Braised Chicken and Leeks

Julia Turshen, Small Victories.

This chicken was juicy delicious and the recipe is super versatile (with suggestions for alterations in the book). I would make it again for sure.

But, it did take forever–butchering, seasoning, and browning the chicken probably took a good 45 minutes (brown in 2 batches with 8 minutes for each side = 32 mins of browning), then you have to cook for another 30 minutes. I might try just using skin on breast or thighs next time to skip the butchering part. Though there is something satisfying about using a whole chicken.

It also suuuuper smoked up my apartment, I had to open a bunch of windows. Make sure to close the bedroom door to cut down on your clothes smelling like chicken the next morning:)

Finally, it all comes out a bit brown since the chicken is brown and the leeks go from green to brown during the cooking process. I added in some carrots, but some more color would be nice. Something to think about.

Chicken Pelau

From Small Victories, page 176.

This was awesome! It turns into a thick, flavorful, and delicious rice and chicken dish. I didn’t have sweet paprika so I used smoked, and I also added in some cauliflower that I sauteed with the rest of the veggies (you can add a whole standard size cauliflower, it’s not too much). Yum! And I use butter beans because I couldn’t find black eye peas.

Pressure Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Cheap, easy, and makes a ton! I know this is going to be even better next time, because it was delicious even without the thyme and a mediocre sausage.

Next time, try to find a better sausage (smoked beef sausage from Aldi wasn’t that great) and hope the store hasn’t run out of thyme! Also pump up the heat, it wasn’t nearly spicy enough (even for me). And finally, make sure to add the salt to the beans while you’re soaking them. I forgot and added a ton more later to compensate, but worth trying to do it right next time.

Note that it took around 15 minutes for the pressure cooker to reach pressure, for a total of nearly 30 mins of pressure cooking time.

Pressure Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Lemon Rosemary Chicken Minestrone

So delicious and fast! I used ground turkey and DOUBLED the recipe, and I’m glad I did! It made around 4 meal sized servings. I would add in more pasta next time, maybe double the original portion (i.e. 1 cup dry for a double recipe). I also added nearly an entire bag of chopped baby spinach, which worked out great.

Also, there was no need to add additional oil to the pan after browning the turkey.

UPDATE: USed TJ’s 10 minute farro, I think one package is probably good. I used two and it was a bit much. And don’t forget the lemon at the store!

http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-lemon-rosemary-chicken-minestrone-quick-dinner-recipes-from-the-kitchn-199829

Thai Turkey Salad

A version of larb, which I love. And this is super easy, easy enough for a weeknight for sure.

The only thing I didn’t like was that proportions in the sauce were off for me, way too sweet. Not enough acid, it really needed some vinegar. Next time, use the flavored fish sauce recipe from Serious Eats instead. But reduced sugar to 1/4 cup.

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/thai-turkey-salad
http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/01/charles-phans-flavored-fish-sauce.html

Turkey Bolognese

Wow, this was divine. So easy and so very cheap with ground turkey at less than $2.00 per pound. Would definitely make again!

Update: You can totally make this with 2.5 week old red wine. Just give it the sniff test to make sure it hasn’t turned (you’ll know). I had a dinner party on two weekends after Thanksgiving and used wine leftover from Thanksgiving dinner and it smelled fine. I did have a brief moment of panic when the sauce smelled like alcohol for longer than I thought it should, but it all turned out fine. Also, make sure to add enough vinegar at the end, especially if you end up simmering it for a long time, or hat it up after making it ahead of time. It could have used a little more depth.

http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-spaghetti-with-turkey-bolognese-recipes-from-the-kitchn-219426

Pan Seared, Roasted Pork Chops with Pan Sauce

This method worked out much better for me than the first time I tried cooking pork chops, wherein they turned into tough slabs of a country ham-like substance. This time, the chops were on the edge of being overcooked, but still pretty juicy and delicious. Also, this was pretty fast and required very few dishes.

Notes:

1. I used Trader Joe’s sea salt, about 2 1/2 tablespoons. I think since the grains are smaller than kosher you need to use a little bit less, otherwise it will be too salty. Even with this amount, they were a bit on the salty side. So maybe slightly less next time.

2. Check the chops after 3 minutes, no joke. When I took them out slightly before the 6 minute min cooking time, they were already 15 degrees hotter than the recipe recommended. I think this is because they were boneless and potentially thinner, but just to be safe check much earlier than the recipe instructs.

3. I also made a pan sauce, which turn out pretty good. I used white wine and threw in some chopped dried out rosemary I had lying around. Careful with the cast iron skillet though, maybe use the stainless steel one next time since you have to scrape the pan juices during deglazing.

4. I served this with smitten kitchen’s quick zucchini saute with almonds and they went really well together.

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-perfect-pork-chops-in-the-oven-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-194257

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-an-easy-pan-sauce-in-minutes-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-211220

Broiled Salmon with Compound Butter

First time cooking salmon, first time opening that fiery broiler drawer. It turned out pretty good. I think I might have added too much oil to the cast iron skillet, and I was scared it would spray everywhere in the broiler so I had to pour some of it in the sink.

Also I needed to leave it in the broiler for the full 3 minutes, I took it out and the thermometer said it was warm enough, but the fillets were definitely not cooked enough. I wonder if that was operator error, maybe I didn’t put it in the thickest part? Wanted to err on the side of underdone, so at least I could put them back in if needed, but next time I’ll leave them in for a tad longer.

Anyways, would definitely make again. It was very fast. And making compound butter is fun and seems fancy! I made one with some leftover parsley, lemon zest and a bit of salt and it was delicious!

http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-broiled-salmon-with-baharat-butter-recipes-from-the-kitchn-207586