Sunday, April 24, 2016

Flavorful Healthy Chicken Breast

One of the more difficult things to accomplish is to prepare chicken breast that remains tasty and moist yet is fully cooked. If the breast is skinless, the chore becomes even more challenging. This recipe evolved from several sources, and I promise you will enjoy the tender chicken that results.


2 skinless chicken breasts
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, each halved
1/4 cup capers with 2 Tablespoons of brine
Juice from one juicy lemon
4 cloves garlic sliced thin
1/2 cup green onion tops
1 Tbsp. Penzy's Sunny Paris seasoning (optional)
3 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper
flour for dredging
1 Tbsp. olive oil


Prepare the ingredients for cooking.

Pat the chicken breasts dry. Using a sharp knife, slice each breast in half horizontally. Salt and pepper the breast fillets generously and then dredge in flour, shaking off the excess.

The flour will help brown the chicken without overcooking it. The thinner pieces of chicken will cook through to the middle before the outside becomes overcooked.

Heat the oil in a large non stick skillet until it shimmers but does not smoke. Saute the chicken over medium heat until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add the butter to the skillet and the onions. When the onions are limp, add the garlic and cook for two minutes. Add the tomatoes and capers and continue cooking until the tomatoes begin to melt. Add the lemon juice, and spices if using, and mix well.

Serve the chicken covered in the pan sauce. The first picture shows a wild mushroom ravioli beside the chicken. Any pasta will love this sauce. For those avoiding carbs, my sister in law would suggest spaghetti squash or cauliflower as a side.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sunday Dinner Roast

I regularly correspond on a message board that targets Ozark fishermen, Ozark Anglers. One thread has 3,631 posts as of today. Oddly, the thread title is "What's Cooking?" A recent post in that thread has inspired me to create this post in my blog. The post discussed a slow cooker pot roast and stated, in part, "Come morning before I leave for Grampa duty I will add the sirloin roast. Granted one of my least favorite cuts of beef but it came with the rest of the beef."

I was surprised to see his comment as I have been using that cut for Sunday roast beef for some time. Much less expensive than rib roast or tenderloin. Maybe I can help spread the word about this alternative.

Normally I have the butcher cut the normal top sirloin in half to yield a four to five pound roast.

The shape of the cut determines how you tie it for roasting.

While I prepare the meat I begin by making a garlic paste. I cut the top off a bulb of garli, put it on a sheet of tin foil and soak the bulb in olive oil. I wrap the foil over the bulb and put it in aa 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.

When the bulb is done, I remove it from the oven and turn the oven heat down to 220 degrees. When the bulb cools, I picked the roasted garlic from the cloves and mash it with a fork. I add 2 Tbls. of olive oil and a teaspoon of Greek seasoning. I recommend either Cavendars or Penzy's.

In the meantime, I salt and pepper the roast liberally and then sear it in a very hot skillet with only a small amount of oil. Once the meat is seared, I use my fingers to slather the Greek garlic paste over the roast surfaces. The roast then goes in the 220 degree oven.

At 200 to 220 degrees, the roast normally requires about 30 to 35 minutes per pound. The shape and starting temperature of the roast will affect the actual time. 

When the internal temperature reaches 125 degrees, I pull the roast and cover it with foil to rest for 20 minutes. If It is way too early, I wrap it in foil and put it in the warming drawer on low.

As a teaser about a future post, here's a picture of tonight's side dish for the roast, Slow Cooker Cheesy Ranch Bacon Cauliflower.

I recommend you thinly slice the roast against the grain.

This roast finished early by almost an hour. I held it in the warming drawer. As a result it ws more medium rare than rare. Despite that, it was juicy and tender.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

An Ozark Spring Day - Mediterranean Style

One of the marvels of our modern world is how trade has changed. What used to be unavailable one place has become available. For example, only ten years ago, if you went to the seafood section of the freezer case of a grocery in the Ozarks, you found a frozen shrimp ring and your choice of several brands of catfish nuggets or hushpuppies. Not so today.

Today I found small trays of frozen fishes from the Mediterranean. The trays contained chopped squid, baby clams, mussels, and Langostino pieces. I was inspired to try a one pot meal based on this find.


8 ounces of mixed seafood varieties (mussels, clams, shrimp, squid, or octopus)
16 ounces of linguini or interesting pasta such as flowers
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
a double handful of baby spinach leaves
4 large shallots, halved and thinly sliced
2 ounces of dry white wine
oregano, basil, thyme, chives, crushed red pepper, and salt to taste
good virgin olive oil


Bring 5 quarts of well salted water to a boil in a pasta pot. Cover it and let it sit for future use.

Heat 2 to 3 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in the bottom of a dutch oven to the shimmer stage. 
Add the shallots and spices and stir well as the oil cools and the onions begin to cook. 
When the shallots are translucent, add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Then add the white wine and the tomatoes.
Turn the water back to high and bring to a boil. Add the pasta.
Cook the tomatoes as the water reheats, about five minutes.
Add the seafood and the spinach and turn the heat to low. Simmer while the pasta cooks.
When the pasta reaches very al dente, remove it from the water and reserve a half cup of the pasta water.
Add the pasta to the seafood mixture and stir well. Add the pasta water. Turn off the heat and cover the pot. Allow the pasta to finish cooking in the juices for five minutes
Plate the pasta and garnish with fresh grated Parmesan or Romano and minced chives or parsley.