Honey Garlic Chicken Wings

The other day, He Who Must Be Fed brought home a surprise – a pound of honey from a local apiary.  He was all excited with his proffered gift.  “Look,” he said, as if I had never seen honey before. When he saw my puzzled expression, he added, “You can put it in your tea.”Honey

I was puzzled, because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with all that honey. I don’t cook a lot with it. (And I don’t put it in my tea.) I could only think of two recipes that require honey: lemon cookies and baklava pie.

Then, I remembered I had found a recipe a week or so ago for sticky honey garlic chicken wings.

Bingo.

I’ve made these twice now. Once with the first batch of honey my honey brought home. Then with another darker, richer batch from the same beekeeper who said the darker honey was a result of his bees nibbling red bamboo. That richer flavor made these wings even more delicious than before.

Heat your oven to 450°. Line a baking pan with foil then place a rack on top. This prevents your wings from cooking in their own juice and getting soggy. You want them crispy, after all.
wingsOnTray

Place the wings in a large bowl and toss them with 1½ teaspoon each of sesame oil and sea salt  and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Put them in the oven for 35-40 minutes until they’re beautifully golden brown.

About 10 minutes before the wings are done, make the glaze. Add all the ingredients into a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Boil rapidly for about 5 minutes or until the glaze is reduced to 1/3 cup. Remove from the heat.Boiling

Remove the wings from the oven, put them in a bowl and toss them with the glaze. Put them on a plate and sprinkle them with sesame seeds.

Be careful! You’re going to want to let them cool before you try and eat them. The hot honey is like lava. Trust me on this one. I have the burns on my fingers and tongue to prove it.

Enjoy.

FinishedWings

Ingredients:

  • chicken wings
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish

 For the glaze:

  • ⅓ cup plus 2 ½ tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 3 large garlic cloves, very finely minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes

 

Best Potato Soup Ever

Make. This. Soup.

I love soup, particularly when the weather here is hovering around 20 degrees (or lower) and I need something to warm my soul. I’ve shared several great soup recipes with you, from clam chowder to sausage and lentil.

But this one, my foodie friends, is awesome. I got this recipe  from my friend Patty, who loves to cook, so I knew it was going to be a winner. And it was. He Who Must Be Fed and I ate every last bit and were left wanting more.

Ingredients:

BaconForSoup

  • 1 pound of bacon (you had me at bacon)
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minces
  • 8 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 to 4 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until done. Remove bacon from pan, and set aside.  Drain off all but 1/4 cup of the bacon grease. Cook celery and onion in reserved bacon drippings (hmm bacon drippings) until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes. Add cubed potatoes, and toss to coat.PotatoesForSoup

Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Return bacon to the pan, and add enough chicken stock just to cover the potatoes. Cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender.

RouxIn a separate pan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the heavy cream and tarragon. Bring the cream mixture to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir the cream mixture into the potato mixture. Puree the soup in batches and return to pan. Salt and pepper to your taste.

If you try this let me know if you loved it. I really want to know.

FinishedSoup

 

Full-recipe disclosure: If you access the original recipe, you’ll see it suggests pureeing only half of the mixture and returning that to your pot with the diced potatoes. As I mentioned, I pureed it all, and it had a lovely, smooth consistency. (Oh, and I didn’t add any cilantro. He Who Must Be Fed isn’t a fan.)

Barbecue chicken sliders

Everyone seems to prefer breasts, but give me a good thigh …

No, you have not stumbled onto a porn blog. I was just checking to see if you were paying attention.

I have come to greatly appreciate the lowly chicken thigh for two reasons:

  1. They’re incredibly flavorful and juicy, much more so than chicken breasts, which can get rubbery if you’re not careful.
  2. They’re so versatile.

I’ve already shared a couple of recipes with you that featured the lowly thigh, including braised chicken thighs with carrots, potatoes and thyme  and roast chicken with spring vegetables. Here’s another winner: barbecue chicken sliders, which I made after altering this recipe for Buffalo chicken sliders from Jeff Mauro.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, such as Frank’s Red Hot
  • Small rolls. I thawed and baked eight Rhodes frozen dinner rolls

Preheat your oven to 400°. Heat an ovenproof skillet – I used a cast iron skillet — over medium-high heat. Add in the oil. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper, brown sugar and smoked paprika.SeasonedChickenSear both sides of the chicken until golden, about 4 minutes per side.

CookingChicken

Add the barbecue sauce to the skillet.

BBQChicken

Bring to a simmer and then place in the oven for 45 minutes.

ChickenInOven

Remove from the oven and shred with two forks. You’re going to want to be super careful. The chicken will be hot, and the barbecue sauce will be like molten lava. Yes, I write from experience.ShreddedChicken

Top a roll with a good portion of the shredded chicken and enjoy.FinishedSliders

 

The perfect soup for summer

If you’ve been following along, you may remember that I’ve shared several recipes for soup, including stuffed pepper soup potato soup with shrimp, and sausage and lentil soup.

However,with Memorial Day – and the unofficial start of summer – just around the corner, you may think soup season is over. Well, for most soups it is. But there is one exception: this delicious calm bake soup, which is perfect for summer. It has all of the ingredients of a delicious clam bake, except for the sand in your shorts. This recipe comes from Rachael Ray. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound kielbasa, diced
  • 1 ½ pounds small red or Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 to 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 rounded tablespoon seafood seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
  • 3 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 32 littleneck clams
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

Heat a large soup pot with extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the kielbasa and brown for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, onions, celery, bay leaf, thyme, and salt and pepper and let the veggies soften up, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.ClamBakeSoupInPot

Pat shrimp dry and toss with a rounded tablespoon of seafood seasoning.

Add to your pot the corn, tomatoes and stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and clams and cover. Cook until shrimp are pink and firm and the clams have opened up. It usually takes 5 to 6 minutes. Finish off the soup with a few drops – or more, if you like – of hot sauce and  lemon zest and juice.

This soup is almost like  having a clam bake at the beach. If you’re landlocked, like I am, eat it on your porch, close your eyes and imagine you’re in New England.

ClamBakeSoupDone

Bacon Beer Bread

“Wow.” That’s all He Who Must Be Fed said when he bit into a warm slice of Bacon Beer Bread, a new recipe I got from The Novice Chef blog.

As soon as I saw the recipe, I knew it was going to be a winner. After all, it has the three b’s – bacon beer and butter – and we weren’t disappointed.  Since I knew it was going to be special, I made two loaves, so I could share one with my friend James and his family. They liked it, too.

Ingredients:

  • 5 strips of thick-cut bacon (I used Oscar Mayer)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

BaconCookingCook your bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour the bacon grease into a heat-proof bowl and let cool. Once bacon is cool enough to touch, rip it into little pieces and set aside. If you used your fingers instead of chopping the bacon with a knife then you can rub a little dab of the “bacon essence” behind each ear to make yourself irresistible to your significant other. 🙂

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add your pieces of bacon. Using a wooden spoon, stir the beer into the dry ingredients until just mixed.

Pour the melted butter into the bottom of the loaf pan. Then spoon the batter into the pan. Pour the cooled bacon grease on top of the batter.BaconBreadBeforeCooking

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve immediately with a generous bit of more butter.

It’s also delicious the next day, toasted with some more butter.

BaconBeerBreadDone

Stuffed pepper soup

We have a restaurant in town that serves some pretty tasty soups. And, as you might suspect, I don’t like to be bested in the kitchen. So when I saw He Who Must Be Fed enjoying his stuffed pepper soup while we were out to dinner, I realized I needed to make it.

Years ago, someone gave us a recipe for it, scribbled on a scrap of paper. However, in my attempt to organize my recipes, which used to be a jumbled mish-mash, I tossed it. So, I was pretty much flying blind on this one, particularly since I had never made it before.

But, how hard could it be? As it turns out, it wasn’t.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beefBigGreenPeppers
  • 2 big green peppers, chopped (As you can see from the photo, mine were enormous, almost like mutant peppers from outer space. If yours aren’t that big, add a third pepper.)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 ½ cups beef broth
  • 2 cups stewed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven cook your meat, peppers and onions over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. You want the meat to be cooked through and the veggies soft.

Add the remaining ingredients, stir and simmer for about 30 minutes.StuffedPepperSoupCooking

When serving, you may want to add a little grated or shredded Parmesan.

FinishedStuffedPepperSoup

See? Easy-peasy.

Mmmmminestrone

Happy New Year, my foodie friends. So, did you resolve to eat better in 2014? I think we’ve all made – and probably broken — that resolution at least once. We all know that one way to eat better is to eat more vegetables, but c’mon, that’s not always easy. He Who Must Be Fed is not a big veggie lover, so it’s always a challenge to find one or a good way to cook one that he likes.

One word: minestrone. It’s chock full of vegetables. It’s delicious. It’s easy. And it’s pretty tasty on those cold January nights.

I created this minestrone recipe after making these drip beef sandwiches, which makes the tastiest broth. So, instead of using the cooked beef to make sandwiches, I shredded the beef, added it back to the broth, then tossed in a bunch of veggies.

Delizioso.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 pound chuck roast
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1½ teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 can of kidney beans drained
  • 4 stalks of celery chopped
  • 4 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 8 ounces of fresh green beans cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 3 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 quart stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1/3 of a pound box of ditalini pasta

Put your roast in a large pot with water to cover. Add the bouillon, salt and garlic salt. Place the bay leaves, peppercorns, oregano, and rosemary in a coffee filter and secure tightly with a rubber band. Add this to the pot.

Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for about six hours. Depending on the size of your roast, it may not take quite that long. Remove the coffee filter and discard. Remove roast from the pot and shred.

Once it’s shredded, add the meat and the remaining ingredients — except for the pasta — to the pot. Cook for about 10-15 minutes to let all of the flavors get to know each other.

In the meantime, bring another pot of slightly salted water to boil and cook the pasta until tender. Drain it and immediately rinse with cold water. Gradually add the pasta to the soup. I say gradually because you don’t want to add too much and end up with a thick, goopy mess.

You can top it with a little grated Parmesan and some fresh basil.Minestrone

Mangia.

Clam chowder so good a New Englander will love it

With the colder weather creeping up on us – unless, of course, you live in Orlando or Key West or St. Thomas – it’s the perfect time for soup. Last week, I shared recipes for two of our favorites: taco soup and sausage and lentil soup.

Today it’s clam chowder, a rich, creamy, delicious chowder that will keep you warm no matter how cold it gets outside. My chowder recipe is one I adapted after twisting Paula Deen’s recipe for corn chowder.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 small onion diced
  • ½ cup flour
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon cooked and chopped
  • ¾ pound golden potatoes diced and cooked
  • 4 6.5-ounce cans of chopped clams with the liquid reserved
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups half and half
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dried thyme

Chop and cook the bacon, then drain on paper towels. Dice the potatoes and add to a saucepan of water. Cook until fork tender. Drain and set aside. Drain the clams and save the liquid. You should get about 2 cups of liquid. ClamChowder1USE

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and sauté for about two minutes. Add the flour to make a roux. Cook until the roux is slightly browned, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

In the saucepan you used to cook the potatoes (no need to dirty more dishes) add the clam liquid and enough water (probably about a cup) to make three cups of liquid. Bring to a boil. Gradually pour the boiling liquid into the saucepan with the roux, whisking to prevent lumps. Return the pot to heat and bring to a boil.

In a small saucepan, slowly heat the half and half. When warm, stir into the thickened mixture. Then add the clams, potatoes, bacon, salt and pepper. Just before serving, add some dried thyme. He Who Must Be Fed thinks he hates thyme, but he’s wrong. He just won’t give it a chance. Add it to your chowder. It’s delicious.

ClamChowder2USE

Enjoy. If you try this, let me know how it turned out for you. Stay warm, my friend.

Sausage and lentil soup better than Carrabba’s

A few weeks ago,  my husband and I were eating dinner at Carrabba’s. He had forgone the salad — no surprise there, my guy’s not a huge fan of leafy, green food — for the sausage and lentil soup. While he was lapping it up, he was raving at how delicious it was while I was nibbling on my salad and wishing I had followed his example (although I’m a pretty big fan of green food).

He was enjoying it so much that I almost felt as if the chef at Carrabba’s were challenging me. “So, signora, you see I make the soup your husband loves best,” I imagined the chef saying, with a condescending sneer.

So, I said, “You know, I can make that.”

“You can?” He Who Must Be Fed answered, with love in his eyes.

“Certainly.”

Of course, that meant  that I would have to produce said soup because He Who Must Be Fed would not forget.

I decided to alter a recipe for lentil soup with peas and ham that I had already made. So, I did a little recipe experiment.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound Italian sausage (I used part sweet, part hot)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, diced (that’s about three to four medium potatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt.

Heat the oil olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and onion and cook until the sausage is brown and the onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently. Add the celery, carrots, potatoes, 1/2 cup water and salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the chicken broth, 1 1/2 cups water and the lentils. Cover and bring to a simmer. Uncover and cook until the potatoes are tender, and the lentils begin to fall apart, about 15 minutes. Stir in the yogurt and basil.

PotoforNov.15Post

The result? I nailed it.

Try it and let me know if your loved ones love it, too. Then we can go back to Carrabba’s and give the chef the evil eye.

Super (and super easy) taco soup

There are a few reasons why I look forward to blustery, cold weather coming to Northwest Pennsylvania. My two favorites are sipping hot tea while curled up with a good book (as opposed to sipping iced tea while curled up with a good book in the summer) and making and eating soup.

Over the years, I’ve tried — and we’ve enjoyed — so many soup recipes that I no longer buy canned soup. Canned soup can be convenient, but most of the soups I make are so simple, and they taste about a million times better than anything those soup makers can make, so why buy it?

This easy and awesome taco soup recipe came from my friend, Margot, who made it for a campus event. It was by far the best soup there, and she was kind enough to share the super easy and super delicious recipe.

Ingredients: PhotoForNov.10Ingredients

  • Two pounds of ground beef
  • One medium onion diced
  •  Two 4-ounce can of chopped green chilies
  • two cans Rotel tomatoes with green chilies
  • two 15-ounce cans of kidney beans
  • one 24-ounce can of Bush’s Black Bean Fiesta Grillin’ Beans
  • one small can of corn
  • one package of taco seasoning
  • one package of dry ranch-style salad dressing mix
  • one cup of water

Cook the beef and onions until the beef is brown and the onions are tender. PhotoforNov.10GroundMeatThen add all of the other ingredients. Cook for about 10 minutes to allow all of the flavors to get comfortable with each other.

If you’d like, serve with some grated cheddar cheese, green onions, sour cream and crushed tortilla chips on top.

PhotoForNov.10PostSoupIsDone

If you try this and add anything else funky on top, let me know.