Elote Inspired Tostadas

Aunt Suzy says

I saw this article and recipe in last week’s Taste section of our local newspaper and that was all the inspiration I needed. The headline was “One more taste of summer” and I said yes, please. Tomatoes and corn are still plentiful here in Minnesota and I have not yet had my fill of either. If you know us here at S&SK you will already expect that I made a few adaptations to the recipe, but I think following the original, using my recipe or making up your own riff would all end in a great tasting tostada. We both loved these, and as Randy said “this has great mouth appeal”. Indeed!

Elote-inspired Tostadas with Corn, Chicken and Avocado

This note is from the original article: Elote, or roasted corn on the cob, is a popular street food in Mexico, and is often served with condiments such as Cotija cheese, lime juice, mayonnaise and ground chile peppers.

This recipe makes approximately 8 tostadas.

This tostada consists of layers (starting from the bottom) of avocado, corn, chicken, cilantro, diced tomatoes, diced onion and optional cheese. Prepare the layers as follows:

For the chicken: Shred approximately 2 cups of cooked chicken. This could easily be from leftover roast or rotisserie chicken or cook up a couple of chicken breasts. We baked 2 bone-in/skin-on breasts sprinkled with some ground cumin and ground chile. (I had ground red Hatch chile on hand.)

Once the chicken is shredded, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet on medium high. Add 2 minced cloves of garlic. Saute for a minute stirring constantly. Add the chicken, saute for another minute or two, then add 1-2 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chiles. Cook for another couple of minutes until heated through all chicken is coated with the sauce. Stir in a squeeze of lime and some salt, to taste. Set aside. The chicken can be served warm or room temperature.

For the corn: You’ll want about 2 cups of corn. I got that amount from 4 large ears of sweet corn. Shuck the corn and then slice the kernels off the cobs. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Once hot, add the corn kernels and 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (or to taste). Saute, stirring often until some of the kernels start to brown. Remove from heat, turn into a bowl and set aside to cool. Once cool, add 1-2 teaspoons mayonnaise, a squeeze of lime and some salt, all to taste.

For the avocado: Mash 2 ripe avocados to the consistency of a chunky paste. Add a squeeze of lime and some salt, to taste.

For the tostadas:

Chop 1/2 yellow or white onion.  Seed and chop one ripe red tomato. Chop 1/2-1 cup cilantro leaves. These can be kept in separate bowls or combined for a quick pico de gallo.

Crumble some feta cheese or have on hand grated Cotijo cheese, optional.

Have on hand the required number of tostadas. You can make them yourself from tortillas – instructions included in the original recipe. But if you live near a Hispanic grocery, I say go ahead and buy a package! We got two meals of 8 tostadas each from our package with enough leftover to give to friends Sue and Al for a meal! NOTE: If you’re making these for kids, I think hard taco shells might be easier for them to eat. Just a thought. 🙂

Assembling the tostadas:

Spread some avocado on the tostada. Add a layer of the corn, then some chicken. Top with the onion, tomato, cilantro and cheese if using. If you love lime, squeeze a little on top. Dig in!!

Vegetarian option:

The next night we made vegetarian tostadas, starting with a layer of refried beans, then adding the corn on top. Instead of mashing the avocado, we chopped it and added it on top with the onion, tomato, cilantro and cheese. Rave reviews for this approach too!

Italian Chicken Casserole

February 28, 2015

Italian Chicken Casserole

Margaux says…

Back in the relaxing days of only having one small child, I used to watch a lot of daytime TV. My son would only nap for long stretches when he was laying on me…if I tried to lay him down in his own bed, on our bed, or on the couch, he would wake up within 10 minutes. And then would be crabby for the rest of the day. Luckily he was my first born, and got lots of snuggles on the couch, every day, for the first 2.5 years of his life. It got frustrating: dirty dishes would sit in the sink, phone calls would go unanswered, laundry would sit in the dryer, dinner would go un-prepped. I had no smartphone, so no emails, Facebook, or Words with Friends. So, I watched A LOT of television. And after I had marathoned Doctor Who, Firefly and Veronica Mars on Netflix (thank goodness we had Netflix), I turned to daytime TV. And a whole bunch of Food Network. And I’m actually glad for it, because I learned a bunch of really great cooking tips from Ina, and quick meal ideas from Rachel and Giada. This was one of them, and I make it on a pretty regular basis. I remember it was on an episode when Giada was cooking with a child, so it’s meant to be a good recipe for a kid to help with. Which is true, my son has helped me make it many times. It can be prepared in about 30 minutes. A great weeknight meal!

Italian Chicken Casserole

 

Italian Chicken Casserole

This makes enough for 4 people, in an 8×8″ glass baking dish. I like to double the recipe and bake in a 13×9″ dish so we have plenty of leftovers.

1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more.Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Note: This can also be made with already cooked chicken. Just saute the onion and garlic on their own, and add the chicken to the bowl with everything and toss.

Greek-Style Chicken Kebabs

August 28, 2014

Greek Chicken Kebabs - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

 

Margaux says…

We recently got a new gas grill, which replaced an ancient double hand-me-down (it was handed down to us from someone who had it handed down to them).  Our new one is also a hand-me-down, but much much newer, with no rust and *GASP!* it actually evenly cooks the food.  The other bonus to the new one is I can use it!  The old one had all these quirks, and it wasn’t easy to get started.  I could do it, but not very easily, and definitely not on a weeknight with two crazy kids hanging on me.  This new one is easier to use than the stove!  So I’ve been grilling every other night…no pan to clean up, and the kitchen stays nice and cool.  This is one of my favorite grilling recipes, an adaptation from the recipe magazine I use all summer long.  It’s not as quick as some of them, and doesn’t take 30 minutes like the magazine says, but it’s still quick enough that I can do it on a weeknight.  Plus, I kind of make it more complicated by doing veggie skewers for my vegetarian son along with it.  The recipe calls for serving it along with grilled pita, but I usually also serve with grilled veggie skewers and a green salad.

Greek-Style Chicken Kebabs with Grilled Flatbread

adapted from America’s Test Kitchen 30-Minute Suppers, Fall 2010 edition

1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and finely diced

1 1/2 cups plain Greek-style yogurt

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 tbsp juice from 1 lemon

1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2″ chunks (about 1 1/2 lbs)

2 red onions, cut into 1″ chunks

4 pita bread rounds

1. Whisk yogurt, 2 tbsp oil, garlic, lemon juice, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in bowl.  Toss oregano, cayenne, and chicken with half of yogurt mixture.

2. Thread four 12-inch skewers with chicken and onions.  Grill over hot fire, turning skewers every 2 minutes, until onions and chicken are cooked through, about 12 minutes.  Transfer skewers to platter, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes.  Brush both sides of pita rounds with remaining oil and grill until lightly charred and warm, about 1 minute.  Transfer to platter with chicken.

3. Toss cucumbers with remaining yogurt mixture.  Season with salt and pepper and serve with chicken and pita.

Chicken Tikka Masala

February 27, 2014

Chicken Tikka Masala - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

Cook’s Illustrated does it again, as usual.  Well, did it in 2007 in the Sept/Oct issue, at least.  I love Indian food, and chicken tikka masala is my favorite.  But when you have two small children, going out for Indian food isn’t an option because fiery hot food isn’t gonna fly.  And my husband and I just don’t get out to dinner alone much anymore.  So the fabulous Indian restaurants that are available to us up on Devon Ave. are just gonna have to wait a few more years.  Luckily we got to frequent them enough in our pre-kid years to hold us over.  Plus, we have this weeknight version of chicken tikka masala to hold us over, too…it is really really good.

You really can make this on a weeknight.  I did, with one kid “helping” and the other snacking happily in her high chair, our usual dinner making time routine.  The sauce can even be made ahead of time, to make it even easier…but really, I say why bother because it’s easy enough to just make it that night.  The sauce is super flavorful, the chicken super tender, and served over basmati rice you have a fantastic meal!

Chicken Tikka Masala

adapted by Cook’s Illustrated

Chicken Tikka

1/2 tsp Ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp table salt
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (it really tastes best with this, but you can use lowfat if you must!)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves, pressed through garlic press
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

Masala Sauce

3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed and minced (unless you want more heat…then leave them in and mince)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp garam masala
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. For the chicken: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic and ginger, set aside.
2. For the sauce: Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt, bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
3. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10-18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.
4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.

Chicken Chili

October 13, 2013

Chicken Chili - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

We have been BUSY around here.  With Desi starting school and Stella being at that age where she doesn’t sleep all the time anymore and is into EVERYTHING, I haven’t had time to do much of anything other than cook dinner and do dishes.  The rest of the (extremely dirty) house and my side projects have definitely suffered.  But fall is here, and I’m cooking new and fun things again, so I’m doing my best to make time to post about them.
Charred Veggies - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

My husband raved about this chili, and actually got really protective over the leftovers. I knew this meant that he really REALLY liked it, because usually I’m the only one in this house that eats any leftovers.  The charred veggies gives the chili a little bit of a smoky flavor…it’s very different than any chili I’ve ever made.  So I’m definitely making it again, even though that means I’ll have to make Desi his own little pot of chili because this one has meat in it AND is pretty spicy. But that’s ok…more leftovers for us.

Chicken Chili

adapted from Martha Stewart Living

10 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1 jalapeno (or I used a Fresno because the jalapenos didn’t look that good)

1 yellow onion, peeled and halved

4 garlic cloves, peeled

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 3/4-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2″ cubes

1/4 cup chili powder

salt

2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

2-14 oz. cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Preheat broiler, with rack 3 inches from heat source.  Arrange tomatoes, jalapeno and onion, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet.  Broil until starting to char, about 5 minutes.  Pulse tomatoes and jalapeno in food processor until chunky.  Chop onion and mince garlic.

Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add oil.  Working in batches, brown chicken in a single layer, allowing to sear before stirring, 5-6 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium.  Add onion to skillet.  Cook until soft and golden, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chili powder and 1 1/2 tsp salt.  Cook, stirring for one minute.  Stir in chipotles, and drain fat off chicken and add chicken to the pot.  Raise heat to high.  Add tomato-jalapeno mixture.  Cook, scraping up browned bits, until fully incorporated, 3-5 minutes.  Stir in stock; simmer for 20 minutes.  Add beans, simmer for 10 minutes.  We served topped with sour cream and tortilla chips on the side…it would also be great with shredded cheese and chopped avocados, and with corn bread on the side.

Cobb Salad

June 17, 2012

Margaux says…

In the summer we eat a giant salad for dinner almost every night.  It’s just too hot to cook, and honestly, too hot to eat anything but salad (in my opinion!).  This salad shows up on our table at least once a month every summer.  It started out being a favorite in our house because it was great for our new little eater, who couldn’t chew lettuce yet.  There’s an abundance of toppings that we could pick off for him, and so it was a complete meal for him as well as us.  Two years later, and it’s still a summer favorite!

I made it for our Father’s Day dinner tonight, served with a crusty bread for soaking up extra dressing, and a summery cake for dessert.  When I called my dad , we discussed our dinner plans (Dad and I are the cooks of the family), and he thought the salad sounded great and asked that I post it.  I’m actually shocked that I haven’t yet, as much as I make it, so I guess it’s about time!  So here you go, Dad…  xoxoxo!

Classic Cobb Salad
from Smitten Kitchen

Serves 4 to 6

Dressing (you only really need about half of this…I save it and use it on other salads for a few days after)
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Salad
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cored and shredded
1/2 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 bunch watercress, some of the stems trimmed, chopped
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (we used a Stilton)
6 strips cooked bacon, roughly chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium tomatoes, chopped, or 1 pt. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chives, minced

Make the dressing: Combine the canola oil, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire, sugar, and garlic in a blender. Purée the ingredients to make a smooth dressing and season with salt and pepper. Set the dressing aside.

Make the salad: On a (very) large platter, combine the iceberg and romaine lettuces along with the watercress. Arrange the blue cheese, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, chicken, and avocado on top of the greens in neat rows. To serve, drizzle salad with dressing, season with salt and pepper, and top with chives. Alternatively, toss everything together in a bowl.

Do ahead: Salad dressing keeps, covered and refrigerated, for up to one week. Individual ingredients (except the avocado, which is too prone to browning) can be prepped and chopped, and kept in separate containers in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the salad. However, no doubt due to sturdiness of 2/3 of the lettuces, I found that the entire assembled salad kept surprisingly well wrapped in plastic in the fridge for a few hours.

Aunt Suzy says . . . .

It’s grilling season!  We love this flavorful, no bbq sauce approach to grilled chicken.  I realized when grilling season rolled around this year that we had put our much used/loved Weber grill out to the curb last fall – it just fell apart after over 15 years.  So the minute I saw the basic Weber kettle grill on sale, I hopped on over to the store and nabbed one.  We inaugurated the new grill with this chicken, feeling like we were kicking off the summer of 2011.

Margaux says . . . .

We grill a lot in the summer, especially in August and September.  I get really sick of having a hot kitchen in August, and in September it’s a mad rush to try to get as much out of summer as we can before it’s over.  But grilling is definitely my husband Jason’s job!  I don’t know why, but I have no interest in learning to grill.  It’s one of those gender-role things that we stick by in our household, along with mowing the lawn and taking the garbage out.  (Otherwise, I’d like to think that we’re pretty progressive! :))

We have a gas grill, which comes in handy since we sometimes grill every night.  It’s quick and easy.  But lately Jason has been really wanting a charcoal grill, and I have to agree that there’s nothing quite like charcoal-grilled food.  We may be getting one soon, for weekend grilling though, since it’s a little more time consuming.

Lemon-Garlic Grilled Chicken

Ingredients – this is definitely a recipe of approximations!

Chicken parts of your choice or whole chicken, cut into pieces

EV Olive Oil

Zest of one lemon

Juice of one lemon

3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed through a garlic press

Italian Street Fair seasoning or herbs and spices of your choice

Sprigs of fresh oregano (optional)

Place chicken pieces in an oblong glass baking dish (or dishes depending on how much chicken you have).  Drizzle olive oil and squeeze the lemon juice over all.  Turn pieces to coat.  Scatter all remaining ingredients over the chicken, cover and place in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight if making the day before you grill.

Grilling on the Weber

Aunt Suzy says . . . . Light a bunch charcoal using an electric starter or charcoal chimney.  We recommend lump hard wood charcoal vs. briquets, but either will work.  We’ve been using Woodstock Charcoal lately, but we also like Whole Foods version.  We DO NOT recommend lighter fluid.

We also like the indirect method of grilling this chicken vs. directly over the coals. Bank the hot charcoal to one side of the grate and place a drip pan on the other side.  You can put water and herbs in the drip pan, but this is not necessary.  Place the chicken on the side of the grill rack over the drip pan. You can do this right on the grill top –  we sometimes use a flat cast iron thingy made for grilling vegetables.

Put the lid back on the Weber, with bottom and top vents wide open.  Check every 7 or so minutes, turning pieces and moving around so all cook evenly.  The total time should take about 25-40 minutes depending on how big the pieces are and how hot the fire is.  For the indirect cooking method, you’ll want a pretty hot fire, less so if you cook directly over the charcoal.  You can see in the photo, Tatum has an instant read meat thermometer that he uses to make sure the chicken breasts are done but not dried out.

Grilling on a Gas Grill

Margaux says . . . . Preheat all burners on high, then adjust heat to moderately high. Turn off 1 burner and arrange chicken legs and thighs on lightly oiled rack above it. Cook, covered with lid, turning legs once, until cooked through, about 40 minutes total. (Jason uses an instant read thermometer to make sure they’re done.) Transfer to a serving platter and keep warm, loosely covered with foil, while cooking breasts.

Cook chicken breasts on rack above unlit burner, covered with lid, turning once, until just cooked through (the meat next to the “tender”, when opened slightly, will be moist but no longer pink), about 30 minutes total.