Pablano Mexican Chicken Lasagna

Pablano Mexican Chicken Lasagna

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium... it's easy but involved
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I was watching “The Best Thing I Ever Made” on the Food Network. Marcela Valladolid raved about her Pablano Lasagna. I whipped one up and it didn’t disappoint.
However, I thought I could make a few tweaks by bumping up the corn, pablanos and adding chicken.
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/marcela-valladolid/corn-and-poblano-lasagna-2-recipe.html

She's a beauty
She’s a beauty

Ingredients:
3-4 chicken breasts
8 pablano peppers
4 garlic cloves
1/2 lemon
1 onion (yellow or white)
3 zucchinis (med to large)
3 jalapeno peppers
6 ears of fresh corn (use 3 – 4 cups and save the rest for another recipe)
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 can Rotel 10 oz
1/2 cup chicken Broth
1 pkg “No Boil” lasagna noodles
2 tbs unsalted butter
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups fresh mozzarella (or Marcel used Oaxaca cheese)

Spices:
1tbs Cumin,
2 tsp Ancho Chili Powder,
3 pinches of Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Pinch of Cayenne (optional)

Directions:
1. 24hrs before cooking, marinate your trimmed chicken in your chicken stock, Rotel, squeezed half lemon, cumin, ancho chili powder and cayenne.
2. Day of cooking. Char your pablanos, jalapenos and corn on the grill, stove or in oven (broil). You want the peppers burnt/black/blistered. I also like my corn to have a nice tan too.
3. Save your marinade. Go ahead and throw your chicken on the grill (medium/hot 400 range) and get some nice marks on the them. You will saute them later so don’t cook them fully on the grill.
4. Remove peppers and put them in glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let them steam for easy skin removal. I like to keep a little on for taste.
5. Once your corn and peppers are cooled to handle. Take a knife and carefully cut of the corn kernels and put them into a bowl. Also remove the clean skin of the peppers until you have mostly the green flesh. Then filet them open and cut into strips removing all seeds and membranes.
6. Go get your chicken off the grill and set it aside. Again, we just used the grill for marks not for fully cooking the chicken.
7.  Pour yourself a glass of tequila, squeeze a lime and hit it with some agave or simple syrup (which you should always have at the ready). Relax a little.
8. Two pots on the stove. First pot add 2 tsp of butter and your minced garlic on medium heat.  Simmer for a minute and then add corn ( i used about 3.5 cups of corn) and diced jalapenos.  Stir a little and then add the heavy cream, thyme and pinch of cayenne. Reduce heat and let the flavors meld.
9. Second pot: (this is where I could get a lecture but I am alive because heat kills bacteria).  Then slice your onions and chicken very thinly and put them into the pan/ pot and let it simmer with 1bs butter.  Add some marinade or a little chicken stock to keep it moist.
10. Take your corn mixture and put it into the blender (be careful it’s hot and will blow your lid off so let it vent or cool) Blend until smooth.

Now all we do is build the lasagna. Preheat oven to 350. Pour out liquid from our chicken and onions, slice zucchini into thin strips. Take a 9x 13 glass baking dish and ladle corn mixture on the bottom, then three pasta sheets to cover the bottom, then add your chicken and onions (without the marinade – we just used it to keep it moist and cook in some flavor), and now your sliced zucchini and pablanos. Repeat 2x lasagna, corn, chicken, pablanos and cheese, cover in foil.
Bake it for 45/50 mins. Turn on your broiler, remove foil and let it go for 10 mins or until cheese is brown and bubbly.

As Marcela might say…”dat ta da…”

Pablano chicken lasanga

420 Herb Roasted Chicken

Herb Roasted Chicken

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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The herbs really make this dish with that touch of zing from coarse grain mustard and the juiciness from the roasting make this dish stand out despite how easy it is.

Roasted 420 Chicken
Roasted 420 Chicken

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts
1 tbs ea Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Lemon verbena
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 lemon squeezed
1 tsp Slap yo Mama seasoning (order on amazon) or use cayenne or Tabasco
1 tbs coarse grain mustard

Marinated 420 Chicken
Marinated 420 Chicken

Directions:
1. 1 Day in advance of cooking …trim chicken breast to your satisfaction and place it into a ziplock bag, add everything but the herbs with a pinch or two of salt.
2. Day of cooking… chop herbs and add to bag while you work on your other sides.
3. 50 mins before your’e ready to eat add a dash of olive oil and all the ingredients into a baking dish (just big enough for the chicken)
4. Roast at 400 for 40-50 mins until juices run clear and chicken is done.

Fresh Herbs
Fresh Herbs

Savory Herb Mashed Potatoes

Savory Herb Mashed Potatoes

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Mashed Potatoes a great compliment to "greens".
Mashed Potatoes a great compliment to “greens”.

Ingredients:
1. 3-4 Red Potatoes (enough for two people)
2. 1 Shallot (optional)
3. 2 cloves of minced garlic
4. 3-4 tbs heavy cream
5. 3-4 tbs cream cheese
6. 3 green onions diced (green and whites)
7. 1 tsp Fresh Herbs Minced (Rosemary,Thyme)
8. Kosher Salt, Cayenne and Black Pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Clean potatoes and cube into large equal pieces so that they cook together. I keep the skins on.
2. Bring pot of water with 2-3 pinches of salt to a boil and add potatoes. Cook until fork tender.
3. When done empty and drain into colander.
4. Dice Shallot and add to heated pot the potatoes were in and soften with a pinch of salt and a tbs of butter.
5. Add potatoes back into the pot with the shallots with heavy cream and cream cheese.
6. Mix to your desired consistency (add more cream if too dry) and add your herbs.

Super easy “base” mashed potato recipe that can be altered with various cheeses, vegetables and spices. The cream cheese, real butter and heavy cream set it apart. If you wanted to remove some calories you could dial back those three items and replace with skim milk or even greek yogurt (tangy).

Simple Ingredients
Simple Ingredients

Mean Greens: Collards & Kale

Collards & Kale

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Love my greens earnestly vs Kale "preaching."
Love my greens earnestly vs Kale “preaching.”

Ingredients:
1 Bushel of Collard Greens (spine removed)
1 Bushel of Purple Kale (spine removed)
1 Bushel of Green Kale (spine removed)
4 Strips of Peppered Bacon
3 Carrots
1 Onion (White, yellow or Red)
3 garlic cloves
2 tbs White Vinegar
3 cups of Chicken Stock (use enough to keep it moist – add when needed)
4 shots of Tabasco or a few pinches of cayenne pepper

Directions:
1. Remove the spines from the greens and curl them up like a cigar. Cut thinly into ribbons.
2. Heat a large pot on medium heat.
3. Slice and dice onion, carrot, garlic and bacon and add to hot pan (until softened)
4. Add greens (spine removed, rolled and sliced into ribbons) Don’t worry it will look like you have too much but it will wilt down a lot.
5. Add two cups of chicken stock and cover pot for 30-40mins.
6. After 30/40 mins I then add my vinegar and heat(Tabasco)
Mine cook about an hour but I keep my eye on the moisture level and add chicken stock as needed. Beer might be a good option after the first two cups of chicken stock. Also adding in ChowChow or a relish is nice at the end.
Salt & Pepper & Spice accordingly

Ingredients
Ingredients
First into the Pot
First into the Pot
Greens in the pot
Greens in the pot

Thin Crust Homemade Pizza #7

  • Difficulty: medium
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Thin Crust Homemade Pizza #7
IMG_8998

I have mentioned earlier that I was working on my pizza making process. I have had several “at bats” and pop flied, fouled or even struck out several times. As I mentioned early on, I would only post a recipe that you can make with some level of success. I have tried dough recipes from Bobby Flay, Jamie Oliver, several online but I had decent success with Tyler Florence’s recipe.

If any readers want to share your secrets I am open to them. As I mentioned on my Sourdough pizza recipe I posted a few months ago, my oven and grill tap out at 500 degrees. Pizza temps prefer 700-1000 degrees. At least the ones I like. So I bought a little Pronto Pizza oven that is an outdoor gas oven that can get me to 900 degrees. Works great.

My favorite crusts are thin but not cracker crunch but instead have a little chew or “tooth” to them. In the Dallas area Campisis and il Fratellis are the ones I strive to replicate. I think somehow they are getting more fat into their dough.

My areas of improvement are getting my dough to stretch evenly without holes and then getting the damn dough off the pizza peel. I have tried corn meal and flour but seems like there is always a sticky area that clings onto my metal peel. So last night I decided I am going to go with a non-stick pizza pan covered in olive oil to impart more fat.

It was chilly outside which created an cooler spot at the mouth of my oven. I turned it about 1min late and burned an area but I like mine well done anyways.

Ingredients:
Dough (adapted from Tyler Florence)
1 package of active dry yeast
3 cups of 00 flour
1 cup of warm water
1 tsp of Sugar
1 tbs of Kosher Salt
2 tsp of Dough flavoring
Olive oil

Amazon link to 00 Flour http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=00+flour
Amazon link to King Arthur’ Dough flavoring http://www.amazon.com/King-Arthur-Flour-Pizza-Flavor/dp/B00GCDPLC6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1419874435&sr=8-2&keywords=dough+flavoring

Sauce:
I 15oz can of Tomato sauce
1 tbs of minced garlic
1 tbs of Penzey’s Pizza Herbs
2 tsp of sugar
1 tbs of red wine
3 tbs of tomato paste

Toppings:
low moisture Mozzarella cheese (shredded from block)
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese and or Goat cheese
Fresh uncured salami cut thinly
torn basil
Tomato (sliced, salted and moisture removed)

Before putting it in the oven
IMG_8991
Directions:
1. Make the Dough by getting your yeast started. Warm 1 cup of water to about 100 degrees and stir in the sugar and yeast and pour it into the mixer bowl. Let it sit for about 10mins. The yeast will activate and get frothy.

Turn your oven on to 150 and after a minute shut it off. Creating a warm sealed place for the dough to proof. Put your proofing bowl in the oven to warm it as well.

Add your flour and salt and a glug of olive oil and mix for about 10mins. It should be tacky but not sticky. Make into a ball, cover with olive oil and then plastic wrap and a towel. Put into the oven and let it proof for 50 mins.

Punch it down and divide into two balls. Turn the balls for a few minutes with olive oil on you hands. Cover both with plastic and a towel and let it rest and relax for 10mins before making your pie. We froze one ball for later use and split the 14-15inch pizza made tonight.

2. Sauce: Olive oil and minced garlic in a small sauce pot on medium low heat. Cook for a minute or two and then add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer and stir while the dough is proofing.

3. Tonight I oiled a non stick 15inch pizza pan and tried to spread my dough out. then sauced it, topped it and stuck it into my pizza oven for 6mins. and turn another 6mins or until you get it to the “doneness” of your liking.

IMG_8998

a guy with a skillet, cooking his heart out

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