Saturday, January 7, 2012

Chicken Vesuvio (2012 - Recipe #1)

One TV show that I highly enjoy is Rachael Ray's daytime talk show.   Since I work during the day, I rely heavily on my DVR to record her episodes until I get a chance to catch up on them.    Occasionally, I see a recipe on her show that I must try, so I run to my computer to print them out.  One such recipe was for Chicken Vesuvio, which aired last Friday, December 30th, 2011.

Here is how it turned out:

You start by cutting some large starchy potatoes into wedges and browning them in some olive oil.  Once they start turning golden-brown on both sides, you add crushed garlic, red chili peppers, oregano, and bay leaves:

(I couldn't find red Fresno chili peppers at my grocery store, so I substituted a can of roasted Italian red peppers plus a few shakes of dry crushed red pepper flakes)

Next, you remove the potatoes from the pan and brown chicken pieces on both sides (*see side note below).   Once browned, you deglaze the pan with white wine, then add chicken stock, plus the potatoes, chiles, and garlic from the previous step.   This gets transferred to a 375-degree oven and roasted for 35-40 minutes.   At the end of the cooking time, you add frozen peas and butter:
(After 40 minutes, my chicken wasn't cooked through, so I cranked up the temperature to 400 and roasted for an additional 15 minutes until the interior temperature of the chicken reached 165).

Here is my final plate of Chicken Vesuvio:

My chicken skin didn't get as brown and crispy as I would have liked, so next time I need to give it more time in the skillet.   Other than that, I really enjoyed this recipe.   The chicken meat was juicy and tender, and the potatoes melted in my mouth.    I loved the combination of the slightly spicy red pepper flakes against the herbal oregano and rich white wine.  It paired nicely with the chicken and potatoes.

I highly recommend this recipe!

*Side note:  The recipe called for chicken legs, thighs, and breasts.  Since buying a package of each would be costly, I took a cheaper route and bought a large package of "whole fryer" chicken, then cut them apart myself.  This way, I still had a combination of light & dark meat.  This also explains the somewhat ugly cuts of chicken in my photos - my butchering skills need work!


Since I live by myself, a lot of recipes make way too much food.   I often try to cut down the recipe into smaller quantities.  Other times, I look for ways to repurpose the leftovers into other meals later in the week, as shown below:

I cut the chicken breasts away from their bones and removed the skin.   These will be used later in the week for other recipes... in salads, sandwiches, fajitas, pasta, etc.
I separated out the potatoes into their own container, so they can easily be reheated
I put the peas and peppers into a 3rd container, plus cut all the chicken meat from the wings, legs, and bones.  This container will be turned into chicken soup tomorrow night.

Now I can get multiple meals from one recipe, so I really get a lot out of my time/money!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Changes for 2012

Happy New Year!

I've been putting some thought into my blog the past few days, trying to figure out what direction I want to take this blog during 2012 and into the future.  Last year's day-by-day account of my nightly dinners served its dual purpose as a photography Project 365 and my foray into the world of blogging.   However, I found it increasingly difficult to come up with fresh ideas for dinner every night and then blog about them in a timely manner.   Therefore, I am changing up my blog format.

Here are my hopes & expectations for 2012:
Once a week, I will prepare a new recipe from a variety of sources (cookbooks, magazines, websites, blogs, TV shows, etc), share photos of the dish, and write my thoughts/reviews.   This will serve as the bulk of my blog posts in 2012.

In addition to my weekly recipe posts, I will be blogging about special occasion meals (such as holidays or special events), restaurant reviews, interesting news articles about the culinary world, and various personal food musings (such as my blog post about brussels sprouts).

And depending upon how ambitious or creative I feel, I may have special giveaways, contests, or other "events" designed to get you, my blog readers, more involved!

I look forward to this new & improved blog, and I hope you will enjoy it as well!

As always, I want to hear from you.  So if you have any other suggestions for me, please leave me a comment or send me a message!

Bon appetit!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day #363 - New Years Eve

Happy New Year!!  By the time I am writing this blog post, the clock has already passed midnight, and we are officially into 2012.

Earlier this evening, I went over to my parents' house for dinner.   Mom made pork stir fry - pork, colorful peppers, carrots, water chestnuts, and pineapple in a sweet & sour sauce.  It was served atop a pile of white rice, with a cinnamon streusel muffin on the side.  

For New Years Eve, I hung out with my family.  We played games, watched movies, and nibbled on party pizzas, BBQ chicken wings, and Chex Mix. 

....and so that brings this blog to the end of my year-long experiment.  Thanks for following along with me!  See you in the new year :)