Tag Archives: garlic

Smokey Grilled Chicken Thighs with Sage and Other Good Things

Chicken thighs are wonderful. Meaty, juicy and the perfect protein for the grill. While the boneless/skinless variety is everyone’s darling, the bone in/skin on version is not without its charms. The bone adds flavor and the skin, when carefully trimmed provides a nice little blanket of succulent juice.

These thighs come to the table like a little present. There’s a tasty surprise under the skin, herbs led by fresh sage leaves, garlic and olive oil. The grill provides a nice smokey flavor thanks to that skin and olive oil. In this case a small (very small) grill fire is a good thing. Where there is fire there will be smoke. Where there is smoke there will be flavor.

Figure on two thighs per person. My package had six and there were three of us eating so the equation worked. Just multiply and divide, or let the serving adjustment feature on this recipe do the thinking for you.

This went wonderfully with a Potato and Green Bean Salad the I will share with you soon. As the holiday weekend stretches before us, give this recipe a try. It’s perfect for an intimate gathering, but can easily adapt to feed a crowd.

Smokey Sage Grilled Chicken Thighs
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These little bundles of goodness make a wonderful dinner.
Servings
3
Servings
3
Smokey Sage Grilled Chicken Thighs
Print Recipe
These little bundles of goodness make a wonderful dinner.
Servings
3
Servings
3
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Mix the garlic, herb blend, and olive oil together in a small bowl. Allow to sit for an hour or so before assembling the chicken thighs. This allows the herbs to soak up the olive oil and become almost a paste.
  2. Trim the chicken thighs of extra fat and skin. They should have a nice little cap of skin when you're finished.
  3. Carefully loosen the skin and gently pull it aside. Leave one edge of skin connected to the meat.
  4. Divide the garlic herb paste evenly between the thighs. Spread it ever so gently on the flesh of the thighs.
  5. Place two sage leaves on each f the thighs and carefully pull the skin back in place.
  6. Use kitchen twine to tie up the thighs. I did this like ribbon on a package; crossing the twine on top and knotting it on the bottom.
  7. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and place skin side up on a medium hot grill. Allow to cook 7 -9 minutes with the lid down until the bottom is nicely browned.
  8. Carefully turn the thighs skin side down. Close the lid and allow to cook for 5 minutes or so. Check the thighs at this point. Lifting the lid should cause a little fire. Blow it out and re-cover the grill. You've just set up your smoker.
  9. Let the chicken continue to cook/smoke for another 5 minutes or until they are cooked through (internal temperature should be 165 degrees).
  10. Remove from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut the strings and plate the chicken.
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Love, Mama D

 

Mama D’s New Toy and Zucchini Pasta

When is zucchini not zucchini?Zucchini1

I don’t know, when is zucchini not zucchini?…. Why when it is turned into pasta.

ZucchiniNoodles2Vegetable pasta has become all the rage. It answers a need on many levels. Looking for gluten-free pasta that doesn’t stick to the roof of your mouth? Veggie pasta. Watching your carbs vegetti3especially those “evil” ones found in real pasta? Yup, veggie pasta fills the bill again. Want to do something different with vegetables? You guessed it, veggie pasta. Looking for a new kitchen toy? One that can help you create this new culinary sensation? There’s a tool for that. The Veggetti. Actually there are several tools that can create this new darling of the food world. There are “spiralizers” that can turn virtually anything into pasta simply by impaling your food of choice on the machine and turning the crank.They range in price from $20.00 to upwards of $50.00. The Veggetti comes in at $15.00 ( but I got mine for $10 at Ross). That is quite a price difference. To be honest, there are some foods that this little gem has a hard time with. My first attempt at sweet potato pasta was less than successful, but as I continue to play with it, I’m learning that size and shape do matter. Still for the price and the size (which actually fits in a drawer since shelf space in my kitchen is at a premium), it’s darned brilliant.DIGITAL CAMERA

DIGITAL CAMERAI decided to put it to use in recreating a pasta dish that is near and dear to my heart. Linguine with Salami and Zucchini. Laden with cream and salami along with a generous amount of pasta, it is a tight fit (think skinny jeans) for my healthier cooking style. While I didn’t give up everything; there’s still some salami, a little pasta and I just had to include some cream, it is a lighter version of the dish.DIGITAL CAMERA

Two good size zucchini yielded a generous 4 cups of pasta. I added about 3 ounces each of pasta and salami. I used a mixture of heavy cream and fat-free half & half. There was plenty of garlic and a bit of olive oil. This recipe feeds two or three quite nicely.DIGITAL CAMERAThe salami, zucchini and garlic sizzled together in a large fry pan that was lightly coated with olive oil.DIGITAL CAMERAThe pasta was cooked just shy of al dente.

DIGITAL CAMERAThe cream/half & half mixture was added along with the pasta.

DIGITAL CAMERAEverything bubbled together for a few minutes until it was perfect. A generous dose of fresh ground pepper and a hint of grated Parmesan and it was ready to eat.DIGITAL CAMERA

Zucchini Pasta with Salami and Pasta
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Servings
3
Servings
3
Zucchini Pasta with Salami and Pasta
Print Recipe
Servings
3
Servings
3
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until just a minute shy of al dente. Drain and set aside. While the pasta is cooking prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Using a Veggetti or spiralizer, turn the zucchini into thin ribbons.
  3. Stack the salami slices and cut into very thin strips.
  4. Heat a large fry pan. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Combine the zucchini, salami and garlic in the pan and cook stirring occasionally 5 - 7 minutes. The zucchini should be tender, the salami should be a little frizzled, and the garlic should smell wonderful.
  5. Add the cream and half & half to the pan and continue to cook another 5 minutes or so. The sauce should thicken slightly.
  6. Add the cooked pasta and cook until the pasta is heated through and the mixture is bubbly and fragrant.
  7. Add the freshly ground pepper to taste and spoon into individual pasta bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired, and serve.
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I’m sure I’ll be creating more “pastas” with my Veggetti. The lighter dishes that result are fun to make and eat. They are also healthier and definitely not light on the love.

 

Stock in a Box on Steroids

Let me start by saying that homemade stock is the best. It is easy to make and freezes beautifully. I will also say that nothing compares with the flavor of homemade stock. You are in complete control of salt and all the other flavors that you choose to add.

That being said, I admit that I use “Stock in a Box” from time to time. It is convenient and once you find a brand that you like and that doesn’t offend your healthy sensibilities too much, it is great for quick soups and sauces. I’ve even been known to saute in it.

I was getting ready to make some soup the other day and was out of my homemade stock. The soup, which was going to be dinner couldn’t wait for me to make scratch stock, so I went to the pantry and found a box of chicken stock. Feeling somewhat adventurous, I decided to play with it a bit.

I decided it needed to be bulked up some so I added a leek, some garlic, and fresh herbs.DIGITAL CAMERAI used my fool-proof method for cleaning leeks. Leeks are notoriously sandy and the sand loves to settle in the layers of the leek where it can create an unpleasant taste and texture experience.

DIGITAL CAMERA You can diligently rinse them under running water while prying the layers apart, but it’s been my experience that a few errant grains will remain.

This technique eliminates that. Once you have cut off the root end and the tougher dark green ends you can slice the leeks to suit the recipe you are creating.DIGITAL CAMERADrop the slices into a bowl of cold water and let them float there for 5 minutes or so.DIGITAL CAMERACarefully scoop out the leeks with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels. Dump out the water and marvel at the grit and sand in the bottom of the bowl that now will not ruin your creation.

Once the leeks were clean, I added them to a soup pot along with some garlic and herb sprigs. I let them all “sweat it out” for a bit in some olive oil before I added the stock.DIGITAL CAMERAI let everything simmer for 45 minutes or so until the stock smelled incredible. The sprigs of rosemary and thyme that I used came out clean as the proverbial whistle. I diligently fished them out until I had the same number of stems that I started out with.DIGITAL CAMERA This isn’t me being anal, it is saving my immersion blender from “choking” on the woody stems. Experience is a wonderful teacher…DIGITAL CAMERAThe stock that resulted was a bulked up and richer version of what came out of the box. It was a perfect addition to my soup. In fact, this may become a new Mama D standard when using stock in a box. I used chicken stock, but it would work equally as well with vegetable stock. You could even use this technique with homemade stock to give it a little more muscle. With Thanksgiving only days away, this could be a wonderful base for your gravy.

Stock in a Box on Steroids
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Stock in a Box on Steroids
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Chop off the root and and the dark green top of the leek. Cut it in half lengthwise then slice thinly into half moons. Place the pieces in a bowl of cold water and let them sit for 5 - 10 minutes without disturbing them. Carefully scoop the pieces out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium low heat. Add the leeks, garlic and herb sprigs (count them). Sweat until the leeks are very soft and the garlic is fragrant.
  3. Pour in the box of stock and stir to combine everything. Bring to a boil. reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or so. The stock should smell wonderful and the herb stems should be bare of their leaves.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and fish out the herb stems. Make sure you have the same number of stems you put in (your immersion blender will thank you).
  5. Using an immersion blender process the stock until it is smooth (how smooth is up to you and there will be some herb flecks)
  6. Your "bulked up" stock is ready to use in your recipe.
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DIGITAL CAMERA

Whatever techniques and ingredients you use in your cooking, the most important thing to add is love. There’s a place for short cuts and convenience, even in Mama D’s Kitchen.