Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Saturday Night Special

First off, let me apologize for the recent infrequency of my Homeskillet blogs. Between work, March Madness and culinary school in the morning and studying at night, it just fell by the wayside. Not that we haven't been cooking or coming up with new ideas and recipes its just, well, we've been too tired to write about them.

But now, after another long and arduous 10 day stretch at work, I have 3 days off and some time to chat with you guys and share some recent awesomeness.

Actually I just wanna show you what I did this one night.

Okay, so, She-Ra, who usually works the bar during the day, switched shifts with someone and got a closing shift on a Saturday night. This particular Saturday was my first of three days off, one of which was spent sleeping in, reading and watching bad TV. It was amazing and a well needed day to just be all 'bleh'. But when the time came for She-Ra to head off to work, I cracked open a deserved beer and scanned the fridge and pantry for the night's cooking mischief.

After some deliberation and even considering ordering delivery, I nailed down a fun snack and awesome dinner that I want to share with you know.

Ready? Here's what I did.

First off, I nailed down the ingredients. We had some leftover BBQ chicken, some beets, cilantro, red and green cabbage, feta and Swiss cheese, sweet peppers, fresh sourdough bread and a bunch of other stuff. As you may or may not know, my recent challenge of late was to convince me that beets are great. So far what I did with them (beet chips, threw some in a salad and this new one) convinced me that beets are awesome. Now I'm just down to pretty much hating olives. And that dear readers is something you will never convince me to like. I ate one just the other day during lunch, just to see if they suck as bad as I knew they did.

Yep. Spit it right out.

So here is an amazing recipe for an appetizer, side or just a fun snack. You'll need:

Couple of beets (I had both red and golden)

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Feta cheese

Lemon juice


Dice the beets into little bite size pieces, about ½ or ¼ inches, and toss with a decent amount of olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pre-heat the oven at 450 and toss the beets in there on a baking sheet for about 10 to 15 minutes. Take them out, stir them, and return to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Thinly chop up those scallions and when the beets are done, immediately plate them, drizzle with the lemon juice, add the scallions and top with the feta cheese.

Blammo! This was a fairly healthy, earthy but savory snack. It'd be a great side for a Mediterranean dish or a different option for a cookout. I gobbled this down in no time flat...mainly because I only had 2 small beets of each variety and was on my second beer. Soooo good!

As time passed, watching a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives marathon while uploading music onto my MP3 player, I started to get hungry for a real meal. Basically watching those truck stop wizards concoct dishes that would put any James Beard awarded chef to shame for a few hours, I knew I wanted some serious grub. Not to mention, I was on cocktails now.

For the chicken sandwich I decided to make a tangy BBQ sauce. The chicken was already cooked, on the grill, so if you wanna use this recipe in the future, I suggest a fun dry rub on your chicken (salt, pepper, cayenne, chili powder, garlic powder...whatever you prefer) and slather this stuff on a minute or two before plating. Me?, I just heated it up in a small pot before adding the shredded chicken.

Here's that sauce:

½ cup of Ketchup

Tablespoon of honey

Tablespoon of Brown Sugar

Mustard (to taste)

White Wine Vinegar

Salt and Pepper



Onion and Garlic Powder

Worchestershire Sauce

Squeeze of Lemon

Chili Powder


Some Olive Oil

Basically, those are the components I used and you can use them as liberally or conservatively as you want. I personally like a nice sweetness to my sauce but love a good kick so, this is a pretty good one. After combining everything in a sauce pot, letting the flavors meld and seep into each other, about 5 or 10 minutes on a low heat, I added the chicken and stirred it up and let it sit there on warm for a bit.

Knowing I had some good cabbage left, I decided to make a yummy slaw dressing. Here's what I used:

Mayo (we use the reduced fat olive oil Kraft type, it's the best 'best for you' mayo on the shelves there days)


Red and White Wine Vinegar

Celery Salt

Mustard Powder

Fresh Ground Pepper

Hint of Salt

Dash of Chipotle sauce

Now, if you guys don't have a mandoline (it's a fantastic kitchen tool for getting perfect uniform shreds and slices) then you need to get one. Unless you don't like cooking then...why are you reading this? Using the mandoline, I shredded up the green and red cabbage and used the julienne setting for the carrots. So fast and easy. Man I love our mandoline.

I combined the cabbage and carrots with the dressing in a bowl and set aside. Then I went about making my sandwich.

Luckily I had some organic sweet peppers and a fresh loaf of sourdough bread. So I chopped up the peppers and cut me some bread. Here's a trick: Once you cut the amount of bread you're going to use, what I like to do is scoop out the excess stuff in the middle, this way your sandwich wont be a bready gluteny mess; just a tasty vessel to get the filling into yo face.

I then put the BBQ chicken in the bread, adding the peppers and topped it with some Swiss cheese. Then it went into the broiler for about a minute to melt the cheese. Once it came out, I added some cilantro (which is amazing on BBQ by the way) and plated it with the coleslaw and some leftover potato salad. I don't have a recipe for the potato salad....we bought it at our local deli. And, viola!, a perfect midnight snack. And, yes, it was actually midnight at this point.

Let me tell you, it was beyond tasty and a good base after a night of some light drinking. I know I had pre-cooked chicken but when you do it on your own just make sure it's cooked all the way through and the juices run clear. I suggest using a grill pan in you're gonna do it indoors. Just adds a bit more flavor and it makes the chicken look real nice. You know, those grill marks and crap.

There you have it kids, another fun time in the kitchen and another grubby yet healthy (as much as I can get it) option for the next time you're left alone with a fridge full of food and beer while deciding which version of Iron Maiden's “Running Free” to upload: the Paul Di'Anno one or the Bruce Dickenson version?

I went with Di'Anno.

Stay hungry and keep cooking everyone!

(The pets usually hide when I'm cooking and blasting the Metal. They're smart like that...)

No comments:

Post a Comment