Monday, September 5, 2016

Melissa's Chicken Paprikash (Chicken Paprika)

I LOVE chicken paprikash/paprika. I found a recipe online that I really enjoy, I often make it when I have a craving.  However, most recipes involve adding flour or corn starch at the end, to thicken the sauce. Since I started my weight loss journey, I decided to skip that part.  Instead, I boil the sauce down to thicken it. It seems to work quite well!  So here is my favorite recipe, without the carby thickener.  Enjoy!

Melissa's Chicken Paprikash (Chicken Paprika) 

1.5 lbs chicken ( about 3 whole chicken thigh/drumstick joints, cut apart)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black pepper
1 tablespoon Butter – cultured unsalted (or olive oil)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large Anaheim pepper, cut in have and thinly sliced (in a pinch, you can use a bell pepper)
¼ cup Paprika
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped (optional)
1 cup Chicken stock
1/2 cup Sour cream 


1.       With a paper towel, dab the chicken as dry as possible. Meat browns better when its dry.
2.      Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over the chicken.
3.      Heat a large skillet (heavy bottom is best) over medium-high heat. Add the butter (or olive oil), and swirl to coat the pan.  Add the chicken, be careful not to crowd the pan.  If they don’t all fit in your pan with plenty of room, fry the chicken in smaller batches. 
4.      Let the chicken cook in the pan until it gets golden brown on one side. Flip them over and let them brown on the other side.  Remove chicken from pan, place in a bowl and set aside. 
5.      Place the peppers and onions in the same pan you cooked the chicken in. Reduce heat to medium, cover with a lid and let the vegetables steam for about 10 minutes.  This will help them caramelize better.  Remove the lid and saute vegetables until the onions are golden brown. 
6.      Add the paprika and garlic (if garlic is desired).  Mix well into the vegetables.  Fry and stir constantly, until the paprika releases its flavors (about 30 seconds).  Be careful not to let the paprika burn or scorch, because it will turn bitter. 
7.      Now add the chicken broth and return the chicken pieces back to the pan, along with any accumulated juices.  Bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and turn the heat down to medium, or medium low, to maintain a gentle simmer.  Cook the chicken until it is fall-off-the-bone tender (about 1 hour). Add a little more broth or water, if the sauce starts to dry up.  But as the chicken gets closer to being done, let some liquid boil out, to thicken the sauce.
8.      When the chicken is done, temper the sour cream by placing it in a bowl and adding some of the chicken liquid to it (about 4 tablespoons full, one spoon full at a time), and stirring well after each addition. 
9.      Turn off the heat and remove chicken from the burner.  Add the sour cream mixture to the chicken and stir to combine well. Do not allow the chicken to boil or continue cooking on the burner after adding the sour cream.  This will curdle the sour cream.
10.  Let chicken stand for 5 minutes, then serve.  Normally, it it served with pasta or rice. But for low carb dieters, it can be served with vegetables.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Melissa's Greek Spanakopita Triangles

I first heard of this dish when I saw the first "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" movie.   Spanakopita is a Greek delight, which literally translates to "spinach pie".   It is phyllo pastry brushed with butter and filled with a spinach and feta cheese mixture.   Dill is the essential ingredient for this dish, so be sure not to leave that out.   This dish is simple in flavor, but delicious!

Melissa's Greek Spanakopita Triangles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced green onion (or regular onion)
¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
8 oz. bag fresh washed spinach (or equal amount of frozen spinach)
12oz. container crumbled feta cheese
2 eggs
¼ cup sour cream (optional)
1 stick melted butter
¼ cup olive oil
1lb package of phyllo dough, fully thawed

Tool you will need:   Pastry brush
1.        In a large pan, heat the olive oil to medium heat.  Add the onions, dill and garlic.  Sautee until the onions become clear, stirring frequently. 
2.       Add spinach to the pan (if using an equal amount of frozen spinach, make sure it is thawed and all the liquid has been squeezed out).  Allow the fresh spinach to cook down in the pan, turning it over every 30 seconds or so, until all the leaves have wilted.  This should take about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat. 
3.       In a mixing bowl, combine the feta cheese, sour cream and eggs.  Blend very well.   Add to the spinach pan, and mix until well incorporated.  This will be your filing. 
4.       In a smaller bowl mix together the melted butter and olive oil.  Set aside. 
5.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees.    Unroll the phyllo sheets.  Peel up one Phyllo sheet, fold it in half lengthwise and lay it down.  It should now look like a long strip, about 3 or 4 inches wide.  Brush with butter/olive oil mixture, until the whole surface is lightly dampened.   Do the same with a second sheet of phyllo, laying over the top of the first one.  
6.       Using a kitchen spoon, take a walnut-sized portion of the spinach filing and place filling on one of the buttery phyllo strip.   Begin folding the spinach filing into the philo strip, in a triangular fold like a flag.  Keep folding until the filling is no longer visible and the entire strip of phyllo is now a puffy triangle. 
7.       Brush a baking sheet with some of the butter/olive oil mixture and place the folded phyllo triangle on the baking sheet.   Repeat with more phyllo sheets until all your spinach filling is used up. 
8.       Bake spanakopita triangles in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden.  Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes.  Serve.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Baked Paprika Chicken With Garlic And Lemon

I LOVE any supper where I can just mix a few things in a bowl, toss it onto a baking sheet, throw it in the oven and have dinner ready in an hour!   Super easy on a week day.  Here is one of such dinners we frequently make in our home.  My husband loves it and its a great go-to, even when we are relaxing at home with a day off.   Pretty simple way to feed a crowd too.   I came up with this one by accident, when I was in a big hurry.  My husband called me, saying he would be home in about an hour and he was STARVING.   He asked if I could make something good, and looots of it, lol.   I had been so tied up in what I was doing, I didn't think of anything for dinner.   Well, I just mixed up everything I thought would taste good and stuck it in the oven really quick, so I could finish the projects I was working on.   It came out pretty good, so I figured I should share it!

 Baked Paprika Chicken With Garlic And Lemon

10 to 12 pieces of bone-in chicken, thawed, skin removed
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground paprika
½ tsp ground dried rosemary
4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tablespoon pre-minced garlic from a jar/tube)
Juice of 1 lemon (or 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, depending how “lemony” you like it)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 large potatoes, quartered (or 6 small, halved)

1.        Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2.       With a sharp knife, cut 2 or 3 random slits in the meat of each piece of chicken, making sure to cut to the bone, to help the flavor penetrate the meat. 
3.       In a large bowl, place all the chicken,  onion, salt, pepper, paprika, rosemary, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.  Mix everything together very well, to combine thoroughly.  Its best to use your hands.  Be sure garlic and spices are coating every piece of meat.
4.       Transfer chicken/onion/spice picture into a large baking dish, at least 2 inches deep.   Spread the chicken out evenly.  
5.       Place the cut up potatoes in and around the chicken.   Try to wedge them between the chicken pieces, so they absorb some flavor as they cook.   The chicken will create lots of its own juices to help this. 
6.       Bake for 1 to 1 ½ hours (depending if you used more or less chicken).  Remove from oven.  Let stand 10 minutes.   Serve, drizzling some chicken juices over the meat and potatoes.  

TIP:   You can also make mashed potatoes instead of baking them and use the juices from the baking dish to make gravy.