Tag Archives: Chicken

Greek Couscous Salad with Roasted Chicken

Good lord I love couscous. Perhaps as much as I love its long-legged cousin, pasta. A simple vehicle for great flavors and seasonings. My friend Krissy recently transformed couscous into a delicious Greek-inspired salad that I have since made twice and call it my favorite fresh hot-weather meal. Because when it’s in the 90s, with 90% humidity, you just want something that can be served chilled. With a tall glass of iced tea or white wine.

Nothing satisfies more than crisp cucumber, juicy tomato, sweet basil, crumbly feta and the crunch of spring onions.

I found these cool purple spring onions at the farmers’ market, and they tasted a bit sharper than a shallot, but the greens were like scallions.

Really, any onion will do. Krissy made hers with store-bought rotisserie chicken, which is wonderful. I, however, was feeling cheap, so I roasted my own chicken.

Please see this recipe as just a loose representation of something I created adding a bit of this and a splash of that. Go on, do the same!

Greek Couscous Salad with Roasted Chicken

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  • 2 or 3 split chicken breasts, with skin (you’ll have leftovers, so just roast all of it)
  • EVOO
  • Kosher salt, pepper
  • Cooked couscous (made using 1 c. uncooked couscous, but made with chicken stock instead of water – follow package instructions)
  • 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 small cucumber or half large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1/3 c. sliced red onion, shallot or spring onions
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 c. chopped basil leaves
  • 1/4 c. EVOO, whisked with 4 T fresh lemon juice (1-2 lemons) and pinch S&P.

Preheat oven to 425 and line baking sheet with foil. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast until skins are crispy and chicken is just cooked through, roughly 30 min (gah! I didn’t pay attention to the time! I just waited until I could smell it and the skin was golden, then I took it out and sliced into a thick portion, revealing clear juices and tender meat. Perfect!).

Meanwhile, prep all your veggies and cook the couscous. Add cucumber, tomato, onion, basil and feta to a medium bowl. Pour vinaigrette over and set aside.

When couscous has cooled to room temperature, add it to the vegetable mixture and toss to incorporate (hot couscous will melt the feta).

When chicken is done, allow to cool 15-20 min., then slice away from bone and into chunks. To serve, spoon couscous salad onto plates, then top with chicken. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, few cracks of pepper and a sprinkling of flaked sea salt.

This is so delicious. All the different textures scream SUMMER! We ate ours outside on the newly beautified front patio, just before the hot winds blew in a thunder storm.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

This classic French dish is traditionally made with a whole chicken and lots and lots of time. But my friends at Cook’s Illustrated created a streamlined version that is my new favorite chicken dish.

You start by brining the chicken, ensuring that it is well seasoned and juicy (you will thank me). Then you roast a ton of  garlic with shallots. Next, you sear the chicken and then add it to the garlic mixture along with some fresh herbs.

The result is a wildly flavorful dish, with crispy-skinned chicken that is juicy and tender, and a rich and creamy sauce full of buttery garlic cloves and caramelized shallots. I mean, you could eat a whole loaf of bread just sopping up the juices. That good! The wine does something brilliant and the fresh herbs … ahhhh.

Don’t worry about being overpowered by the garlic. The roasting method, and later simmering, removes the hot bite and renders it soft and smooth and sweet. You’ll love it.

I’ve adapted it from Cook’s Illustrated, making it even easier for the home cook.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic


  • Salt
  • One 3.5-4 pound chicken, butchered (or, as I did, buy two split chicken breasts, 4 drumsticks and 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs – cheaper than a whole organic chicken at Whole Foods and you don’t have to cut up a whole bird!)
  • Ground black pepper
  • 3 medium heads of garlic, outer paper skins removed, cloves separated but unpeeled
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 3/4 c. dry white wine
  • 3/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf

Preheat oven to 400. Dissolve 1/4 c. salt in 2 quarts of water (8 c.) in large container. Submerge chicken in the brine, cover and refrigerate 30 min. Remove chicken from brine, rinse, pat dry. Season both sides with pepper.

While the chicken brines, roast the garlic. My herb garden is growing like crazy so I was happy to snip some thyme and rosemary for this dish.

Combine garlic, shallots, 2 tsp EVOO, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a pie plate. Cover tightly with foil and roast until softened and beginning to brown, about 30 min., shaking the pan once halfway through. Uncover, stir and continue to roast, uncovered until browned and fully tender, 10 min. more, stirring once or twice. Remove from oven and increase oven temp to 450. The smell of the roasting garlic and shallots is intoxicating!

Heat remaining 1 tsp EVOO in large oven-safe skillet over medium-high. Brown chicken, skin side down, until golden, 5 min. Flip and brown the second side (do in batches if you are slim on room). Transfer to large plate and pour off the fat from the skillet. Off the heat, add the wine, chicken broth, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf to skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Set skillet over medium heat, add garlic mixture and return the chicken, skin side up, nestling on top of the garlic cloves. Place skillet in oven and roast until cooked through, 160-165 degrees. Remove from oven.

If your chicken isn’t nicely toasted on top, you can quickly broil it at this point, but I found that my chicken got TOO dark, so use your judgment. Next time, I won’t broil.

Cook’s Illustrated asks you then to go through a whole additional process of straining the juices, but I say just pour everything over the chicken when you serve.

Squeeze out the soft garlic cloves and spread them on a crusty baguette as you eat – it’s simply wonderful.

A wonderful dish to entertain with, as I probably will next time!

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Chicken and Dumplings

Whenever I think of chicken and dumpling soup, I think of a round and rosy-cheeked grandmother wearing a big white apron and a permanent smile. It must be the simmering chicken broth that makes me think of warm kitchens. Broth rolling with bubbles of carrots, celery, onion and garlic with thick shreds of chicken all under spoonfuls of dough bobbing on top.

Not to be obnoxious, but this was the most home-made of any soup I’ve created. But it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to use chicken and potatoes from a lemon-garlic roast bird you made earlier in the week, or use chicken stock made from roasted chicken bones. But we both know it’s better when you’ve invested the time, and love, into the dish.

I jazzed up my broth with cinnamon, nutmeg and citrus. I know it sounds weird, but those additions give it a unique warmth. My mom actually gave me the dumpling recipe, which uses buttermilk (something I had left over in the fridge), so they were extra soft and tangy.

I highly recommend this soup on a cold day – better than regular old chicken noodle.

Chicken and Dumplings


  • 1/3 c. chopped celery hearts
  • 1/3 c. chopped peeled carrots
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 qt. (2 boxes) chicken stock you’ve made with lemon, parsley, thyme and bay (or use the boxed variety and add the aromatics to the stock as it simmers)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 grates fresh nutmeg
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1-2 c. shredded chicken (or 1 lb. raw chicken)
  • EVOO
  • S&P
  • Handful cilantro, chopped

Heat 1 T of EVOO in soup pot over medium until hot. Add celery, carrots, onion and garlic. Stir 4-5 min. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer (this is where you’d add the aromatics if you didn’t make your own stock). Add the shredded chicken, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon and reduce to simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, make dumplings:

Mix 1 c. flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt in a medium bowl. Cut in 2 T chilled butter (I actually forgot this step but it was still good – go figure!) until it looks like coarse meal. Add 1/2 c. buttermilk and mix until wet ball comes together ( I just used a wooden spoon), adding a dash more buttermilk, if needed.

Drop dough into soup by rounded tablespoons. Simmer uncovered 10 min., then cover and simmer 10 more minutes. Meanwhile, stir 3 T flour into 1/4 c. milk until smooth. When dumplings are done, whisk in milk/flour mixture until broth thickens, about 1 min.

Spoon into bowls and top with chopped cilantro.

Yum! Does’t it look kind of like matzo ball soup?

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Mardi Gras Jambalaya

I don’t normally celebrate Mardi Gras, unless it’s as an excuse to eat cakes with plastic babies inside.

This year, I attended a dinner party where everyone brought a different Mardi Gras-themed dish. We had “King’s Cake,” dirty rice, gumbo and my shrimp-andouille-chicken jambalaya.

Having never made jambalaya before, I expected it to be more like a thick stew or gumbo. However, it was lighter in color and more of a rice-stew, wonderfully spicy and full of a complexity of flavors that kicked me in the pants. Totally makes up for the fact that it took all day to prepare, created a huge mess and almost made me lose my mind. Honestly, all the searing, then browning, then sweating, then simmering, then skimming, then shredding … it seemed impossible that I could make this ahead and bring it to the party.

But the results, and the amount of leftovers, made it worth everything (and I mean that). Even the green and red bell pepper added a good flavor, but didn’t make me gag (I hate those things). Emeril wrote the recipe well, adding the shrimp just at the end, when you’ve taken it off the heat, so they slowly cook through and are just perfect. You can smell them mixing with the other rich flavors, but it’s not overpowering or fishy.

My only regret is the rice. I played with the portions a bit to fit in my not-gigantic Dutch oven, so the rice didn’t cook perfectly. But that’s more of a texture thing.

I highly recommend making your own “Essence,” I will definitely be using this bold spice mix on other things.

Here it is, adapted from Emeril Lagasse,

Mardi Gras Jambalaya


  • 5-pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs or thighs/legs (he used duck)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, diced
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery hearts
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons Emeril’s Original Essence, recipe follows
  • Two 28-oz. cans peeled whole tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 3 bay leaves, fresh or dried
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1-2 quarts low-sodium chicken stock (or water, if you run out) – just use what fits in your pot
  • 2 c. long-grain white rice (I adjusted, down from 3 c. If you get 2 qt stock in your pot, use the whole 3 c.)
  • 1 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup chopped green onions (green and white parts)
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Yield: 2/3 cup


Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear for 5 minutes. Turn and sear on the second side for 3 minutes. Remove from the pot and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Add the sausage to the fat in the pot and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes (there will be lots of liquid, just leave it). Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, cayenne, 1 tablespoon of the Essence, and black pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and bay leaves and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes.

Add the thyme, stock, and chicken (as much as you can fit in your pot – I had to stew my meat in batches). Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally for 50 minutes.

Remove chicken pieces from the jambalaya and cool slightly. Skim off the fat. Discard skin and bones and shred meat.

Add the rice and bring back up to a simmer, cover and cook until the rice is barely tender, about 10 minutes.

Return the chicken meat to the mixture. Season the shrimp with the remaining 1 tablespoon Essence. Add the shrimp to the pot, return to a simmer, and cover. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit, covered, for 15 minutes.

Add the green onions and parsley and stir gently. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Adjust the salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. Serve directly from the pot.

I know you’ll enjoy this, friends! xoxo

Momofuku-Inspired Chicken Wings

Anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows that I’m obsessed with Momofuku, the too-cool-for-school noodle bar/Crack Pie maker in NYC. So when my favorite Jaden from Steamy Kitchen posted her take on one of the ridiculously difficult Momofuku recipes, I started to sweat a little.

And then I made them.

These are way healthier than the fried version of chicken wings, but they are still crispy and juicy and full of powerful flavors. We grilled the chicken wings instead of baking them, which added a lot of additional smokiness. We also served the sauce along the side, for extra dipping.

These Asian-inspired chicken wings are tossed in a simple ginger-chili-garlic-soy-sesame concoction. I believe that few things taste bad with that flavor combo.

I lost a piece of my finger for these Super Bowl snacks…

Momofuku-Inspired Chicken Wings (from Steamy Kitchen)


  • 3 pounds chicken wings, separated at the joints, tips removed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger (or grated)
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chili pepper (I used chili flakes)
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola, vegetable or grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil (I used toasted sesame oil)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Cilantro, for garnish

Get your grill hot, then place oiled chicken wings on it, turning as they brown, until cooked through (4-5 min. per side – depending on grill).

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl (large enough to fit all of the wings) and set aside.

When wings are done, toss them in the vinaigrette to coat.

To serve, sprinkle with cilantro (or parsley) and plate with a side dish of the sauce. Finger-licking good, friends! xoxo

Best breakfast in Winston-Salem – Breakfast of Course

Winston-Salem has a wealth of tasty Southern-foodie restaurants, and my favorites are the ones that serve brunch (brunch is a fever that the NW hasn’t caught yet). One thing I like about the Southern soul food trend is the new twists on old classics, like fried chicken and waffles.

I’ve been to Breakfast of Course a number of times, but never saw the chicken-and-waffles meal as a “for me” item (to use ad-speak). But then I recently read the description – spiced waffles sandwiching a lightly breaded and pan-fried chicken cutlet, with real Grade A maple syrup on the side. I ordered it immediately, with a side of tomatoes just to get a vegetable in.

Y.U.M., folks. The chicken was so tender and smoky-savory and it was insane surrounded by the perfectly cooked waffle, which had hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. I drizzled a little bit of syrup on top and everything came together.

I highly recommend this dish next time you’re in the mood for some soul food that isn’t deep-fried. (Note: the owner came to our table and said this is one of her favorite dishes)

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Quick, easy Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin is one of those classic French dishes that I imagine would transport me to Paris, with Julia Child on my arm. We’d have a leisurely day picking out a nice plump bird, slab of smoky bacon and a hearty red wine, then spend the next 10 hours cooking it all together.

When I’m not jet-setting with my fantasies, I’m in a warm Southern kitchen with a checkered tea apron around my waist, seeing what my wooden spoon will cook up next. This streamlined Coq au Vin lacks the all-day cooking richness that the classic dish enjoys, but it still hits all the right flavor notes. Think bacon, onions and red wine all bubbling away in your skillet. The smell is wonderful and I enjoyed the festive purple color. A nice weeknight dinner – maybe I’ll tackle Julia on a Sunday.

Bon Appetit’s Quick & Easy Coq au Vin


  • 4 bacon slices, coarsely chopped
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
  • 8 ounces large crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, halved (Note: I omitted)
  • 8 large shallots, peeled, halved through root end
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine (such as Syrah)
  • 1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
  • 4 teaspoons all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 300°F. Sauté bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl.
Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon parsley. Add to drippings in skillet. Sauté until cooked through, about 6 minutes per side; transfer to pie dish (reserve skillet). Place in oven to keep warm.
Add mushrooms and shallots to skillet; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown, about 4 minutes. Add garlic; toss 10 seconds. Add wine, 1 1/4 cups broth, bacon, and 1 tablespoon parsley. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Boil 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place flour in small cup. Add 1/4 cup broth, stirring until smooth.
Add flour mixture to sauce. Cook until sauce thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Arrange chicken on platter; stir juices from pie dish into sauce and spoon over chicken. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.
Enjoy, Frenchies! xoxo

Beer-butt chicken

On certain occasions, it is appropriate to seek a Paula Deen recipe. An All-American Party is one such occasion. Beer-butt chicken, or beer-in-the-rear chicken, is an ingenious way to cook a juicy and flavorful chicken for a crowd. I looked up a few recipes before settling on my own version, taking pieces of Paula Deen with me.

To go with the chicken, others brought boiled peanuts:

Green bean casserole, pigs-in-a-blanket and Frito pie! Frito pie is a gut bomb of epic proportions. I’m not exactly sure what’s in it, other than ground meat, Fritos, cheese and something spicy. It tastes exactly as you’d imagine….delicious!

Someone else brought this sweet-tea wine, which tastes sweeter than Cheerwine:

And my main course…

Write Gal’s Beer-Butt Chicken


  • One 4-5 lb. chicken, giblets removed, rinsed and patted dry
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 lemon, cut into chunks
  • 1 can Budweiser
  • EVOO
  • Kosher salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • Smoked paprika

Preheat grill (if using gas grill, heat to 350). Season inside of chicken with salt and pepper. Drink 1/4 c. of the beer, then push the garlic and rosemary sprigs inside (they can stick out the top. Place the beer on a foil baking pan or anything else that can go on the grill. Sit the chicken on the can. Push the lemon through the neck cavity. Drizzle EVOO all over the chicken, spreading with a brush or your fingers. Salt and pepper liberally. Sprinkle paprika over the skin, to taste.

Place the pan on the grill. Cover and cook for 1 hour, or until juices run clear. Remove from heat (the juices will be bubbling like crazy on the bottom of the pan). Carefully remove chicken and pull out can – watch out, it will be shooting steam like a beer volcano. Let chicken rest 10 minutes…

Then carve and serve! The skin was crispy and salty, the meat was juicy and well seasoned with all the herbs and lemon. I spooned the pan drippings over anything – you could make a great gravy with them.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Independence Day

A friendly kitchen

On this Independence Day, I spent every moment surrounded by strong women, goofy family members and pets who never seem to forget that they love me, even when they only see me twice a year. It was fitting to hear Aretha Franklin bellow “Freedom!” on the radio this morning.

My parents and I attended a casual barbecue with friends. We had the normal fixins: barbecue chicken that dad had brined and butterflied, along with fresh corn on the cob. (Note: mom said, “Save the livers for me!”

We rolled the corn cobs in butter until it dripped down the sides…

I made my scalloped tomatoes with basil from the garden – always a crowd-pleaser.

We drank strong gin & tonics, sat on the back deck and talked until the sun went down. It was simple and lovely. As it should be.

Whether your Fourth of July included moonshine or a “Twilight Zone” marathon, I hope it was spent with love. xoxo

Sesame-peanut noodle salad

At work, we have lunch frequently catered and whenever we get The Carving Board, people go crazy for their Asian noodle salad: thin noodles with sesame and ginger flavors. After watching Ina Garten make her crunchy noodle salad a few times, I decided to try my own version of this tasty side dish. How wrong can you go with peanut butter, ginger, garlic, soy, sesame and scallions?

You can add your own twist to these salads – for me, I added blanched broccoli and roasted chicken breast, which turned it into a nice little lunch meal as well as a hearty side dish. As with all pasta salads, this gets even better the second day and can be served warm, at room temperature or cold.

Sesame-peanut noodle salad


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound thin whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 1 pound broccoli crowns, cut into pieces
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds, divided
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, sliced diagonally
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts


Preheat the oven to 400. Place chicken breasts on cooking sheet and rub with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until tender but cooked-through, about 25-30 min. When done, remove from skin and bone and shred into bite-sized pieces.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil, add the broccoli, return to a boil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp tender. Drain and immerse in a bowl of ice water. Drain.

For the dressing, whisk together the vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds and peanut butter in a medium bowl.

Combine the spaghetti, broccoli, chicken, peppers and scallions in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the spaghetti mixture. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and the parsley and toss together.

I brought this to a backyard barbecue and then ate the leftovers for lunch the next day. I think I like it best when cold. Enjoy, friends! xoxo