Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Chicken and apricot tagine, slow cooker and pressure cooker versions


I love using unique spices in my cooking, so naturally tagines are one of my favorite dishes. A tagine is a Moroccan dish that is best described as a very flavorful stew. The word “tagine” is also the name of the clay pot that was traditionally used to cook the dish.

Moroccan tagines have layers and layers of flavors. The dish pairs savory elements with sweet dried fruits. In this particular recipe that I’m sharing today, a heaping portion of dried apricots is balanced with savory chicken thighs and tangy preserved lemon.

Preserved lemons are an integral part in Moroccan cooking. The flavor is what will give your dish that “wow” factor. I purchase my preserved lemons on Amazon, but I’ve also seen them at Cost Plus World Market. If you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute 1/4 cup lemon juice, but just know that the flavor doesn’t even begin to compare to that of a preserved lemon.

I have a few tips to share when making this dish. The first is that you can buy bags of chopped up butternut squash in the freezer section. I didn’t realize that until recently. I find butternut squash to be a pain to prepare, so this is a HUGE time-saver. Also, I loathe chipping onions, so I use this trick with onions as well.

Second, I realize if you don’t already own these spices, it can be expensive to purchase everything. I recommend buying the spices in bulk at either Whole Foods or a local spice shop. It’s incredible how much money you can save that way.

I prepared this tagine two different ways: using an Instant Pot and a slow cooker.

The recipes are nearly identical, but there is one big difference. If you are preparing this in a pressure cooker, you should add one 28-ounce can of died tomatoes with the juices. The reason is because pressure cookers require more liquid to cook than slow cookers. The slow cooker will produce a lot of moisture on its own without the added liquid.

And one last thing, please don’t skimp out on using fresh herbs. I used cilantro, but if you prefer, use parsley. It’s another big contributor to the “wow” factor.

I served this dish with pearl couscous and Greek yogurt. Pita is tagines’ friend as well because who doesn’t love bread in every way, shape, and form?

Chicken and apricot tagine, slow cooker version
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons minced ginger 
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 preserved lemon
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 cup dried apricots, halved
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • Cooked couscous, pita for serving
  • Plain yogurt, toasted almonds for topping 
Directions
  1. Warm a skillet on stovetop to medium heat. Place chicken thighs in skillet and cook without moving the chicken until side is browned, or about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet, place on plate, and set aside.
  2. Add the onion to the skillet and saute until soft, or about 3 minutes. 
  3. Add minced ginger and garlic and saute for 1 minute. 
  4. Add spices to skillet and cook until fragrant, or about 30 seconds.
  5. Add preserved lemon and lemon juice, stirring well and using the lemon juice to deglaze the pan and scrape off any brown bits that formed on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat.
  6. Dump the butternut squash and dried apricots into the bottom of the slow cooker. Add half of the onion and spice mixture on top. 
  7. Layer the browned chicken thighs on top and the other half of the onion and spice mixture over the chicken.
  8. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or until the squash is soft and the chicken shreds easily.
  9. Once dish is cooked, stir in cilantro and green onions.
  10. Serve with cooked couscous, pita, and or yogurt. Sprinkle almonds on top.

Chicken and apricot tagine, pressure cooker version
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons minced ginger 
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 preserved lemon
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, juices included
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 cup dried apricots, halved
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • Cooked couscous, pita for serving
  • Plain yogurt, toasted almonds for topping 
Directions
  1. Warm Instant Pot to saute setting. Place chicken thighs in skillet and cook without moving the chicken until side is browned, or about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove chicken from Instant Pot, place on plate, and set aside.
  2. Add the onion to the Instant Pot and saute until soft, or about 3 minutes. 
  3. Add minced ginger and garlic and saute for 1 minute. 
  4. Add spices to skillet and cook until fragrant, or about 30 seconds.
  5. Add preserved lemon and lemon juice, stirring well and using the lemon juice to deglaze the Instant Pot and scrape off any brown bits that formed on the bottom. Turn off saute setting.
  6. Return chicken to Instant Pot and stir with onion and spice mixture.
  7. Dump in the can of diced tomatoes and stir to combine with the rest of the ingredients.
  8. Add butternut squash and dried apricots to the Instant Pot.
  9. Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 12 minutes.
  10. Let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid and stir in cilantro and green onions.
  11. Serve with cooked couscous, pita, and or yogurt. Sprinkle almonds on top.
Recipes adapted from this recipe by the New York Times


Friday, December 6, 2019

3 easy holiday snacks you can make in the microwave







This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Cookie plates are everywhere this time of year, but I've always preferred holiday snacks. Obviously, there are many things I love about snacks, but one of my favorite things is that it's harder to measure how much I've eaten so I feel less guilty about myself. Is that nuts? (lame snack joke)

The following three snack recipes are incredibly easy. I made them in the microwave for heaven's sake!

When I first made the nut mixture, I didn't brown the butter, and it was definitely tasty. But it was INCREDIBLE when I tried it with brown butter, and I knew there was no going back. I can't believe how much brown butter can elevate a recipe.

I want to point out one very important thing: It is imperative that you use a large microwave-safe bowl and a cover when browning the butter. The butter will explode everywhere in your microwave if you try to use a tupperware container. Yes, I know from personal experience.

Toasted Brown Butter Rosemary Nuts
Ingredients
  • 3 cups unsalted raw mixed nuts
  • 3 Tablespoons Challenge unsalted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (add 1/4 teaspoon more if you like spice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Directions
  1. Place mixed nuts in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes to toast the nuts.
  2. Put butter in large microwave-safe bowl and cover bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes. Remove from bowl and stir. Continue to microwave in 30-second intervals until the butter is amber in color and there are brown flakes of butter at the bottom of the bowl.
  3. Remove butter from microwave. Stir in brown sugar, rosemary,  salt, cayenne pepper, cumin, and black pepper.
  4. Add nuts to bowl and mix to combine.
  5. Microwave in 30-second increments for 4 minutes, stirring each time.
  6. Spread out nuts in single layer on parchment paper and let cool before serving.
Recipe adapted from No Spoon Necessary


White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn
Ingredients
  • 24 cups (about 2 microwave bags) popped plain popcorn (sea salt is fine, but not buttered popcorn)
  • 12 ounces white chocolate or white candy coating
  • 1/2 cup peppermint candies (about 8 candy canes)
  • Red sprinkles (optional)
Directions
  1. Spread out popcorn in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  2. Crush candy canes by placing them in bag and smashing them with rolling pin
  3. Melt white chocolate in microwave in 30-second intervals until smooth, stirring each time. It should take about 2 minutes.
  4. Drizzle white chocolate over popcorn and sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies and sprinkles.
  5. Allow white chocolate to harden before breaking into pieces and serving.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home


Chai-spiced granola
Ingredients
  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed nuts
  • 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted, or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Directions
  1. Microwave just the granola in microwave safe bowl for 2 minutes, stirring at the 1-minute mark.
  2. Combine all other ingredients with the oats and microwave on high for 4 minutes, stirring after every minute. The oats should start to brown.
  3. Cool granola on parchment paper before serving. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Purple Sweet Potato Pie with Ginger Snap Crust



This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I want to preface this post by saying I am a certified sweet potato enthusiast. Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving dinner, and I’ve prepared them most every way imaginable.

I was in Whole Foods last week, and I spotted Stokes purple sweet potatoes. I had never tasted purple sweet potatoes, but I immediately envisioned making a beautiful pie out of them! When is the last time you’ve see a purple pie?!

Their taste differs slightly from orange sweet potatoes. It's bit winey with hints of rose.

One thing I want to point out is I made the filling for this pie in a food processor. The reason being is because sweet potatoes can be stringy, so you definitely want something that can break that all up. There's nothing worse than a stringy or lumpy sweet potato pie!

One of my favorite parts about this pie is the ginger snap cookie crust. It really elevates the flavor and complements the sweet potatoes well. Also, I love any reason not to make a traditional crust that needs to be rolled out.

Purple Sweet Potato Pie with Ginger Snap Crust and Brown Sugar Meringue
Yield: Serves 8 people
Ingredients
For the Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups (140 grams) ginger snap cookies
  • 6 Tablespoons Challenge butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (50 grams)
For the filling
  • 400 grams purple sweet potatoes (should yield about 2 cups cooked)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup Challenge butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the meringue
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup brown sugar (213 grams)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
For the crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Crush ginger snap cookies in food processor. Combine with melted butter and brown sugar.
  3. Press mixture into pie pan, starting at the bottom and working your way up the sides
  4. Bake crust for 5 minutes. Set aside.
For the filling
  1. Boil sweet potatoes for about 50 minutes. Remove potatoes from pot and peel skin off. It should come off easily, but if not, boil a little longer.
  2. Put peeled sweet potatoes in food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Add brown sugar, heavy cream, melted butter, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to food processor and blend until smooth. The filling should be the consistency of a thick pudding.
  4. Dump filling into crust and smooth top.
  5. Put foil around pie crust edges! I know when you bake pies you normally don't do this right away, but the ginger snap crust will burn if you don't do this!
  6. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 to 50 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of the pie should come out clean.

For the meringue
  1. In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and salt on low speed until they’re frothy, about 1 minute.
  2. Add cream of tartar and increase mixer speed to medium, continuing to beat until egg whites are forming soft peaks.
  3. Meanwhile, combine brown sugar and water in small saucepan and bring to boil. Do not stir.
  4. Continue boiling until the temperature reaches 238 degrees, or about 5 minutes.
  5. Slowly pour brown sugar mixture into egg whites, all while still mixing the egg whites. Continue beating until the peaks are firm and glossy.
  6. Add the vanilla.
  7. Spoon the meringue onto the pie filling or pipe it on.
  8. Use a kitchen torch or a broiler to toast the meringue.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Classic Avgolemono Soup (Greek lemon, rice and chicken soup)


Avgolemono (pronounced avo-lem-on-o) is a class Greek soup recipe. The word avgolemono means egg-lemon. It doesn’t have a lot of ingredients, in fact, the recipe my yiayia gave me has just 5 ingredients. But don’t let that fool you because the soup is anything but basic.

It is rich and silky smooth and probably unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. It’s the perfect soup when you’re feeling under the weather. The lemon juice soothes sore throats, and the rice can help calm stomach troubles.

The soup appears to be creamy, but the thick consistency actually comes from eggs. Eggs act as a thickening agent in many recipes. But as you already know, raw eggs become scrambled eggs when you heat them, and we don’t want that in this soup (egg drop soup is a different story).

So we must use a special technique called tempering.

Tempering eggs is the process of slowly raising the heat of the eggs to avoid scrambling them. You do this by adding a small amount of hot broth into the egg mixture while vigorously whisking. The process is repeated several times before dumping all of it into the broth.

Staying on the topic of eggs, there seems to be a lot of variance between whether to use only egg yolks or the entire egg.

After much experimentation, I’ve determined this to be the best method:

1. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites while the eggs are still cold and before you do anything else! It’s easier to separate yolks from whites while eggs are cold, BUT you want the eggs to warm to room temperature before tempering them. That’s why you should do it first!

2. Whisk the egg whites vigorously before adding the yolks and lemon juice. You want the egg whites almost at soft peak stage. This will help you produce the volume you need to thicken the soup and prevent the egg whites from separating. Once you add the yolks and lemon juice, stir to combine but don't overmix.

Avgolemono soup (Greek lemon and rice soup)
Yield: Serves 8 people
Ingredients
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Parsley for garnish, if desired
Directions
  1. Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Make sure the egg whites are in a large bowl. The egg yolks can be in a smaller bowl.
  2. Add the lemon juice to the egg yolks but don't mix. Set aside.
  3. Drizzle olive oil in bottom of pot at least 3 quarts in size and warm to medium heat.
  4. Brown chicken in pot, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate and shred. It should be cooked at this point. If it's a tiny bit pink don’t worry because it will finish cooking in the stock with the rice.
  5. Add onion to pot and cook until tender about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Deglaze pot with a couple of tablespoons of stock. Add the rest of the stock, rice, salt, pepper, and shredded chicken. 
  7. Bring stock to boil and let simmer for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
  8. Once rice is cooked, turn heat to low.
  9. Going back to your eggs, vigorously whisk egg whites until they’re thick and frothy, about 2 minutes. 
  10. Add the yolks and lemon juice to the egg whites and whisk slowly until just combined. Don’t whisk too much or you’ll lose the frothiness!
  11. While whisking, slowly add 1 cup of hot soup from pot to bowl with eggs and lemon juice. Repeat with several cups of soup, all while still whisking. 
  12. Once you’ve finished tempering the soup, add it back to the pot, remove from heat, and stir.
  13. Serve with fresh parsley!


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Instant Pot Chicken Posole Verde


Posole is a classic slow-cooked Mexican soup dating back to the time of the Aztecs. It combines chicken, lime, hominy (dried corn kernels soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution—this removes the acid and makes the corn puffy and meaty, similar to a bean), and tomatillos (similar to tomatoes but much more sour and picked while under-ripe).

The version I'm sharing is made an Instant Pot, which significantly speeds up the cooking time.

I love the contrast in the soup between the spicy jalapenos and the tangy tomatillos. The lime juice also gives it a really nice zip of flavor. Also, the hominy makes it seem hearty.

This is one of my husband's favorite meals that I make, and I hope you'll give it a try too!

Instant Pot Chicken Posole Verde
Yield: Serves 10
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 jalapeƱos, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cans golden hominy, drained
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 10 tomatillos, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • Cilantro, avocado, lime wedges for garnish
Directions
  1. Set Instant Pot to "saute" and heat olive oil. Brown chicken in Instant Pot, about 4 minutes per side, making sure not to crowd pot. Transfer chicken to plate.
  2. Add the onion to the pot and cook until tender and translucent, or about 2 minutes. Add garlic and jalapenos and cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Turn off "saute" setting. Add chicken stock, hominy, tomatillos, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Return chicken to pot.
  4. Cover pot with lid and into place, making sure the valve is set to “sealing.” Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook at normal pressure for 20 minutes.
  5.  When the pressure cooking is complete, turn valve to “venting” to manually release steam, making sure not to burn yourself. When steam stops, remove lid and transfer chicken to a large plate and shred. Return chicken to the pot and add lime juice.
  6. Serve soup and garnish with cilantro, avocado and lime wedges, and serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Williams Sonoma


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Moroccan Chicken Soup prepared 2 different ways



It's been a while since I shared a new soup recipe even though I make soup all the time. I eat soup no matter the time of year. The soups I make are healthy and easy, and they yield plenty of leftovers. To me, that last part is a big deal. I live for leftovers because I don't like eating out on weekdays, but also I don't have the energy to cook every night.

That's one of the biggest reasons why I love the Instant Pot—you can make a lot of food in a short time period.

I used to not be an Instant Pot believes. I thought, "I already have a slow cooker, what's the big deal?" But they're very different. If you don't own one already, I highly recommend asking for one for Christmas!

All that to say this is the first Instant Pot recipe I've ever posted to my blog! I'm going to include a slow cooker version too for those of you who do not have an Instant Pot.

This Moroccan chicken soup is PACKED with flavor! The spices play a big role. It has coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne. But there's also a "secret" ingredient that plays a big role in the flavor, and that is preserved lemon. Preserved lemon is very common in North African cuisine. It's a lemon that has been pickled in a brine of water, lemon juice, and salt. You can purchase preserved lemons on Amazon or at international grocery stores. If you have trouble acquiring preserved lemon, you can substitute about 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice, but it won't pack nearly the same punch as preserved lemon!

Instant Pot Moroccan Chicken Soup
Yield: Serves 8 people
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup carrots, cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 1 preserved lemon, chopped
  • 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups chickpeas, cooked or from can
  • Cilantro for garnish if desired
Directions
  1. Set Instant Pot to "saute" and heat olive oil. Brown chicken in Instant Pot, about 4 minutes per side, making sure not to crowd pot. Transfer chicken to plate.
  2. Add the onion to the pot and cook until tender and translucent, or about 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Add coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, salt, and pepper and stir for about 15 seconds, making sure to coat onions with spices.
  4. Deglaze Instant Pot with a couple tablespoons of stock, making sure nothing is sticking to bottom. Turn off saute setting.
  5. Add sweet potatoes, carrots, preserved lemon, diced tomatoes, and chicken. Mix around before adding the rest of the chicken stock.
  6. Close the lid and cook on normal pressure for 8 minutes.
  7. Do a quick release of pressure. Add chickpeas and stir into soup until heated through.
  8. Serve with cilantro and couscous to the side if desired


Slow Cooker Moroccan Soup
Yield: Serves 8 people
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup carrots, cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 1 preserved lemon, chopped
  • 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups chickpeas, cooked or from can
  • Cilantro for garnish if desired
Directions
  1. Drizzle olive oil in pan on stove and warm to medium heat.
  2. Brown chicken in pan, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate.
  3. Add the onion to the pan and cook until tender and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook for about 1 minute.
  4. Deglaze pan with a couple Tablespoons of stock. Transfer to slow cooker.
  5. Add sweet potatoes, carrots, preserved lemon, diced tomatoes, chicken, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Mix around before adding rest of chicken stock.
  6. Cook on regular heat for about 6 or until sweet potatoes and carrots are tender.
  7. Open lid and add chickpeas. Stir until heated through.
  8. Serve with cilantro.
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