Quarantine Cooking

While I have been working from home, I have had the chance to do some real cooking. I have always loved to cook, but I am often too tired from work to really take the time to make a good meal. However, working from home does not tire me out as much, and I am able to really cook. I can also put food on to cook while I am still working. The other day, I made red beans and rice. It’s a simple recipe: prepare red kidney beans as instructed on the package with andouille sausage, salt, pepper, and one chopped onion. Then simply serve over rice. In all it takes about four hours to cook the beans if you use the quick soak method, otherwise you should soak the beans overnight. Once the beans have been soaked, it’s just a matter of boiling them for about 2-2 ½ hours.

With this post, I am presenting four recipes that I have made recently. The “One Pan Garlic Herb Chicken and Asparagus,” I made last night, it is a recipe I adapted from one on the Crème de la Crum website. The “Broiled Chicken and Artichokes” came Taste of Home, and the “Roasted Chicken with Croutons” came from Katie Lee on the Food Network Show The Kitchen. The last recipe, “Joe’s Tilapia Picante with Salsa Rice” is one I came up with about ten years ago when I was trying to figure out how I wanted to cook some fish. The “Salsa Rice” that I make with it is adapted from a recipe on the Taste of Home website. The green beans that I also serve with this recipe was something I put together when I cooked this dish the other night in order to have something green with my dinner.

None of these recipes are very hard to make. In fact, they are actually quite simple, though some have a lot of ingredients. I hope you will try some of these and let me know what you think of them.

One Pan Garlic Herb Chicken and Asparagus

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients
• 3-6 chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts (breasts pounded to even ½ inch thickness)
• salt and pepper, to taste
• 1-pound asparagus, ends trimmed
• 3 tablespoons butter, divided
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• ½ teaspoon dried basil
• ½ teaspoon dried oregano
• ½ teaspoon dried thyme
• ½ teaspoon onion powder

Pan Sauce
• salt and pepper, to taste
• ¾ cup chicken broth
• ¼ cup white wine
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 2 tablespoon butter
• chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, sage
• 1 jar (7-1/2 ounces) marinated quartered artichoke hearts, drained

Instructions
1. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic and herbs and cook another minute or so until the garlic is fragrant.
2. Reduce heat to medium, add chicken to skillet, and cook for 5-7 minutes, then flip and cook another 5-7 minutes. (Chicken should be nearly, but not completely cooked through by this point)
3. Move the chicken over the side of the skillet and add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the empty portion of the pan. Once the butter is melted, add asparagus. Season asparagus with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook, rotating throughout, for 4-6 minutes until tender and chicken is completely cooked through.
4. Set cooked chicken and asparagus aside.
5. To make pan sauce, pour chicken broth and white wine into skillet. Add chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, sage.
6. Add butter one tablespoon at a time until you have added both tablespoons. Add mustard and reduce sauce by half, about 4-5 minutes.
7. Add artichokes and allow them to be warmed through.
8. Slice chicken and place chicken and asparagus on a plate with the artichokes and pour pan sauce over chicken and asparagus.

Broiled Chicken & Artichokes

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients
• 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts (breasts pounded to even ½ inch thickness)
• 1 jar (7-1/2 ounces) marinated quartered artichoke hearts, drained
• 1 tablespoons olive oil
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon pepper
• ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley or 1 ½ teaspoons dried parsley

Instructions
1. Preheat boiler. In a large bowl, toss chicken and artichokes with oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to a broiler pan.
2. Broil 3 in. from heat 8-10 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in chicken reads 170°, turning chicken and artichokes halfway through cooking. Sprinkle with cheeseand parsley. Broil 1-2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Roasted Chicken with Croutons

Prep Time 30 min
Cook Time 1 ½ hours
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 4

Ingredients
• One 4- to 5-pound roaster chicken
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 6 sprigs fresh thyme
• 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
• 1 head garlic, sliced in half
• 1/2 medium yellow onion
• 1 baguette
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Pan Sauce:
• 2/3 cup white wine
• 1/3 cup chicken stock
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Serving:
Dijon mustard, as needed

Instructions

For the chicken:
• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. When hot, put a cast-iron skillet in the oven to preheat, about 5 minutes.
• Dry the chicken with paper towels. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Generously season the chicken inside and out with the salt mixture. Stuff the chicken cavity with the thyme, rosemary, garlic and onion.
• Slice the baguette on the bias into five 2-inch-thick slices. Spread some butter on one side of each slice. Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and arrange the baguette slices buttered side down in the center of the skillet. Place the chicken on the baguette slices, making sure all of the bread is covered by the chicken. Roast until the chicken is golden brown, an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees F and the juices run clear, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Remove the baguette slices from the skillet and reserve.

For the pan sauce:
• While the chicken is resting, put the skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in the wine and scrape with a wooden spoon to remove all the brown bits. Add the chicken stock and cook until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. If any juices from the chicken have collected on the cutting board, pour them into the skillet now. Add in the butter piece by piece, waiting for each to melt before stirring in the next piece. Stir in the rosemary and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

For serving: Carve the chicken and serve with the baguette slices, pan sauce, Dijon mustard and vegetable of your choice.

Joe’s Tilapia Picante and Salsa Rice

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4

  • Ingredients
    • 4 Tilapia fillets (You can use your favorite delicate white fish: catfish, flounder, etc.)
    • 1 jar of salsa (I like restraint style, but use your favorite salsa)
    • 1 stick of unsalted butter (You can use ½ stick if you like)
    • 1 cup of white wine
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 can of green beans (you can use frozen or fresh if you prefer)
    • ½ cup chicken broth
    • 2 cups prepared rice
    • 1 to 1 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Instructions
    1. In a large skillet combine salsa, butter, and wine over medium high heat. Stir until combined.
    2. Pour sauce in a food processor and blend until smooth (this is optional if you want a chunkier sauce).
    3. Return sauce to skillet, reserving one cup for later.
    4. Place fish in the sauce and cover skillet, cooking until fish is done and is flaky.
    5. While fish cooks, in a small saucepan, pour ¼ cup of sauce over green beans and add ½ cup of chicken broth. Cook until beans are to your desired doneness.
    6. Take ¾ of the reserved sauce and combine rice and Monterey Jack Cheese together.
    7. Place a spoonful or two of the rice mixture on a plate with a fillet of top, spooning some of the sauce over the fish and rice. Serve with green beans on the side.

    About Joe

    I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

    2 responses to “Quarantine Cooking

    Thank you for commenting. I always want to know what you have to say. However, I have a few rules: 1. Always be kind and considerate to others. 2. Do not degrade other people's way of thinking. 3. I have the right to refuse or remove any comment I deem inappropriate. 4. If you comment on a post that was published over 14 days ago, it will not post immediately. Those comments are set for moderation. If it doesn't break the above rules, it will post.

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