Monday, January 31, 2011

Crispy Tomato and Onion Chicken- Chicken Step By Step

Look at me! Two posts today! Disclaimer- I made this recipe for a brunch over the holidays using all chicken legs so it isn't technically a new recipe but it's a new one from the start date of the blog. It comes from a book that I have had forever but for some reason have only made a few recipes from. It's exactly what it says- all types of chicken recipes. Some are weird, but many look pretty good. I need to try and focus on this one a bit.....
I bought a whole chicken on sale this week and wanted to plan something that was quick and easy. I wasn't feeling like a crock pot recipe for once and decided to cut the chicken up. I had everything needed for this recipe, so I went with it!

First off, separating a whole chicken into pieces is no easy feat. It took me quite some time to finish, but I managed to get wings, skinned thighs, drumsticks, and skinless boneless breasts. I put the carcasses in a stockpot with discarded veggies from the freezer and decided to make some stock with the extras. To make the rub, I mixed a packet of onion soup mix with two packets of instant tomato soup mix. Coated the chicken pieces, and set them in a baking dish on a bed of onions, carrots, and zucchini. The recipe called for 45 minutes, but I know my oven runs long. I baked for one hour at 400F and it was perfect! The veggies get almost caramelized in the chicken juices and were amazing served atop some mashed potatoes. The chicken was moist and I didn't miss the skin at all on the thighs and breasts. I have to say- the thighs were better skinless! The flavor from the soup was fantastic and the little crispy onion pieces were a special treat. I will probably not cut up my own chicken again, but will probably try this with some drummies or split breasts the next time.

Crispy Tomato & Onion Chicken

1 boiler chicken (2 1/2- 3 lbs), cut up
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
2 envelopes instant tomato soup mix
2 medium onions
2 medium carrots
2 medium zucchini
freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400F. Trim chicken of excess fat. Remove skin, if desired. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels.
1. In a bowl or plastic bag, combine soup mixes. Coat chicken pieces with soup mixture. Shake off excess.
2. Chop onions, carrots, & zucchini. Place in a single layer in a 9x13 inch baking pan. Add pepper to taste
3. Place chicken pieces on top of vegetables. Bake, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes or until chicken is browned and no longer pink near the bone.

NOTE! I saw as I was typing that there is a variation listed that sounds delicious. Add 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin, paprika, and garlic powder to soup mix.

Beef & Barley Soup

I gave up on the project.... so sad. I did continue to make recipes, but not on a consistant basis and not to where I felt led to blog about it. So last night I made something delicious and wanted to share. Will it be a regular thing? Who knows. But it's worth putting it out there!

I have had a recipe for beef & barley soup that I've been wanting to make since last year. It's in my cooking light magazine and the picture looks absolutely scrumptious. Shawn agreed that he would try it so I have had it in my back pocket to make forever. I bought the perfect size piece of beef (3/4 lb) and put it in the freezer a while ago and decided that this was the weekend to do it!
I started in the afternoon by cutting up celery, carrots, & onions to have ready to go. I cut the beef into 1/2 inch pieces and sauteed for about 4 minutes until they were browned. Took the meat out and added the vegetables, sauteeing on med-high for 6 more minutes. Added the meat, some beef broth, and a bay leaf. turned to low and forgot about it.

After John got up from his nap I told him that he was going to help me make soup. He's a toddler, so he gets really excited about things like that! We measured out 2/3c of barley and he helped me add it to the soup a little at a time with the salt & pepper. He got his own spoon and I showed him how to stir it slowly. The recipe stated that it would take about 30 minutes, but we weren't eating for at least an hour so we turned it to low and kept stirring every once in a while. The soup looked much better after an hour! Thicker, like a stew, and more like the photo.

Upon tasting, I realized that i used too much pepper. It should have been added at the end, and not earlier when I put it in. I wonder if that had something to do with it? The soup itself was fantastic! The meat and vegetables were tender and the barley had a nice bite to it. It had a great flavor, too. John was more interested in the bread than the soup, but I would say that it yielded enough for 3 adult sized portions. The soup was very filling, too. We ate much earlier than normal and it held us until the end of the evening. I would definitely make it again!

Beef- Barley Soup