Category Archives: Poultry

Old Fashioned Chicken Soup

I did a soup posting last week and I normally would not do another soup recipe so soon.  I do have a reason.  The kosher link upIMG_0310 for this month is “comfort food” (see below!).  There are plenty of foods that I consider comfort food – spaghetti and red sauce, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, the list could go on.  However, if I was to pick my ultimate favorite comfort food it would be a hot bowl of chicken soup.  There is just something about walking in the door to the smell of chicken soup cooking on the stove.  It is what makes you feel better when you are sick, when you are cold and when you are down.

Part of the reason chicken soup is my favorite comfort food is that it reminds me of family.  Everyone has at least one grandma with a chicken soup recipe that was probably passed down from her grandmother.  Since I have already posted my family’s chicken soup recipe on this blog I decided to post my husband’s grandmother’s recipe.  Unfortunately Grandma Shirley (aka Rue) is no longer with us.  I am so lucky that I was able to sit down with her one day in her kitchen and for her to tell me how she makes her chicken soup. I only had it once, but I remember it being delicious. You could taste the love.  She never did write it down, or give me exact measurements, so I just experimented and added my own touches until I came up with what I think is a pretty darn good chicken soup.

Being that I love chicken soup I am pretty picky when I eat it out or at someone else’s house.  I find that people often go overboard with the dill, or that the soup does not have a lot of flavor.  You won’t have that problem with this recipe!  It has rich and delicious and perfect.  The key ingredient (according to Grandma Shirley) is the sweet potato.  Funny enough, this is the secret ingredient in my carrot ginger soup as well.  It adds a sweetness and great color.  I have made it without the sweet potato and it is just not the same.  You just want to be sure not to put it in until an hour before you serve as it could fall apart.  The other 2 ingredients that are key are the parsnip and turnip.  I know these are not items you buy every day, but they make a big difference in the flavor of the dish.

The soup is very easy to make.  You basically just throw everything in a pot, add water and come back to stir every once in a while.  The time commitment comes from letting it cook for hours.  I say two hours is the minimum, but the longer the better!  You can leave it cooking on the stove and get on with whatever else you need to do.

I personally like this soup with matzah balls, but it is also great with noodles, rice or just with the vegetables.  You can either shred the chicken and add it to each bowl, or leave it out.  Leftovers are delish and it also freezes well.  Just be sure to serve it HOT.

 

Prep Time: 15

Cook Time: 2 – 6 hours

Yield: 8 servings

 

Cooking SprayIMG_0296

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large carrots, cut into coins

2 large celery stalks, cut into medium sized piecedIMG_0293

2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into coins

1 large turnip (or 2 small ones), peeled and chopped

1 pound chicken thighs or legs and 1 pound chicken breast, skin removed on the bone

1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled and cut into medium sized chunks (not small, they will break up)IMG_0303

6 sprigs fresh parsley

6 sprigs fresh dill

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 large bay leaves

3 quarts water

Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

Coat the bottom of a very large soup pot with nonstick cooking spray and heat on medium temperature.  Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, parsnips and turnip.   Allow vegetable so soften, about 5-7 minutes, stirring often.

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Add the chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper.  Fill the pot with water until the chicken and vegetables are covered by at least 5 -6 inches.  Again add a few pinches of salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Tie parsley, thyme and dill together with twine and add to pot along with the bay leaves.  Stir well.

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Bring the soup to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low so that the soup is simmering.  Skim the fat and any solids off the top of the soup.  Let the soup simmer.  Come back every 30 minutes to stir and skim any fat or solids.

About an hour before you are going to serve the soup add the sweet potato.  You do not want to add it in the beginning because it will fall apart in the soup.  When you add the sweet potato bring the soup to a boil again by raising the heat.  After it boils reduce to simmer.  Keep it over medium-low heat until you are ready to serve.

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Lemon Ginger Stir Fry

This post was supposed to be published last week.  Unfortunately, it was derailed by my son getting sick.  For all you parents out stir fry done in panthere, I think you will agree that there is nothing more stressful than your child getting sick.  You can have stress in your job, your relationship, or any area in your life, but there is nothing as stressful as watching your little one ill.  Last week was my son.  This week is my 6 month old baby.  To say I am at my wits end is an understatement!

Since I have both kids in bed right now I decided to go ahead and write this post.  This is actually one of the first recipes that I created back in college.  I used to make lots and lots of stir fries in college and this one became a favorite.  I remember a visit to London where I was staying with a friend who lived in a flat with several roommates.  As a thank you for letting us stay I made this for everyone for dinner.  It was such a hit that people were literally licking their plate clean.  I knew I had a winner at that point!  Recently I gave this recipe to my sister and her husband.  They liked it so much they decided to make it again and photograph it for me – thanks Ro and Bill! (notice the adorable dog in the picture – that’s Wrigley)

My original version of this recipe was made with chicken so that is how I always make it.  However, you can leave the chicken out for a vegetarian dish.  You can also change up the vegetables for whatever looks good, or you happen to really like.  Different colored peppers and zucchini are also great in here.  With all the veggies, little fat and lean protein this is as healthy as it is tasty.  I like to serve this over white or brown rice.  Delicious!

 

 

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 15 – 20 Minutes

Yield: 4 – 6 servings

 

 

2 tablespoons canola oilStir Fry Prep 2

2 scallions, chopped

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

Juice of 1 large lemon, or 2 small lemons

1/4 cup soy sauce (I prefer low sodium)

2 large chicken breasts, cut into chunksStir fry wrigly

1 head of bok choy, washed well and chopped

2 cups chopped broccoli

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 cup and a half snap peas, halved

Sesame seeds (optional)

 

 

Put up water for whatever rice you plan to make.  Prepare the rice.

In a large skillet heat the canola oil over medium heat.  Place the ginger and scallions in the pan and sauté until the scallions just begin to soften, about 2 minutes.  Add the lemon juice and soy sauce and stir.

Stir fry scallions and ginger

Place the chicken into the pan and let cook for four to five minutes.

stir fry chicken in pan

Add the broccoli and let cook for two or three minutes, until it begins to soften.  Add the bok choy and stir. Once that softens a bit add the snap peas and mushrooms.  The idea is to add the vegetables in order of which will take the longest to cook.

stir fry in pan2

Sauté over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve over whatever rice you like best.

stir fry in bowl

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Jewish Indian Stuffed Vegetables (Mahashas)

So, it has been a while since I have posted a recipe.  I apologize for the delay.  I have had some technical difficulties (computer died), a crazy work schedule, school and my child with a stomach virus.  Also, I am pretty pregnant at this point and not so quick on my feet….  The good news is that I have a few recipes that I have been working on and am planning to post in the upcoming weeks.

This recipe that I am posting today is a really great one.  This month the Kosher Connection Link Up theme is “stuffing” (see below).  My all time favorite stuffed anything is my Aunty Seemah’s Mahashas.  This is a classic Jewish Indian dish and family recipe.  Although it has been years since I have had these, I have always remembered how delicious they are.  Thanks to a Sykpe session with my aunt I have the recipe to share with all of you.

For today I have chosen to stuff tomatos and peppers, but onions are another common vegetable used.  I just thought these would be easiest.  These vegetables can either be a side dish or a main dish.  If you would like to make them vegetarian then just omit the ground chicken.  They are extremely flavorful and divine either way!

 

Prep Time:  45 minutes

Cook Time:  1 hour

Serves: 5 to 10

 

5 medium bell peppers – any color

5 large firm tomatoes

¾ cup basmati rice (you can use regular long grain, but basmati is SO much better)

½ pound ground chicken

½  – ¾  cup canola oil – depends how large your pan is

Juice of one lemon

3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon ground tumeric

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Rinse the rice in a strainer until the water runs clear.  Place the rice in a bowl and over it with cold water to soak.

Cut the tops off the tomatoes about ¾ of an inch from the top. Save the tops. With a pairing knife gently cut around the edges of the tomato to loosen the veins and seeds from the outer shell. With a spoon scoop out the seeds and flesh from the inside of the tomato. Place the juice and seeds into a large bowl and the flesh on a cutting board.

Cut the tops off the peppers about ¾ of an inch from the top. Save the tops. Discard the ribs and seeds from the inside of the pepper.

You can either finely chop the tomato flesh or puree it in a food processor or with an immersion blender. Add to the bowl with the tomato juice and seeds. Add the juice of one lemon, 2 tablespoons canola oil, salt, tumeric, garlic, ginger and mint. Stir well. Drain the rice.  Add the rice and ground chicken to the mixture and stir well again. You want the chicken and rice to be completely integrated into the tomato mixture. You also do not want any big pieces of chicken to be stuck together and you want a thick soup consistancy so that the rice has enough liquid to cook in.

Coat the bottom of a foil pan or baking dish with canola oil. Place the tomato “shells” and the peppers in the pan. Fill each tomato or pepper ¾ of the way to the top. Do not fill completely to the top as the rice will swell as it cooks. Drizzle the filled vegetables with a bit of canola oil on top. Place the tops back on the tomatoes and peppers.

Cover the dish tightly with tin foil. Cook in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes take the tin foil off of the dish and cook for a remaining 15 minutes. The vegetables should be tender, the rice should be cooked through. The internal temperature should read at least 170 degrees F.  Enjoy!



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Southwest Chicken Salad

Anyone craving some healthy food after the Easter and Passover holidays?  I personally ate waaaaaaaay too much.  I enjoyed some really good food which was nice, but I think I also gained five pounds which is not so nice!

Whenever I am feeling like I need to reign in my calorie intake I turn to salads.  They are filling and packed with healthy veggies and proteins.  I have dozens and dozens of terrific salad recipes that I would love to share.  This is one of my all time favorites.  It is colorful,  filling and full of flavor.  It is perfect as a main course salad for lunch or dinner.

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 – 20 Minutes
Yield: 4 servings

4 pieces of chicken breast
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 juicy limes, plus zest of half a lime
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for spraying
1 teaspoon honey
1 (5 ounce) box of mixed salad greens
1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in halves
4 scallions, chopped
1 haas avocado, pit removed and quartered
4 multi-grain tortillas
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine garlic, juice of one lime, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro in a bowl.  Add ½ teaspoon salt and cracked pepper.  Mix well and add chicken.  Marinate 5 to 10 minutes.

Heat a grill pan over medium heat and place chicken on the grill.  Cook the chicken until done – about  seven minutes each side depending on thickness.  Be sure chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when you cut into it.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then slice the chicken on the diagonal to make chicken strips.

While the chicken is cooking combine the juice of 1 juicy lime, the zest of half the lime, 2 tablespoons cilantro, 1 teaspoon of honey, ½ teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Spray the tortillas with olive oil (or brush lightly) and sprinkle with salt.  Add to grill pan and cook until crispy on both sides, turning once.  Cut into 4 wedges per tortilla.

While tortillas are cooking, arrange lettuce on a large platter.  Add the tomatoes, scallions and sprinkle the beans and corn on the salad.   Add the chicken and top with avocado, tortilla wedges and dressing.  Very pretty presentation!

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Lemon Herb Chicken

I would normally write a food related post this time of the week, but I had a request for this recipe.  To be honest it really is one of my favorites so I was excited to get it out there.  It also happens to be the first recipe that I ever wrote down.  I was in college living in my first apartment and doing a lot of experimenting in the kitchen.  I came up with this recipe and ended up making it at least once a week because it was so easy and delicious.  One of my closest friends was making dinner for her new boyfriend and asked me for a suggestion of something easy, yet impressive that she could make for him.  I thought of this recipe and wrote it down for her.  Fast forward a few years, and she is now married to the boyfriend and has two adorable children 🙂  The recipe has gone through some modifications over  the last decade, but it is pretty much still the same.  This is a time where I really do recommend using fresh herbs as opposed to dried – they really make a huge difference!

There is always a great debate in my house – boneless chicken breast or bone-in dark meat chicken.  I personally like the breast meat.  It is quick cooking, easy to chop up and throw into a stir fry and readily takes on the taste of whatever marinade or sauce you put on it.  I also do not love the taste of plain chicken and the breast has a mild flavor.  My husband only eats dark meat chicken on the bone.  For someone who does not know how to cook he is remarkably picky. He likes the tenderness of the bone in chicken (I admit chicken breast can easily dry out), and the fact that it really tastes like chicken.

The great thing about this recipe is that it can be made with either type of chicken or with a combination of both.  I mostly make a combination if I am serving it to guests as I find that people really are passionate about what cut of chicken they prefer.  Another really nice thing is that this is not very labor intensive.  After creating the marinade there is not much to do  – it just has to sit for a while and then put it in the oven.   The best part is that it looks pretty when you serve it and people think it took lot of effort.  It is also a great for Passover and leftovers are delicious!

 

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time:  20 – 45 Minutes

Yield: 6 – 8 servings

 

6 – 8 pieces of chicken breast or chicken thighs (can be a combination of both)

fresh herbs

2 tablespoons Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

3  lemons, 1 for juice, the rest sliced into rounds

3 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the herbs, olive oil, juice of one lemon, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Pour the mixture over the chicken and marinate anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour.  It is easiest to marinate in the dish you will be baking the chicken in (unless you are using a foil plan, then marinate in a zip loc bag and transfer to the foil pan when ready to cook).

Before baking place a lemon slice on top of each piece of chicken.  Cooking time will depend on what cut of chicken you are using.  If you are just cooking chicken breast it will be about 20 to 25 minutes depending on size of the breast.  If you are using chicken thighs on the bone then it will be about 35 to 45 minutes.  If you are doing a combination of chicken on the bone and plain breast make one tray of each so that you can take the breast out and can continue cooking the thighs.  Cook the chicken until the juices run clear when pierced with a knife and the internal temperature reads 165 degrees F.

Before serving drizzle with pan juices and lightly press baked lemon onto chicken so that the warm lemon juices run over each piece of chicken.

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Balsamic Chicken

Chicken breast may be one of the most boring ingredients.  On its own it is pretty tasteless and if overcooked it can be dry and tough.  Why then is it one of the most popular staples in American cooking?  I think it is because it is such a blank canvas.  It can take on the flavor of almost anything you put on it.  It is adaptable to any style of cooking and it is also a really good source of lean protein.

Because it is so readily available it is often a go-to for weeknight dinners.   It is no surprise then that people are always looking for good chicken recipes, me included.  I hope that this recipe will become something that you can keep in your back pocket for a really flavorful and easy dish. I used to make this so often when I lived in NYC that my roommate dubbed it “Micky Chicken.”  I would marinate 2-3 chicken breasts in the evening after work.  I would then cook them the next night so that half the work was done one night and the other half was done the next night, making for a very small time commitment on either night.  I would have dinner for that night and leftovers for either lunch or dinner the next night.   I used to also make this often for Friday night Shabbat dinners and it was always a hit.  It is delicious hot, warm or even cold.  My favorite way to eat it cold is to slice it and put it on top of a green salad.  As a side note, it is not necessary to marinate the chicken over night.  Fifteen minutes is even fine!

 

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Cook Time:  25 – 35 Minutes

Yield: 4 – 6 servings

 

1 ½ pounds chicken breast (can also be made with bone-in chicken or a combination of both)

½ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1 ½  tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Freshly cracked pepper

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together the vinegar and olive oil with mustard, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper.  Pour the mixture over chicken breast and marinate anywhere from 15 minutes to overnight.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and place it in a baking dish.  Bake uncovered for 25 to 35 minutes (depending on size), turning once after 15 minutes.

If you are making this recipe with bone-in chicken (such as chicken thighs) the cooking time will need to be longer, 40 to 45 minutes.  If you are doing a combination of bone-in and plain chicken breast then make one tray of each so that you can take out the chicken breast and still cook the chicken on the bone longer.

The chicken should read 165 degrees F internally on a kitchen thermometer and juices should run clear when pierced with a knife.

NOTE:  This is also great cooked on the grill!

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Not Your Grandma’s Chicken Soup

Unless your grandma’s family happens to come from Iraq and she grew up in India….  It has always amazed me that every culture has its own version of chicken soup.  Just the aroma of chicken soup cooking on the stove brings on a feeling of comfort and home.

There are a few reasons why I picked this soup to be my first recipe post.  First, this recipe is a perfect example of an Iraqi/Indian fusion recipe that has been passed down in my family throughout generations.  Second, it is January and cold (unless you live in FL like me) and perfect soup weather.  Lastly, I just did a cooking demonstration at my local synagogue and this was the recipe that I used.  It went over well there and I hope it does here too!

The cilantro stems in the recipe are not typical in the traditional soup.  However, in my Dad’s kitchen nothing goes to waste.  If you are going to use the leaves why not the stems?  The important thing to remember is to chop the stems extremely fine so that they melt into the soup.  The onions should be sliced very fine because you want them to melt as well.  It gives the soup base a great flavor.

Tumeric is a spice you will often see used in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes.  It has been known to have anti-bacterial properties and has been investigated for many other health benefits.  I always joke that between the ginger, garlic and turmeric, this chicken soup will cure anything that is wrong with you!

Prep Time: 15

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6 – 8 servings

Cooking Spray

0nion, ginger, garlic and cilantro stems

 

3-4 pounds chicken thighs, skin removed on the bone (you can use other chicken parts, but I like the dark meat for this recipe as it is less expensive and more flavorful than the white meat)

¼ cup fresh cilantro stems finely chopped and 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 large yellow onion, sliced fine

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons ginger, grated or minced

1 teaspoon ground tumeric

2 large carrots, cut into coins

zucchini, carrots and tomato

1 large (or 2 small) zucchini cut into coins

1 large tomato, cut into large chunks

1 large (or 2 small) Idaho potato, peeled and cut into small cubes

2 quarts water

Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

 

Coat the bottom of a large soup pot with nonstick cooking spray and heat on medium temperature.  Add onion, garlic, ginger, cilantro stems, tumeric and chicken .  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until onions soften and chicken gives off natural juices, about 5 minutes, stirring often.

chicken, onion, garlic, cilantro and tumeric

Add 1 to 2 cups water so that the chicken is just covered.  This will prevent it from sticking.  Cook for 15 to 20 minutes on low uncovered.

Add the carrots, zucchini, tomato, potato and stir.  Cook until vegetables just start to soften, about 5 minutes.  Fill pot with water until the chicken and vegetables are covered by at least 4 to 6 inches.  Again add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.  Stir well.

Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.  Skim the fat and foam off the top of the soup.  Let soup simmer on low covered for 40 more minutes.  The soup can cook longer if you would like.  Just do not put in the potatoes until 30 minutes before serving.  Stir in fresh cilantro leaves right before you plate the soup.

You may also use green beans, peas and/or cauliflower as additional vegetables if you wish.

The soup is typically served as is, with koobas (recipe to come!) or over rice.

The finished product

The finished product

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