Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

Thanks to their distinctive smokey flavor, canned chipoltle peppers really bring this recipe to life, but they can be a little intimidating if you haven’t worked with them before.

map of MexicoThe chipotle pepper is not actually a pepper, but rather the process of smoking jalapeño peppers. Such process is said to have originated in the area surrounding Mexico City.

The chipotle pepper, once smoked and dried, tends to be brown and shriveled. It loses very little if any, of its heat or spiciness through the smoking process. It is enjoyed by many for its spiciness and the natural wood smoke taste that accompanies it.

You can remove some of the heat from a chipotle pepper by carefully cutting the pepper in half down the center and gently removing the seeds and membranes that hold the seeds to the inside of the pepper. There will still be a little heat, as the flesh of the fruit also contains capsaicin, the compound that makes chilies hot and spicy.

Be assured though, with the seeds removed, most of the heat is also removed.

A word of caution, if you choose to remove the seeds, be careful not to touch your eyes during the removal, as the pepper can be extremely irritating to the eyes and skin. If you want, just wear some gloves while removing the seeds.

Because of the chipotle pepper’s spiciness, only a small amount of the pepper needs to be used in a recipe, large or small to provide flavor without creating a dish that is too hot.

Freezing Canned Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce For Later Use

can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauceMost recipes call for a very small amount of the chipotle, which means you will end up with an almost full can when you finish. To get around this, remove the peppers from the can and pour all of the flavorful liquid into a food processor.

If you don’t have one, use a small glass bowl. Cut the peppers in half and scrape out and discard the seeds. The seeds pack a lot of heat, so keep some of them if you like extra spice.

Place the peppers in your food processor and pulse them until a paste is formed. If you don’t have a food processor, finely mince the peppers with a knife and add them to the bowl of reserved liquid. Stir to combine thoroughly.

Next, line a large plate with plastic wrap and scoop the pepper paste in 1 teaspoon measurements onto the plate, leaving enough space between them that they don’t run together. Place plate in the freezer to harden.

Once set, wrap the edges of the plastic wrap around the now-firm pepper paste portions and place in a freezer-safe bag and freeze. Pull out 1 or 2 teaspoon-sized portions and use in your favorite recipe that calls for a little heat.

Start small with the amount of chipoltle peppers you use. You can always add more if you like a little more heat.

Our featured recipe is Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings, and here is what you will need.

Ingredients

3 pounds chicken wings
2 teaspoons himalayan salt
2 teaspoons frsh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3-4 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 teasapoons from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

spicy chicken wingsLine a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Next add chicken wings to baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure wings are not touching.

Season wings with salt and pepper, then place in oven. Bake until skin is crisp, approximately 45 – 50 minutes.

About 20 minutes before the wings are done, add garlic and butter to a saucepan and heat over medium heat until garlic becomes translucent.

Reduce heat to low and add ginger, chipoltle peppers, honey, soy sauce and vinegar. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the liquid becomes syrupy.

Transfer the sauce to a glass bowl and add the cooked wings. Toss until coated and either serve immediately, or place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place under broiler for two minutes or until brown and bubbly. Serve with a side salad.

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Smoked Bacon And Ricotta Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Smoked Bacon And Ricotta Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

It looks as though bacon will always rule as king of the breakfast meats. Interesting enough, we don’t reach for bacon near enough to add great flavor and fat to other meals, like lunch or dinner. The addition of bacon to other dishes can be a good way to enjoy its smoked flavor.

Charcuterie - The Craft of Salting, Smoking & CuringDo you know the process of smoking bacon?

Chef Jeff Raycroft explains that homemade smoked bacon is a simple process. Jeff says the bacon should be hot smoked in a smoker that has reached an internal temperature of at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the smoker is ready, the bacon should be hung or placed on racks and smoked until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Afterward being smoked, the meat needs to be cooled and sliced.

If using charcoal in your smoker, add soaked wood chips directly on top of the charcoal then a water bath added above that to keep humidity up in the smoker which stops the meat from being dried out.

Chef Raycroft recommends the book, “Charcuterie – The Craft of Salting, Smoking & Curing” buy Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn. Link here to have a look inside the book.

Our featured recipe is Smoked Bacon And Ricotta Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts, and here is what you will need.

stuffing ingredients for chicken breasts2 tablespoons olive oil
4 6-oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons crumbled cooked smoked bacon – 1 slice of bacon = 1 tablespoon crumbled, cooked bacon
6 basil leaves, rolled and thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup balsamic vinegar

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

butterfly cut chicken breast seasoned Butterfly the chicken by running a sharp knife horizontally through the thickest part of each breast. Place one hand on top of the breast to stabilize while holding the knife parallel to the work surface while cutting. Do not cut all the way through.

preparing stuffed chicken breastsOpen the breast so both halves can lie flat. Season the exposed surface with salt and pepper, then add 1/4 of the ricotta cheese, crumbled smoked bacon, and sliced basil leaves to each breast.

Fold the breasts in half so the cheese mixture is surrounded by chicken breast on the bottom, back and top. Secure with long wooden toothpicks, if desired.

pan searing stuffed chicken breastsHeat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large oven-safe skillet. Once hot, add the stuffed chicken breasts to the pan to sear.

Once browned on the bottom, carefully turn each breast over and repeat on the other side. Season top and bottom with salt and pepper, if desired, during this process.

Place skillet in preheated oven and cook until an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted, approximately 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover until ready to serve.

Smoked Bacon And Ricotta Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts - close upA few minutes before removing the chicken from the oven, start making the balsamic glaze. Heat balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat.

Stir while heating until the vinegar is reduced to about 1/3 of its original volume. It will form a thick, syrupy consistency when it is ready.

To serve, place a stuffed chicken breast on each plate and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Pairs well with a mixed green salad or roasted vegetables.

Here are some ideas for roasted vegetables:

  1. Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Figs
  2. Citrus Herb Roasted Vegetables
  3. Excite Your Palate with Spice Roasted Vegetables

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Nashville’s Style – Hot Chicken

Nashville's Style  Hot Chicken

Nashville hot chicken is a local specialty in Nashville,Tennessee (USA). If you ever plan to visit Nashville, you can find prepared Hot Chicken while out and about at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken – Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack among other restaurants.

Hot Chicken is prepared using the breast, thigh, or wing of the bird, and are marinated in a water-based blend of seasonings, and flour. After the chicken pieces have been breaded and fried, a spicy hot sauce using cayenne pepper is drizzled over the chicken pieces. The hot chicken is served over slices of white bread with pickle chips.

Already mentioned, there are several restaurants in Nashville that serve up hot chicken. There is even a city-wide festival and competition commemorating the dish. Check it out here: Nashville Hot Chicken Coalition.

Here’s a easy Hot Chicken recipe, so you can give it a try.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into tenders

1 tablespoon freshly-ground black pepper

2 tablespoon kosher salt

Hot Chicken

Image Credit: Joe Buglewicz/The Bitter Southerner

Brine Mixture:

1 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoon hot sauce, such as Sriracha

Buttermilk Breading Mixture:

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk or whole milk

2 Tbsp. hot sauce

Seasoned Flour:

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon spanish paprika

½ teaspoon celery salt

½ teaspoon dried sage

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried marjoram

½ teaspoon onion flakes

Nashville Hot Chicken Sauce:

3 tablesppon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon garlic salt

½ cup vegetable oil for frying, such as refined coconut oil or avocado oil for high heat cooking

Directions

Sprinkle the tenders with salt and pepper.

Whisk buttermilk with hot sauce in a large bowl, then place the tenders in the bowl.

Cover and chill for two or more hours (or overnight).

Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce for buttermilk breading mixture in a large bowl.

Whisk all of the ingredients for the seasoned flour together in another large bowl.

Fit a deep pan with a lid, or a Dutch oven with a thermometer, and pour enough vegetable oil to measure 2 inches inside the pan.

Heat the oil over medium-high until the thermometer registers 325°F.

Remove the bowl of marinating tenders from the fridge, then take the tenders out of the bowl and pat them dry.

Working with 1 tender at a time, dredge in flour mixture, shake off excess, then dip in buttermilk mixture. Allow any excess to drip back into bowl. Dredge the tender again in flour mixture and place on a baking pan.

Place 3 to 4 tenders in the hot oil, one at a time.

Fry tenders, turning occasionally, until coating is golden brown and crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes. If you want, you can check the tender doneness by inserting a meat or instant thermometer into the tender; it should register 165°F.

Continue to fry your tenders in batches of 3 or 4, allowing the oil to return to 325°F between batches.

Place finished tenders on a tray lined with paper towels.

On the side, whisk cayenne, brown sugar, garlic salt, and paprika in a medium bowl; then whisk in ½ cup frying oil.

Arrange the finished tenders on a serving platter and drizzle with the spicy oil.

Serve with dill pickle chips and white bread.

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Article Credits:

Recipe adapted from: Wonder How To – Food Hacks 

Header Image Credit: Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

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How To Prepare Birria de Borrego

 

How To Prepare Birria de BorregoPreparing Birria de Borrego  can be considered a labor of love, as it takes more than three hours to prepare, and it is well worth it.

What is the difference between lamb and beef you may ask? Lamb tends to have less marbling than beef, and when you trim the fat around the edges after cooking, the meat ends up much leaner.

You ask what about the fat? Will to start, even though their are no studies that have linked saturated fat to heart disease or raising your cholesterol, you will be happy to know that how you prepare meat influences its healthiness. Grilling, broiling, and roasting, For example, meat that is grilled, broiled, or roasted tends to reduce fat, were as pan-frying will increase it.

Buying Your Lamb At Market

Organic standards help lower the risk of contaminated feed and organic lamb has higher nutrient quality. But to assure you are truly buying an organic raised animal, make sure that packaging say 100% grass-fed. However, remember that the word “organic” by itself does not guarantee a natural lifestyle for the lambs.

As long as a lamb is fed purely grass from a pasture it can have higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

Birria de Borrego on a serving platterIn Australia, where lamb is eaten frequently by both children and adults, recent studies have shown lamb to rank among the top omega-3 foods in the daily diet.

Grass-fed lamb has shown to average around 25% more omega-3 than grain fed lamb, including as much as 49% more alpha-linolenic acid.

The World’s Healthiest Foods (WHF) website used their nutritional profile of grass-fed lamb, and found on average that 100% grass fed lamb’s meat to have 40 milligrams of omega-3 per one ounce of roasted lamb loin.

WHF says that’s 50% of omega-3 found in an ounce of baked cod or broiled tuna, and 67% of the amount found in one ounce of sesame seeds.

Our featured recipe is a locally grown 100% grass-fed Birria de Borrego or Roasted Lamb, and here is what you will need.

By the way, if the area were you live doesn’t raise lamb, check out these websites…

www.localharvest.org

www.eatwild.com

They can help you find small local farms in your area, and both sites are searchable by zip code.

Preparing Birria de Borrego

2 pounds lamb roast

Dried Anchos with description6 ancho chilies, dried

3 chilies Negron, dried

1 ½ cups water

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon oregano

2 bay leaves

¼ teaspoon thyme

2 teaspoons wine vinegar

2 tablespoons avocado oil

8 tortillas – Link here for homemade recipe

Salsa Verde – optional

Guacamole – optional

Place lamb roast in a large pot with tight lid. Add 1 ½ cups of water, garlic, pepper, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, vinegar and bay leaves to the pot.

Bring the pot of lamb to a boil. Once the lamb is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and place the lid over the pot. Simmer for two hours until the lamb meat comes off the bone easily with a fork. Remove pot from heat.

Allow to cool some, then remove the lamb from the pot and place on a plate or cutting board. Shred the lamb with a fork and cut with a knife if necessary. Salt to taste and place shredded meat into a large pot.

Cut the stem off the chilies and slit them lengthwise. Remove the seeds and place the chilies in a small saucepan with two cups of water. Bring the chilies to a boil and boil for two minutes or until the chilies are tender. Remove chilies from the water and chop coarsely.

Birria de Borrego - plated

Add the chopped chilies to the lamb and mix thoroughly. Reheat the lamb before serving. Serve on tortillas with salsa or guacamole topped with cilantro. A great meal for your Cino de Mayo celebration this May 5th, 2016.

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Enhance Your Chicken Breasts With These Simple Maneuvers

Raw chicken breast with peppers and salad leaves on the wood backgroundChicken breasts, particularly boneless, skinless breasts, are the healthiest cut of chicken, but they can also be dry and flavorless if not prepared right. You might say that cooking chicken breasts is easy, and we agree. But getting them moist and tender all the time can be a problem.

No matter which cooking method you use, that is grilling, baking, or pan cooking them, there are two important steps you should always take.

Never Wash Or Rinse Your Meat With Water

On Food and Cooking by Harold McGeeAuthor Harold McGee in his book – “On Food and Cookingexplains that excess moisture on meat‘s surface thwarts the Maillard reaction, which is a chemical process that occurs when carbohydrate molecules react with amino acids, yielding that gives that brown color to the meat along with rich, complex flavors.

McGee says the Maillard reaction begins at approximately 230 degrees Fahrenheit, were as water turns to vapor at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, and washing the meat with water before cooking it simply won’t get hot enough to allow the Maillard reaction to occur.

That means a washed piece of meat won’t start browning until all the water is cooked off, and by that time your chicken breast may already be well done.

Marinating Your Meat

slits cut into chicken breastsMaking small crosswise slits on chicken breast no only helps the marinade penetrate the meat, which disperses the marinaded flavor throughout the meat and not just on the surface, but also helps the chicken cook evenly.

Also most marinades call for vinegar, which is a great meat tenderizer as well as cooking meat evenly and juicy.

Pound Chicken Breasts To An Even Thickness Before Cooking Them

This is a very important process to perform as each piece of chicken breast can be a different thickness or size. If you don’t pound them out, some breasts will cook faster than others, leaving the thinner breasts dried out, while the thicker ones can be under cooked.

Pounding also tenderizes the meat, making the meat more tender.

Tools For Tenderizing

meat tenderizer

Image credit: William-Sonoma

When it comes to pounding your chicken breasts for an evenly cooked meat as well as tender and juicy, you can use a meat mallet.

But if you don;t have one you can also use a rolling pin, the back of a skillet or even the bottom of a mason jar.

Wrap the breasts in plastic wrap or wax paper, and pound until all the pieces are even in thickness, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness is ideal, but the important part is making sure the width is as uniform as possible.

Here are some of our favorite chicken breast recipes from our kitchen to yours.

Greek Grilled Chicken

Bacon Wrapped Garlic Lemon Stuffed Chicken Breast

Italian Five Cheese Chicken Roll Ups

Spanish Chicken Salad

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Honey Mustard Salmon Salad

Honey Mustard Salmon Salad on a green platter with gluten free crackers Rich salmon with slightly sweet garlic mustard, and local raw honey. There’s crunchy vegetables included that makes this fresh salad a more flavorful one than tuna salad. Children, teens, and adults alike will enjoy it on some crackers, or as a sandwich. We enjoyed our “Honey Mustard Salmon Salad” with some crackers made from red, yellow, and green lentil flour.

Wild caught salmon is in season from April through November, during which time you can find it fresh at your local markets and it is the least expensive. Wild salmon not only provides exceptional flavor and nutrition found in few other foods, but is easy to prepare and enjoyed even by those who are not always fond of fish (WHF).

Skinning and Boning A Salmon Fillet

Though we used canned salmon from The Whole Foods Market, you can use fresh cooked salmon as well.

If you happen to buy some with the skin still on and you wish to remove it and not really sure how to do it, just follow these instructions from The World’s Healthiest Foods – Salmon Bones and Skin Removed.

salmon-skinned-deboned

GIF credit: Worlds Healthiest Foods

Start with a sharp knife and hold one edge of the filet with your fingers and slide the knife between the skin and meat at about a 45° angle facing the edge of the blade toward the skin.

Position the blade so that the fish is in the middle. Do not move your knife back and forth, but rather move the salmon back and forth on your knife blade holding the skin.

Keep the edge of  the knifes blade at an angle so it cuts between the meat and skin without cutting through the skin.

To remove the bones, run your fingers over the top of the fish too find a line of bones. Remove them one at a time with a pair of tweezers, pliers, or your fingers. Pull them out going with the grain of the fish so they slide out without tearing the meat.

It takes some practice, but with a sharp knife it can actually be quite easy.

Bears Enjoy Salmon To

We would say that this recipe has been kitchen tested, and is budget friendly. Here is what you will need to prepare your own Honey Mustard Salmon Salad.

4 tablespoons sweet garlic mustard (found at Whole foods Market)

4 tablespoons plain yogurt (we used a homemade yogurt)

2 tablespoons local raw honey

2 – 6 ounce cans Alaskan Wild Salmon, drained

1 small red bell pepper, diced

2 celery stalks, sliced thin

1/2 cup white onion, diced

ingredients for Honey Mustard Salmon SaladIn a large bowl, mix together mustard, yogurt, and honey. Add salmon, red bell pepper, celery, and onion.

mixing in honey - Honey Mustard Salmon SaladStir together until mixed.

Honey Mustard Salmon Salad - close upPlace the Honey Mustard Salmon Salad in the center of a serving platter and surround the fish mixture with your favorite crackers, and serve.

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Rotisserie Chicken Baguette Sandwich With Basil

Rotisserie Chicken baguetteRotisserie chicken sold at Costco and other markets for $4.99 is a great deal. They say that they are actually losing money by doing that, but it gets you in the warehouse or store to by commodities, like food, clothing and other products that they sell. So their loss is made up in the other things that you buy.

Cooking 3 rotisserie chicken on the grill with Charcoal and Briquettes Most are familiar with what a rotisserie chicken is.

For those who are not familiar, the chicken is skewered on a spit or a long solid rod while it is being cooked over an open fire, such as in a fireplace or over a campfire, or roasted in a rotisserie oven.

The rotation of the chicken on the spit cooks the meat evenly in its own juices and allows easy access for continuous self-basting.

Rotisserie cooking was popular in medieval times and in early modern kitchens that had a fire place.

Some fresh baguettes in the basket at the bakery The loaf of baguette that we used is a long thin loaf of French bread.

The history of the baguette according to Wikipedia is that the word “baguette” was not used to refer to a type of bread until the 1920’s, but what we know as a baguette today, may have existed well before then.

The word is derived from the Italian bacchetta which simply means “wand” or “baton.”

Our featured recipe is a delicious meal that can be ready in 20 minutes from start to finish.

Here is what you will need for your – Rotisserie Chicken Baguette Sandwich With Basil

1 (1 lb) loaf baguette

1 (18 oz) bottle bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (We use BBQ sauces from Whole Foods that do not have soy or canola oil in them)

2 cups cooked and shredded Rotisserie chicken

1/3 cup chopped red onion

3-4 fresh torn basil leaves

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cut baguette loaf in half lengthwise.

Pour 1 cup each of BBQ sauce on top of both halves of bread.

Next, place 1 cup of shredded rotisserie chicken onto each baguette half.

Evenly sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella cheese onto each of the baguette halves.

Evenly sprinkle chopped onion over the cheese between the two baguette halves.

Place the two baguette halves on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese has melted and bread is heated through.

Rotisserie Chicken baguetteSprinkle some torn basil leaves over the tops of both baguette halves. Note: do not tear basil leaves until you are ready to place them over the prepared cooked sandwich.

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