Baked Chicken w/ Tomato Bacon Relish

CELEBRATING FATHER’S DAY!

Honoring your father on Father’s Day doesn’t require his physical presence. I feel what is more important is just the act of doing it. I am very grateful to have had a father who was such a strong role model in my life. Everything he did was driven by his commitment to provide and care for the family he loved.

My father passed away in 2005 and Brion’s in 2011. Both our dads loved to talk and tell stories from their lives. We often wish we could retrace that time and hear their voices again. It seems you never fully appreciate your parents until they are no longer on this earth. It is so important to appreciate every hour they are in your life.

Brion & I eat a lot of chicken, so I’m always interested in another way of serving it. This recipe gives you not only crispy chicken but a flavorful tomato bacon relish to compliment it.

If you’re a bacon lover, it probably goes without saying, but bacon goes well with everything. Tomato bacon relish sounds like it would be savory, but it’s actually pretty sweet, just like other fruit jams! However, it does have a lot more complexity thanks to the bacon and spices.

The concept may sound strange, but it tastes like caramelized tomatoes–richer, sweeter, and more mellow than their fresh counterparts, balanced by the savory and smoky flavors of the bacon and smoked paprika. A little vinegar and mustard add a subtle tang, and you’ll get a hint of heat at the end from red pepper flakes.

It’s perfect spread on toast, in an omelet or a grilled cheese sandwich, on roasted veggies, next to cheese and crackers on a charcuterie board, or spread over cream cheese or brie for a party appetizer, etc. etc.

My special meal in honor of our dad’s on this Father’s Day is baked chicken tenders with bacon tomato relish.

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Baked Chicken w/ Tomato Bacon Relish
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Instructions
Chicken
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. In a shallow bowl, mix bread crumbs, 2 Tbsp thyme & 1/4 tsp each salt & pepper. Place flour & egg in separate shallow bowls. Dip chicken in flour; shake off excess. Dip in egg, then in crumb mixture, patting to help coating adhere. Place chicken on a greased rack in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake about 15 minutes or until no pink remains.
Bacon Tomato Relish
  1. In a skillet, over medium high heat, fry bacon until crispy. Remove bacon to plate. Drain all but 1 Tbsp bacon drippings.
  2. In the same skillet, sauté onions in reserved bacon drippings until onion starts to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic during last minute of sautéing.
  3. Add bacon & all remaining ingredients; stir to combine. Increase heat & bring mixture to a boil.
  4. Decrease heat & simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are tender.
  5. Serve over baked chicken tenders.

Beef Stroganoff French Bread

The original recipe of beef stroganoff did not include paprika or mushrooms, but both are a popular variation on the theme, as is the practice of serving beef stroganoff over egg noodles.

In the 50s and 60s, the famous stroganoff saw quite a bit of popularity in North America, but with the passage of time the image was marred by the availability of canned cream of mushroom soup and poor cuts or pieces of meat that were ‘slopped’ over cooked noodles or rice and is served in school cafeterias.

This dish saw so much popularity, it actually became an iconic food and cuisine. But unfortunately, it was this cafeteria version of this delicious dish that everyone in North America came to associate with the name.

As with so many dishes as time passes, every variation adds a different twist on the classic. In Australia and the UK, the recipe of beef stroganoff is quite similar to that of North America and is simply eaten with rice.

In the British restaurants, beef stroganoff is cooked to a creamy consistency and then served with a white wine while the authentic or original stroganoffs, which are similar to red stews, are generally served with scoops of sour cream.

In Portugal & Brazil, beef stroganoff is better known as ‘estrogonofe,’ and is cooked with tomato paste, beef strips or dices, with mushrooms, onions and with heavy whipped cream.

Chicken Stroganoff, made with the strips of chicken breast is also famous in Brazil, which is known as ‘fricassee,’ and it is served with crispy straws of potatoes & white rice. In Sweden, sausage stroganoff is more common.

Some other variations of beef stroganoff are also made with canned sweet corn, with ketchup and wine. This dish is also served creatively in crepe fillings or as toppings for all kinds of pizzas and with baked potatoes.

I’m making our beef stroganoff with ground beef as well as some of the classic ingredients. Instead of serving it with French bread, we are having it inside the French bread.

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Beef Stroganoff French Bread
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Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté mushrooms with 1 tsp salt & pepper; add thyme. Cook until mushrooms are golden, approximately 4 minutes. Remove from pan & set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. To the saucepan, add butter, onions & garlic & sauté 2 minutes. Add ground beef & cook until browned, approximately 4 minutes. Add flour, paprika & remaining 1 tsp salt. Add beef broth, sour cream & mustard; mix thoroughly & add reserved mushrooms.
  4. Fill hollowed French loaf with stroganoff & top with shredded cheese. Place on a foil lined baking sheet & bake for 20 minutes until cheese is golden & melted.
  5. Sprinkle with sliced green onions & serve immediately.

Roasted Parmesan Shrimp with Jicama Fries

Years ago, shrimp was low on my personal priority list among seafood. Breaded oysters would never fail to get my attention but somehow tastes change. Brion, on the other hand, loves shrimp and it seems to have rubbed off on me. Strangely enough, deep fried food doesn’t appeal to me and never has. I put it down to the fact that I spent many years in the commercial food atmosphere so that deep frying smell just doesn’t work for me. Now when it comes to oven baked ‘frying’ that’s another story.

Cooking shrimp in the oven preserves the natural flavors. Frying and grilling will cause flavor and moisture loss, which can make the shrimp turn out rubbery after it cooks. In this recipe the shrimp is prepared with a parmesan/garlic coating which bakes up nice and crispy. As a side, I’m making some  jicama fries. If you have never tasted this vegetable, it is very unique. A perfect description would be like a ‘savory apple’. A root vegetable, native to Mexico, sometimes referred to as a Mexican turnip or potato. Then to add a little pizzaz to the meal, I’ve made a garlic avocado ranch dip for both the shrimp and fries.

The classic Ranch dressing has been around since the 1950’s. While very popular in Canada and the United States, it is virtually unknown in other parts of the world. Typically made with buttermilk, onion, garlic, herbs and spices all combined into a mayo based sauce. This low-fat version of  garlic avocado ranch is perfect for this oven fried meal.


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Roasted Parmesan Shrimp with Jicama Fries

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Course Lunch, Main Dish
Cuisine American, Mexican

Servings

Course Lunch, Main Dish
Cuisine American, Mexican

Servings

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Garlic Avocado Ranch Dip
  1. Peel, core & mash avocado. In a food processor, add avocado, yogurt, garlic, herbs, onion powder & lime juice. Pulse a few seconds until well blended. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Jicama Fries
  1. Peel jicama & cut into french fry pieces. In a saucepot of boiling water, sprinkle 1/2 tsp salt; add jicama fries & boil for 10 minutes. Drain well. In a large bowl, combine fries with oil, 1/4 tsp salt, garlic powder, cumin & smoked paprika. Coat well, blending spices. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spread fries onto a lightly oiled baking pan & bake for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through baking time, until fries are crisp.

Parmesan Shrimp
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. In a bowl, combine oil, garlic, oregano, basil, parmesan, salt & pepper. Add shrimp & toss gently & thread on wooden skewers. Line a baking pan with foil & lightly oil. Place shrimp in oven & roast JUST until pink, firm & cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Serve immediately with lemon wedges. jicama fries & dip.

Individual Chicken Pot Pie

The humble pot pie was once the height of culinary style. During the Elizabethan era, these savory pastries — decorated with flowers, fancy designs, etc. were elaborate assertions of the chef’s skill in the royal households of France and England. Among the lower classes, pot pie were popular because the addition of a crust helped feed another mouth or two, while individual pastries, empanadas and perogies were well suited for sale by street vendors as portable meals.

Fortunately, the resurgence in so called ‘retro’ foods has brought pot pies back to the table. There is no reason why they shouldn’t do just as well in the 21st century. To some, chicken pot pie is a staple comfort food. The recipes mix of meat and vegetables in a chicken broth seasoned with herbs, produces a spectrum of flavors that’s like no other.

The trick is getting all the ingredients to the right degree of doneness at the same time. It may be these timing issues that led to the abandonment of the homemade pot pie in favor of the frozen variety. One thing for sure, is that they are definitely worth the time and effort. It makes good sense to make a big recipe, freeze them unbaked (if you choose) and there ready when you need them.

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Individual Chicken Pot Pie
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Course Lunch, Main Dish
Servings
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Instructions
Filling
  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil. Add chicken, season with 1 tsp salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink on the outside but not dry, 4-6 minutes. Remove from skillet & set aside.
  2. Decrease heat & add remaining oil. When oil is hot, add onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery, garlic, remaining 1 1/2 tsp salt, pepper, dried thyme & savory; stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Add margarine & melt.
  3. Stir in the flour & cook for 1-2 minutes; gradually stirring in chicken broth & milk. Bring to a simmer, continue stirring until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat & stir in peas, thyme, mustard & reserved chicken. Cover & set aside while preparing pastry.
Pastry
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt. With a pastry blender, cut in white & yellow Crisco. In a measuring cup, place the egg & vinegar; add enough cold water to make 1 cup & whisk together. Make a well in flour; pour in all of the liquid & combine.
  2. Roll out pastry. For 6 individual pies, prepared in mini foil pot pie pans, cut 6 - 8" (20 cm) circles for the bottom shells & 6 - 5 1/2" (14 cm) circles for the tops. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Place pastry lined pans on a baking sheet & divide chicken filling among them. Moisten edges with milk or water; place pastry circles on top, crimping edges with a fork. Whisk together 1 egg & 1 Tbsp water; brush tops of pot pies with egg wash. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden.
Recipe Notes
  • This amount of pastry will actually make enough for a double recipe of filling or just some extra for another time. If wrapped tightly it will freezes well.

Amigo’s Birthday

Today, December 21st, a very special member of our family is having his 13th birthday. He is ‘our’ little mini German Dachshund with the Mexican name. My sister Loretta, adopted Amigo when he was only two months old, so needless to say, they are inseparable.

Amigo is everything you could want in a pet. I’m pretty sure he feels his mission in life is to play ball. He has never been one to like being left alone or to play by himself. Being so incredibly smart, it only takes a few minutes for him to understand what you are doing, playing or even thinking!

On occasion, Loretta has put him in our care. He accepts Brion and I like going to stay with your aunt and uncle and very quickly adapts to our routine. Curious, charming, brave, stubborn and comical are all words generally used to describe Dachshunds and certainly they describe our ‘Miggy’. He has probably done more airplane travel than a lot of people. Although travelling in any mode is not his thing, if Loretta is going somewhere, no question, he’s going to.

Since this is supposed to be a ‘story and food‘  blog I guess I should get to the food part. Since Amigo loves  chicken I decided to post  STUFFED BREAST of CHICKEN with APPLES, WALNUTS & BRIE   today. Now that’s not to say he’ll be eating any but it kind of fits the occasion.

                                                   HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO AMIGO!

 

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Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Apples, Walnuts & Brie
That magic of combining sweet & savory makes these chicken breasts just a bit more special.
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, saute onion in 1 Tbsp. butter about 1 minute. Add apple; cook 2-3 minutes longer or until apple is golden brown. Remove from heat; add walnuts, rosemary & a dash of salt & pepper.
  2. Flatten chicken breasts to 1/4" thickness; sprinkle with garlic powder & remaining salt & pepper. Place apple mixture & Brie on half of each chicken breast; fold over. Secure with toothpicks if necessary.
  3. In same skillet, brown chicken in remaining butter. Stir in cider vinegar & 1/4 cup apple juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover & cook for 15-20 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 170 F.
  4. Remove chicken to serving platter; discard toothpicks. Combine cornstarch & remaining apple juice; add to the pan. Bring to a boil; cook & stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with chicken.
Recipe Notes
  • This recipe is another one of my favorites I acquired from the tasteofhome.com site.