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Monday, August 11, 2014

Recipe Review from 8/4/14

Another beautiful week weather-wise!  The Husband and I had the Folks out for a "garden party" on Tuesday - they got to pick some raspberries and blueberries and dinner was served outside with  venison kebabs, fresh corn on the cob, a fruit salad and bread from Panera.  They brought a chocolate bundt cake and ice cream for dessert.

The Husband and my Dad tackled a slew of home improvement projects mid-week: replaced the "kickboards" on the front porch that were rotting when I re-painted the porch three years ago, replaced the bathroom ceiling light/fan (which involved crawling around in a 100*F attic), and filled in an excavating project Andy-dog had begun in our landscaping off the porch.

We ended the week with another "garden party" with the folks - we went to Holyoke, MN, to DJ's Daylily Garden (on Facebook) which was a visual treat for the eyes.  Hundreds of daylilies in full bloom in vibrant yellows, oranges and reds mirrored by delicate pinks, creams and lavenders.  Absolutely beautiful.  The Folks came back with three varieties and I came home with four.  If I had had the space in my garden, it would have been many more. 

And in between all the yard work, we made several new dishes this week!

The Meal Plan:
Sun - (S) Spiced Chicken Thighs with Parsley Couscous
Mon (yoga) - leftovers
Tues -Venison kebabs with avocado
Wed -Chicken Schnitzel and mustard mashed potatoes
Thurs (yoga) - leftovers
Fri - leftovers - leftovers

Spiced Chicken Thighs with Parsley Couscous  (Ckng Lght Aug, 2014)
I simplified this tremendously - seriously, turning the oven on in August?  This is the perfect grill recipe!   I also drizzled the chicken thighs in a bit of olive oil to facilitate rub distribution and prevent sticking on the grill.  This came together in under half an hour (guesstimate) - flavors are a nice blend, neither too spicy nor overly sweet and when combined with the couscous, almost a Morrocan or Middle Eastern influence. 
photo from
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed and skinned (about 2 1/2 pounds)  (I used one 1.25lb pkg boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which was about 9)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 2/3 cup uncooked couscous
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  1. Preheat grill oven to 350* 425°.
  2. Combine cumin, sugar, chili powder, ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt, red pepper, lemon rind, and black pepper in a small bowl; rub spice mixture over both sides of chicken. Heat a large ovenproof skillet or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan, placing it skin side down; cook 5 minutes on each side or until chicken is browned. (If necessary, work in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.) Transfer pan to oven. Bake chicken at 425° for 14 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from pan; let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  3. Grill chicken.
  4. While chicken rests grills, heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add couscous and garlic to pan; cook 2 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring frequently. Carefully stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and chicken stock. Bring liquid to a boil. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 4 minutes (avoid opening the lid). Fluff couscous with a fork, and stir in parsley and lemon juice.

[Venison] Steak and Avocado Kebabs (Ckng Lght, July 2014)  gluten free
These were really good and I even made them as written!  Well, mostly...I subbed ancho chili powder for the chipolte because I was out of chipolte.   I served these to company, with some corn on the cob (boiled), fresh fruit salad, and some rustic bread from Panera.   When the corn had cooked for 10 minutes, I tossed the kebabs on the grill.  Kebabs took maybe 15 minutes?  Definitely more than the 5 they called for.  The grilled avocado was a pleasant surprise - I haven't done that before and it was a lovely touch.  This made enough for four people. 
photo from
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound top sirloin steak
  • 16 ripe avocado cubes
  • 16 cherry tomatoes
  • 16 (1-inch) squares red onion
  • 8 (8-inch) skewers
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Combine olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, chipotle chile powder, and black pepper; rub evenly over top sirloin. Cut steak into 32 cubes. Thread steak, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and onion alternately onto skewers. Coat with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Place skewers on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 5 minutes or until done, turning skewers occasionally for an even char. 
Note: If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 20 minutes before grilling.

Chicken Schnitzel and Smashed Mustard Potatoes (Ckng Light, Aug 2014)
This dish really does come together in about forty minutes from start to finish.  I subbed oregano for the parsley as I didn't plant any parsley in my garden this year, and I put the garlic powder in with the flour instead of the panko crumbs because it would have just fallen to the bottom of the pan if mixed with the panko.

My one complaint with this is the whole frying thing.  I was not blessed with a 'frying' gene.  Things don't seem to fry right no matter what I do.  These turned out better than most of my attempts, but I had problems with not all the breading being in contact with the pan, so there were spots that were pale and spots that were golden brown.  I suspect I don't use enough oil.   Still, end result was pretty darn tasty, and my on thought was some kind of gravy would have made this dish outstanding.
  • 1 pound small red potatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
    Photo from
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness 
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cook 12 minutes or until tender; drain. Return potatoes to pan; mash to desired consistency. Stir in stock, green onions, mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper and salt. Place flour [and garlic powder] in a shallow dish. Combine milk and egg in a shallow dish. Combine panko, parsley, and garlic powder in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour. Dip in milk mixture; dredge in panko mixture, shaking off excess. Lightly coat breaded chicken with cooking spray.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 2 chicken breast halves to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and remaining 2 chicken breast halves.


Karl A. said...

I would not have thought about grilling avocado, yum!

Kristin said...

I know! Total YUM! Imagine this - grilled avocado on a burger...

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