Chicken Biryani

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Cup Dry Basmati Rice
  • 2 TB Vegetable Oil
  • 1-2 Onion (Sliced)
  • 1 TB Water
  • 1-2 lbs Chicken
  • 1 Cup Plain Yogurt
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • Salt
  • Biryani Masala (spice mix)
  • Lemon Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Boil or steam rice until almost done. Put on side.
  2. Add oil to a pan and heat it. Add onions and fry till they turn golden.
  3. Add a small amount of water. Add chicken and fry till the color slightly changes to pale.
  4. When tender add one cup of plain yogurt. Mix well add ½ cup of water. Cook another 10 minutes. Add salt to taste.
  5. Add biriyani masala. Add lemon pepper to taste. Simmer about 10 minutes.
  6. Add rice and mix well. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. You are done.

Chicken Piccata

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Quick and easy. That’s right. Any dish where you pound a piece of meat flat and it cooks in 6 minutes is quick. That’s why if I’m in a hurry and the fam needs some dinner, I’m going with schnitzel or piccata. This version is quick and simple. If you want to go nuts an add cream to your sauce, ok, but it’s not needed.

Chicken Piccata

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 x 6 oz Chicken Breast Halves
  • 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 TB Butter
  • 1 TB Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Dry White Wine (Pinot Grigio)
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice (fresh squeezed if possible)
  • 2 TB Capers
  • 2 tsp Fresh Minced Garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 cups hot cooked Spaghetti
  • 2 TB chopped fresh Parsley (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pound chicken to 1/2 inch thickness. Salt and pepper both sides. Dredge each side in flour, shake off excess.
  2. Repeat step 1 if chicken isn’t thin enough (I had to when I realized my chicken could be thinner). I wrapped it back up in plastic wrap, pounded it again, added more salt and pepper and re-dredged.
  3. Heat butter and oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Cooke 3 minutes on each side or until browned. If pan gets dry add more oil. Cook in batches if necessary. Remove chicken and keep warm.
  4. Add wine, lemon juice, capers, and garlic. Scrape and loosen brown bits on bottom of pan. Cooke for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper.
  5. Top the chicken and/or pasta with the pan sauce. Serve with a vegetable.

Italian Bean Soup

There are times when you ask yourself: what should I eat tonight? Eat whatever sounds good and tastes good to you. This is a dish I ate growing up that I had sometimes get a craving for. It’s easy to make, and a batch can feed a family for days. This simple take on Italian bean soup features zucchini, ham and of course, Cannellini (white kidney beans) – the famous legume of Tuscany.

Take the recipe as a guide that you can tailor to your own palate. Sausage or chicken would work fine instead of ham. You can add spinach, garlic, Parmesan and more spice if you like. My basic rendition here is how it went down for me.

Step 1 is basically food prep. Get everything chopped and ready to be sauteed.

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Slice carrot and zucchini, dice celery, mash cannellini, chop the onion, cube the ham, heat up some oil, flavor attack – bam!

Add a half tablespoon of olive oil, and brown the cubed ham.

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Take that out. Add another one and a half tablespoons of olive oil. Then add onion, celery, zucchini, and carrot along with dried basil and fresh ground black pepper.

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Let the vegetables soften for about 15 minutes. Add a little bit of water if it gets too hot/starts to burn. Bring the ham back to the party and add stewed tomatoes, broth, beans, and 2 cups of water.20170216_012121 20170216_012223 20170216_012525 20170216_014750

Now the secret ingredient… Parmesan Rind. Yes, add the rind from a chunk of Parmesan cheese. This is how this dish gets away with not adding salt. Although, you can of course add salt to taste or add grated Parmesan cheese, but try boiling it with the rind. It won’t hurt unless you have a milk allergy.

Italian Bean Soup with Zucchini and Ham

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 to 1/2 lb cooked ham
  • 2 celery stalks – diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 carrots sliced – (about 1 cup)
  • 1 onion chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 zucchini sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 14oz cans white kidney beans
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 14-16 oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 13-14 oz can chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • chopped spinach (optional)
  • parmesan cheese rind or grated parm (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut ham into 1/2 inch cubes or pieces. Dice/Slice vegetables.
  2. Remove 1 1/2 cup white beans to bowl; mash.
  3. In large pot add 1/2 TB olive oil and brown ham. Remove ham and add 1 1/2 TB olive oil then onion, zucchini, celery, carrots, basil and pepper. Cook about 15 minutes until soft. If vegetables start to burn or are cooking too quickly, add a small amount of water as needed.
  4. Stir in stewed tomatoes, broth, spinach (if using), mashed white beans, parmesan rind and 2 cups of water. Heat to boiling. Simmer 15 minutes. Stir in beans. Enjoy.