Chicken w/ Peaches & Ginger

Meat and fruit pairings are delicious, yet the idea of using both fruit and meat in the same dish is undoubtedly a little controversial.

One of the things I enjoy about cooking is combining flavors to create a wholesome dish. Sometimes, its interesting just to combine ingredients and flavors that don’t seem like they should go together.

Chicken is a good match for a wide variety of fruits with peaches being one of them. Whether fresh or frozen, nothing partners better with peaches than fresh ginger. To enhance the flavor just a bit more, I’m making a fluffy, golden couscous, speckled with green onion and fresh parsley. Subtle cumin and ginger spices add a heady fragrance and warm flavor. Nothing fancy, just a great taste!

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Chicken w/ Peaches & Ginger
Instructions
Chicken
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt & pepper & cook on one side until golden, about 4-6 minutes. Flip, cook for 1 minute then transfer chicken to a 9x13-inch baking pan.
  3. Place peaches, sugar, thyme & ginger over & around chicken. Add the chicken broth & bake for about 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. While chicken is baking prepare couscous.
Couscous
  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add green onion, cumin, ginger & garlic clove. Cook & stir for about 3 minutes until green onion is softened.
  2. Add honey. Heat & stir for about 30 seconds until green onion is coated.
  3. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Add couscous & 2 teaspoons oil. Stir. Cover. Remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes without lifting lid. Fluff with fork. Stir in chopped parsley & season with salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Serve the chicken & peaches over couscous with any ginger sauce from baking pan.

Apricot Lemon Chicken Breast w/ Couscous

The flavors of the meal hint of Moroccan cuisine to me. It wasn’t until Brion & I visited Morocco on a holiday one year, that I realized how many of their spices appealed to me.

Moroccan cuisine is very refined because of its interactions and exchanges with other cultures and nations over the centuries. Its dishes are layered with sweet and spicy, earthy and bright flavors that reflect the vast array of spices available in their local markets.

Often referred to as the national dish of Morocco, couscous is made of tiny balls of wheat semolina, steamed so they’re are soft and fluffy. Subtle cumin and ginger spices add an exotic flavor to it.

Pairing apricot and lemon flavors with the chicken breast and serving it over couscous makes this simple meal quite special.

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Apricot Lemon Chicken Breast w/ Couscous
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Instructions
Chicken
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Beat egg & water slightly. Stir together baking mix, lemon pepper & garlic powder. Pound chicken breasts gently to achieve uniform thickness. Dip chicken into egg mixture, then coat with baking mix mixture. Place on baking sheet & drizzle with melted butter.
  3. Bake uncovered 20 minutes; turn chicken. Bake about 10 minutes longer until no longer pink inside. While chicken is baking prepare couscous & sauce.
Couscous
  1. In a saucepan, heat 1 tsp oil; add green onion, cumin, ginger & garlic. Cook & stir for about 3 minutes until green onion is softened.
  2. Add honey. Heat & stir for about 30 seconds until green onion is coated. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Add couscous & second amount of oil. Stir. Cover & remove from heat. Allow to stand for 5 minutes without lifting lid. Fluff with a fork & stir in remaining 3 ingredients.
Apricot Lemon Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine sauce ingredients, stirring occasionally, until warm.
To Serve
  1. Place couscous on a serving platter. Top with chicken breasts & drizzle with apricot lemon sauce. Serve.

Bacon Crusted Quiche w/ Savory Madeleines

Quiche is one of those meals that appeals to me at any time of the year. The choice of ingredients is truly only limited to one’s imagination and what’s in your fridge or pantry. In this particular quiche, I opted to use bacon as my ‘crust’ since it was filled with vegetables.

I have been wanting to make some savory ‘madeleines’ for a while and think they will compliment this quiche well.

The madeleine or petite madeleine was first created in northeastern France in the Lorraine area. Technically — they are tea cakes, not cookies and are nothing like scones, very light, puffy and soft — not heavy at all.

Madeleines have a distinctive shell-like shape acquired from being baked in pans with shell-shaped depressions.

The appeal of them is how easy they are to make, how cute they are and how light and airy they are. And while they’re delicate and generally a sweet cake, madeleines hold up to having cheese and onion added to them as well. Many savory versions exist so I decided to go with a cheese madeleine today.

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Bacon Crusted Quiche w/ Savory Madeleines
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Rating: 5
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Instructions
Parmesan Cheddar Madeleines
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease depressions in madeleine pan. (If you are using a regular size it will have 12 or the mini size you will have enough batter for 36). It is a good idea to dust the pans with flour as well, tapping out any excess. Sprinkle dried thyme leaves in depressions of pans.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter & honey; remove from heat & cool for 10 minutes. In a bowl using a hand held mixer, beat eggs until pale, thick & doubled in volume.
  3. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold butter mixture into eggs. Next fold in flour, cheeses, yogurt & 1/4 tsp salt until combined. Divide between madeleine cups but don't smooth out.
  4. Bake until risen & golden. The time will depend on whether you are using a regular or petite size madeleine pan. Cool in tin for 5 minutes. Firmly tap tin on surface to loosen the madeleines, then carefully invert onto a wire rack to allow them to fall out onto the rack.
Bacon Crusted Vegetable Quiche
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 8-inch round baking pan with foil paper.
  2. In a skillet, fry bacon until lightly cooked but still pliable, 3-4 minutes. Remove the bacon from skillet & blot on paper towel. Drain all but one Tbsp of bacon drippings from pan.
  3. Add the leeks, mushrooms & thyme; cook over moderate heat until veg are tender crisp but not browned, about 5 minutes. Microwave potatoes & slice; drain corn (or cook corn on cob & remove kernels). Grate cheese. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk & remaining spices.
  4. Line the sides if baking pan with slices of bacon. Layer bottom with sliced, cooked potato & half of the cheese. Top with corn kernels & leek/mushroom mixture. Pour egg/milk mixture carefully over vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes, until the quiche has puffed up slightly & browned. Test middle to make sure eggs have set. Remove from oven & allow to cool for 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan & serve with savory madeleines.

Turkey/Apple Sausage with Herbed Couscous

There’s something special about pairing turkey or chicken with apples and herbs. It seems to me the whole idea probably stems from ingredients used in stuffing a turkey for Christmas dinner. I’ve tried a few different recipe combinations for these sausage. This one seems to be the one we always enjoy the most.

Speaking of turkey, I’d like to tell you about a very old memory since I brought the subject up. As you know, if you have been following my blog, I was raised on a farm in southern Alberta, Canada. It was dry land farming so it was imperative my folks not only grew grain but also raised animals. Along with cattle, pigs and chickens, my mother raised a few turkeys. On one occasion, my sister and I were making our way across the farm yard on our tricycle. Loretta was the driver with me standing on the back when all of a sudden I was accosted by a huge turkey. With his large wings, he knocked me to the ground and started pecking me for some reason. My mother saw the commotion from the kitchen window and came running to my rescue. Needless to say, from that time on, I have always been leary of animals bearing beeks and feathers. Nevertheless, I do like the taste of turkey.


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Turkey/Apple Sausage with Herbed Couscous

Homemade sausage is such a nice change from 'store-bought'.

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Rating: 5
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Course Main Dish

Servings


Ingredients
Turkey - Apple Sausage

Dijon - Apricot Mustard

Course Main Dish

Servings


Ingredients
Turkey - Apple Sausage

Dijon - Apricot Mustard

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Turkey - Apple Sausage
  1. Heat oil in skillet; add onion & saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add apples & saute until until apples are very tender, 3-5 minutes longer. Transfer to a large bowl & cool completely. Add turkey, cracker crumbs, egg & spices; mix well. Divide the sausage into 6 equal portions & roll into approximately 8-inch lengths. When ready to cook, they can either be baked in the oven at 450 F. or lay on a sheet of greased foil & cook on the barbecue.

Herbed Couscous
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tsp oil; add next 4 ingredients. Cook & stir for about 3 minutes until onion is soft. Add honey; heat & stir for 30 seconds to coat onion. Add broth; bring to a boil. Add couscous & 1 tsp oil. Stir, cover & remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes without lifting lid. Fluff. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Dijon - Apricot Mustard
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together Dijon mustard & apricot preserves. Serve with turkey-apple sausages.


Recipe Notes
  • I like to make extra sausage and freeze them for other meals. They come in so handy when your time is short.
  • If you prefer a plain couscous instead of spicy, omit cumin & ginger replacing it with dried basil or a spice of your choice.
  • This meal is nice to serve with a mixed green salad of your choosing.

Stuffed Burgers

RESHAPING THE BASIC BURGER

It’s only mid May and the enticing smell of the neighborhood barbecues drifts through the air. Spring has felt more like summer due to the high temperatures we are having.

Burgers have long been a summer barbecue staple so why not put a new spin on it. My first thought goes to using the same spice combination for a variety of ground meats such as beef, chicken/turkey, or pork. Next make a filling that would taste great in whatever meat you feel like serving or better still use a variety.

Over the last couple of weeks I did some recipe development  on seven different ideas to simplify  making  ‘Stuffed Burgers’.   In my next few blogs I would like to share these recipes with you.  Here is the list:   > Moroccan            >  Apple-Zucchini Bacon            > Savory-Herb                               > Seafood/Avocado &  Spinach/Cheese Portobello Mushroom Burgers                                                  > Mushroom-Cheese Stuffed Ground Salmon    > Garden Grain Burgers    

The focus of my blog is very often on the ‘Taste of a Memory’  so I decided to start my stuffed burger series with a memory from Morocco.

In 2014, my husband Brion and I enjoyed a holiday travelling Spain, Morocco, and Portugal. I had never really paid to much attention to the interesting flavor of the Moroccan spices before that trip. Since then I have made numerous dishes that included them as we have come to really enjoy that flavor.

Key Moroccan spices include aniseed, black pepper, cayenne, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, paprika, parsley, saffron and turmeric.      

Morocco is like a tree whose roots lie in Africa but whose leaves breath in European air. This is a metaphor that has been used to describe a country that is profoundly traditional and strongly drawn to the modern. It is this double-sided, seemingly contradictory disposition that gives Morocco its cultural richness. The country is slightly larger in area than California. Unlike most other African countries, it produces all the food it needs to feed its people. Located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the country is rich in fish and seafood. Beef is not plentiful, so meals are usually built around lamb or poultry. Another Moroccan staple is couscous, made from fine grains of a wheat product called semolina. It is served many different ways with vegetables, meat or seafood.

In today’s  Moroccan Burgers, I used beef and turkey patties, stuffing them with a spicy fruit filling. Strange as it seems, Brion and I found mustard   to be a great condiment to use on them.  In keeping with the Moroccan theme, couscous makes a nice side dish however you choose to prepare it. Your comments are most welcome.                                       

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Stuffed Burgers
I used the same spice combination in the basic meat patty recipe for whatever meat I chose to use ( beef, chicken/turkey, pork), to keep it simple. These meat patties were then used to prepare the SAVORY-HERB, APPLE-ZUCCHINI BACON, & MOROCCAN burgers.
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Servings
Ingredients
Basic Meat Patties
Moroccan Spicy Fruit Filling
Easy Couscous Side Dish
Servings
Ingredients
Basic Meat Patties
Moroccan Spicy Fruit Filling
Easy Couscous Side Dish
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Basic Meat Patties
  1. Place ground meat in a large bowl & combine with spices. Mix well. Shape into 8 - 1/4" thick patties. Place equal amounts of prepared filling in center of each of 4 patties. Top with remaining 4 patties & press gently to seal, enclosing filling completely.
  2. Place burgers in a greased foil disposable pan. Preheat barbecue grill to a medium heat, place pan on grates & close lid. Turn burgers once during cooking time, (do not overcook as the meat is only 1/4" thick on each side).
  3. Serve on a Ciabatta bun (or hamburger bun of your choice).
Moroccan Spicy Fruit Filling
  1. Combine dates, apricots, raisins, apple & orange juice in a small bowl. Season with spices. Mix well; set aside to let marinate for a few hours. Divide between 4 burger patties & complete as above.
Couscous Side Dish
  1. Heat 1/2 tsp olive oil in small saucepan. Add next 4 ingredients. Cook & stir until green onion is softened. Add honey. Heat & stir until onion is coated.
  2. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Add couscous & 1 tsp olive oil. Stir. Cover. Remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes without lifting the lid. Fluff with fork; stirring in remaining ingredients adding a bit of butter if it seems to solid. Makes about 2 3/4 cups.
Recipe Notes
  • I found it really made this whole burger idea easy if I made 908 grams (2lbs) of each of the 3 types of ground meat into patties. Portion the meat with a scoop into 56 grams (2 oz.) balls, flatten & place in a plastic container, layered singly between a non-stick waxed paper to freeze.
  • When it comes time to use, take out the number of patties you require for the meal. Prepare the filling of choice, stuff & cook. What could be easier than that for a quick & easy great tasting meal!