Chicken Cacciatore

I just learned that cacciatore means hunter in Italian.  So this dish, is chicken made in the “hunter-style” with tomatoes, onions and herbs.  I served it here with creamy parmesan polenta.

I think that driving to the grocery store in my SUV and picking out a package of raw chicken thighs to bring home could be a form of hunting.  Okay, I know it’s a stretch, but none the less I managed to get meat into my kitchen and prepare it for my family, as a hunter would have done.  And boy was it tasty!

Start by browning the chicken thighs.

In the same pan, add the vegetable and cook until soft.

Add in the tomatoes, capers and wine.

Reduce and add the chicken back in to finish cooking and for all the flavors to marry.

I deeply implore you to try this with creamy polenta.  The flavors just sing together.  The creaminess helps to balance the acid of the tomatoes and capers in the chicken.  You will call this a new favorite, I just know it.

And when you serve this to your family,  make sure that they appreciate the fact that you “hunted” for the meat and prepared for them a delicious home-cooked meal with your bare hands!

Chicken Cacciatore

Adapted from Giada De Laurentis

 

8 chicken thighs

2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3/4 cup dry white wine

1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice

3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons drained capers

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves

 

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.

In a large heavy saute pan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. If all the chicken does not fit in the pan, saute it in 2 batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the bell peppers, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, capers and oregano. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce.

Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes for the breast pieces, and 20 minutes for the thighs.

Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken.

Blueberry Streusel Muffin

I was asked by a friend to bring blueberry muffins for a surprise baby shower for our friend, Elsa this past weekend.  The shower was so much fun and the food was wonderful too.  The hostesses made these Bacon, Egg and Toast Cups from Annie’s Eats and they were wonderful!  Of course, you can’t go wrong with bacon.

The also made french toast skewers with berries…….adorable, and tasty.

My blueberry muffins and fruit rounded out the shower brunch.

Although the muffins were great the next day at the shower, they were definitely at their prime just out of the oven.  The streusel topping was crunchy and the warm blueberry just oozed through the muffin to fill your mouth with berry goodness.  The lime zest caught the ladies by surprise and added a second dimension of flavor.  Overall it was a hit!!

Blueberry Streusel Muffins
From Ina Garten via Dreamy Dish

Makes 30 muffins

Note: Wash blueberries in a strainer under running water and pick out any stems and leaves.

  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk, shaken
  • ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (2 half-pints)

For the Streusel Topping:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 375°. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and blend with your hands. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, lemon zest, and eggs. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a fork, mixing just until blended. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Don’t over mix! With a standard (2 ¼-inch) ice-cream scoop or large spoon, scoop the batter into the prepared cups, filling them almost full.

For the topping, place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until the butter is in very small pieces. Pour into a bowl and rub with your fingers until crumbly.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the streusel on top of each muffin. Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.

 

Homemade Salsa

According to an old Seinfeld episode, salsa ranks #1 in America as the top condiment of choice, over ketchup.  I did not know this.  But, after tasting this homemade salsa, I can see why!

On this particular day that I made this refreshing salsa, I didn’t know that I was going to also be giving my kitchen counter tops a thorough cleaning.

Read on to find out how it all came about.

In your trusty food processor, add in chopped onions and fresh garlic.

Next pour in the cans of tomatoes.

Of course, salsa would not be salsa without jalapeno and lime.

Here’s where it got interesting.  Let’s play a game of I Spy.  Can you spot something wrong with this picture?

Have you found the lovely stream of pink fluid exiting my food processor?  If you’ve ever overfilled your food processor before, enough to fill your counter with a puddle of about 2 feet in diameter, please raise your hand.

Yeah, me too!

Picture me finally noticing the liquid all over the counters and scrambling around the kitchen to find a bowl big enough to dump the tomatoes into.  I lost about half of the tomato juice.

But, my kitchen counter tops got a really good cleaning that day!

Learn from my mistake and make sure you don’t overfill past the lovely line that the good people at Cuisinart put on the bowl.

Even with the little mishap with the food processor, the salsa came out amazingly!  The cold sweet tomatoes coupled with the spicy jalapeno and sour lime gave my tongue a lot to think about, in a good way.  Dipping a salty tortilla chip into the bowl and taking a bite transported me to my favorite Mexican Restaurant instantly.

I made enough to fill about 2 of these containers.

You will love the fresh taste of making your own salsa.  It definitely beats the stuff in the jar.  And using the salsa in the jar won’t help you clean your counter tops either! LOL

Restaurant Style Salsa

From The Pioneer Woman

 

1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice

2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies)

1/4 cup Chopped Onion

1 clove Garlic, Minced

1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin

1/4 teaspoon Sugar

1/4 teaspoon Salt

1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin

1/2 cup Cilantro (more To Taste!)

1/2 whole Lime Juice

 

Note: this is a very large batch.

Recommend using a 12-cup food processor, or you can process the ingredients in batches and then mix everything together in a large mixing bowl.

Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d like—I do about 10 to 15 pulses. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.

Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips or cheese nachos.