Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tarragon Chicken - Hearty dishes

Pounding the chicken breasts before cooking tenderizes the meat and ensures more even cooking .Serve with kalamata barley  for a quick and healthful weeknight meal .

Serves 4
4 skinless ,boneless chicken
   breast , about 175 g/ 6 oz each 
125ml orange juice 
250- 300 ml / 8-10 fl oz chicken 
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp dried tarragon
175 ml / 6 fl oz double cream 
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
salt and pepper
fresh tarragon sprigs , to garnish

1 . Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place in a single layer in a large , heavy based frying pan . Pour in the juice and just enough chicken stock to cover , and add the garlic and dried tarragon . Bring to the boil , reduce the heat and cook gently for 10 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through .

2 . Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon or tongs , cover and keep warm . Strain the poaching liquid into a clean frying pan and skim off any fat from the surface . Bring to the boil and cook for 12-15 minutes , or until reduced by about two- thirds .

3 . Stir in the cream , return to the boil  and cook until reduced by about half . Stir in the fresh tarragon . Slice the chicken breasts and arrange on warmed plates .Spoon over the sauce ,garnish with tarragon sprigs and serve immediately .

Friday, July 25, 2014

Chicken With Goat's Cheese & Basil

Chicken -A staple in many kitchen. But sometimes , even the most tried and true chicken recipes get redundant or boring . This recipe is so easy and quick to make .
You can take a few chicken breasts , and with four main ingredients , have a meal 'refined ' enough for entertaining company , or as a quick and taste that even kids will love .

Serves 4 
4 skinned chicken breast fillets
100 g  soft goat's cheese
small bunch fresh basil
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

1 . Using a sharp knife ,slit along one long edge of each chicken breast ,then carefully open out each breast to make a small pocket . Divide the cheese equally between the pockets and tuck three or four basil leaves in each . Close the openings and season the breasts with salt and pepper .

2 . Heat the oil in a frying pan , add the chicken breasts and fry gently for 15-20 minutes , turning several times , until golden and tender .

3 . Serve warm  , garnished with a sprig of basil .The flavor of the fresh basil is amazing !Sophisticated enough for adults , yet mild enough for the kiddos .

Cooking chicken breast basics:
Defrosting: If you're using frozen chicken , it's best to defrost it first .If you're really on top of it , you can defrost it a few days ahead of time in the refrigerator .This leaves the microwave defrost setting or placing it in a ziploc bag in cool water , changing the water regularly .Better the cool water method because microwaved chicken is not good .

Pat the chicken dry : Unless you're poaching the chicken , it's not a bad idea to dry it off , even if it's going straight into a marinade ...Just crab a few paper towels and blot the water off the chicken  .

Marinate the chicken  : Marinades add flavor to otherwise bland chicken breast , and many of the common ingredients in your marinade can help break down the fibers in the chicken .That means your cooked breast will be more tender as well as tastier .

Slice against the grain : If you're going to slice your chicken before cooking it , make sure you're slicing against the grain , or across the chicken breast in the direction that will produce shorter strips .All meat- including poultry -is made up of bundles of tough muscle fibers , and cutting those fibers apart will produce a more tender piece of cooked chicken . 

Chicken With Creamy Penne

This quick to fix pasta dish has all the right ingredients to become a family favorite chicken , pasta and flavorful sauce that gets its velvety richness from cream cheese .
pasta cooking tips
-Use only small amounts of vegetable or olive oils, margarine and vegetable cooking spray when preparing pasta dishes .
-Keep leftover cooked pasta in the refrigerator for up to three days .when it's time to reheat , simply put it in a colander and than place it directly into boiling water for one minute .
-Instead of meat , try adding vegetables to a light tomato sauce for a nutritious option with plenty of flavor and crunch .
- Add leftover pasta to your favorite soup .If you use dry pasta , simmer the soup for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.
- Save time with pasta leftovers- double your favorite recipes , and freeze the extra serving for later use . This works especially well with sauce and baked pasta dishes like lasagne .

Serves 2

200g  dried penne
1 tbsp olive oil
2 skinless , boneless chicken breasts
4 tbsp orange juice
115 g  frozen peas
5 tbsp double cream
4-5 tbsp chopped fresh parsley ,
   to garnish

1 . Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil . Add the pasta  , bring back to the boil and cook for about 8-10 minutes , until tender but still firm to the bite .

2 . Meanwhile , heat the oil in a frying pan , add the chicken and cook over a medium heat for about 4 minutes on each side . 

3 . Pour in the orange juice and cook over a high heat until it has almost evaporated . Drain the pasta . Add the peas , cream and pasta to the frying pan and stir well . Cover and simmer for two minutes . Garnish with fresh parsley and serve .

Serving penne tips
As soon as the whole wheat penne is done , use a colander to strain it , shake the colander to get rid of water clinging to the pasta and return the pasta immediately to the pot .Add ingredients on your prepared sauce and toss to coat .Unless you're preparing the penne for a pasta salad , do not rinse it off in a sink .Rinsing pasta right after cooking , which will cool it , may prevent it from mixing evenly with the sauce .It will also diminish its nutrient content and wash off the starch that helps the individual pieces hold their shape .If you will be transferring the finished pasta and sauce to a serving dish , heat the dish up in a warm oven beforehand to keep the penne hot on the table .