's programming lineup if you ask me (not that you did, but it's my blog, so there).

*Have you heard of Chatroulette? Via the almighty Wikipedia, it's "a website that pairs random strangers for webcam-based conversations. Visitors to the website randomly begin an online chat (video, audio and text) with another visitor. At any point, either user may leave the current chat by initiating another random connection." I've never bothered to try it, because to be honest the concept and the stories I've heard about some of the people and things you come across skeeve me out. However, I read an article the other day about the brilliant Ben Folds' use of the service. Now, my love for Ben Folds runs deep. I listen to my B.F. Pandora station most mornings as I get ready for work. He was a judge on "The Sing-Off". He wears nerdy glasses and plays the piano. Basically, I love this guy. ANYWAY, there's a guy who goes by Merton (who happens to look an awful lot like Ben Folds) who hangs out on Chatroulette and improvs songs about the people he gets connected with. Search for him on YouTube if you're curious. ANYWAY AGAIN, Ben Folds responded to Merton's idea with this little gem. Warning, this does contain some foul language, but on the whole, it's awesome.

Katie, you're a brave girl

Posted by Cory , Tuesday, March 16, 2010 6:44 PM

It's no secret that I love food. It's been a problem in the past (hence, I'm "dieting" [OH, how I HATE that word]), but I'm slowly realizing that the areas I struggle with the most are portion sizes and what I like to refer to as "proximity snacking" (in a nutshell, if I'm hanging out downstairs in the living room, I'm far more likely to wander into the kitchen and start eating than if I'm up in my room, say, reading or what have you). I love food blogs. I buy cookbooks like they're the daily newspaper. It IS possible to be healthy - and lose weight, even - without subsisting on twigs and berries or worse, no food at all. That's why I have a problem with this:

"Cellulite attention leads to celluloid perfection. But not without exacting a hefty dietary price. 'Mamma Mia' star Amanda Seyfried sticks diligently to a raw food diet that she hates.

"'It's intense. And sort of awful,' Seyfried cringes in the new Esquire. 'Yesterday for lunch? Spinach. Just Spinach. Spinach and some seeds.'

"But there is a method to her madness -- meeting the beauty imperatives of Hollywood. "If I didn't run and work out, there's no way I would be this thin," Seyfried told Glamour magazine. "But I have to stay in shape because I'm an actress. It's f****d up and it's twisted, but I wouldn't get the roles otherwise. If I'd been a bit bigger, I don't think they would have cast me for 'Mamma Mia!'"

Of course I understand that size is important in Hollywood (it's somewhat important to me, too; see also: "dieting"), but really? REALLY? Spinach and seeds. I wish I had something more eloquent to say than 'barf', but really? BARF.

FOODIE ALERT!: Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Posted by Cory , Tuesday, March 9, 2010 7:00 PM

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
by Ellie Krieger

*Note before I begin: as the recipe is written, you make your own simple barbecue sauce. Being both lazy and not wanting to buy liquid smoke, of all things, we just bought a plain bottled barbecue sauce at the store and added some sauteed onions and garlic. Much, much easier, and it gave me an excuse to use my garlic chopper, a la Brian Boitano. And that's just fun right there.

1 tbsp. canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-oz. can low-sodium tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup cider vinegar
5 tbsp. unsulfured molasses
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 whole rotisserie chicken (I just poached some chicken breasts [not nearly as foolproof as some made it sound; I'M LOOKING AT YOU, INTERNET] and shredded them)
6 whole-wheat hamburger buns
6 large green lettuce leaves (we had a lot of spinach left over, so we used that instead)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add the tomato sauce, water, vinegar, molasses, tomato paste, liquid smoke and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, take the meat off the chicken, discarding the skin and bones, and shred the meat into thin strips. Add the chicken to the sauce in the pan, return to a simmer, and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Split the buns. Place a leaf of lettuce on each, then pile 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture onto the buns.

*Note, part deux: I had a salad on the side of mine, Rose opted for chips. There was some talk of making parmesan steak fries, but the effort didn't seem worth it. No pictures, because I didn't want Rose to make fun of me, and I also didn't think of it until it was too late.

FOODIE ALERT!: Open-Face Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches

Posted by Cory , Sunday, March 7, 2010 4:17 PM

Cookbooks are like crack to me. It's like food porn; I can't help but be drawn to them, even if I don't ever plan on making half of the recipes in them. So, when a client's parents gave me a Barnes & Noble gift card a few weeks ago, I pretty much knew without a doubt what I would be spending it on. I had some errands to run in Spokompton this weekend, so I made a point to stop at the B&N in the Valley on my way home to see what might strike my fancy. I've been on a healthy eating kick lately, so I was already in the mindset to look for something in that vein, and I came away with Ellie Krieger's So Easy. She's a nutritionist, so hey, who better to write healthy recipes that actually taste good? This book has sections for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts, with each meal divided into two sections: quick and easy, and more in-depth recipes. I spent about 40 minutes Sunday afternoon flagging recipes that I want to try.

First up (and second up, because we tried two new recipes this week): Open-Faced Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches and Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches!

Open-Face Chicken Parmesan Sandwich
1 loaf whole-grain Italian bread (about 8 oz.)
2 cups jarred marinara sauce
4 5-oz. cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 cups baby spinach leaves
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the broiler. Slice bread in half lengthwise, then in half again crosswise so you wind up with 4 pieces. Scoop out the bread to remove the soft inner portion and discard. Place the bread scooped side up on a baking tray. Spoon 1/4 cup of sauce into each piece of bread. Lay a piece of chicken on top and cover with 1 cup of spinach leaves. Pour another 1/4 cup of sauce on top of the spinach, then sprinkle each sandwich with 1/4 cup of mozzarella and 1 tbsp. of parmesan. Broil until the spinach is wilted and the cheese is bubbly and browned, 4 to 5 minutes.

*Notes: Actually, we did this one pretty much as the recipe was written, and HOLY MAN was it tasty. It was a pretty simple but filling dinner for two people (even though it's technically in the lunch portion of the book; TAKE THAT, SOCIETY), with a little salad on the side.