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  1. Tuesday, March 15

    Blackened Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

    Before we get to today’s recipe (which is mighty tasty, by the way), I have to share something with you. If you just so happen to get this magazine in the mail or see it on the newsstand…

    …be sure to check out page 90.

    All I have to say is, “Woooooo Hoooooo!” I know. Very eloquent and oh so very Martha. But seriously, I still can’t believe my name, blog, photos and recipe are printed on the pages of a Martha Stewart Living magazine. I’m downright giddy.

    Okay, enough squealing from Jane. Thanks for indulging me. On to the real reason we’re here!

    In the not-so-distant past, I was pretty much scared of spicy food. I could barely handle medium salsa, folks. Yes, I was a wimp. Then Nate and I discovered a fabulous Caribbean take-out restaurant in Menlo Park with jerk chicken that is to die for. The chicken is coated in the most delicious but super spicy jerk sauce. The only way I could eat that chicken was if I got tough and faced the heat head on. And I did just that. Not only is that now one of my favorite dishes, but I am in love with spicy food. Bring it on!

    This year I have the opportunity to participate in a Newman’s Own “Own It” campaign with Martha’s Circle. The challenge is to take recipes and make them your own through simple flavor changes. For my first recipe, I was asked to incorporate one of the Newman’s Own sauces into my dish. I started browsing through their sauces and the Alfredo caught my eye. Alfredo is most often simply paired with fettuccine and, if things get really crazy, chicken. It’s a traditional favorite that seemed to be screaming for a new twist. With my newfound love of heat, I decided to kick up the spice factor a notch…or twenty.

    Blackened chicken seemed like a fun and unique twist to the classic Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo. Can I say how glad I am I gave this a try? This recipe is a keeper! Nate and I both really enjoyed it. The spicy kick of the chicken was such a great counterpoint to the super mellow and rich Alfredo sauce. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to regular old chicken fettuccine alfredo again!

    Blackened Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
     
    Spicy, creamy, and delicious!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Poultry, Pasta
    Cuisine: Italian
    Serves: 4
    Ingredients
    • 9-oz package fresh fettuccine
    • 1 jar Newman’s Own Alfredo Pasta Sauce
    • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
    • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
    Instructions
    1. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking pan or dish with cooking oil. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Pound the chicken breast until quite thin (around ¼″ thick). Mix all of the spice ingredients together thoroughly. Coat both sides of the chicken breasts with the spices.
    3. Heat a non-stick grill pan or skillet over medium high heat. Place chicken breasts in pan and brown both sides, 45-60 seconds per side. Place chicken in prepared baking pan and bake in oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and slice chicken into strips.
    4. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return pasta to warm pot over medium-low heat. Pour in alfredo sauce and mix thoroughly.
    5. Serve pasta with sliced chicken served on top. Serves 4.


  2. Friday, August 27

    Adobo Chicken…and some darn good tortillas

    I am finally writing about the spice from this week’s menu post. As some of you guessed, it is annatto seed, also called achiote seed. And I made adobo chicken with it. And it was GOOD.

    Nate came home one day saying how good the adobo chicken at work is, so I started searching for recipes. Oh my, there are so many recipes and they are all so different from one another…so I just picked one that sounded good and went for it. And the result was delicious! Different than what Nate had at work, but delicious just the same!

    Before I get to the recipe, I have to talk about the tortillas we used with our chicken. Tortilla Land sent me some of their uncooked corn tortillas to try out. I’m a tough corn tortilla critic and, I have to say, I’m so glad Tortilla Land sent me their corn tortillas. They are wonderful! They are not dry at all and don’t fall apart or break, which is what you normally get with store bought corn tortillas. I saw Tortilla Land at Costco just this week, so keep an eye out next time you go!

    Okay, back to annatto seed and adobo chicken. I used a recipe from About.com, but I’ve changed it up and written it out for you below. I know the recipe looks long, but honestly, this was an easy recipe, so don’t be scared!

    The sweet but spicy sauce is oh so yummy, and grilled chicken is always the best. We served the chicken with tortillas, tomatoes and avocado. You could serve over rice if you like (which I think is how it’s generally served), or just eat straight up!

    Adobo Chicken...and some darn good tortillas
     
    Sweet and Spicy!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dishes
    Ingredients
    • 4 chicken breasts (I actually used 3 drumsticks and 3 boneless thighs b/c that’s what I had on hand!)
    • Salt (pref. kosher)
    • Rub:
    • ½ Tbsp. annatto (achiote) seeds
    • 1 Tbsp. orange juice
    • 4 Tbsp. white vinegar
    • 1 tsp. cayenne
    • 1 tsp. black pepper
    • 4 garlic cloves
    • Sauce:
    • ⅓ of the rub above
    • 1 cup orange juice
    • 2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
    • 1 tsp. basil
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • a splash or two of white vinegar
    • a few shakes of cayenne pepper
    • a few shakes of black pepper
    • about 1 tsp cornstarch, whisked with some cool water
    Instructions
    1. Cover annatto seeds with boiling water. Cover and let sit overnight.
    2. Drain seeds. Place seeds along with the rest of the “Rub” ingredients in a food processor. Grind until you have a coarse paste, without too many large pieces of seed left.
    3. Place chicken in a casserole dish and sprinkle all over with kosher salt (or regular salt if that’s what you have). Cover pieces with about two-thirds of the achiote rub. (Note on the picture below: I just sprinkled salt and pepper over a few extra pieces of chicken for my girls, so they would be less spicy – they still ate the sauce, but the chicken had less heat for their younger palettes.) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator for a few hours.
    4. Preheat grill. Grill chicken about 10 minutes on each side over a medium flame or until done. (Click here with even better directions for grilling chicken pieces – this follows closely to what Nate did over a charcoal grill, he’s smart like that.)
    5. To make the sauce, mix all the sauce ingredients (except the cornstarch) and bring to a boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture during the simmer.
    6. Pour sauce over grilled chicken and enjoy!

     

     

    By the way, if anyone out there DOES have an adobo chicken recipe they love, please share! Would love to try it out!


  3. Wednesday, August 4

    Hot BBQ Chicken Wings (or Not-So-Hot Drumsticks, if you prefer)

    After much convincing, I’ve wrangled a sort-of recipe from my future brother-in-law Norman for his barbecue hot wings. He prides himself on his secret chicken wings recipe…but I suppose the desire to get on the blog overcame that pride. 😉  He even took these shots of the prep process for me since I didn’t have my camera handy. Amazing how a NYC fashion photographer can even make raw chicken look good.

    Last week on the Cape Norm grilled up some barbecue wings and drumsticks for the family – spicy wings and not-so-spicy drumsticks. They were delicious, so I wanted to share the sauce recipe with you.  If you remember from this week’s menu post, he also grilled up some amazing corn….that recipe is still to come. You’ll love it.

    Hot BBQ Chicken Wings (or Not-So-Hot Drumsticks, if you prefer)
     
    From Norman Nelson
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Poultry
    Ingredients
    • Stubbs spicy barbecue sauce for hot wings; Stubbs regular bbq sauce for drumsticks and breasts
    • Soy sauce
    • Vinegar
    • French’s yellow mustard
    • A1 steak sauce
    • Honey or maple syrup
    • Hot sauce (to taste, depending on how hot you want it)
    • Allspice
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Garlic salt
    Instructions
    1. In terms of proportions – a few cups of the barbecue sauce should do it. Norman says the secret trick is the yellow mustard – maybe 3 Tablespoons or so, don’t be shy. For the vinegar, soy sauce, steak sauce and honey – I would say a tablespoon or two. A teaspoon or so of the spices should suffice. (I’ll check with Norm to make sure I got all this right!)
    2. Mix sauce ingredients. Rinse and pat dry the chicken pieces. Coat chicken with sauce. Sprinkle with fresh tarragon. Let marinate for 2-5 hours. Add a little olive oil before cooking so the chicken doesn’t stick to grill.