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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Toasted Barley And Chicken Pilaf

1 1/2 cup(s) pearl barley
3 teaspoon(s) olive oil
4 (about 1 pound) skinless, boneless chicken thighs , cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalk(s) celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 package(s) (8-ounce) sliced mushrooms
1 can(s) (14- to 14 1/2-ounce) chicken broth, (1 3/4 cups)
2 cup(s) water
1/2 teaspoon(s) dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon(s) ground nutmeg
Salt and ground black pepper
Parsley leaves, for garnish

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Directions

1. Heat deep nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add barley and cook 4 to 6 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring occasionally. Transfer barley to large bowl.
2. In same skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add chicken and cook about 5 minutes or just until it loses its pink color on the outside, stirring occasionally. Transfer chicken to bowl with barley.
3. In same skillet, in remaining 1 teaspoon oil, cook carrots, celery, and onion over medium heat 7 to 8 minutes or until tender-crisp. Stir in mushrooms and cook about 10 minutes longer or until most of liquid evaporates and vegetables are tender and lightly browned.
4. Return chicken and barley to skillet; stir in broth, water, thyme, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 30 to 35 minutes or until barley is tender and chicken is no longer pink in center. Serve pilaf garnished with parsley leaves.

Mediterranean Sweet and Sour Chicken

2 teaspoon(s) olive oil
8 small (about 2 pounds with bones) skinless chicken thighs
1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
2 clove(s) garlic, crushed with press
1/2 cup(s) chicken broth
1/4 cup(s) red wine vinegar
2 teaspoon(s) cornstarch
2 teaspoon(s) brown sugar, or to taste
3/4 cup(s) (about half 10-ounce package) Mission figs, each cut in half
1/4 cup(s) salad olives, (chopped pimiento-stuffed olives)
1 bag(s) (5 ounces) baby arugula

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Directions

1. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add chicken and sprinkle with salt; cook 17 to 20 minutes or until chicken is browned and juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced with tip of knife, turning chicken over once. Transfer chicken to plate. Add garlic to skillet and cook 30 seconds, stirring.
2. Meanwhile, in cup, with wire whisk, mix broth, vinegar, cornstarch, and sugar.
3. Stir broth mixture and add to skillet; heat to boiling. Boil 1 minute, stirring until browned bits are loosened from bottom of skillet and sauce thickens slightly. Stir in figs and olives; return chicken with any juices to skillet and heat through.
4. To serve, arrange arugula on 4 dinner plates. Spoon chicken mixture over arugula.

Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparacus

1 pound(s) asparagus
3/4 pound(s) fettuccine
4 tablespoon(s) butter, cut into pieces
1 cup(s) heavy cream
1 pinch(s) grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon(s) salt
1/8 teaspoon(s) fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

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Directions

1. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and discard them. Cut the asparagus spears into 1-inch pieces. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fettuccine until almost done, about 8 minutes. Add the asparagus; cook until it and the pasta are just done, about 4 minutes longer.
2. Drain the pasta and asparagus. Toss with the butter, cream, nutmeg, salt, pepper and Parmesan. Serve with additional Parmesan.
3. VARIATIONS
Fettuccine Alfredo: Eliminate the asparagus.
Fettuccine Alfredo with Ham and Peas: Eliminate the asparagus. Add 1 cup frozen peas to the pasta during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Toss 1/4 pound of deli ham, cut into matchstick strips, with the remaining ingredients.
Fettuccine Alfredo with Fresh Mixed Herbs: Eliminate the asparagus. Toss in 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, and/or chives, at the end.
Fettuccine Alfredo with Parsley and Sage: Eliminate the asparagus. Toss in 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley and 1/2 teaspoon dried sage at the end.