Chicken Masala

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I love to make a chickpea masala. This time I added chicken after I pan-fried it. Some garlic naan and saffron jasmine rice accompanied the dish. I wish I could explain how to make this dish in a more helpful way but the truth is that I usually don’t make masala dishes the same way each time. I mean there are the usual suspects such as curry, garlic, turmeric, cumin, and tomato (either paste or fresh or both) but sometimes I’ll add other things, in this case, it was a bit of jarred tikka masala sauce and serrano peppers. I hope that helps.

Stitch Gets Into Trouble Again

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I almost died laughing last night. I brought home a cooked chicken from the grocery store and Stitch Murphy got his head stuck in the packaging. I was in the kitchen and just saw him walk by with this enormous cardboard collar. His lazy ass was not even trying to get out of it. So I did what any respectable cat owner would do and picked him up to show Gar so that we could both heartily laugh at him (photo credit goes to Gar).

Coconut Milk

I love a can of coconut milk for a lot of reasons but one of my favorite things to do with it is add a can to my turkey or chicken noodle soup. I’ve already made soup this way about three times in the past few months because I just cannot get enough of it. Homemade soup is the best. Just put your leftover chicken or turkey carcass in a large pot, fill with water, add a fair amount of salt, and boil to make your stock. Strain out your stock and pick off all the meat from the bones and return it to the stock. At this point I’ll check the salt content and I usually add a can of chicken broth or possibly some bullion to round out my stock. Finally your mirepoix and whatever else you want in your soup goes in. I love making a traditional noodle soup and adding the can of coconut milk and a few spicy dried thai chilies for some heat. The coconut milk provides a unique flavor that blends perfectly with the flavor of a traditional noodle soup and it is not too sweet. SO GOOD!

Quick Brine

I’m not the biggest brining spokesperson in the world. I feel that the most important thing about cooking a tender, juicy bird is the cooking of it, not the brining of it. However, this brine recipe I found from Mario Batali actually does make a difference and it adds a subtle flavor that reminds me of meat roasting in the oven and fall.

1 cup kosher salt
1 stick cinnamon
1 bunch fresh rosemary
1/2 cup apple cider
2 quarts boiling water
2 quarts ice

In a container large enough to hold your chicken or turkey, combine the salt, cinnamon, rosemary, and cider. Pour in the boiling water and stir to dissolve. Next, stir in the ice and add your bird which should be completely submerged (you may need to put a plate on top of it) in the brine and refrigerated for 1-4 hours. I ended up adding a tbsp. of apple cider vinegar to the brine and I only used a little more than a quart of ice and let the brine sit in the fridge briefly to make up for the lost ice. When your bird is done in the brine, pat it dry and only add about 1/3 of the salt that you would normally apply to the outside.

Pan-Fried Chicken

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If you are in a hurry to make dinner and want a quick and delicious method for cooking chicken breast then you absolutely must keep reading. So often, I come home from a long and tiring day at work and I just want to make a yummy chicken dinner with salad or rice or something like that. The best way to cook chicken in a hurry is to simply season it with salt and pepper and add it to a frying pan that has either a thin layer of vegetable oil or olive oil. Pre-heat your frying pan and cook the chicken over medium high heat. Side note, I really like non-stick frying pans they just make life so much easier. If you wanted to add a little more flavor to your chicken you could use some olive oil in combination with butter as opposed to the vegetable oil.

I always know when chicken pieces are done based upon how springy they are and how they feel. Start gently poking your chicken pieces while cooking and you’ll start to get really good at telling when its done but not overcooked. Overcooked chicken is really firm. Chicken that is cooked just right is firm but still a little bit springy. Undercooked chicken is soft and springy to varying degrees. When you take your chicken out of the pan, let it rest for about 5 min.

Of course I love making chicken this way because it is fast but, ultimately, it just tastes great too and it has a great crispy exterior. If you want to cook some chicken breast more quickly, butterfly or thinly slice it. Also, you can get creative with the seasoning depending upon what you are using the chicken for.

Grandma’s Baked Chicken

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This chicken dish comes from Garrick’s great grandmother. It is very easy to make, very inexpensive, and will make you enjoy chicken thighs whether you usually like them or not. The instructions for this recipe are for 2 servings but I could have easily made 4 servings in this dish.

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